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Home Kids Good Books Book Blog Staff Reviews by Reviewer

Reviews by Joanna N.

Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

Book Cover The Other Side of Truth
Beverley Naidoo

Sade's and Femi's father, a journalist, is dedicated to exposing the truth about the corrupt government ruling Nigeria. In retaliation for his articles, government officials murder his wife, Sade's and Femi's mother. Since the children are now in danger, they are smuggled out of Nigeria to London that very night, with false passports and accompanied only by a calculating, cold, unfamiliar woman. In London they try to find their uncle and communicate with their father still in Nigeria. A touching, powerful, eye-opening story for anyone accustomed to living in political safety. For boys and girls 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Naidoo
Review Date: 11/18/05

 

Book Cover Bound
Donna Jo Napoli

Fascinating details of one family's life in China's Ming dynasty. The favored daughter has bound feet so that she will be considered beautiful. Step-daughter, Xing-Xing, whose feet are not bound, is poetic and spiritual, communicating with her dead mother who lives as a beautiful fish. The end of the story leaves no doubts about the fairy tale roots of this novel. Especially for girls grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Napoli
Review Date: 2/8/05

 

Book Cover The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis
Barbara O'Connor

Popeye lives with Grandma Velma in Fayette, South Carolina. She takes care of him and it's a good thing she's able to. Popeye's father sells old rugs from his pickup truck in Chattanooga; his mother comes and goes - mostly she goes. Uncle Dooley lives out back in a rusty trailer and smokes cigarettes and watches TV. Uncle Dooley made a mistake showing off with his BB gun once, and that's why Popeye is called "Popeye." So far Popeye's summer has been lonely, rainy and so boring. Nothing to do but watch the rain dripping from his bedroom ceiling. Then a huge motor home gets stuck in the mud nearby and the unbelievable family inside will change Popeye's life. This story is a little gem: funny, poignant, simple, short, and lighthearted. The children are irresistible. It would read aloud well. Recommended for boys and girls 3rd grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J O'Connor
Review Date: 1/12/10

 

Book Cover The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis
Barbara O'Connor

Popeye lives with Grandma Velma in Fayette, South Carolina. She takes care of him and it's a good thing she's able to. Popeye's father sells old rugs from his pickup truck in Chattanooga; his mother comes and goes - mostly she goes. Uncle Dooley lives out back in a rusty trailer and smokes cigarettes and watches TV. Uncle Dooley made a mistake showing off with his BB gun once, and that's why Popeye is called "Popeye." So far Popeye's summer has been lonely, rainy and so boring. Nothing to do but watch the rain dripping from his bedroom ceiling. Then a huge motor home gets stuck in the mud nearby and the unbelievable family inside will change Popeye's life. This story is a little gem: funny, poignant, simple, short, and lighthearted. The children are irresistible. It would read aloud well. Recommended for boys and girls 3rd grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J O'Connor
Review Date: 1/12/10

 

Book Cover Mokie & Bik
Wendy Orr

Mokie and Bik are twins who live on a boat named the "Bullfrog." Life on the boat is exciting. On some days, for instance, they help catch fish for market and afterward they "splosh" the decks, "splosh swosh galoshing, slimy blood and mucky guts and icky sticky fisky bits." Lots of word fun in this first chapter book for newer readers.

WPL Call Number: J Orr
Review Date: 3/10/08

 

Book Cover Cuba 15: A Novel
Nancy Osa

Violet Paz will be celebrating her quinceañera, the traditional Hispanic celebration held when a girl turns 15, to mark entrance into womanhood. The family is excited, especially Abuela, her grandmother. Violet, however, has very mixed feelings. This is a thoughtful, funny family story. It would be especially interesting to a reader who is not part of Hispanic culture. Recommended for girls 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Osa
Review Date: 9/25/06

 

Book Cover The Day of the Pelican
Katherine Paterson

Meli and her family are ethnic Albanians who live in Kosovo. Their life is peaceful and bright until the horrors of the Kosovo War begin in 1998. Their family is now in danger for their lives and they spend a year as refugees, fleeing soldiers at night, living in tents amidst the cold and suffering other hardships. At one point Meli realizes they are being thrown out of their country "like garbage." Paterson was inspired to write this story after she got to know a Kosovo family who had found refuge in the United States. Highly recommended for 5th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Paterson
Review Date: 4/20/10

 

Book Cover The Other Side of Blue
Valerie Patterson

Cyan and her mother are spending their summer as they have in the past on the lush, tropical island of Curacao, a place of shimmering sea, pink and aqua houses, sparkling beaches, and gift shops with fragrant incense and tinkling bells when you open the doors. In the midst of this extraordinary beauty is Cyan's anger: anger at her mother who seems distant and hostile, anger about her mother's new boyfriend, and most of all anger that she, Cyan, has no answers for the questions she has about her father's sudden, mysterious death last summer. An especially powerful family story set against the backdrop of an exotic place. Highly recommended for grades 8 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Patterson
Review Date: 6/4/10

 

Book Cover Past Perfect, Present Tense: New and Collected Stories
Richard Peck

A great collection divided into four sections: "The First," "The Past," "The Supernatural," and "The Present." Peck's versatility is on display as the stories are, by turns, funny, sensational, scary, eerie, or heart-wrenching. "Girl at the Window," from "The Supernatural," will likely haunt you. For grades 7-8.

WPL Call Number: Y Peck
Review Date: 10/20/04

 

Book Cover Wild River
P. J. Petersen

Twelve year old Ryan is quiet and likes video games. His older brother, Tanner, is outgoing and good at everything- especially sports. Ryan gets talked into going on a camping trip with Tanner, never dreaming that a disaster will force him to do things he never thought he could. A fast paced easy read. Recommended for 4th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Petersen
Review Date: 2/5/13

 

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