Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Meet Anisa Mahmoud Ulrich

Lifting the ChaderiI’m looking forward to our next Meet the Author event at the Fremont Main Library. 

Anisa Mahmoud Ulrich’s life has many ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ aspects which she shares with an open heart in her memoir, Lifing the Chaderi: My Life as an Afghan Refugee.

I am reading her book now and find it engrossing, empowering and hard to put down. It offers a rare look into the Afghan experience.

Please join me at the Fremont Main Library on Saturday May 12 at 2:30 to meet this amazing, brave woman and learn more about her story. Books will be available for purchase at $15. (Sales tax will be waived.)

Anisa grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan in the 1960s and studied to become a nurse in the 70s. In 1978 she returned from a special study program in the United States to find a very different political climate with conflict between a new communist regine and the opposing Mujahidin. As the fighting escalated, Anisa and some of her family became refugees, escaping first to Pakistan and eventually to the United States. It took another 25 years before it was possible for Anisa to return to Afghanistan and reconnect with her homeland.

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When  I  was  about  14  years  old I  read a  book I  really  liked.I  don’t  remember  anything  about  the book , except  that  my mom  read  the  same book  and  said  that  I had  to  reread  it  as  an adult ,  because I  would  see  it  in  a  whole different  light.  I  feel  that  way  about The  Curry  Club  by  Risha  Krishna.  The  story is  a  series  of  vignettes  about an  Indian  girl and  a  Latina  girl  growing  up  in  southern  California  in  the  80s.  Both girls  are  struggling with  being  proud  of  their culture,  but also  with the  knowledge  that they  don’t want to  be  trapped  by  their  culture. While  I  didn’t  have  the  same  cultural  issues  that  the  girls  had , I  found that  each chapter  reminded me of feelings  and  a  lot of  the confusion  I  felt  growing up.   It  was also a very  clear  reflection of how I might  look to a  teenager/child. 

Ms  Krishna  spoke  to  a  full house yesterday afternoon  at the  library.She  gave us insights  in to  the  origins of  her book .  She  teased  the  audience  with  snippets  from  her book and hinted at how  much  of  the story  might be  true.

There is a  recent  article  in the Tri City Voice interviewing Ms. Krishna, which will tell you more about the book and give you a hint of her voice. ( plus it mentions her next speaking engagement at Half Price books)

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Chasing Vermeer is a mystery book for grades 4th-8th. It has been described as The Da Vinci code for kids. The book starts off with a mysterious letter sent to three seemingly random people. The letter asks the receivers to help solve an old crime involving a famous painting called A Lady Writing A Letter by Johannes Vermeer.

The book follows sixth graders Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay. They are classmates and friends at the University School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The two sixth graders are a little different from the other kids at school. They are both very smart and enjoy puzzles and mental challenges. They are brought together through a series of strange coincidences involving an old book and several quirky characters. They combine their brain power and problem solving skills to figure out the mystery of a missing painting by one of the world’s most famous artists.

Chasing Vermeer is a fun read full of puzzles and mystery. The readers become part of the mystery through the author’s and illustrator’s use of secret codes and hidden messages. Blue Balliett introduces readers to pentominoes (a mathematical tool of geometry) as a clue to solve the mystery. Brett Helquist (who is also the illustrator of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events) includes a hidden message in his illustrations throughout the book. If you like mysteries that involve imaginative thinking and solving puzzles this may be a good book for you!

 There are two sequels to check out as well:


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Check out these Book Talks done by kids!

Click on the picture to the left to see the videos on the Centerville Library Glogster page. If you would like to participate in the Centerville Library Kids Book Discussion Club join us the second Thursday of every month. You can record your own Book Talk and be featured on the Centerville Library Glogster Blog and Facebook page.

Join us today (Feb 10th) at the Centerville Library from 4:30-5:30

If you can’t make it today, contact Elizabeth to find out when our next meeting will be.

510-795-2629 or egamell@aclibrary.org

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Look at this poster. It’s not a ordinary poster, it’s a video poster. Click on it and watch the kids talking about their favorite books.

