Call It Courage
Book Review / October 6, 2017

Title: Call it Courage Author: Armstrong Sperry Genre: Survival Publisher: Listening Library Release Date: January 22nd, 2008 Format: Audiobook Pages: 128 Source: Library First Published: 1940 A boy tries to overcome his fear of the sea in this treasured classic and winner of the Newbery Medal. Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided tha sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered– so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gave him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island found him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grew and how he finally returned home. This is a legend. It happened many years ago, but even today the people…

The Great Newbery Quest
Between the Lines , Reading Challenge / September 21, 2017

                is a series of posts focused on better understanding books, trends in writing, and the labels associated with these.   As some of you might have noticed, I read quite a bit of MG/YA literature. Why? I take part in two book clubs which tend to lean more YA/MG (one is exclusively for YA/MG books), but also I find that a lot of modern YA/MG books are addicting and brilliant. For the last few years, I’ve really taken an interest in better understanding why these books appeal to me. This has led me to The Great Newbery Quest! The Newbery Medal was established in 1921 at the American Library Association annual conference. Publisher’s Weekly editor Frederick Melcher proposed the idea that the ALA honor the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”. Named for John Newbery, a 18th-century children’s book publisher, the award was enthusiastically supported by the ALA and sponsored by Melcher. The goal if this award is to encourage quality, creative children’s books and to prove to the world that children’s book deserves recognition and praise. It became the first children’s book award in the world. While…

Dead End in Norvelt
Book Review / July 22, 2017

Title: Dead End in Norvelt Series: Norvelt, #1 Author: Jack Gantos Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Release Date: September 13th, 2011 Format: Audiobook Pages: 341 Source: Library Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year’s best contribution to children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets.  But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his Utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his…

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