Four friends. Four lives. Friends for Life by Andrew Norriss tells the story of four lonely teens whose lives intersect in an unusual way.
Initially it seems that the four teens have little in common. As the story progresses readers learn that they share a trait which binds them as friends forever.
"Having all those things in common...it can't just be a coincidence, can it?"
Told with humor and warmth, this exploration of the important ways that that friends are connected continues to haunt my thoughts.
I hope that Frances, Jessica, Andi, and Roland will remain my friends for life.
Meet Frances, Andi, Roland, and Jessica: Friends for Life
It is thrilling to note that Noelle Stevenson's Nimona received an SLJ starred review. Read below for my observations on this terrific graphic novel. My review was published in the April 2015 issue of School Library Journal. Go Nimona! Go Noelle!
This celebrated webcomic, a mash-up of medieval culture with modern science and technology, is now available in print.
Lord Ballister Blackheart, a knight, has assumed the role of a supervillain in order to expose the nefarious schemes of the kingdom's front organization, The Institute of Law Enforcement. The kingdom's champion is Lord Blackheart's nemesis and former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin. Blackheart's prickly relationship with Goldenloin further explores the limits of their friendship. Enter the title character, a brash young shapeshifter who doggedly follows Ballister until he agrees to take her on as a sidekick. Nimona's skills as a shapeshifter up the ante in the ongoing rivalry between Ambrose and Ballister.
Despite her anger management issues, the teen becomes Ballister's invaluable ally and together they form an alliance of mutual trust and dependence. Action scenes dominate as Nimona shifts with Hulk-like ferocity from frightful creatures such as a fire-breathing dragon to a docile cat or a timid child.
Dialogue is fresh and witty with an abundance of clever lines. A complementary color palette of Blackheart's muddy browns contrasts with Goldenloin's fresh transparent yellow-greens. Both color schemes highlight Nimona's intense reds. Readers will note subtle visual differences in webcomic images. The print edition includes an exclusive epilogue not available online.
At its core, Nimona is a story of rescue. Each of the main characters rescue allies, friendships, the Kingdom, and ultimately, themselves.
The Margin Project has been an exciting addition to our school's literacy initiatives. Our principal introduced the program in the school's monthly newsletter to families. Student choice of reading material is paramount. While books are selected by students, they often consult with teachers and peers in choosing book selections. Students also delight in seeing what others are reading, and sharing written comments with others. Participation is optional, but many students are choosing to participate.
The Margin Project makes reading a social experience.
This project serves as a collection development tool. After reading written comments and talking with students, it becomes clear which books resonate with them. They will frequently recommend Margin Project titles for purchase. It is also interesting to note the books which "disappear" from the project collection. This may be a signal that copies need to be purchased for the library. Students tend to write less in the books as they become involved in the story. Recently a book was returned without any comments. The student just couldn't waste time writing. He wanted to find out what happened next! Students, teachers, administration and especially the library staff are realizing the benefits of The Margin Project.
Kenneth Oppel is the author of two soaring adventure series which transport readers into the heavens. However his upcoming book takes readers on a journey into uncharted territory: the heart of a terrified young boy.
Steven lives in a world shaped by his anxieties. His own fears are compounded as he agonizes over his baby brother born with a serious medical disorder. He worries about his parents who are struggling to cope with their son’s condition. He is troubled by the growing colony of wasps who have taken up residence the eaves of the family’s home. His anxiety escalates when a mysterious wasp queen enters his dreams and offers to “fix” his infant brother.
Jon Klassen’s atmospheric illustrations heighten the story’s escalating terror.
A mesmerizing exploration of a young boy’s fear.
Facing fear. Finding courage: Nine truths that Steven discovers
1. Wishes can distort your thinking.
"The first time I saw them, I thought they were Angels."
2. Fear can be paralyzing.
"Get a grip. There were a lot of things I was supposed to get a grip on. I just wasn't much good at it."
3. When the pressure is too much, retreat.
"I would be completely safe and untouchable in my little nest."
4. Decide what is most important.
"This is a human being. The most glorious and complicated creature on the planet."
5. Distinguish between real and imaginary.
"The important thing to remember is it's just a dream. They can feel like very powerful experiences, but they aren't true experiences and can have no real power over you."
6. Expect deficiencies in yourself and others.
"All I'm saying is, sooner or later we're all busted-up in some way."
7. Taking a stand is difficult.
"It's not even a choice! A choice requires a bit of thought, a bit of a tussle."
8. You cannot meet everyone's expectations.
"People lie and say they don't want perfect. But really they do."
9. Accept uncertainty.
"Maybe like me, he was thinking we’d never know what was going to happen next week or month or year, but no one really did anyway."
I like talking about books and interesting ideas. I like thinking about how books affect my life. Not particularly interested in giving out stars or in rating books.