Tag Archives: historical fiction

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos

13 Apr

Dead End in Norvelt

Caution: Do not read this book while snacking on milk & cookies unless you enjoy snorting milk out of your nose. Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos is a very, very funny book. 🙂 The main character in the book is a boy named Jack Gantos, and he is growing up in the town where Jack Gantos lived, Norvelt. That doesn’t mean this is an autobiography, though. This novel is semi-autobiographical, meaning that parts of this book are true, and other parts are made up. Which parts are which? Try checking out his website to find out!

My favorite scene is right in the beginning. Jack is playing with his father’s things, including a Japanese rifle. Jack doesn’t know that it is loaded, and when he pulls the trigger, the explosion knocks him off his feet! Jack sees blood everywhere and is afraid that he’s shot himself – but it turns out to be just a nosebleed. (He suffers from nosebleeds every time he gets upset). He breathes a sigh of relief – and then an ambulance pulls in to his neighbor’s house – sirens blaring! Has he shot his neighbor? What will Jack’s father do when he finds out?

We have two copies of this book in the library – you’ll have to get on the reserve list to get a taste of this delicious book snack! Don’t forget you can reserve it today by logging in to the library catalog! I definitely recommend this book to any student in 5th or 6th grade. Check it out!


Are you interested in the Titanic?

28 Mar

Did you know that April 15th will be the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic?

Check out this very cool website the librarian at Forts Ferry Elementary, Ms. Rosenstein, shared with me. There are never-before-seen photos!

Want to know more? Check out these Titanic titles available at our very own library!

You Wouldn’t Want to Sail on the Titanic: One Voyage You’d Rather Not Make, by David Stewart

White Star: A Dog on the Titanic, by Marty Crisp

SOS Titanic, by Eve Bunting

I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912, by Lauren Tarshis

Titanic (series), by Gordon Korman

Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912, by Ellen Emerson White.

The Luck of the Buttons, by Anne Ylvisaker

8 Oct

Hello my friends! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a new book review, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! 🙂 The Luck of the Buttons, by Anne Ylvisaker, is one new book that really caught my eye. Check out this cover:

The Luck of the ButtonsOf course we always talk about not judging a book by its cover, but this one is so great! The little girl’s smile is so sweet, and her hair is a little messy. She is someone I knew I would like to get to know.

At the end of the book, the author explains that the whole story idea behind this book came from an old photo, and that photo is the one on the cover of the book the girl is holding. Isn’t it neat how a whole story came from one photograph? Writers can be inspired by anything!

The other thing about this book that made me pick it up and read it was the title. At first I thought it was really about buttons, but when you start reading, you realize it is a family’s last name. The main character’s name is Tugs Button. What a great name! (There’s an interesting story behind her name, too.)

There is more to this book than an eye-catching cover and great character names. It is 1929 and the Buttons have been unlucky for years.  Then, when Tugs discovers a surprising friend in Aggie Millhouse, it is the first in a series of changes in Tugs’ life. Will Tugs be a lucky button, or will she continue to suffer the usual, unlucky luck of the Buttons?

I would recommend this book to students in grades 3-5. If you enjoyed Turtle in Paradise, Touch Blue, or The Penderwicks, you should definitely give this book a try.

A Solar Eclipses and a Time-traveling Toy Train?

21 Jul

Hello, my friends! It is so exciting to see so many students coming to Book Snacks to check it out! Thanks for stopping by again!

I have been reading like CrAzY the past week or so, and I wanted to catch you up on the books I’ve read. The first book is by an author that was recommended on this very site in the comments. I knew I had to read something by Wendy Mass this summer, so I chose Every Soul a Star, a book that I’d been eyeballing, but have been unable to read because it’s always checked out of our library!

Every Soul a StarI am not surprised that this book was totally fantastic. So many students told me I HAD to read this book, I knew it would be great. I was surprised, however, at the story! I thought it would just be a story about two girls who don’t want to move figuring out that it is going to be just fine. I was wrong – it’s so much more than that.

Ally and Bree could not be more opposite. Ally’s family runs a campground, Moon Shadow, in the middle of nowhere. Her parents are scientists, and they’ve been preparing for the solar eclipse that is about to happen for years. She can’t even think about living anywhere else. Bree lives in the city, is super popular, and really can’t be bothered with all that “science” stuff. She’s into being popular, not smart. One day, Bree finds out that she is moving so that her parents can conduct research. When she finds out what her new home is like, she is absolutely mortified – she can’t live away from her best friend and become a model if she’s living at Moon Shadow!

But there’s a third story to tell, too: Jack’s story. Jack is offered a trip to the solar eclipse instead of attending summer school, which sounds like a pretty good deal. He’s nervous because he thinks he doesn’t know anything about science, but decides to make the trip with his science teacher anyway.

How will Bree adjust to living “in the sticks”? How will Ally every find the strength to say goodbye? And how does Jack fit in? I really loved the way these three stories came together, and I loved how much I learned about science, too! This book is a good choice for some 3rd graders and most 4th and 5th graders. This is the perfect Book Snack if your family is headed to a science museum this summer, or if you have a backyard to lay outside and gaze up at the stars! 🙂

On the Blue CometThe other book I read that I loved is On the Blue Comet, by Rosemary Wells. It is 1929, and Oscar Ogilvie lives with his father in Cairo, Illinois. In their basement is a huge layout with Lionel toy trains which they are always working on together. Then, tragedy strikes and the stock market crash causes the Great Depression. Oscar’s father has to go to California to find work, and Oscar must live with his prickly Aunt Carmen. I can’t tell too much more without giving this one away because the adventure is non-stop! I couldn’t put it down! I think students in grades 4 – 6 would enjoy this science-fiction novel. (Did you know this book is sci-fi from the cover or description? Probably not!) If you are traveling this summer, even if it’s not on a train, be sure to take this book snack with you! It will make you wonder where – and when – you are headed. 🙂
That’s not all, though! I’ve also read The Goodbye Time, by Celeste Conway and Gifts From the Sea, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. I also read Shooting Kabul, by Right now, I’m reading the second Trackers book, Shantorian, by Patrick Carman and Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, by Lynne Jonell. What are YOU reading? 🙂