Roller Girl (paperback)
by Victoria Jamieson
AR Level 3.2, 2 points
Roller Girl is a cute and very relatable story about a girl name Astrid and her new passion for roller derby. She watches the girls skate around the track and decides to join their summer camp, assuming her best friend Nicole will join her, but Nicole decides to go to ballet camp instead. Astrid learns a lot about herself as a friend and we as the reader remember what it was like to be 12.
What I liked about this book was how relatable it was. I remember struggling to figure out who my friends were at that age, as well as who I was and what I really liked. I wanted to think I was the best, being competitive, and was often disappointed when others were better than I was. One particular part really hit home with me, when Astrid was told she didn’t earn the spot she wanted because of her team spirit. She was her own worst enemy. I think this book is really going to appeal to the kids in my class, especially the girls. I am certain it won’t see my shelves!
What I didn’t like about this book was that it ended too soon. I am hoping she follows in Telgemaier’s steps and continues to write about her experiences. Luckily, on the author’s website (http://www.victoriajamieson.com/), she posts webcomics so I can get my fix!
If you haven’t read Smile, Drama, Sisters, Sunny Side Up, or El Deafo, you must. Graphic novels have become really popular (especially with my girls), and I look forward to new discoveries. Recommendations welcome!
Book 28 of 40 (year 2)
The Graveyard Book (paperback)
by Neil Gaiman
AR Level 5.1, 10 points
Newbery Award Winner 2009
I may have a new favorite author. I first read Coraline to my class last month, and I loved that it was creepy and I could picture it as a Tim Burton movie (although the movie was sadly disappointing). I love that Gaiman’s books are macabre, but not too gory that they couldn’t be considered children’s literature. I would categorize this book with the Miss Peregrine books or Doll Bones. They have their moments where you could be frightened or creeped out, but at the same time, you don’t want to put them down.
The Graveyard Book is about a boy named Nobody (Bod for short) whose family is murdered by a man Jack, but he escapes. He crawls into a graveyard, and is raised by a community of ghosts from different centuries somewhere in a small town in England. The Owenses adopt and raise him, and Silas (who is not part of the living nor the dead world) becomes his caretaker, providing food, clothing, and guidance. Bod has little contact with the living, and doesn’t really understand his place in the world.
What I liked about this book is the strong underlying theme of living life while you can. Bod befriends and is raised by the non-living in this graveyard, and they advise him to LIVE his life, while he is happy where he is. I also appreciate Gaiman’s ability to write about the macabre tastefully while appealing to both children and adults. I look forward to reading more of his work.
What I didn’t like about this book was that I got confused in certain parts. There was a lot to take in. The difference between the sleer and ghoul gate and Indigo Man mixed me up a bit, because I just didn’t understand where he was going with them (although it made sense in the end). Gaiman creates this other-worldly experience that is a lot to take in! I was also really frustrated with not understanding why a baby’s family would be slaughtered without answers.
I really enjoyed this book, and I welcome recommendations on where to go from here.
Book 27 of 40 (year 2)