Book Notes: Brown Girl Dreaming

Shannon Rigney invites us to read Brown Girl Dreaming, a book of poems by Jacqueline Woodson.

Jacqueline Woodson’s newest book Brown Girl Dreaming tells the narrative of her childhood through a collection of poems. Woodson has won numerous awards for the work of her prolific writing career, and Brown Girl Dreaming is a finalist for the National Book Award. Here, Woodson sketches a thoughtful portrait of a herself as a girl, …

Why Read?

Kelly reminds us that despite busy schedules and today’s technological society, reading should still be a priority.

I personally believe that an undergraduate liberal arts degree is the key to success. An undergraduate liberal arts degree goes far beyond expanding one’s knowledge. Having grounding in good literature and a basic understanding of the sweep of human history and culture provides the best foundation for any future learning and for being able to interact …

Book Notes: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Shannon Keane explores the twisted powers of fate and young love in Eleanor and Park.

“If Shakespeare wanted you to believe they were in love he wouldn’t tell you in almost the very first scene that Romeo was hung up on Rosaline… It’s Shakespeare making fun of love.” -Eleanor, from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell If Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare’s joke about the fickle nature of love, Eleanor and Park is Rainbow Rowell’s testament …

Book Notes: Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Shannon Keane reviews Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s debut book, Under the Egg.

When we meet thirteen-year-old Theo (Theodora Tenpenny), she is grieving for the loss of her grandfather, and puzzling over his cryptic last words. “Look under the egg… There’s… a letter. And a treasure.” A treasure is exactly what Theo needs to support herself and her eccentric mother, since their last few dollars are quickly dwindling. …

Book Notes: Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Divergent by Veronica Roth, the author illustrates that while society and relationships strongly influence our identity, we ultimately choose to become the person we want to be.

In the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, society is separated into five factions according to the value each group prioritizes: kindness, bravery, knowledge, honesty, and selflessness. The factions live mostly separate but peaceful lives, each one contributing its particular gifts to society.

Each faction conditions its children to follow its culture and beliefs. When the children are sixteen, they take an aptitude test to identify their natural inclinations, and they have a chance to choose their permanent factions. Most choose to stay in the factions into which they were born. Others feel pulled toward a different way of life, and might choose to join another faction, even though it means leaving the familiar behind.

Book Notes: Son by Lois Lowry

In Son, Lois Lowry proves that young people can engage with texts that contain complicated, universal issues. The ideas and questions in this book are fascinating for the young and adult reader.

Lois Lowry is an unusual author. Many authors with a successful series strive to churn out their books as quickly as possible, and have the habit of writing a cliffhanger at the end of each book, in the hopes of increasing anticipation (and pre-sales) for the next. Lois Lowry does not do that. Lowry’s 1993 …

Book Notes: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

In The Raven Boys, author Maggie Stiefvater conjures a complex and creative world of magic and mystery.

Then, there was another story about a girl who lives in a household of psychics, though she herself doesn’t seem to have any powers. And another one about a kid trying to escape his destructive circumstances with the powers of intelligence and determination.

Oh, wait. Those are all the same story.

Book Notes: Kepler’s Dream by Juliet Bell

Juliet Bell’s first children’s book Kepler’s Dream is, in part, about stars. Stars that inspire and comfort. Stars that helps us express our love, or talk about death.

Despite the stars, this story has a bleak beginning. Eleven-year-old Ella needs a place to go for the summer. Her mother – the only real family she has – is seriously ill and about to undergo a last-chance treatment that requires long hospitalization. Ella’s perennially absent dad declines to take care of her, so her …

Book Notes: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Shannon reviews John Green’s heart-wrenching novel: The Fault in Our Stars.

This book came from a friend with this warning: Don’t read it in public (unless you like crying in front of strangers). I expected a book about kids with terminal cancer to be sad. I didn’t necessarily expect it to be so irreverent, truthful, hilarious, smart, and universal. Hazel is dying, and she knows it. …