Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I Am David by Anne Holm

This is a short historical novel that takes place during WWII and starts at a concentration camp somewhere in Eastern Europe. David has lived in the camp since he was an infant. There is a prison guard who seems to hate him but makes sure he is well cared for. There was Johannes who was appointed his guardian by the guard. When Johannes died David was 12 and the guard told him how to escape, told him to go to Denmark. What if you were like David and suddenly found yourself free after never being free before. What if you had never heard music, seen a real bed, seen a book, green pastures, mountains, the ocean, seen a church, a town, bought anything in a store, could you manage? He slowly makes his way to the ocean, to a cargo ship going to Italy. Then makes his way through Italy, Switzerland, Germany. He learns much along the way like how to smile, laugh, earn a little money, hitch a ride. He never really trusts the people he meets, would they turn him in to the police? Send him back to camp where people arrived looking clean and healthy but soon became dirty, weak, despaired, and died. He hopes to find goodhearted people who will preserve his freedom and teach him to all the things he needed to know and would love him.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Life of Pi By: Yann Martel

This novel starts out slow moving, and ends up so exciting. The action takes place in a lifeboat, where we have one human, and three animals. trying to survive a ship wreck four days out of the port of Manila, Philippines. It is quite an ordeal to read, and feel the way Pi the main character is able to manage his food, and water intake. Pi resorts to eating fish, and even turtle meat. The three animals on board the small lifeboat
are a zebra, hyena, and a bengal tiger. Imagine being capsized in the Pacific Ocean for more than six months
without being rescued by another ship, or any other rescue vehicle.

One's imagination runs wild when exposed to the open sea. This situation is desperate day after day. You begin to see visions, and things that come to your mind of hope, and belief, that really is not there. You dream of things that are not realistic. In the end, the lifeboat lands on land, and the animals are dead, but the human Pi, survives the whole experience.

This is an excellent book for teens, and adults.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales - Various Authors

Having only heard of three of the ten authors and having read only one of the ten authors I didn't know what to expect. I kept an open mind about these short stories and enjoyed all of them except the first short story Lungewater by Joan Aiken. It is about a messenger boy delivering notes to a woman his master is attracted to. The boy dies in the river, and the brother takes it upon himself to deliver the final letter. The style of the story along with the time placement (not set in the present, more like the early 1900's) made this one unenjoyable. I knew what was going to happen half way through the story. The other nine short stories were a great read. All of the authors drew upon the Victorian style of writing done by Mary Shelly and Edgar Allen Poe. They were also set in the modern times, which makes them more appealing to teens, and the main character is a teenager. Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes dark tales, Poe, or Mary Shelly.

The authors of the short stories in this collection are Joan Aiken, M.T. Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Celia Rees, Janni Lee Simner, Vivian Vande Velde, and Barry Yourgrau

Tom Burnham

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Frey, a one time drug addict relates his struggle to quit using. He went from alcohol to crack to meth and more. He used to the brink of death. His memoir is a very gritty relating of the bad old days. He tells it straight and hard. Of all the men in rehab with him only one besides himself still lives. Eleven men and one woman he called friends have died, many times theirs were horrible violent deaths. The other survivor is in prison - for life. Frey makes it clear that it was his decision alone, no one made him, to use - and his decision to recover. Highly recommended, especially if you have already begun to use-recreationally.
Buggy Lady

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird

This novel is based on the main personalities, Mamo & Tiggist, brother and sister with all their esperiences in Ethiopia. They encounter many hardships, hunger, and nowhere to live, but on the rocky streets facing all kinds of weather. Most of this book takes place in Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia.

These street kids in order to receive birr(the money in Ethiopia) to buy food. They have to beg outside Churches, or famous restaurants, or offer to watch a car while the owner went about their business. The kids live in a group, and share whatever they had amongst themselves. Most of the children were barefoot, and their clothes so dirty they looked like rags.

When money was scare, some of the children hung out in the back of a restaurant waiting for any morsels being tossed out, so the group of children could eat something.

This novel can apply to any country in the world. Some of the children were runaways, and thought life would be better than their situation at home. The novel was interesting because it portrayed the reality of life on the go on the streets. The moral of this story is think twice before you run away from home. Your home life could be better, than trying to figure out where your next meal is coming from.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Cruise Control by Terry Trueman

A companion book to Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control is told by Paul, Shawns brother. Paul is athletic, smart, and normal. Shawn is mentally handicapped and has seizures frequently. Paul, his mom, and his sister Cindy all take care of Shawn, and it is now starting to take its toll on him. He is going to college soon and he feels that he is abandoning the family. Their father ran out on them and it seems he doesn't care but he does. Through out the book you get a sense of the hardship this family goes through, and the emotion each character goes through is felt by the words the author uses. Cruise Control shows the other side of what it is like to have a mentally handicapped sibling. It is a quick read and will be enjoyed by all who read it.

Tom Burnham

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Margaux with an X by Koertge

Two teens- hurt teens-Margaux who plays hard to get with guys and Danny who can't bear to see anything hurt are surprised to find that like each other and like holding hands with each other and like long quiet nights reading. This is a quiet beautiful story - and very short. Other books to try might be KEESHA'S HOUSE, STONER AND SPAZ, LONG NIGHT OF LEO AND BREE and Koja's STRAY DOG

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Vote For Larry by Janet Tashjian

This novel is so up-beat for teens, and reaches the topics interesting to teens way of thinking. It stretches the imagination of the reader that it is hard to put the book down. It covers many subjects that dwell inside the soul of the teenager.

The main character of the book Larry Swensen is so real, but loveable too. It is intriguing to follow the the ins, and outs of the particular personality of the novel. He has his good days, and his bad days like we all do during our lifetime. Larry's creativity, and determination to accomplish his goal pays off in the end. We the reader, see this throughout the novel. This is what makes the book worth reading. It captures your attention. The book is super interesting, and very worthwhile reading. The main character Larry is portrayed as a bright adolescent with insight, and the humor reaches near perfection.

I recomend this book for any teenager with a good imagination, and a sense of humor.


Monday, November 01, 2004

The Steps - Rachel Cohn

Annabel is spending Christmas Break in Australia with her father and his new family. At first she doesn't like them, and only wants to spend time with her father. As the story unfolds Lucy and Annabel become more like sisters than they ever thought. Annabel realizes how much her step family cares for her when she and Lucy run away to see Lucy's grandmother. With plans of her mother getting married and having a child Annabel realizes that both her parents love her even though they are separated. A nice read about the craziness of having step siblings in another country and also here in the United States.
Also recommended Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn.

Tom Burnham

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

Just suppose you worked in the Chicago Subway System Lost and Found. Its a boring place to be sure, almost no one goes there to retrieve their lost belongings. Maybe you would get bored and start looking through the stuff. A black leather diary might seem interesting. If you read it, you would discover that it contained detailed descriptions of brutal animal mutilations, huge fires, and maybe plans for a murder. A little research at the library might confirm that the fires and animal mutilations were real... Could you stop the murder? Would you put yourself in danger to do it?
JDW 10/26/04

Saturday, October 23, 2004

How I Found the Strong by Margaret McMullan

This book is a novel that is true during the Civil War in the United States. It takes place in Mississippi where the war took harsh measures. In this book, we find a family of two boys, and a father, mother, & grandfather. The older brother gets killed in the War, & the Dad is wounded badly, but makes it home. The grandfather leaves the house one day without a trace, & never returns. This leave the son, and the black slave to do the chores on the farm.

This book reminded me of the hardships of families left behind to survive, while the father's, & brothers fought a difficult war . Their was no T.V. coverage, or computer's to send E-mails to the family members. So familes at home had to be strong in their faith, & believe their men at war would return. The Mother of the house made due with what was able to eat. The mother got potato skins, and made soup with it that was hardly edible. They made their shoes out of burlap so as not to go barefoot. The mattresses of their beds were corn husks, and that was comfortable to the family.

The living conditions during that era were very difficult to many families. But people during the Civil War made due with what they had, and went on with their lives. Life of course was not for fame, and fortune but survival was the people's focus.


Saturday, October 16, 2004

The History of NationsMexico Ed.Adriane Ruggiero

The country of Mexico is a rich culture,& unusual history, & civilizations. Many native Indian groups were developing before Mexico gained it's independance from Spain. Mexico was under Spanish rule till 1821. The interesting fact is that Hernan Cortez the Spanish conquerer of Mexico arrived on Mexican soil in 1519, & returned to Mexico in 1521 better prepared.