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Unlikely Allies by Joel Richard Paul is everything they didn’t teach you in school about the days leading up to the American Revolution. The year is 1776. Silas Deane, a Connecticut merchant who can’t speak a word of French, is in Versailles trying to convince Louis XVI to sell arms and ammunition to the Americans. Chosen by Benjamin Franklin to be the representative of the Continental Congress, Deane arrives in France months before Franklin and must survive by his wits alone, as the place is crawling with spies and incognito French police officers– and they’ve all got a stake in the political shenanigans that are about to take place. What help can the insolvent but determined Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beumarchais, a French playwright and one-time aristocrat offer Deane? And in any case, can Deane trust him?

These are just two of the colorful characters in Paul’s account of the long struggle to persuade Louis XVI to back the new country with much-needed supplies and then to actually get them delivered to Washington’s desperate army. It is a tale of espionage and counter-espionage, of cat-and-mouse diplomacy among men of all ranks who double-crossed each other as frequently as the wind changed. It is also the story of one of history’s most enigmatic characters, the notorious Chevalier d’Eon, a cross-dressing French soldier turned diplomat turned blackmailer, without whom the outcome of the Revolution might have been very different.

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It took Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne’s fictional hero, 80 days to get around the world. In 1889, Nellie Bly went around the world in just 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes, and 14 seconds, beating Fogg by more than 7 days. Nellie Bly was a daredevil reporter, often working undercover for her assignments, at a time when women were not expected to make themselves heard. For most of Nellie’s life, women were not even allowed to vote.
Other people’s ideas of a woman’s proper role never stopped Nellie, however; whatever she could dream, she did. Hers was an exciting and very public life, one that Sue Macy captures with spirit and compassion in Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly.

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When You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead’s latest book, When You Reach Me, is as mesmerizing as it is hard to describe. Don’t get me wrong, there is a definite plot, and it will keep you turning the pages. And just a warning: The ending will keep you thinking long after you’ve closed the book and tried to move on to something else.

Miranda used to be best friends with Sal; they did everything together, including walk home from school. Now they almost never see each other. As Sal starts to pull away from Miranda, she finds herself in the center of a mystery that seems too impossible to be true. Notes left in her library book and in her coat, addressed to her and asking for her help. And perhaps strangest of all, whoever is writing the notes seems to know things that no one else does or should. Even things that haven’t happened yet…

If you’ve read A Wrinkle in Time, you will appreciate Stead’s book on another level. If you haven’t, you will probably want to go back and read it when you’re through.

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SLOB by Ellen Potter

Owen Birnbaum may be the smartest kid in school; he’s also the fattest kid in
school, although he hasn’t always been that way. Something awful happened two years ago and that’s when everything changed for him and his sister. Being the fattest kid in school is not easy, especially when your evil-minded P.E. teacher has it out for you, and most of the other kids are just happy they’re not the ones on the teacher’s hit list. Enter Mason Ragg, a loner who just may be a diabolical criminal mastermind with the battle scars to prove it; the rumor going around school is that the new kid also carries a switchblade knife hidden in his sock. Like eveyone else in school, it seems that Mason Ragg has it out for the fat kid. He may even be the one who’s been stealing Owen’s oreos. And then there is that fateful day in gym class when Owen begins to see that Mason Ragg is not exactly what he seems to be. And you know what? Neither is Owen; the Martha Doxie School is in for a big surprise.

**You’ll have to read nearly to the end of the book to discover the significance of the title; and it may not be what you think.

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Review: Tris’s Book


Last time it was an earthquake, now Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar must face off against pirates in Tris’s Book the second book in Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic series. Tris’s Book focuses on Tris, but, as before, all four of the children are the “main character” of the story. The storyline showcases Tris’s abilities this time around, and we see much of the action from her perspective. I warn you now, that rather like the first book in the series, you will get sucked in to the story and find it difficult to put the book down. Tamora Pierce writes the best fantasy. I listened to the Full Cast Audio presentation this time around (I’ve read this book several times before) and as with Sandry’s Book it was very well acted. I hope that they keep the same voice talent for the whole series. Those folks really know their stuff. It’s also a bit of a godsend to have the author as the narrator, as there is no question about whether or not she is pronouncing certain words correctly. Great story!

(place a hold on the book.)

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