Sunday, July 12, 2020

Review: This Is My America

This Is My America This Is My America by Kim Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another powerful BLM story for teens! Can't wait for publication so I can add it to my library and get it into kids' hands.

Tracy Beaumont's life revolves around saving her father from being wrongly executed after spending the past seven years on death row. She writes weekly letters to Innocence X - a project that helps exonerate the wrongly convicted, but with less that a year until the execution she knows time is running out. Then the unimaginable happens when the police show up at her house in the middle of the night looking for her brother Jamal as a suspect in the death of a white girl. Instead of being the promising track star, Jamal is now literally on the run for his life. Determined to save both her brother and father, Tracy becomes an amateur investigator and ultimately uncovers secrets even she didn't expect.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Review: Scythe

Scythe Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Citra and Rowan were just your average teens living in a world where humanity has evolved and there is no suffering, death, disease, war, etc. But in a world without death, the population must be maintained. Scythes are the sole purveyors of death - it's their job - and they end lives with a purpose and guidelines (at least they're supposed to). When the Honorable Scythe Faraday has chance encounters with both Citra and Rowan, he sees something in them and invites them to be his apprentices. With a year of guidance and teaching, they will have the opportunity to become Scythes and continue to fulfill this sacred duty, but they soon realize that not all Scythes are honorable, and such power comes with a hefty price.

This first book in the Arc of the Scythe trilogy will have readers clamoring for the sequels (Thunderhead - book 2 and The Toll - book 3).

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Review: Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce
Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this sequel to Dear Martin - Nic Stone tells the story of Quan, who grew up just blocks away from Justyce, but whose life took dramatically different turns. As he sits behind bars, Quan writes letters to his old friend, Justyce who is attending Yale. Through these letters and flashbacks, readers see the choices and decisions (some his own and some out of his control) that lead Quan down a road that is filled with police encounters, violence, a dead police officer, and what looks to be a life behind bars.

Fans of Dear Martin will be clamoring for Quan's story this September (2020)!

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Review: Pet

Pet Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jam and her friends have grown up believing that monsters have been wiped out from their lives, but when Pet appears from the other side of her mother's painting, Jam soon learns that she must question all she's been taught.

This short novel is filled with powerful prose and deep messages. Jam herself is a trans character who is accepted for what she is and given a voice - even as a child. Through her heightened senses, Jam exposes the "monster" that is hiding in her friend Redemption's home and through her empathy and quest for justice brings about change to her community.

A thoughtful read for all ages.


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Monday, May 25, 2020

Review: Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn't stop reading about Camino and Yahiara, but I didn't want their story to end!!

Camino's father visits her in the Dominican Republic every summer, but as she waits for his plane she knows something isn't right.

In NYC, Yahaira knows that it's always tense around her house in the days before her father goes "home" to the Dominican Republic each summer, but when she's called to her school office she has no idea what's waiting for her.

Though secrets have kept these sisters apart for their entire lives, their father's sudden death exposes the truth and through grief and loss they find something new.

This novel-in-verse brims with culture, emotion, and honesty.


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Friday, April 24, 2020

Review: Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls Wilder Girls by Rory Power
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Tox surfaced at the Raxter School for Girls, located on a remote island off the coast of Maine, 18 months ago. Since then, it's been quarantine, death, pain, hunger, and fear for the girls and two teachers who have managed to survive. Hetty, Byatt, and Reese are a team - they stick together, because in this world, you want someone looking after you. When Byatt has a flare up and mysteriously disappears, Hetty will stop at nothing to find her friend. They've been told that horrors live beyond the gates of Raxter, but Hetty and Reese are willing to risk anything for Byatt, and maybe even find out why this is happening to them.

Though the story took a while to get into, I ended up reading the last half in a single sitting. 3 stars for the pacing, and 4 stars for the story!! Sequal??

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Clean Up Your Google Classroom Stream

In the last few weeks, the increased use of Google Classroom has been astounding. As more content gets added to a Classroom, the Stream can get quite cluttered. I recommend that you turn off Classwork notifications on your Stream so that you can use the Stream for announcements only, or even better, as a discussion board for you and your students. Students can still see the Classwork on that tab, and if you are using Topics, they can even filter by topic, making things even easier to find.

Below is a short video tutorial on how to change your Stream notifications along with a visual of the steps.