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.

Review: Heroine

Heroine Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mickey Catalan is looking forward to her senior softball season - and a chance to make a tournament run with her as the star catcher and her best friend, Carolina, throwing strikes to her, but a sudden car crash changes everything. With a few months until the season officially starts, Mickey is laid up in a hospital bed with 3 screws in her hip and a prognosis that it's unlikely she'll be ready. Mickey's drive to prove everyone wrong starts with her taking her prescribed Oxy so that she can endure grueling physical therapy sessions, but she soon realizes that the pills do more than dull the pain in her hip, they make her feel good. What ensues is Mickey's spiral into addiction and the impact it has on her, family, friendships, and the future.

McGinnis' story is raw and honest, and all too real for so many "Mickeys" in this world today.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Review: Clean Getaway

Clean Getaway Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

11-year-old William "Scoob" Lamar doesn't hesitate when his G'Ma shows up in her slick new motor home and asks him to go on a little road trip. He doesn't care where they're heading, he just knows he's glad to get away from his dad and the punishment that has him on lockdown. With G'ma's memories and her Green Book to guide them, their adventure is one that clearly isn't new to G'ma. Though G'ma has a plan, Scoob isn't quite sure he's ready for what he learns along the road, and it doesn't take long for him to realized that there's more to this adventure than he ever anticipated.

A fun middle-grade read!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Review: The Grace Year

The Grace Year The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the County, girls are taught to fear their "magic", but not told what their "magic" actually is. All they know is that they are banished to a remote encampment for their Grace Year (16th year) where they will release this magic and return (if they're lucky) purified and ready for marriage or a life of work, either way they're condemned to a life of servitude. But Tierney James doesn't buy it. As her Grace Year approaches, she's aware of the discontent that's surfacing, and her recurring dreams of a girl that changes the system is difficult to ignore. As her Grace Year ensues, Tierney will learn firsthand about the horrors that wait for her.

A mix of The Handmaid's Tale, The Hunger Games, and The Lord of the Flies, this feminist dystopian adventure is sure to be a hit.

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