Monday, August 20, 2018

The Fourth Nephite by Jeffery S. Savage

Fourth Nephite, The (c)2010
by Jeffery S. Savage
The Fourth Nephite by Jeffery S. Savage is an LDS time traveling adventure aimed at teens, and which follows the adventures of Kaleo Steele, a high school junior whose priorities are not what his parents and seminary teacher hope that they are. When his seminary teacher sends him to an office building in Salt Lake talk to a man named Ladan. Kaleo thinks he'll just get a sit down lecture. But what he gets is much, much more!

The story is entertaining, filled with plenty of action, and geared toward LDS teens. Young people who are LDS and who enjoy time travel adventures similar to Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites would enjoy this book.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes


Bronx Masquerade (c) 2002 by Nikki Grimes
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes is an enjoyable, enlightening book that explores the lives of several young people at one school, the students of Mr. Ward, all of whom are doing their best to become smarter, wiser, and better able to face the world around them. The students write poems about themselves and what they observe in the world, and then read them to each other. The poems are sobering, sweet, and eye-opening.
They struggle with things that most young people can relate to, or at least can imagine, and the whole book, a collection of the insights of these young people, is upbeat and hopeful. I recommend this book to anyone who likes poetry, collections of different insights from different characters, and stories that reaffirm that there is good in humanity.

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry


Call it Courage (c) 1940 by Armstrong Sperry

I first heard the story Call It Courage when it was read to me by a teacher when I was in elementary school, and fell in love with it. It is a great story that teaches young people that they can face and overcome their fears; that despite post traumatic stress, as Mafatu experienced when he lost his mother because of a hurricane, young people (and not so young) can still face the things that they fear, and they CAN overcome those things. 

Mafatu faces not only an unpredictable ocean, he has to struggle with other things, living and non-living to overcome his fear. Like a frightening stone idol on the island he lives on for a while, a hammerhead shark that is after his dog Uri, and fearsome "eaters of men" cannibals who come after him!

The story is also wonderfully informative about the culture of the South Pacific, and I enjoyed learning that information when I was small. I continue to enjoy the story today, and recommend it to readers both young and not so young.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Racing the Sun by Paul Pitts

Racing the Sun (c) 1988 by Paul Pitts
School will be beginning soon, which means soon my students will be writing essays, reading and comprehending news articles, and reading literature.

The freshman, every year, beginning the fall by reading a small book that was published in 1988, and which tells the story of a young man named Brandon Rogers. He's middle school aged at the time, living along the Wasatch Front with his parents. He is full Navajo, but hasn't had much of a chance to learn about his culture. This all changes when his grandfather moves in with them, and shares Brandon's room.

It's a great book for young people, and it teaches the value of family, culture, traditions, and keeping the old ways alive while living in a modern world. While I read it every year with my students, I haven't gotten tired of it because of the great story, the skillful writing, and the message that it teaches.

I recommend it for any one who enjoys a good story about young people learning who they are, and the value of family and learning to care about others.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Who Was Harriet Tubman? by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Who was Harriet Tubman? (c) 2002
by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Who Was Harriet Tubman? is an interesting and educational biography illustrated by Nancy Harrison and written by Yona Zeldis McDonough for elementary aged students about the life of Harriet Tubman.

Her life was very remarkable. She started life as a slave. When she was in her early teens, she injured very badly  by a brick that hit her in the head. She recovered, but suffered the rest of her life with several issues related to her head injury, including sometimes falling asleep without any warning.

Despite this, she was able to escape slavery and make it to freedom in the north. She went back many times to help others escape, and when the Civil War took place, she helped in that, as well.

The book details her life in a way that young readers can understand, but it is also educational for adults as well.

I recommend this book to anyone, from elementary age to adult, who enjoys learning about history, and wants to know more about Harriet Tubman's life.

Friday, July 27, 2018

My Newest Book, Raccoons and Rabbit Holes

Raccoons and Rabbit Holes (c) 2018
I am so excited to announce that my most recent book, Raccoons and Rabbit Holes has just come out!
Raccoons and Rabbit Holes is a middle grade novel with three friends, Jax, Julie, and Ani, who go exploring near an old house in the woods that local legends say is haunted. They don't believe in ghosts, but when they meet a raccoon that's acting strangely, they know something wild is about to happen! Especially when Ani slips down a giant rabbit hole that wasn't there before, and Jax and Julie have to get her out! Before they know it, the three kids find themselves transported back in time to the antebellum south, with no idea how they're going to get home!
And how can they get home, with bounty hunters riding around in the woods looking for escaped slaves? And what happens when the kids run into a group of people who really are trying to escape slavery?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

All Shook Up performed at the Midvale Performing Arts Center

All Shook Up, performing at the Midvale Performing Arts Center, is a humorous modern take on Shakespeare's 12th Night.The book was written by Joe Dipietro, and the play features the songs of Elvis. It features a wide cast of characters all looking for love, and follows them through their hilarious adventures and misadventures as they each work toward their own goals. One of the main characters, Natalie, even goes to such lengths as dressing up like a guy so that the man she's interested in will start paying some attention to her if she's one of the guys!


The cast did a fantastic job. Each member of the cast and ensemble is very talented. My favorite character, I think, was Sylvia, performed by MeriLynne Michaelis. She can really sing!

There is a little bit of crass humor in parts for those who would want to be aware of that. I recommend the play to anyone who enjoys funny romantic comedies, and fans of Shakespeare who would appreciate the similarities between this play, and 12th Night.

The play will continue to be performed July 16, 19-21, and the 23rd. All performances begin at 7:30 pm.