I would like to present to the reader the Maya Civilization that were people who never were unified in their politics. The Mayans were advanced in sports. They had ball courts way back then. Mayans were cruel too, they took their enemies for sacrifices to their gods. The Mayans believed the supernatural guided their lifes.

The Mexican people are a mixed race, & Mexico has a population of 8 million. Many people are illiterate because poverty runs rampart. The country was under a dictorship party for 40 years. The Mexican people voted recently for President Vincent Fox, & let us hope he will run the affairs democratically.

This book is fantastic, & I do not have have time to go deeper into this History of Mexico. I have lived in Mexico.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Confessions of a not it Girl

The last year of High School never has been easy, besides all the applications for the Universities have piled up on the desk of Jan Miller. She is a teenager from New York, who goes to a private school, trying to live through her first love and having a a bad impression of her body.

The story involves us in a world of any teenager; her doubts, worries, anxieties, fears, etc.. In a light, fresh and funny way.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Confessions of a Not It Girl

El ultimo ano de secundaria nunca ha sido facil, menos con todas las aplicaciones para la universidad amontonadas en el escritorio de Jan Miller, una adolescente de Nueva York que asiste a una escuela privada, tratando de vivir su primer amor y teniendo un mal concepto de su apariencia pesonal...
El desarrollo de la historia nos envuelve en el mundo de cualquier adolescente: sus dudas, preocupaciones, ansiedades, temores, etc. , de una manera alegre, fresca y liviana.


Monday, October 04, 2004

Godless - Pete Hautman

What would you do if one day you decided that you wanted to start your own religion? Well that is what Jason Bock does. The object of their worship is the town water tower, and the name of his religion is Chutengodians. He recruits an unlikely group that consists of his snail-farming best friend Shin, cute-as-a-button Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. When they decide to hold their first service on the top of the water tower it does not go as planned. Shin is afraid of heights and does not join them, and Henry is hurt when he falls of the water tower onto the catwalk. And worst off they get caught in the middle of the night. After the service Jason finds himself questioning who and what God is. His followers turn their backs on him, and blame him for what has happened. He then realizes that inventing a religion is easier than controlling it. If you have questioned religion, or have considered starting one of your own this is one book for you to read. It is harder to invent a religion than to be a part of one.

Tom Burnham

Saturday, October 02, 2004

ABE Readers + Read for a Lifetime Readers

High school students living in Our library district can participate in both of these state reading programs here. We have the lists and the ballots. Registration deadline for lifetime is October 27th so hurry. Meet to talk about the books on the lists Tuesday in the teen department anytime between 5 and 8.
Ask for Joyce.

Sonny's House of Spies

Its a hot hot summer in the 1950's and Sonny will be starting high school in the fall. He has begun wondering about things in ways he never wondered before. Why did his Daddy vanish 7-years-ago? Why did Uncle Marty have a letter from daddy hidden in a drawer in the donut shop? Was he in love with Nissa the beautiful light skinned negro daughter of the his family's maid? Why were Mamby and othe blacks treated so unjustly? He suffers from nightmares and in daytime when thoughts and feelings get intense he faints. There are plenty of funny momments in this story like Sonny trying to explain about Men, Women, and babies to his 7-year-old brother and his relationship with his older wilder irreverent sister. She's exactly the kind of sister I would have liked to have had!


Monday, September 20, 2004

Tending to Grace By:Kimberly Newton Fusco

This novel keeps you guessing throughout the book. The story unravels till the
bitter end. All throughout the story, you feel like Cornelia the young girl, who is the major personality left with her maiden Aunt will eventually be a run away child. She is left on a farm, which is foreign to her by her Mother, and promises the young girl to return one day.

Cornelia is bright, and is a good reader,which helps a lot for her Aunt does not know how. Agatha, the Aunt, eventually learns to love Cornelia, and they become close friends. In fact towards the end of the novel,Cornelia, and her Aunt, share a secret about Aunt Agatha on a hike that many people in the town did not know. This secret turns out to be a tear jerker for the reader of the book.

LD. 9-20-04

Friday, September 10, 2004

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kaadohata

The title of this book is a Japanese word meaning glitttering or shinning. This novel is very different, because it portrays a Japanese family's struggle in Southern Georgia, and how they make a living to survive in life. The two daughters Lynne, & Katie do not appreciate what their parent's had to sacrifice in order to put food on the table. For me, the key to the story was when Lynn the older sister became seriously ill.

