Wednesday, December 25, 2013

May The Christmas Be With You



Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review - The Lightning Thief

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: The Lightning Thief
Genre: Supernatural, Adventure
Author: Rick Riordan
Selection Source: YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2006
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Recommended Audience Age: 10 - 14
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Reading Recommendation: 5
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Curriculum Connections: Literature, World History


Review


Percy Jackson thinks he is just a normal student struggling with ADHD and Dyslexia, but his world changes in a flash when he discovers that he is actually a Demi-god who is thrust into a quest to appease a three-way feud between Poseidon (his father), Zeus and Hades. his action-packed adventure sends him across the U.S., down to the depths of Hades, and up into Mount Olympus.

Evaluation


The Percy Jackson series of books is enticing for many YAs and understandably so. YAs are drawn into the adventure and may actually learn something about Greek Mythology and World History in the process. In particular, the spread of Western Civilization is discussed in this novel, giving it a tie-in to school curriculum on the subject.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book (Movie/Material) Review - Smoke Signals

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Video
TitleSmoke Signals
Genre: Ethnic/Multicultural, Realistic Fiction, Humor
Author: Sherman Alexie
Selection Source: N/A (Textbook, pg. 208)
Publisher: Miramax
Recommended Audience Age: 13 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 4
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Curriculum Connections: History, Civics, Culture, Health


Review


In the vein of other Sherman Alexie works, this movie deals with Native American culture and identity. Young Victor’s family is torn apart by alcohol abuse. He is forced to face his past when he learns of his father’s death and is summoned to collect his father’s ashes. Thomas, a childhood friend offers to pay for the trip under the condition that he be allowed to come along. Thomas helps Victor through the mourning process and helps him connect with his Native American roots.

Evaluation


This is an excellent companion to the Sherman Alexie novels. It illustrates some of the key points that the novels revolve around, like alcoholism, life on the rez, and the significance of long hair. This particular movie also discusses divorce and forgiveness of missing fathers, a potentially psychologically loaded issue for YAs.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review - The Great Fire

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Books (ebooks)
Title: The Great Fire
Genre: History, Information, Tragedy
Author: Jim Murphy
Selection Source: 1995 Newbery Honor
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Recommended Audience Age: 8 - 12
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Reading Recommendation: 5
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Curriculum Connections: History, Civics


Review


Jim Murphy pieces together accounts of the tragic events that lead to the great fire which destroyed Chicago in 1871. These accounts are weaved together by a fantastic narrative that remains readable.

Evaluation


This title exposes the gender and economical biases prevalent in the day. Misogynist and anti-poor sentiments can be a lively discussion in the classroom. Further, the city of Chicago learned from their experiences and did a better job building structures and planning for disasters moving forward. It is important to learn from history and try to avoid making the same mistakes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review - Dream Team

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever

Genre: Sports, Non-fiction, Biography
Author: Jack McCallum
Selection Source: Kirkus Reviews
Publisher: Random House, LLC
Recommended Audience Age: 12 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 4
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Curriculum Connections: Physical Education, Health, Leisure, History


Review


Jack McCallum is the journalist who was assigned by Sports Illustrated to cover the 1992 Dream Team during their whirlwind tour of the Barcelona Olympics. As a first-hand observer with access to closed practices and personal interviews with the players, Jack tells the riveting story of how the personalities came together and played for the love of the game.

Evaluation


This history reads like the biography of the 1992 Men’s Olympic Basketball team. It talks about the introduction of the NBA to an international game, fierce competitors that love basketball more than their own pride and the controversy swirling around Magic Johnson and his AIDS diagnosis. This book could easily supplement a discussion of the historical significance of the Olympics and its role in world diplomacy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Genre: Memoir, Ethnic, Realistic Fiction, Humor, Sports
Author: Sherman Alexie
Selection Source: 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Recommended Audience Age: 12 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 5
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Curriculum Connections: History, Civics, Culture


Review


When Junior decides to leave the reservation to pursue his high school education, he feels opposition from both the white people at the school and the red people on the rez. He tries to honor his heritage while rejecting stereotypical vices. Along the way, he earns respect from both worlds and sets himself up for a promising future.

Evaluation


This novel serves as a glimpse into a new culture for most YAs. It is important to note the opposition that Junior feels on every front, and how he rises above it. The book is also satirical and illustrates the oppression that Native Americans have endured throughout history.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review - 13 Reasons Why

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Tragedy,
Author: Jay Asher
Selection Source: Booklist
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Recommended Audience Age: 12 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 3
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Curriculum Connections: Health



Review


Instead of writing a suicide note, Hannah Baker makes a series of audio recordings telling her reasons for committing suicide. Her reasons include 13 individuals who must listen to the tapes and pass them on. The reader follows Clay Jensen’s part of the story and learns of the horrible things that Hannah had to endure during her time at school.

Evaluation


This is yet another YA novel that is ripe for discussion. How many YAs deal with obsession over their reputation or identities that are imposed on them? Many people are unhappy with the way they are perceived by others and, for some, this drives them towards suicide. A discussion on healthy alternatives and modes of expression could be beneficial for YAs.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review - What Happened to Goodbye

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Genre: Sports, Strong Female Lead, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Author: Sarah Dessen
Selection Source: VOYA’s Perfect 10, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Recommended Audience Age: 12 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 4
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Curriculum Connections: Literature. Leisure, Civics, Business, Health


Review


After an ugly divorce, Mclean decides to live with her dad who travels from town to town fixing failed restaurants. In every city, Mclean creates a new identity in order to cope with her troubled life. However, through the influence of Basketball, a cast of friends and Dave, a romantic influence, Mclean faces her true self and the emotions of the last few years of her life.

Evaluation


This is an excellent novel that deals with identity, particularly with social media and the ease of creating a fake persona. It is important to open the discussion of healthy self-expression for the YA audience. Civics comes into play when considering the “juvenile delinquent” program that operates out of the restaurant’s top floor.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review - Watership Down

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: Watership Down
Genre: Fantasy, Banned book
Author: Richard Adams
Selection Source: 1972 Carnegie Medal Winner
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Recommended Audience Age: 12 - 18
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Reading Recommendation: 3
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Curriculum Connections: Literature


Review


Fiver, a prophetic rabbit, sees a vision of destruction for his home warren. As a result, a small band of rabbits decide to leave and find a new home. This small band of rabbits face perilous adventures as they seek to settle in Watership Down.

Evaluation


This fantasy almost takes on an aura of mythology as the rabbits discuss their origins and tales about how they came about. Several archetypical characters play prominent roles and can be pointed out in a literature class.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review - Learning to Die in Miami

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**




Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Book (ebook)
Title: Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a refugee boy
Genre: Memoir, Biography
Author: Carlos Fire
Selection Source: Booklist
Publisher: Free Press
Recommended Audience Age: 16 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 3
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Curriculum Connections: History, Florida, Immigration


Review


Carlos Fire was an immigrant to the United States as part of operation Pedro Pan. He came over under the guise of being sent to a boarding school. Mr. Fire writes of his experiences moving around the country and dealing with the disappointments of life without his parents.

Evaluation


This title can be a difficult read for YA’s that are not familiar with Cuban culture. The author continually references words in his own language, even profanity in his own language. This may spark censorship concerns. However, great discussions can spring from this memoir concerning the historical difficult of life in the U.S. for immigrants.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Review - 12 Angry Men

** I just completed a Young Adult literature course and have read and reviewed several materials using a new format. This review follows a template given to me by my professor.**



Name: Christopher M. Jimenez
Media Format: Audiobook
Title: Twelve Angry Men
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Author: Reginald Rose
Selection Source:
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Recommended Audience Age: 12 - Adult
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Reading Recommendation: 3
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Curriculum Connections: Law, Government

Review


A jury convenes to decide whether the evidence was enough to convince a young man of murder. All jurors believe the defendant to be guilty except for one of them. After dissecting the evidence, he shows reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case and changes everyone else’s vote.

Evaluation


This is an incredibly optimistic piece about the American Judicial system. This piece illuminates a lot of the intricacies of the law, the need for critical thinking and the responsibilities of civic duty. This piece is ripe for discussion and analysis in an appropriate class. Plus, it has been made into a movie, allowing the instructor to use another pedagogical tool.
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