My favorite color is coral.
Guest Blogger: Hannah, Montevideo Middle School
My favorite color is coral.
Where is mama! Annemarie thought. She looked out the window,there she was lying on the ground motionless. Mama! Yelled Annemarie as she runs toward her unconscious mother. What happens next? Annemarie, an ambitious girl, wanted to save her Jewish friend, Ellen, and Ellen’s family. Everything is going fine, but then German soldiers start looking for Ellen and her family. Read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry to find out more. Please read Number the Stars you’ll love it! https://spark.adobe.com/post/I5eMi9V1Nva0E/
Guest Blogger: Isabelle, Montevideo Middle School
I am a sixth grader and I love art, interior design, and soccer.
Ada, an 11 year old girl, wanted to get her foot fixed and have a perfect life but, she has to share a house with Lady Thorton. So, she learns how to live the adjusted life and how to deal with the war. Then, she makes it through years of work and has a great life. The War I Finally Won book is one of the best books ever! It has a special twist of historical fiction and action that many people will love!
Guest Blogger: Fallon, Montevideo Middle School
My favorite animal is a shark.
The Girl With A Clubbed Foot Footsteps racing against the wind. Crunch, below her foot sticks crack. But then there's a spine shivering sound and then……...woahh woahh woahh I’m getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to where little Ada waits inside her room away from the world.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is about when Ada and her brother Jamie are raised under the roof of their cruel mother. Jamie gets to go outside and to school, but Ada has a dark secret hidden from the world, a clubbed foot. Her mother is too embarrassed of Ada so she keeps her locked up away from everyone. Later Ada decides that she can’t stay there because of a war.
She learns to try and walk. When Ada learns to kind of walk, Ada and her brother escape into the country until……... oops no spoilers sorry, but I will tell you my favorite part of the book. It is when Ada meets this brown furry little horse named Butter. Out in the yard there sits a horse as still as a river. Ada goes over to this strange animal and reaches out to touch her. A new light opens for Ada. What really stood out to me in this part is that it made me smile. Ada was touching an animal she has never heard of or seen. It made me feel very warm hearted.
Ada learned a lot of life lessons but I think one of the greatest ones is that you should never give up and be brave even through the hard times. The greatest value of the book is the great hooks and twists. When I start reading, I can't stop because of all the good hooks such as when Suesn learns that Ada has a clubbed foot, but you have to read the book to find out what other hooks lie beneath the pages. The War That Saved My Life is an amazing, inspiring book that you need to read. So stop GO GO GO hop on over to a library and grab this book right off the shelf. You never know where books are going to take you too.
Guest Blogger: Annalise, Elkton Middle School
My favorite scene from Letters From Rifka is when they say Rifka cannot go to America: “I’m sorry,” he said, returning to his post at his window. “It is not enough?” Papa asked, reaching into his pockets. “ You need to have more?” “No more,” the man said. “ What you ask is impossible. The child cannot go.” “Why can’t I go?” I demanded. The man paid no attention to me. He spoke to Mama and Papa. “If the child arrives in America with this disease, the Americans would turn her around and send her right back to Poland. My company will have to pay the cost for her return. If my company has to do this for your daughter, the doctor and I will no longer have our jobs. I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do. “ (43 and 44) This was my favorite scene in the book because it showed the hardships Rifka and her family to face and how it changes all the characters in the book. It’s like the part everybody would look back on and think “this is where everything started”. I always like to look back on stories like that and compare it to the end once I’ve finished it and I guess that’s why it’s my favorite. My other favorite scene is when Pieter dies. I guess it’s because he was her first love. He also called her brave and she realized she must be brave for him. (78)
Letters from Rifka is a story about how Rifka has to learn to hold on to hope, to never give up, and finding the good in everything. One scene that shows all this is when her family had to leave her behind and board to go on to America without her. One of my favorite characters would be Saul ( Rifka’s older brother). Saul would be one of my favorite characters because, even though Saul can be mean to her, ( pulling her hair, stomping on her toes, holding her underwater for too long, etc.) he was there for her when she needed him most, like when she had typhus. He payed for a small apartment for her and him by doing labor for people, and payed for food for him and Rifka. Also, when she was staying in Ellis Island, Saul skipped school to come visit her before anyone else would come, and I feel like stuff like that means a lot.
Another one of my favorite characters would be Pieter. He doesn’t have a very big role, but when Rifka was sailing to America, he would do stuff just to make her laugh. I guess I kind of do like a little bit of romance because I also liked it when he kissed her. I thought that the scene where he fell off the side of the ship was when she finally let all of her emotions out: Somehow I found my way back to my cabin, and for the first time since leaving Berdichev, I cried. All the tears that had collected this year, in my enormous year, shoved their way out of my heart, and how I cried. Pieter, who said I was so brave… what would he say to see me now? I didn’t care. I cried for Pieter, I cried for myself. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. I cried until I was empty of tears. Then I was still. As still as the sea after a storm. (86) I thought that scene was sad, but I also thought that it needed to happen for her to become who she is later in the book, so while it was sad, it was also essential in the book.
