Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally Nickerson has made it to sixth grade but struggles daily with certain aspects of school-- basically reading and writing.

Here is how she describes how she succeeds in school:

                “I’ve always had one important rule in the classroom which is to try to lie low.  If I’m called upon, I’ll say, ‘I don’t’ know,’ even if I do.  I discovered that giving a teacher an answer makes them expect more from me, and then everyone gets disappointed.  If they never get an answer from me, they stop asking.”

Ally’s picked on mercilessly by a girl named Shay and her cohort Jessica.  Shay manages to make Ally feel stupid and dumb.

When a substitute teacher named Mr. Daniels takes over for Ally’s teacher while she is on maternity leave, he finds Ally to be extraordinarily talented in drawing and math.

Here is the advice Mr. Daniels gives Ally:

“Now don’t be so hard on yourself, okay? You know, a wise person once said,  “Everyone is smart in different ways.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid.”

Will Ally finally be taught a method to read and write which will work for the way her brain processes the written word?

Read this second book by the author of One for the Murphys to find out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lost Girl Found by Leah Bassoff & Laura DeLuca

There has been a lot in the news about the 4,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan” who started coming to our country in 1999.  Little has been known about the Sudanese refugee girls.  This is largely due to the way girls are treated culturally in Sudan.  Boys in the refugee camps were placed in one area together-thus they were more visible when United Nations workers came to relocate them.  Girl refugees were fostered by families who would take them in so that they could profit by arranging their marriages.

Lost Girl Found is the fictional story of a Sudanese girl named Poni.  When soldiers begin killing villagers and when bombs hail down from the sky, everyone in Poni’s village runs for his/her life. As Poni is swept with others who are fleeing, she loses her mother and siblings.  

Days stretch into weeks before the survivors arrive at Kahuma. Kahuma was supposed to be their refuge.  Instead the camp is very overcrowded.  It is desert land. The dust is everywhere.  There is barely enough food to feed the masses.

Poni helps her foster mother erect a shelter with a piece of corrugated tin and a few chunks of wood.  This will hardly keep them safe.  Life will be constantly filled with dust and dirt.  All sense of time and passage of years are lost to Poni.  One day her foster mother tells her she has found a man in the camp who wants Poni for his wife.

Since this is the worst fate Poni can imagine, she strives to find a way out of the camp to a life where education and promise of a better future await. 

Imagine the obstacles she must overcome.  Read Lost Girl Found to understand her plight.