Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October Grades 5-6 Book Club: Posted



For October's Grades 5-6 Book Club, we read Posted by John David Anderson. Anthony, Cassidy, Claire, J.T. and Maida were present. Here's some of what we talked about!


Frost’s mother says, “You find your people and you protect each other from the wolves” (p. 249). How well do Frost, Bench, Deedee, and Wolf fit this description? How does their group change in the course of the book? What other tribes exist at the school? Relate the idea of friend groups to your own experience of school life.
-Bench sucks at it
-I thought Bench was going to be the one who is super-nice to Rose
-Bench wouldn't accept a new friend
-Bench caught one football and is suddenly the super-powerhouse 
-They got in fights at times
-When Rose came, the dynamics changed
-Bench was no longer a part of the group
-Wolf went crazy
-Wolf was telling all of his secrets to Rose 
-Bench didn't get pushed out. It was decision to leave.
-Bench was uncomfortable because he thought that it would only be the 4 of them all of the time
-Under Armour Jocks, Ruby's group, Cameron and his gang, The Gossip Girls, 
-Annoying people, Artsy Crew, people who are smarter than everyone else, Under Armour Jocks, Gossip Girls, Shy people, Annoyingly Stupid 8th Graders, 


Describe Rose and her personality. How do most kids respond to her? Discuss the impact she has on Frost and his crew. Why does Wolf ask her to lunch the second time? Why do you think Rose and Wolf become friends so quickly?
-they don't like her
-they think she's poor
-she's outgoing
-she's risked her life on the Gauntlet
-they are both outcasts
-Wolf saw something about Rose initially that the others didn't see
-if she hadn't come, would the group have stayed together
-Bench didn't want to hang out with girl
-Deedee didn't want her at D&D but she ended up being an awesome warrior princess


Find examples of how Frost compares middle school to a war zone and specifically how he describes the use of sticky notes as a war. In what ways do the comparisons ring true? In what ways are the school and the sticky note exchanges different from war?
-middle school is a war zone because everything is crazy
-the lockers are tiny
-people are crying in the hallway because of too much homework
-people are mean to each other
-people are always mean to each other
-they are the ammo
-they say things that make people offended without the person sending it being identified
-no one actually dies (except for possibly on the Gauntlet)


What effect does catching the football and making a touchdown have on Bench’s life? When Bench and Frost are talking about why Bench changed lunch tables, Bench says, “It’s not even about you!” (p. 331). What does he mean? Discuss how Frost has misunderstood Bench. 
-he turns into a Jock-Boy
-it's about Rose!
-it was also about Wolf
-when he made the touchdown, it gave him an excuse to hang out with a different group and it made him feel like he was special at something


First Evan Smalls rides the Gauntlet, and then Rose and Cameron do. Describe the Gauntlet and how the kids at the middle school use it, including Evan. Why does Rose ride it? What’s her bet with Cameron? 


-as a dare
-as a way to impress people
-as kamikaze
-to get a girlfriend
-Rose rode it to save Frost and Deedee from getting their heads stuck in the toilet
-Rose did it to help her friends
-her bet with Cameron is that whoever falls off first loses. Cameron has to wear a sticky note for the day and the boys would get their heads stuck in the toilet



Discuss the meanings of the words “I’m sorry” that Rose makes Cameron wear, checking a dictionary for definitions of “sorry.” Why does Frost say the note is perfect?
-it's perfect because of all the things that Cameron has done to them, it's to say that he's repentent about what he's gone
-he stuck it on Frost's locker
-pitiful
-did he feel sad or did he have to wear the note to say that he it pitiful


What is the significance of the phrase “Total Roman” on Wolf’s locker? Who wrote them there, and why? Talk about why Wolf, after he sees the locker, goes home and destroys his models.
-after he saw that, he was determined to destroy everything in his past
-I've gotten that mad at people


After the bathroom bullying incident, Rose says to Frost that “telling the principal won’t work” (p. 271). Why does she believe that? After the words appear on Wolf’s locker, both Bench and Frost do tell the principal. Why do you think they decided to do so? What were the consequences, and was it a good decision?
-because they know who did it
-because it was hard to cover up the Sharpie incident
-were you surprised that Bench was already at the principal's office?


In the end, Wolf decides to go to another school. Why does he make that choice? Give reasons that it might or might not be a good move for Wolf.
-Because of Cameron
-he wants to escape the teasing
-he's not running away from his problems; he's solving them by running away


“Words are ghosts that can haunt us forever,” reads a sticky note on Jason’s locker (p. 340). What does it mean? Do you agree? 
-Wolf put it there
-if you say something that is negative, it can haunt you for awhile and follow you around


Rank book 1-5, with 1 being one of the worst books you've ever read and 5 being one of the best.

-Two 3s
-Three 4s
-One 5


Our next book club will meet on Wednesday, November 21 at 3:00 p.m. For November's Book Club, we will read Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart. 

Twelve-year-old Jonathan Grisby has been sent to the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys, a former lunatic asylum which is currently run by a sadist who enjoys punishing the boys and setting them against each other; but when a lightning strike kills all the adults the boys find themselves suddenly free--and trapped on Scar Island which seems to be sinking into the ocean.


Please be sure to pick up your copy of the book and register for November's book club at the Circulation Desk.

November Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur

Sofarende is at war. For twelve-year-old Mathilde, it means food shortages, feuding neighbors, and bombings. Even so, as long as she and her best friend, Megs, are together, they’ll be all right.
 
But the army is recruiting children, and paying families well for their service. If Megs takes the test, Mathilde knows she will pass. Megs hopes the army is the way to save her family. Mathilde fears it might separate them forever.




Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt

Thirteen-year-old Nicki Demere is an orphan and a kleptomaniac, making her the perfect girl to portray the Trevors' daughter in witness protection, but she soon learns that the biggest threat to her new family's security comes from her own past.



Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.

Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. 

Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.

Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.




Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

Twelve-year-old Jonathan Grisby has been sent to the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys, a former lunatic asylum which is currently run by a sadist who enjoys punishing the boys and setting them against each other; but when a lightning strike kills all the adults the boys find themselves suddenly free--and trapped on Scar Island which seems to be sinking into the ocean.






Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Evil Wizard Smallbone



For September's Grades 5-6 Book Club, we read The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman. Anthony, J.T., Madison and Reagan were present. Here's some of what we talked about!


Did you like Nick at the beginning of this book? Is he someone you might want to be friends with?
-I'm not sure I'd want to be friends with a manipulative liar.
-Yes, I would want to be friends with him because I can relate to him. I lie a lot to my brothers.



Why did Nick lie to the wizard about his name and abilities? 

-He didn't trust him.
-Anything he did wrong would be put under Jerry's name.
-Because he didn't want to learn anything he wasn't supposed to know.



How does Dinah use science? Are you interested in science?

-Yes. When I grow up I want to be a marine biologist or a biochemist.
-I want to be a nuclear engineer.
-I want to be a paleontologist.
-I want to be an animator.


Why doesn’t the wizard fix Miss Rachel’s legs?

-Maybe he doesn't know how.
-Because she didn't deserve it.
-Maybe the other Evil Wizard did it and the new one didn't know how to fix them.


Why is Nick’s totem a fox? If you had a totem, what would it be? 

-He's sly and clever.
-He can manipulate people.
-A Persian cat, because I've always wanted to be sleeping.
-A raven, because 1. my name almost rhymes with raven 2. I love the dark too much 3. I love to be alone, like ravens 4. Ravens love to play in the snow, as do I 5. ravens are big birds, as am I (tall)
-A rock because 1. I would be able to see everything 2. rocks can be big and I'm really big 3. Rocks are everywhere, as am I



What kind of Contract would you have made with the Evil Wizard?

-One that lets me sleep forever. My agreement is not snore.
-Turn me into a house pet and I'll be cool.
-If you teach me magic for three months, you'll never have to see me again.




What were the sentries that protected Smallbone Cove? Why have the townspeople stopped taking care of the Sentries? 
-They forgot.
-Fidelou stopped attacking Smallbone Cove so the people didn't think there was any reason to do so.
-The Wall, the Stream, the Lantern and the Weathervane 



Invent some sentries of your own. How would you keep Smallbone Cove safe?

-The bed. The werewolves would sleep in it.
-A minigun with lead.
-For Earth, I would make a tree. Whenever the leaves started to die, the people would have to start caring for it so the leaves wouldn't fall off. Or make it like the Whomping Willow. The Wind sentry would be a bird. A statue that sensed werewolves or howling coyotes presence, it would alert the town. It would have to be sparkling clean all the time. For Water, it would be a huge Koi pond that, if it sensed werewolves, it would send a wave in their direction. Fire sentry would be a campfire with a fire pit. The people would need to put a magical ingredient under the wood to keep the fire burning.
-The element of annoyance (making farting sounds).


