Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quick Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell.

Bell, C.  (2014).  El Deafo.  New York:  Amulet Books.

Appetizer:  El Deafo is the memoir of Cece Bell, who after a bout of meningitis was left severely deaf.  She shares about learning to read lips, going to school and wearing a Phonic Ear, and making (and sometimes losing) friends.

Over the years, I've taught a few students who have requested that I wear a microphone.  I was always thankful that one such student warned me that if I wore the microphone to the restroom, she would still be able to hear everything I was doing.  So, I've been able to avoid the embarrassing fate of some of Cece's teachers:

This dates both myself and Cece Bell, but I appreciated that the book went into her school attempting
to teach about emotional intelligence and the way individuals' words can impact others as "warm fuzzies" or "cold pricklies."  I was actually talking to a few friends recently about how I was taught about giving warm fuzzies or cold pricklies to others, and they attempted to complicate it, noting that a lot of people can give one another warm pricklies or cold fuzzies.  As a child, I don't remember a book ever being attached to learning about fuzzies and pricklies, but apparently (and according to Cece Bell) there is a book.  (Now I know what I want for my birthday....)

I found El Deafo enjoyable, but it didn't blow my mind.  It often felt a little unfocused (which often happens with memoirs), which makes it put-down-able.  But having said that, it's still a very valuable book that I will recommend to my students.  This is a great recommendation for readers who like the realistic graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier.

Dinner Conversation:

Tasty Rating:  !!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Quick Review: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (Drink tea as you read this book...make make sure nobody is trying to poison you first...)

I just finished listening to the audiobook version of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place  by Julie Berry.
Set in the Victorian era, after the seven girls at their finishing school realize that their headmistress and her brother have been murdered with poison, the girls decide to bury the bodies in the backyard.  Fearing that they would all have to return to their families if they summoned the police, the young women scheme to try to run the school for themselves and to find the murderer that may live among them.

This book was an enjoyable listen.  I was thankful that the girls were given epithets to help identify who they were.  I struggle with names as it is.....
Although, some of the epithets were troubling:  Pocked, Dour, Disgraceful.  But, that was part of the point.

Here's the book trailer:

I thought the ending was a little predictable, but the story was still enjoyable enough that it was good to confirm my suspicions.

The author's note at the end left me wanting to research more about Victorian poisons.    This is a good recommendation for students who love this era in history.

Tasty Rating:  !!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quick Review: The School for Good and Evil (Deconstructing )

I just finished listening to the audiobook of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.

I really enjoyed it.  The book gave me Harry Potter flashbacks.  It felt like a commentary on how characters from certain houses almost always turned out to be "good" or "evil."  The School for Good and Evil finds best friends, Sophie and Agatha, from a small town forced to attend a school in which the students are automatically sorted into the good side or evil side of the school.  Sophie, who landed in Evil, feels certain that she belongs in Good and Agatha isn't exactly certain that she belongs in Good either.  As the students are prepared to play roles in fairy tales, Agatha and Sophie are uncertain whether their friendship or they themselves can survive.

A former student recommended this book to me almost three years ago.  I certainly took my sweet time in reading the book.  I don't want to be *that* girl, but part of my delay was that the cover didn't impress me.  I know, I know.

I am glad I read it though.  I'll most likely continue with the series and will read A World without Princes at some point.


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