The other emphasis on the family was when their Mother had a baby boy. His name was Sammy. Lynn the older sister, eventually dies, and Katie and Sam are left to cope. I want to share with anyone who reads this novel, this Japanese family through their struggles, had to eat for supper a can of sardines, and white rice for their meal.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Things Change - Patrick Jones

Johanna is your typical high school junior. She gets good grades, her parents love her, and she is on student council. She feels that she always has to be perfect, and that has led her to become an outcast in high school. That is until she starts going out with Paul, who is also on student council and popular. Soon she is hanging out with the popular kids, and spending all her time with Paul. She pushes Pam, her only real friend, away. Her grades begin to drop, and she disobeys her parents. What people don't know is that Paul is hitting her every time he gets mad. She covers up the bruises by wearing long sleeves. Eventually Johanna talks to Pauls last girlfriend, and gets the real story about Paul. After hearing that she finally decides to break up with him for good. Will he change after his experience with Johanna, or will he continue his abusive ways.
This book takes you on a journey from being a nobody to being somebody, but in this case Johanna has a price to pay to keep Paul happy. This is a page turner and you won't want to put it down until you are done.

Tom Burnham

Friday, August 27, 2004


We're sponsoring our second annual writing contest for teens in grades 7-12. Entries are due on October 17th. Pick up complete information at the library

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Translations of Beauty By: Mia Yun

This is a story that delves into the true meaning of beauty,family,home, & race. This novel demonstrates the ties that bind all families, but also writes abbout the pitfalls of the American dream.

The book relates how twin sisters have a unique relationship from South Korea-to growing up in Queen's,N.Y. The book takes the reader to Italy to find Inah the twin sister. This novel is really about immigrant children growing up in America.

There are other characters in the book, but the twins are the main personalities throughout the novel. Their are family relativees in between.


Splintering by Eireann Corrigan

Like the glass that shattered when the knife waving intruder, foaming at the mouth breaks into mimi's apartment so do the lives of mimi, her sister, brother and parents splinter after the trauma is over. This story is written in the new popular free verse form and its very sketchy but you do get a sense of the emotions the characters are experiencing.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Story Time - Edward Bloor

George and Kate are promised the best education when they attend Whittaker Magnet School, which is in the same building as the library. The schools curriculum is based on beating standardized tests of other states, and the teachers are named only by the subject and grade they teach, like Science 6 or Math 8. The classrooms are dreary and windowless. The students are seated by how well they do on tests, from highest to lowest. The parents favor their own children over the others. There is also a librarian who only speaks in nursery rhymes. But behind all of this there is a demon being let loose on the faculty and staff of Whittaker Magnet school. Who is doing it and why? Does it have something to do with what happened ten years ago in the library, when an adult and ten children were possessed by a demon during story time. When the First lady of the United States comes to visit everything comes out into the open, and there are no more secrets. Bloor combines the state of education in todays schools with mystery to write an exceptional novel. This is one book that will not disappoint the reader.

Tom Burnham

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Dale Brown's The Flight of the Old Dog

  Dale Brown tells the tale of Cpt. Patrick Maclanahan, an Air Force Bombardier,  who accepts a temporary assignment which leads to the ultimate nightmare, preventing World War 3 from happenning. This book is recommended for adults and teens alike who are politically or militarily minded.


Take me there!

Friday, July 23, 2004

Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH

This book is not just for "kids". It's an amazing social commentary and a terrific fantasy for readers of all ages.

Take me there!

My Bloody Life

This book is a must for any teenage teacher to read. It was very interesting to note the gangs were very much prevalent with females as well as males .

Take me there!

Always running La vida Loca

Como la vida de un muchacho que sus padres emigraron hacia los Estados Unidos, tomo un rumbo inesperado y muy diferente a lo que pudo ser. Luis fue tratado como un nino deficiente en sus primeros anos de escuela, esto creo cierto resntimiento de rebeldia y su mayor pasion era repartir.


Curious Incident of Dog at Night

When the autistic protaganist of this mystery trips over the neighbor's dead dog he is determined to find out what happened. We find out what it is like to be autistic and get a great mystery with a shocker ending!

Take me there!

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

The fifth Harry Potter continues the journey of Harry Potter in his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He learns why he must go back to the Dursleys each summer and also about a prophecy about him and Lord Voldemort.

Take me there!