Nan’s Notes: Skim, by Mariko Tamaki

Skim tells the story of Kimberly Keiko Cameron (aka Skim). Skim feels like she doesn’t fit in at her school, common feelings for many kids in high school. A boyfriend of a classmate commits suicide which then prompts some  students to start a club called Girls Celebrate Life. Unfortunately, instead of  helping others,this group actually makes the kids who already feel like outsiders become more isolated.

There are a lot of issues that are within this book: suicide, sexual orientation, fitting in, and starting to finding yourself. Once I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down. I think I read it in one or two sittings. I loved learning about Skim as she learned about herself. I also really liked how the author and illustrator used the pages. Sometimes there were many small panels and other times there was just one illustration on the page. This really gave me an opportunity to slow down and reflect a bit on the story.

I haven’t read anything else by this author, but I think I will be checking some more out.

Challenges:

I borrowed this copy from my local library.

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Fall into Reading 2009 Wrap Up Post

I enjoyed partipating in this challenge. I had planned to read 5 books but I didn’t get to finish the anti-bullying book. This is what I had planned to read and what I actually read during the challenge:

  • The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown – Completed 9/30
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling (I might try listening to this. I heard the audio was fantastic.) – Completed 11/17
  • Preventing Bullying at School, by James Bitney and Beverly B. Title
  • The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro  Completed October 31
  • something of the DCF ListSavvy, by Ingrid Law, 342 pages, Completed November 15

I loved listening to the Harry Potter book. It was the first audio book I could enjoy. I ended up not reading as many books this fall. I’m hoping winter ends up being a better season for reading! I already have a ton of books ready to go with me to my parents’ house while I’m on vacation. There is something about a snowy day that makes me want to curl up and read.

A great dog video

This video clip came through on one of my dog lists. I just love it!

Nan’s Notes: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner tells the story of a group of boys and one girl, who are trying to solve the mystery of the maze. These kids live together in the Glade, a large walled in area surrounded by a giant maze. At night the maze is crawling withe creatures that try to kill the boys.  Every few weeks, a new boy is sent to join the group. Everyone in the Glade has their own job such as cook, gardener, and runner. The runners are the kids who spend everyday running through the changing maze to try to map it out and find an escape. Newcomers have no previous memories and no knowledge of where they came from.

I was expecting to zip through this book and love every minute of it. Unfortunately, I had a very tough time getting into the story. One part of the story that was tough for me was all the slang. It was very distracting at first and it took me quite awhile to get used to it. The author may have used the slang so that we could better relate to Thomas. Thomas was the last boy to arrive in the glade. He was confused and had trouble understanding what was going on around him. That is how I felt with all the slang going back and forth between the kids. I really wanted to get lost in this fictional place, but I just couldn’t get that deep into the story.

Once I was half way through the book, things changed.  I found myself suddenly invested in the characters and wanting to find out what would happen next. I read the last half of the book in just 2 days because I was  much more into the story at that point.

I bought this copy of the book at the book store. The sequel to this book (The Scorch Trials) comes out in October 2010. I don’t know if I will buy the sequel or if I will take it out of the library. I do know that I will be reading it.

Here is an  interview with James Dashner on Barnes and Nobel’s Meet the Writers Podcast.

Challenges:

Sunday Salon: Holiday Gifts (December 13, 2009)

You can see other posts and join in on the fun at The Sunday Salon.

I love, love, love giving books as gifts. Maybe it’s because I love getting books as gifts. Maybe it’s because I want the person who’s receiving the book to enjoy the book as much as I did. Maybe it’s because I feel a book is something the reader will enjoy for awhile (during reading and savor after reading). Anyway you look at it… I love giving books.

I don’t think any of the people who are getting gifts from me read my blog so I can share with readers of this blog the books I’ve bought so far. Maybe you can even give more suggestions!

This year, I had one person on my list who did not receive The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein last year. This was my favorite book of 2008 and I gave it to just about everyone last year. I’m so glad I still get to give this book to someone this year.

Other books I’m giving are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collines and 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Now I do have an odd book pick that I’m giving to 3 different people. It’s Big Pumpkin (with the CD) by Erica Silverman. Yep, it’s a Halloween story but it’s so good… my class and I listen and sing along to the CD all year long. I’m giving this to 2 of my co-workers and to one of my young cousins.

A book I’m thinking of giving is Homer’s Odyssey: a Fearless Feline Tale or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat, by  Gwen Cooper. I haven’t read this one, but I’ve read reviews that people who loved Dewey will love this book. Has anyone read it? What do you think? I have a few family members who are big readers and love cats.

I’m hoping to go to Barnes and Noble today and spend some time going through the books for kids around 4th grade. I want to get a good book for my nephew, but I’m not quite sure what to get. He loved Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka and he loves the Bone books by Jeff Smith.  I know I will get both of my nephews a gift certificate for the bookstore, but I also want to get them each a good book so we can all curl up and read together.

What books are you giving this year? Are you giving the same book to multiple people or different books?

Sunday Salon: November Wrap Up

You can see other posts and join in on the fun at The Sunday Salon.

I just can’t believe it’s December! I’ve been having a blast doing my Christmas shopping and getting ready for the holidays. Today I am going to the bookstore to buy a bunch of gifts for people. There is nothing better than getting a good book as a gift.

November wrap up:

How can another month be over? And… we are now in our last month of 2009!

I read 5 books in November:

  1. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel, 240 pages, November 2
  2. Savvy, by Ingrid Law, 342 pages, November 15
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling, audio book, November 17
  4. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi, 153 pages, November
  5. The Sims 3 World Adventures Prima Guide, by Catherine Browne, 224 pages, November 28, 2009

I got 3 reviews up (from books I read in October!):

  1. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, 180 pages
  2. The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hoga, 401 pages
  3. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, 233 pages

I also was finally able to start exercising again! I’m so glad to be able to be active without coughing.

Here are how my challenges are looking:

How was your November?

Nan’s Notes: American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang

  • Gene Luen Yang
  • Age Range: Young Adult
  • Pub. Date: December 2008
  • 233 pp
  • colored by cartoonist Lark Pien
Awards:
  • finalist for the 2006 National Book Awards
  • 2007 Michael L. Printz Award.
I read this book back in October during the Read-a-thon. I really wish I had written the review before now! I returned the book many weeks ago, so this is from my memory.
As I was reading American Born Chinese I was very uncomfortable with the racial slurs and stereotypes, especially in the parts about the sit-com. I almost put the book down several times because of my discomfort. But, I kept with it and I’m really glad I did. This graphic novel has three stories that are told throughout. The following brief summary is from the author’s website:
With American Born Chinese, I’m trying to say something about my experiences growing up as an Asian-American by telling three different stories. The first stars the Monkey King, folk hero of Chinese legend; the second recounts the struggles of a Chinese-American boy trying to fit into a predominantly white suburb; and the third is a sit-com starring everybody’s favorite racial stereotype, Cousin Chin-Kee.
I do not want to give away too much from the book, but the three stories come together at the end in a way that I did not see coming at all. I was so surprised when they how they came together! When I finished the book, I didn’t just want to talk about it with someone who had read it, I needed to talk about it. When I went back to school on Monday, I went right to a coworker who teaches a multicultural children’s lit class to see if she had read it. She had and we chatted for quite awhile. I might even see if I can sit in on her class when they read it so I can chat with others who have read it.
Pick up this book and give it a read. Then come back and talk with  me about it. 🙂
One thing I can say for sure, I am still thinking about this book over a month later!
Rating: 4/5
Challenges: