Review: Alvin Ho- Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Alvin is afraid of everything and everyone except for explosions and when he is at home disguised as Firecracker Man. Entering second grade, Alvin carries around his own Personal Disaster Kit (PDK) with instructions and gadgets to survive. He even refuses to speak at school, which is unfortunate since his two goals in life are to be a gentleman and to make new friends. Flea, a girl with one eye and a peg leg, has always been kind to Alvin and tries to help him navigate the social scene of second grade. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things is a hilarious story about gaining confidence and growing up. Appropriate for first to fourth graders, especially those just getting into chapter books, children can laugh along as Alvin and his classmates pay money to catch chicken pox from Jules (no chickens involved), squirm as Alvin breaks his dad’s favorite…

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Review: Who Was Anne Frank?

An illustrated, easy read with difficult content, Who Was Anne Frank is a juvenile biography about the short life of Holocaust victim, Anne Frank. Beginning with her death at age 15, Abramson places Anne’s tragic end at the forefront of the book, exemplifying this honest and non-sugar coated account. Once the reader is prepared for Anne’s death, Abramson moves chronologically from Anne’s birth and happy childhood to the rise of a powerful and terrible leader. As Hitler takes power, Anne’s previously patriotic and loyal family moves to Amsterdam where they later make the fatal decision not to relocate as Hitler and his troops begin invading the rest of Europe. The family hides in the annex of her father’s factory, Anne begins her diary, and the story ends with the family, with the exception of Otto, dying in concentration camps. Like a history textbook, the chapters have boxes with helpful and…

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Book Review: Star-Crossed By Barbara Dee

Eighth-grader Mattie is struggling through the school year. Unlike her friends, Tessa and Lucy, she is not invited to Willow’s party. In an act of rebellion, Mattie disguises herself as Darth Vader and decides to attend anyway. Even though the night ends in disaster, Mattie begins to realize that she enjoyed her time with a girl, Gemma, more so than if she was with a boy. Mattie begins to spend more time with Gemma as they are cast together in the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Although Mattie initially tries out for the part of Paris, she eventually finds herself as Romeo with Gemma as Juliet. The play as well as the upcoming Valentine’s Day dance forces Mattie to reconcile the unease she feels about her sexuality and decide whether or not to come out to her friends and Gemma. With heartfelt, realistic characters, Star-Crossed is a well-written and…

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