Ilya ( a little Russian boy) would also be one of my favorite characters. The reason why is because, his father died, so his widowed mother remarried and her new husband didn’t like Ilya, so she sent him to America. He was sent to America to live with his uncle who works three jobs, and only wants him so that he can work him to get money. Ilya doesn’t talk to anyone but Rifka, and he’s only on Ellis Island because people think he’s simple. Since he doesn’t talk to anyone except RIfka, only she know he’s not simple, but rather smart. He clings to Rifka like velcro, and she’s kind to him even though the Russians are the reason she had to leave Russia. I think that he’s an important part of who Rifka turns out to be. Ilya showed her how to not judge people by who their relations or culture are, because not every Russian is bad, just like not every person is bad. Of course, Rifka is one of my favorite characters, because, she had to face so many hardships and she showed what some people actually had to deal with in World War II. This story helped alter what I thought of what people had to deal with in World War II, and I will never think of it as just history again. It was actually some people’s lives, and they actually had to deal with stuff similar to this, and I’ll always remember what some people had to go through.
Rifka also made friends with so many people, and when she thought she was helping them, I think they were helping her too. She even made friends with a russian boy, even though the Russians are the reason everything happened to her, she still took care of him. That, to me, took tons of strength for her, and a pure heart. Rifka is the character who had to go through so much, and instead of letting everything bring her down, she came out stronger and purer of heart than before. I really liked how the author wrote like she had personally experienced it, like when Rifka had typhus, she said: I remember Papa down on the floor beside me, putting a damp cloth on my head. Papa is so good at nursing, but each time he placed the cloth over my eyes, I felt the weight of it crushing the my head to the floor. I tried to move away from him, but whenever I moved, the pain exploded inside of me. I begged Papa to stop, but the words would not come out. I could hardly draw a breath, there was such a heaviness on my chest. (22)
I felt like I was really there in Rifka head when she had typhus. I think it made it more realistic. Also, when she was describing a banana, she said “There is a fruit called a banana, colored yellow like the June sun and curved. You peel the skin off and underneath there is a white fruit so sweet and creamy, it makes even Frusileh’s milk seem thin by comparison.”(66) She explained it like she had never seen one before, and I thought that was cool. I loved how she made it as if she was actually writing letters to Tovah.
I loved her writing style and I would read any other book she wrote. I recommend this book to people who love history, suspense, heart, adventure, love, and learning to deal with the hard times (because this book is certainly full of hard times) and how Rifka deals with it. This book also reflects on real life, like when she had typhus, how she survived that can help people. Also when her family left without her, that can help people too. This whole book helps people to learn that life isn’t a walk in the park, that things happen for a reason, and you have to learn how to embrace that, and come out stronger. This would be one of my favorite books, and if you like what I wrote, I think you would love Letters From Rifka.
One of the best books I've read this year, Refugee has three young narrators spanning time and geography. Beginning in Nazi Germany in the 1930's, Josef's family is eager to escape their persecution after his father suffers in a concentration camp. Given an opportunity to flee with his family on the St. Louis to Cuba, Josef is hopeful that leaving their home will bring his father peace and save them from Hitler's reign of terror.
The second protagonist, Isabel, lives in Cuba in 1994; however, her family decides to flee with their neighbors after a run-in with Castro's police force. Their flimsy, homemade boat must survive the 90-mile journey to Miami in shark-infested waters, as they escape in the darkness with what few belongings will fit.
Mahmoud is a present day boy hoping to escape the violence in his Syrian homeland. With his parents and siblings, he attempts to find refuge across the waters, first to Greece and finally to Germany. The frightening existence for each of these young people includes danger, bravery, and betrayal. Deciding who to trust and where to run are vital to their very survival.
With both humor and honesty, Kristine Levine's Marlee is as lonely and awkward as any twelve-year old. Different from her popular brother and sister, she never speaks in class or to friends. When handsome football play J.T. Dalton asks Marlee to help him with math before school, she doesn't realize that she will be doing his homework for him everyday. Then she meets Liz and all that begins to change. Liz begins to help Marlee with their school project which includes speaking in front of their whole class. However, Liz is "passing" for white in Marlee's middle school, and segregationists are determined to keep black children and white children from being educated together.
Marlee and Liz are determined to remain friends, but they can't go to the movies together or stay at each other's houses. Little Rock has closed the high school, so Marlee's sister, Judy, is sent to Pine Bluff to live with her grandma so that she can begin classes. Furthermore, J.T.'s brother, Red, is truly evil, and Marlee uncovers his plans for some stolen dynamite. All this is pretty overwhelming for the quiet little girl thrust into the powder keg of the Civil Rights movement, but Marlee is as heroic as any of the adults in her world. Though she begins by counting prime numbers in her head to avoid a jump from the high dive, Marlee faces her fears in the end to do what is right.
I tend to get stuck on authors and series. Once I find a writer that appeals to me, I tend to read all his/her books. Kristin Levine is just such an author because she brings to life times and places that fascinate me, and her stories are rich with characters who touch my heart. I want to be their friends or save them from their circumstances. Just like in The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had and The Paper Cowboy, The Lions of Little Rock relives the fifties with characters who are as relatable today as their settings.
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