Monday, December 29, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)The Young Elites by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What makes a Villain? Is it nature, nurture, or both? Is it the depraved thoughts and pleasures one secretly feels, or the choices one ultimately makes? None of us is all evil, but what makes some of us more apt to embrace the darkness? Love, acceptance, self-esteem, these emotions have the power to sway the soul. In the end, it isn't the why but the what. What we do is far more powerful than why we do it. Not every lead character is a protagonist, no matter how much she wants to be. You could blame her past, the cruelty she endured, the scars that left her feeling unwhole- but it is choice which makes us who we are. In a world where a strange blood fever has left some people with unnatural markings and supernatural abilities- fear and anger have eradicated reason. Adelina Amouteru is called Malfetto- meaning "bad one" or "damaged one." She is shunned by her father and society as a whole. However, she may have just been accepted into a group of people just like her, where she can finally feel loved and valued. She may be able to work to become a Young Elite. That is, if she can make the right choices. If she can control her darkness. If she can rule her fear and fury.

While, so far, this series hasn't hooked me quite as well as the Legend series did, I do believe there is the promise of an engaging world in Lu's city of Kenettra and beyond. I look forward to seeing how Adelina's struggle plays out in the remaining books.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jackaby by William Ritter

JackabyJackaby by William Ritter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackaby, by William Ritter, is a fantasy-mystery which takes place in the late 1800s in America. The story is of a Sherlock Holmes-type detective, named Jackaby, who is not an official member of the police force, but works to solve unusual crimes. The law enforcement officials of the area shun him because his special talent for solving bewildering crimes is that he can see the supernatural. His Watson, a young girl named Abigail Rook, is an adventure-seeking sidekick who ran away from her home in England to make grand discoveries in the world. The crime-solving duo are facing a macabre set of serial murders for which no human explanation can be found.

There is a lot of potential in this novel- which I hope may become a series. The story includes many lovable characters such as a besmitten ghost-lady, an intelligent duck, a banshee, and an eccentric sort-of seer-woman, and of course, the quirky Jackaby and his goodhearted sidekick, Rook.

The reading level is perfect for Middle School, as is the content.

With further development, Ritter's Jackaby series(?)could become a beloved and popular literary classic. I am definitely left wanting more stories of Jackaby and Rook.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


In efforts to create the most engaging and exciting activities for my Library Media Club, I have been exploring lots of new sites.  One of the fun tools we will be using to express ourselves is called Flipsnack.  This is a free program that converts PDF and JPEG files into a flip book.  Here is my sample book that I will share with my students before we embark on our Selfie Autobiography project:

See my Suggested Sites link for more sites like this! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Library Media Club

After the Winter Break, I will be facilitating a Library Media Club for my students.  This will be a weekly club that meets during our Activities period.  In 25 minutes each week, we will do literature- inspired technology projects and create our very own maker space.  Also, we will be fundraising for underprivileged school libraries.  I am hoping to have the kids serve as volunteers in semiannual Scholastic Book Fairs for this fundraising effort.  Below is the Animoto advertisement my students will be watching at school: