“I want to feel all there is to feel, he thought. Let me feel tired, now, let me feel tired. I mustn't forget, I'm alive, I know I'm alive, I mustn't forget it tonight or tomorrow or the day after that.”
-Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This novel is sent in 1943 Denmark, during the beginning of the Nazi occupation. It details the struggles of Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen. Ellen is jewish and is in danger of being caught and sent to a Nazi death camp. Annemarie and her parents decide to hide Ellen in their family as Annemarie's sister who had died. Because of Ellen's coloring she looks very similar to Annemarie's sister. As things in Denmark increasingly worse, it becomes clear that Ellen must leave on a ship heading for a safer place. Annemarie must bravely assist her best friend to freedom.
        Number the Stars is a fantastic holocaust novel that showcases Lowry's storytelling abilities. This novel is one of my very favorites, and instilled in me a love for historical fiction, specifically about the holocaust. This book is both suspenseful and intriguing, the characters are likable and many children will relate to the thought processes and struggles they deal with. This is a great story of the bravery and moral integrity that characterized the Danish people's reaction to Nazi occupation. This Newberry Award winner is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students.

The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsberg

The View From Saturday is a novel about four sixth graders who were chosen to represent their class in a knowledge bowl. At the beginning of the book the reader finds out that these four students are the first sixth graders to beat an eighth grade team in the history of the school. The novel details their lives leading up to the bowl as well as the strange ways in which the students are connected. It also shifts to their teacher, Mrs. Olinski's point of view. At various points she is asked by people why she chose these for kids and parts of the book are her explanations. The group of students form a club called "The Souls", set in motion by Julian's invitation to all of them for tea at his home. 
     This is a wonderful novel that won the Newberry Award in 1997. What makes it particularly interesting is the shifting points of view from teacher to the various students who are a part of "The Souls". The narrative is both interesting and engaging, the story is set up in a way that is very entertaining. The way this book is written, at some points in the novel you feel like you are solving a mystery. This book is appropriate for middle schoolers or high schoolers.