Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sweet Home Alaska

By: Carole Estby Dagg

Terpsichore's family is struggling to make ends meet in their small town in Wisconsin.
 When her father learns of an opportunity to receive land and supplies to move to Alaska, Terpsichore looks forward to a grand adventure.  Her mother, on the other hand, does not want to leave the civilized things, like her nice dishes and piano.  The family agrees to try Alaska and stay through the first harvest, and then they will decide if they will stay permanently. 

Mrs. Senechal says:
This story is based on actual government program from the 1930's.  The plan moved about 200 families to start a new community in Alaska.  The author does an excellent job describing the difficult conditions and unexpected challenges that these settlers faced.  I have not read many historical fiction stories from this time period, so I found it fascinating!  If you like the Little House on the Prairie series, you will love this book, too!

Fish in a Tree

By: Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally hates school.  She is always in trouble, the kids don't like her, and she can't read.  But, 
not being able to read is a secret Ally hides very well.  Her mother and teachers keep telling her to try harder, but when Ally tries, the words seem to move around the page and it causes her terrible headaches.  After another trip to the principal, Ally is moved to a different classroom.  She is surprised when her new teacher, Mr. Daniels, doesn't force her to read or write the way other teachers have.  Instead, he give her choices and support and begins to earn her trust.

Mrs. Senechal says:
The author does an amazing job of describing what a struggling student can be thinking and feeling.  The author also creates a great group of classmates with many different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities - just like in a real classroom.  As a teacher, I loved reading this book - Mr. Daniels is my hero!  I think this is a book all students should read!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Letter for the King

By: Tonke Dragt

Tiuri is about to become a knight.  All he must do is keep watch a full night.  But when someone comes to the door begging for help, Tiuri cannot ignore them.  Suddenly, he carries a message that must be delivered or the kingdoms of his realm will fall.  Tiuri immediately leaves his home behind and begins this enormous journey.  Within hours, enemies appear who will do anything to make sure Tiuri's quest will fail.

Mrs. Senechal says:
This story was originally written in Dutch in 1962 and was just recently published in the United States.  I really liked this story because of all the unique characters that Tiuri meets - the author makes it difficult to know who to trust!  Tiuri also makes a great hero because he is so honorable.  This book is full of constant adventure and action.  Fans of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings will definitely like this book, too!  Thanks to Samuel for sharing it with me!