Watch Us Rise


Watch Us Rise (ebook)

by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan


In Watch Us Rise, the story bounces between the points of view of Chelsea and Jasmine, high school juniors who attend a progressive high school in NYC, when they discover their school has a lot more progress to make.  Chelsea is white and a strong proponent of women, equality, respecting women’s bodies, and respect.  Jasmine is black and full-figured, and joins Chelsea with these added lenses.  Together, they form a Women’s Rights Club at school and their blog begins to get a lot of attention when they point out the harassment and narrow mindedness coming from several staff members and students.  They post everything from poetry to descriptions of the sexist and racist behaviors they see, but they soon run into opposition from their school and trolls online.  They do not let this deter them from their cause.

What I like about this book is that it teaches young readers about what women go through and gives them examples of young women their own age who are able to make a difference.  Many of the stereotypes pointed out in the book are widely accepted, and this book will educate readers and teach them to keep their eyes open to them.  I also appreciate that it teaches self-love, but the characters are both humanized when they start to question their own beliefs for the sake of romance.

What I don’t like, or didn’t care for as much, was that it seemed like the dialogue was, at times, too staged.  It was like the authors needed the readers to understand a bit of history, so the characters were educating each other.  I also felt that it might go over the heads of some readers who aren’t old enough to appreciate it.

Book 5 of 2019




Bob (ebook)

by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass


Bob is an imaginative story about a girl named Olivia (Livy) who goes to Australia to visit her grandmother, and finds a friendly creature named Bob in the closet.  Bob knows Livy, but remembers her differently, having been friends with her 6 years prior when Livy was 5 years old.  Last they saw each other, Livy told Bob to wait in the closet, but never returned for her.  Now, Livy has to get to k now Bob all over again, and finds herself in the middle of mystery she can’t quite wrap her head around since she forgets Bob when she leaves the farm.

What I liked about this book was that I didn’t predict it.  Often with stories for younger readers or middle graders, I predict how the story will end, and I don’t enjoy it quite as much since it doesn’t challenge me.  This is a shorter story, but entertaining beginning to end.  I was interested in Bob’s origin and circumstances, why Livy couldn’t remember him, and how he related to the drought that was causing everyone to lose their farms.  I did not predict the ending.  It is an enjoyable story with mystery, humor, and imagination.  I found myself giggling at Bob’s antics and the witty inner thoughts of Bob and Livy.

What I didn’t like about this book was that it’s not out yet for me to share with my students.  It’s one that I wanted to take to class and put into the hands of someone else immediately, but I’ll have to wait another few weeks.  I know it might take some selling since my group this year gravitates towards realistic and historical fiction, but it is one they will enjoy once they give it a chance.

Book 64 of 40

(Book 30 of 2018)

Lions & Liars


Lions & Liars (ebook)

by Kate Beasley


Lions & Liars comes out in June 2018.  It is about a boy named Fredrick Fredrickson (his mom wanted him to have a name people would remember) and his theory of life, which is that your place in life is like the food chain.  At the top is a lion, like the popular kid who doesn’t have to try to make friends- everyone gravitates toward him or her.  Fredrick, meanwhile, is the flea on the meerkat.  After being shamed by one of his friends at a party, Fredrick takes off in a small boat and finds himself downriver at a camp for boys needed reformation.  He is starving, and assumes the identity of the kid who didn’t show up, Dash.  However, he soon learns Dash has a certain reputation, and Fredrick needs to hold that up by being a lion.  Things, of course, turn sour and take a turn for the worst when he becomes stranded in a category 5 hurricane, but he learns some important lessons about life along the way.

What I liked about this book is that it will appeal to my students, and even kids below.  I can’t imagine it has a reading level over 4th grade, so it won’t be hard to read and understand.  Fredrick tries to be someone he’s not, which I know my kids can relate to, but he learns to accept who he is, good and bad.

What I didn’t like about this book is that it has some very unrealistic parts to it.  For example, a bunch of nails made a caravan of evacuated animals crash and the animals escaped.  For a young reader, that would be amazing and they wouldn’t even question it.  What would you think if you saw a lion attack a deer-like creature in front of you, or if you saw a monkey hanging out in a tree?

Book 57 of 40

(Book 23  of 2018)