Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Giver

The Giver *****
by Lois Lowry 

Overview: The Giver is about a boy, Jonas, in a world of no color. On the ceremony of twelve, when they turn twelve, all twelve-year-old's get assigned a job. Jonas's job is special. He's been chosen to be the new receiver. The receiver is the man who holds all memories, including memories of colors and feelings. This man shares some of his memories with Jonas of colors, feelings, and pain. In their community, they release the old and the babies that aren't made right. Or if they have a twin, the smaller one is released. Jonas realizes that the people in the community don't have feelings, so they don't know that it's wrong to kill people. The community wants everything to be perfect. The birth mothers give birth to the babies, then the community decides which family they go to. They also arrange marriages. The community arranges everything. But when Jonas's family is given a baby, the baby cries a lot. The community decides that he is to be released, so Jonas runs away from the community with the baby to save it. Find out what happens on Jonas's journey with the baby and more about his life in the community.

Positive elements: There's a a lot of love in the book such as when he loves that baby enough to run away with him.

Negative Elements: It talks a lot about the release (or killing) of the old and young.

Conclusion: I thought this was a great book, that's why I gave it five stars! The author left the end like a mystery, so you could decide what was going to happen. After I read it, I read her speech about it. It was a very interesting speech. I really liked this book and think that you should read it.

By: Summer Staples, 11

Ramona's World

Ramona's World: Ramona takes on fourth grade ***** 
by Beverly Cleary

Overview: Ramona makes a friend, Daisy, who is in fourth grade. They become really great friends. Most of this book is about Ramona wanting to become more responsible like her older sister, Beezus. Ramona has to work through a lot of hard things, like spelling and taking care of her baby sister. Ramona also has to learn how to be kind to her enemies. Her biggest enemy is Susan until the end. Then Ramona realizes why Susan is always such a brat. 

Negative Elements: Ramona is mean in some parts of the book to other people. 

Positive Elements: Ramona learns how to be responsible and kind.

Conclusion: I think this was a great, pretty clean book. I think kids ages nine or ten would like it because Ramona is nine. Have fun finding out what adventures Ramona has in fourth grade!

By: Summer Staples, 11  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption *****
by Bryan Stevenson

Overview: Bryan Stevenson is a young lawyer working on behalf of forgotten death row inmates. He writes this book about his pursuit for justice for those who have no voice.

Positive elements: well-written, full of information

Negative elements: The book almost had too many details. I had a hard time getting into the story because there were so many stories intertwined. And honestly, all the laws and legal proceedings became tedious. I skimmed the last half of the book.

conclusion: This was a shocking book to read with all the conspiracy that happened in the criminal justice system. And it was a powerful reminder that one young man can save so many lives because he is willing to fight on the behalf of others.

I would love for everyone to read this book, but I think only the serious reader will make it through and enjoy it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Friends, Partners, and Lovers

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What it Takes to Make Your Marriage Work *****
by Kevin A. Thompson

Overview: This is a marriage book looking at marriage in three different areas...friends, partners, and lovers. The end of each chapter has a short list of questions to think about or discuss with your spouse.

Positive elements: The writing is straightforward with some stories sprinkled throughout from his counseling experience.  He shares from his own life, too, which I like.

Negative elements: I have read a lot of marriage books and this one isn't earth shattering. But like he said at the end of the book, sometimes just to read a marriage book and be reminding of a few things is worthwhile.

Conclusion: I loved this quote from the book. "Change is a necessary aspect of marriage. Unless you are growing and adapting, your marriage is dying. Healthy couples have the ability to learn and grow. Their greatest teacher is often conflict." This is why I read this book. I don't want my marriage to grow stagnate and eventually die. And I want conflict to strengthen my marriage.

I don't always think about the three elements of marriage, especially the partnership aspect. I liked this quote about partnership. "Partnership at its very best, empowers each individual to experience their full potential while encouraging them to know that in times of weakness, there is always someone who has their back." 

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to keep on working on his or her marriage. The book is written by a man, but this is a book great for men or women or a couple to read together.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Bible Sleuth: New Testament

Bible Sleuth: New Testament *****
by Jose Perez Montero

Overview: This is a fun look and find book with illustrated stories out of the New Testament.

Positive elements: We have an older version of this book where you had to be able to read to know what you were supposed to "hunt" for. It was always frustrating for my younger kids that they couldn't look at the book on their own.  This new version has pictures of what you have to find. So, that's great.

Negative elements: I mentioned that the book has pictures now of what to find, but there are only a few things to look for on each page. I wish there was more for the kids to hunt for and the objects and people they are looking for are difficult for my young daughter to find.

Conclusion: My four-year-old looks at look and find books every day. This is a fun book, but it just isn't one of her favorites.