The people of Smallbone Cove are really seals. The Evil Wizard has their sealskins, which keeps them in human form. In Gaelic mythology, such seal-people are known as selkies. Selkies were not always good. Can you think of a mythological creature that is similar?

-Centaur
-Unicorn (think of its horn and how many things it can impale)
-A harpy (half bird half woman)
-Griffin
-Dragon



Why don’t all the transformed apprentices want to stay human? 

-Because they are used to being what they were as an animal.



Was the Evil Wizard really evil? 

-Weeeeeellllllll
-The current Smallbone was not too bad compared to past Evil Wizards.
-Smallbone was into transformation but not for a long period of time. He didn't have the willpower to transform them for long.



Rank book 1-5, with 1 being one of the worst books you've ever read and 5 being one of the best.

-One 3
-Two 4s
-One 5

For October's Book Club, we will read Posted by John David Anderson.


When cell phones are banned at their school, students start communicating through sticky notes left all over the school, triggering a wave of bullying activities in the wake of a new girl's arrival.

Copies of the book will be available at the Circulation Desk roughly 4 days after this book club. Please be sure to register for the club and pick up your copy of the book!




***

If you liked The Evil Wizard Smallbone, you might enjoy:

Gidwitz, Adam. A Tale Dark and Grimm. Puffin Books, 2011

Goldman, William. The Princess Bride. Harcourt, 2007

White, T.H. The Sword in the Stone. Philomel Books, 1993.

Monday, September 17, 2018

October Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.




Once Was a Time by Leila Sales

In World War II England, ten-year-old Lottie is transported via a portal to present day Wisconsin, where she must find her way back to her family and her best friend, Kitty.



Posted by John David Anderson

When cell phones are banned at their school, students start communicating through sticky notes left all over the school, triggering a wave of bullying activities in the wake of a new girl's arrival.



Restart by Gordon Korman

Chase does not remember falling off the roof, in fact he does not remember anything about himself, and when he gets back to middle school he begins to learn who he was through the reactions of the other kids--trouble is, he really is not sure he likes the Chase that is being revealed, but can he take the opportunity amnesia has provided and restart his life?



The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence

Less than forty-eight hours after twelve-year-old Chris sets off on a sailing trip down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to forage, fish, and scavenge the shore for supplies.
 
Because as the days get colder and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. Eventually, in the wilderness of Alaska, the boys discover an improbable bond—and the compassion that might truly be the path to rescue.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

January Grades 5-6 Book Club: Beyond the Bright Sea




For January's Book Club, we read Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk. Anthony, Claire, Emma, Madison, Maida, Reagan and Ryan were present. Here's what we talked about, based on suggestions from Penguin Books were the publisher.


Osh says, “I ended up here because my country was not really my country. It was just where I lived. Where some of us were less than others. Where it was sport, to hurt us.” (pg. 87) What do you think happened that caused him to leave everything behind? What challenges did he face when starting a new life on a small isolated island?

-Germany
-He's very calm and maybe he left somewhere where people were bullying him
-He could be from Germany and be Jewish.
-Finding things to build with, eat, sustain himself


The island itself could be considered a major character in the story. Describe the “personality” of the island. How does the island interact with the other characters and influence their actions?

-Through my eyes, I would see it as a friendly personality and loving. They treat the whole island as their home.
-The island gives them a home.
-Crow and Osh have a symbiotic relationship with the island.



What evidence do you have that the story happens in 1925? Do you think this story could have taken place in the present? Explain why or why not.

-When they went into the city, there weren't cars or airplanes.
-There were no cell phones.
-There were no bridges; you had to take a ferry.
-There were telegrams.
-They wrote letters to each other and didn't text.
-The story itself could have happened in modern times.


Crow comes to this realization on page 271: “I dried myself off and put on some clean clothes, amazed by the power of such small accomplishments to restore my good mood.” What do you think she means by this statement? Describe a situation where this was true for you.

-I felt happy with myself when I finished a small detail on one of my drawings.
-When I ran a race (3 miles) and made a goal not to stop, I didn't. And that felt really good.



Why do names have such profound meaning for Osh and Crow? What physical and behavioral characteristics does Crow share with her feathered namesake? If you were named for an animal, which one would it be and why?

-She has a pointy nose and black hair.
-She has a feather on her cheek.
-As a baby, her cry was almost like a crow.
-Because they come from different places from where they are now.
-Crow wants to know where she comes from and who she is while Osh just wants to forget.
-Raven because it sounds similar to my name and it describes my personality; I would love to fly. Raven's are a little mysterious.
-I would be a pet rock. It's my spirit animal. Rocks get to see everything occur over millions of years and there are pieces of them all over the world. I'm an observer and so are they.
-I would be named after a husky because I love the outdoors, snow and I like to talk. Huskies love to talk.
-Raccoons keep popping into my head.
-I'd be a tiger because they are just so bold and they love to swim.
-I would be an underwater creature that is alive for a long time. I like that because they get to observe.

Crow says on page 7: “When I asked questions about pearls or tides, he [Osh] did his best to answer them. But when I looked beyond our life on the islands, he became the moon itself, bent on tugging me back, as if I were made of sea instead of blood.” Why is Osh so reluctant to talk to Crow about her past? Do you feel he is right to withhold information from Crow? Explain why or why not.

-He knows information that he doesn't want her to know.
-He might think that she might not be able to process the information the right way.
-Osh might be afraid that she'll leave him if she finds a "better" family.



Why do you think Crow said she “carried those questions [about her past] around…like a sack that got heavier as the years went by, even though I had become accustomed to the idea of it. Even though I was not unhappy with the life I had. I just wanted to know. To understand. To put the sack down.” (pg. 11) Why do you think Crow needs to know where she came from? Do you think she would have been better off not knowing? Explain why or why not.

-I think it's good that she knows where she's from.
-She wanted to know because she probably would have wondered and tortured herself with questioning.
-I think it would have been better if she didn't know. Knowing the truth might have been too hard for her.
-It would be better if she didn't find out. She talked about it all the time, ignoring Miss Maggie and Osh's feelings.


How do Osh and Crow change each other’s lives? How would things have been different if Osh hadn’t been the one to find Crow floating on the raft?

-Crow might not have lived if Osh hadn't found her.
-Osh must have guessed that she came from an island close by.




Please rate this book between 1 and 5. 

-One 3
-Two 4s
-Four 5s




For February's Book Club, we will be reading The Wonderling by Mira Bartok. 

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. 


We will meet on Wednesday, February 21 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk (as well as register) a few days after the January session.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Giver



For December's Book Club, we read The Giver by Lois Lowry. Claire, Emma, Kamea, Madison and Reagan were present. Here's some of what we discussed.

We had such an amazing conversation today centered on The Giver. It was so thoughtful and insightful that I didn't want to break the flow by typing what we discussed. The questions below formed the basis for our conversation but we went into a lot of philosophical "stuff" that can't be covered here. Needless to say, these kids put a lot of thought into the book and what it means to have free will. I am so impressed with these guys. :)




If you were attending the Ceremony of Twelve with Jonas, what Assignment do you think the Elders would select for you?


Jonas’s community has a lot of rules. Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing? Why?


What do you think of how families in Jonas’s community are formed?


Would you rather be selected, as Jonas was, or assigned, as his groupmates were?


Can you imagine giving up such things as snow and hills because they are impractical?


Do you agree with Jonas that people have to be protected from wrong choices? 


Do you agree that painful memories are made easier when they are shared? Do you think it’s fair that one person in the community—The Receiver—should have to be burdened and pained by memories so that no one else is?


Do you think the elderly should be part of the community, or separate, as in Jonas’s community? 


What do you think of what Jonas’s community calls “release”? Were you surprised at what it was?


Jonas knows that if his plan fails, he could be killed. But he believes that if he stays, his life is no longer worth living. Do you agree?


Jonas briefly wonders whether he made the wrong choice when he decided to run away. What do you think?


Although most of the memories have left Jonas, the feelings have not. Why do you think that is?


How do you think the story ends?


Rate this book between 1 and 5:

-Three 4s
-Two 5s


For January's Book Club, we will be reading Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk.

"Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger." -- (Source of summary not specified)


We will meet on Wednesday, January 17 at 3:00 p.m. Please remember to register for Book Club and pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk a few days after the previous month's meeting.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

January Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions


Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk JANUARY
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry


As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.


Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library. Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.  Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home.



The Wonderling by Mira Bartok FEBRUARY

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. 


October Grades 5-6 Book Club: Posted

For October's Grades 5-6 Book Club, we read Posted by John David Anderson. Anthony, Cassidy, Claire, J.T. and Maida were pres...