Friday, January 22, 2016

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Don't ask me where I picked this book up because I have no idea.  It was in my TBR pile and last week when I was looking for a book to read, this is the one that stood out for me.  I LOVED this book- I loved that it was told through poetry, but also that it was a story of a grade 7 boy playing basketball told in poetry!

Crossover is the story of twin brothers, Josh and Jordan Bell. They are the children of a former basketball star and they have game. They are the star players on their school team and they eat, sleep and dream basketball.  That is  until a girl comes along and suddenly things start to change for the brothers.
As the boys adapt to new feelings and changes at home, they use basketball as a way to work through their thoughts and feelings.

The story is told from Josh's perspective and he is such an interesting character.  At the start it is all about basketball, but as the story goes on, you start to realize he has deeper feelings and his writing changes as the story progresses.  Both Josh and Jordan are dealing with both normal things all kids deal with, but with the added pressure of their father's dreams for them as well.

I can't wait to share this with some of the boys from my class last year.  The fact that the story is told through poetry opens up so many discussion opportunities as well making it a quick read, which is appealing to many boys.  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Innocent by Eric Walters

Eric Walter's has done it again!  He has created the idea for a series of books where there are different characters connected by a common event.  Just like with the Seven series, the Secret series is written by different authors who each explore a different character.

After a fire at the orphanage where Betty has grown up, she is forced to start her new life outside the only home she has ever known quicker than expected.  When Betty ends up in Kingston, she finds herself working for the richest family in Kingston as a maid.  As she gets to know the other servants and family members, Betty is given glimpses of her life before the orphanage.  The more she learns about her past, the more confused she becomes.  When she learns that her father is serving time in jail for murder, it takes all of her strength to discover the truth.

As with all Eric Walter's books, I loved this character.  She was strong, determined and very clear in her beliefs.  I really liked the fact that this book was set in 1964 and in Kingston.  I could see many places Betty visited in my mind as I read through the book.  The gentle life style of the 1960's was really interesting and put a different twist on the story.  I like reading about kids dealing with situations who aren't quite as jaded or connected to social media as most books I read these days.

I think this series is destined to be another success for Eric Walters and the other authors.  I want to go out tomorrow and pick up more of the books.  I can really see girls in grade 5 or 6 enjoying these books.