Monday, 28 July 2014

To the Lighthouse


To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
ISBN: 978-0-19-953661-
Pages: 170
To the Lighthouse
This is not one of the easiest books to read but it grows on you.  I quickly read it while I was sick and put it down at the end thinking of it as, not one of the most impressionable books I have read.  I picked it up about a month later and read it again.  This time I actually really enjoyed it.  It is written in 'stream of consciousness' point of view.  It gets into the minds of the characters.  I didn't think much about this as I read it the first time, but reading it the second time I took this into account.  It lets you know the character as people.  Rather than reading for a plot or scene you are reading the thoughts and emotions of the character.  When you think about what they are feeling and thinking you can think of them as real people.  I haven't read a lot of books that are written so predominantly in this style, so I found it very different to read.  Once I became attached to the characters thoughts it became a classic in the term 'when you read it again you get more from it'.
Strangely enough, although this is a hard read at first, I recommend reading it.
This was available from: Fishpond and Book depository

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Rose Blanche

Rose Blanche
Author: Roberto Innocent & Ian McEwan
ISBN: 0-009-943950-6

A very thought provoking book.  It is about a young girl from the start of the war.  People are cheering and excited as the war begins.  Rose's life continues as normal until one day she discovers one of the prison camps.  Each day she takes them food.  She saves her own food to do this.  Then the war erupts and people leave the town, except Rose who no one can find.
The illustrations are beautiful and also captivate the mind, as some of the pages are the same scene  portrayed during the war and after the war.  Very well presented story and illustrations.
This was available from: Book Depository, Fishpond and Amazon

Friday, 18 July 2014

Enchantment in the garden

Enchantment in the Garden
Author: Shirley Hughes
ISBN: 0-370-32332-7

Enchantment in the Garden

Shirley Hughes writes beautiful books and this one is brilliant.  The language in this story brings the emotions of the characters to life.  This an awesome piece of literature for young children.  After reading this I used it to show my children how words can capture feelings and show scenes, as Shirley Hughes has such literate detail in her writing.
Enchantment in the Garden is the story of a rich girl who has everything a child could wish for but she is extremely lonely.  She loves the statues in the gardens and christens her favourite one, giving him a name.  When she returns the next day the statue is gone.  She finds the boy, who she has brought given life to and from there the story unfolds as the boy tries to live in a world unlike his. 
This is picture book that I recommend for all ages.  I would read it to the very young and I will use it with older children for  both pleasure and showing the use of language in great writing (even within children's picture books).

This was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and Amazon

Friday, 11 July 2014


Author: Cornelia Funke
ISBN: 9-708439-554014
Pages: 655

I did it!  I got through this book!  It was fantastic and I was disappointed that it had to come to an end.  Well, really it doesn't end here.  There is one more book in the trilogy which I wont be able to read until later in the year, as my reading pile is a little large at the moment.  Never mind it will be something to look forward to. 
So, what made this book so enjoyable for me...  the characters and the descriptive scenes.  I was drawn into the characters lives and emotions.  Each character seemed to play their own part in the creation of the book.  Maggie reads herself and Farid into the same book that the characters had been read out of in Inkheart, this becomes its own story for a while.  Mo and Resa are read into the book for different reason (you will have to read it) and this becomes its own story for a while.  Mean while Elinor is is left behind wishing she could escape her situation and follow them all.  It flicks it bit between each scene yet draws you further into the novel as it all emerges together.  Awesome writing by Cornelia Funke. 
The descriptive writing enables the reader to envision the scenes.  I loved this.  It was like reading a new updated version of Nania.  Well really nothing can compare to Nania it is in a league of its own, yet this is what the writing reminded me of (keeping in mind that this is only my thoughts).
This is a young adults book.  I have seen youtube reviews done by younger children but I really think that the maturity of this book would be enjoyed at a deeper level by young adults rather that children.
This was available from:  Book Depository, Fishpond and Amazon.  You will most likely find this on any bookstore shelf also.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Shades of gray


Shades of Gray
Carolyn Reeder
ISBN: 9-780689-826962
Shades of Gray
After Wills parents die he is sent to live with his Aunty and Uncle he has never met.  Will's Uncle didn't go to war, so Will thinks he is a traitor and refuses to except him or even call him Uncle.  He tries to adjust to his new life yet the boys seem to make it difficult; they know too much about him.  Through the trials life brings Will has difficult decisions to make.  Life adjusts around him and draws him un-knownly into his new family. 
This a great book for boys.  That having been said, the girls will enjoy it too.  Will was a great character that my son enjoyed.  He continually outwitted the other boys often making him face up to his conscience.
This book has the age recommendation of 8-12 years.
It was available from: Book Depository and Amazon

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Deeper Reading


Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts 4-12
Kelly Gallagher
ISBN: 9781571103840
Pages: 228

Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12
I really like this author.  Kelly Gallagher is a full-time English teacher in California, who has been teaching high school for twenty-five years and writes how to effectively teach reading and writing.  In this book he writes about teaching reading at a deeper level for grades 4-12.  This is the reason I found this book a tremendous resource.  There are so many books and tools for teaching reading to primary levels.  Yet I have found little for reading with high school students (I am sure there is plenty out there so let me know which ones you recommend). 
This is the list of chapters:
  • Why reading is like baseball
  • Teaching challenging text
  • Focusing the reader
  • Effective first-draft reading
  • Deepening comprehension through second-draft reading
  • The importance of collaboration
  • Using metaphor to deepen comprehension
  • Leading students to meaningful reflection
  • Reading the world
  • The art of teaching deep reading
This book got me thinking about how we expect young adults to comprehend without question.  I know how many times I have had to read and re-read a text to write an assignment for it.  Yet, how often do we hand young adults a book and say read this... and expect they will understand?  How much do they know, previously about the topic, to grasp the concepts they are expected to understand?  This book addresses the way teachers assume the student should read and comprehend with little prior knowledge to bring to the book.
This was available from:  Fishpond and Book Depository