Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January Grades 5-6 Book Club: Swim That Rock




For January's Book Club, we read Swim That Rock by John Rocco and Jay Primiano. Anthony, Claire, J.T., Linden, Madison, Maida, Reagan, and Ryan were present. We were joined by author Jay Primiano and his friend, poet James Geary.

Mr. Primiano shared readings from Swim That Rock, and posed questions to the kids about those specific chapters and the book itself. There were many insightful comments made by the readers, particularly about whether or not Jake is a good person even though he does some bad things. 

The kids were particularly interested in Mr. Primiano's writing process and inspiration. He compared the outline of his book to the border of a turned over puzzle. When the characters start to be fleshed out, the color begins to be introduced into the puzzle, enabling the greater picture to be seen.

We were treated to a reading from the first chapter from Mr. Primiano's next solo book, Where the Road Isn't. The group is very much looking forward to reading this companion novel to Swim That Rock.

Thank you again to Mr. Primiano and Mr. Geary for sharing Book Club with us!


We will be meeting on Wednesday, February 20 at 3:00 p.m. in order to discuss Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen.

"When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds himself in possession of an ancient amulet filled with magic once reserved for the Gods, and becomes the center of a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and destroy Rome."

Please be sure to register for Book Club and to pick up your copy of January's book at the library Circulation Desk.

January Grades 5-6 Book Club Suggestions

Darkdeep by Ally Condie

Everyone in Timbers knows Still Cove is off-limits, with its creepy Beast sightings and equally terrifying legends. But when a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over a cliff and into Still Cove's icy waters, friends Tyler and Emma--and even Opal Walsh, who usually runs with the popular kids--rush to his rescue . . . and discover a mysterious island hiding in the murky, swirling mists below.
Though the island appears uninhabited, the kids can't shake a feeling that something about it is definitely not right. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat filled with all sorts of curiosities: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to unknown places, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable. And in its lowest depths churns a dark, deep secret.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.


Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December Grades 5-6 Book Club: Greetings from Witness Protection!




For December's Book Club, we read Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt. Claire, J.T., Linden, Madeline, Madison, Maida, and Reagan were present. This is what we talked about.


If I could be a character from this book it would be:

-Fancypaws because it uses the taser against Jackson and Arturo (Fancypaws is a stuffed animal)
-Nicki because she's got a Taser
-Charlotte because it's cool how she went into Witness Protection
-I wouldn't want to be involved in this story
-I would want to be an orphan on the wall from the Center because they had really big hair
-Charlotte because she's my favorite
-I hate saying I'd want to be the main character but I would want to be this main character. She deals with her kleptomania really well. I could relate to her. -I can identify with Charlotte because she's flawed
-At first, you don't want your character to have flaws 




What do you think of Dierdre? Were you surprised that she didn't have a bigger role in the book, after her debut as the class bully?:

-I was surprised because the bully usually has a larger role
-A lot of times, the bully character doesn't have a lot of personality. Sometimes, the bully is mean to others because they're feeling bad about themselves




What did you think of the relationship between Nicki/Charlotte and her new family? Did you find it believable?:

-There should have been more fighting between Jackson and Charlotte
-I think the story is about using people who are in vulnerable places (US Marshals using Nicki to fill a role and then ready to dump her when the mission went bad)
-The author should have made it be known when the characters could go back to being more like themselves and be extraordinary



How do you think you would have reacted if you were friends with Charlotte and she told you her big truth, as she did with Britney? 

-I wouldn't care. We'd be good enough friends.
-I would be incredulous



What do you think about the ending of the book? Was it a good conclusion to all of the adventures that the characters had? 

-It was a huge cliffhanger

The readers were unsatisfied with the ending because it left questions unanswered (what happens to the family? What happens to Nicki's dad? Jackson needs to find out that his spirit animal is a rage-bear.



Do you think that there will be (or should be) a sequel to this book?

-Yes, of course
-They just need an epilogue



Please rate this book from 0-5, with 5 being the best:

-One 2 1/2
-One 3+/4-
-Two 4
-Two 5s
-One 4.9 because no sequel/epilogue



We will be meeting on Wednesday, January 16 at 3:00 p.m. in order to discuss Swim That Rock by Jay Primiano and John Rocco. Mr. Primiano will be leading this book discussion group!

"When his dad goes missing in a fishing-boat accident, fourteen-year-old Jake refuses to think he may have lost his father forever. But suddenly, nothing seems certain in Jake's future, and now his family's diner may be repossessed by loan sharks. In Narragansett Bay, scrabbling out a living as a quahogger isn't easy, but with the help of some local clammers, Jake is determined to work hard and earn enough money to ensure his family's security and save the diner in time."

Please be sure to register for Book Club and to pick up your copy of January's book at the library Circulation Desk.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November Grades 5-6 Book Club: Scar Island



For November's Book Club, we read Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart. Anthtony, Ayden, Claire, J.T., Madison, Maida, and Reagan were present. This is what we talked about.


If I could be a character from this book it would be:

-Colin because he's a thief and he's sneaky and he's smart
-Colin because he seems smart (if he got the lisp out of the way) and he would be someone I'd like to hang out with
-Colin because he's smart
-Jonathan because he didn't really need to go to Slabhenge but he took the blame for someone.
-Colin because he steals food
-Jonathan's sister because she didn't have to watch Jonathan go to Scar Island



What do you think of Sebastian:

-I think he felt bad for himself and took it out on others

-he felt like he had to be the leader of everyone
-he's power-hungry and evil and he's cool


Talk a little bit about friendship and loyalty in this story.

-Colin was loyal and a great friend to Jonathan. 
-Jonathan was a good person because he went to save Colin from drowning
-at the end, everyone banded together



Do you think it's realistic that everyone got along at the end, even after everything that happened?

-I don't think so
-it's not realistic because it happened so quickly. Sebastian changed personalities so quickly.


Did you like the author's use of only gradually giving out the details of Jonathan's backstory? Did you get frustrated, wanting to know more about his past?

-I got frustrated
-I kind of liked it as well as hated it


How do you think you would have reacted when all of the adults on the island died? Do you think you would have gone along with Jonathan's/Sebastian's plan? 

-I wouldn't have told anyone. I wouldn't have gone along with Sebastian.
-I would have stayed for another day to see how it went and then saw how it all was.
-I wouldn't be on the island in the first place.


What do you think about the ending of the book? Was it a good conclusion to all of the adventures that the characters had? 

-Nope
-It was a cliffhanger


Do you think that there will be (or should be) a sequel to this book?

-There should be a sequel
-There should be an epilogue to every single book
-An epilogue or sequel might ruin the ending of this book


Please rate this book from 0-5, with 5 being the best:

-One 3
-Five 4s

*The readers were generally upset over the ending and the slow reveal of information and feel like they would have ranked it higher if not for those issues.
  

We will be meeting on Wednesday, December 19 at 3:00 p.m. in order to discuss 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."

Please be sure to register for Book Club and to pick up your copy of December's book at the library Circulation Desk.

December Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she's eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she'll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she'll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it's not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don't) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family's unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.  


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.


Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz


Ten concentration camps. Ten different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. It's something no one could imagine surviving. But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face. As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis, who have taken over. Everything he has and everyone he loves have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner - his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will - and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?



The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall


Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie forever. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
 
Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can’t believe it—is he really supposed to rummage through people’s trash? But it isn’t long before Arthur realizes there’s more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the “trash” he’s collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine. . . .

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.






January Grades 5-6 Book Club: Swim That Rock

For January's Book Club, we read Swim That Rock  by John Rocco and Jay Primiano. Anthony, Claire, J.T., Linden, Madison, Maida, R...