Archive | December, 2011

Diary of Anne Frank

23 Dec

This week I read a very sad autobiography.  I read the diary of Anne Frank, written during World War 2, when Anne and her family were in hiding.

Anne and her family were in hiding for two reasons, one more important than the other.  The important reason is that they were Jewish, and Hitler (who was part Jewish himself!) was sending all Jews to be killed in concentration camps.  Anne’s family and the van Daans (another Jewish family) hid in the Secret Annex, a series of hidden rooms in an office building.  The other reason they were hiding was because of their treatment.  All Jews had to sew a six-pointed star on their clothes, singling them out from everyone else.  Also, Jewish children had to go to all-Jew schools.  Jews were also not allowed to ride streetcars (buses) or get rides from other people.  They weren’t even allowed to ride in their own cars!  They had to walk everywhere, since their bikes were also taken away.  I think the Germans should have at least let them sell the bikes and cars that they had paid for.

I did and didn’t like this book.  I liked it because it was really interesting.  I liked knowing Anne’s thoughts and learning about what life was like during World War 2.  Anne considered herself lucky, even though they had only old, moldy food, everyone fought and bickered all the time, and the Annex was tiny.  Anne was glad she wasn’t at a concentration camp.  At concentration camps you died from lack of food and water, hard labor, deadly diseases, or were gassed to death.  The reason I don’t like this book is because it’s really sad.  Anne talks about what her kids will be like, what kind of job she’ll have, and what type of parent she wants to be.  Only later on, you find out that Anne and everyone else in the Annex (except for Anne’s father) are killed in concentration camps.  I think it’s cruel that they survived all that time, only to be killed in the end.

I learned a lot of interesting things from this book.  For example, did you know that Anne wanted her diary to be made into a book even while she was still alive?  I also learned that Hitler, who was killing all the Jews, was part Jewish himself.  The other important thing that I learned was the three things that defeated the Germans; the spirit of the British, the people of Russia, and the United States’ military equipment and factories.  The British stayed optimistic, even when the Germans bombed London.  Russia, being so large, had a large population.  They kept finding more and more people to throw at Hitler, and they suffered the most devastating losses.  And finally, the U. S. had  a lot of planes and bombs and just kept on making more and more until they finally defeated the Germans.  I’m glad the Germans were defeated, but the war still never should have happened.

Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements

18 Dec

I finished Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix last weekend.  The ending put another book by Margaret Peterson Haddix on my favorites list.  In case you want to read this book, I won’t spoil the ending.  I will say that one of the reasons I like Margaret Peterson Haddix is because of her endings.  I would recommend this book to everyone!

This week I read a new book called Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements.  This is the second book in the series, but I like this one much better than the first.  Things Hoped For is an awesome sci-fi book about a girl named Gwen.  Gwen is a high school senior who plays violin.  She lives with her grandfather in NYC so she can get into a good musical college.  However, right before her college auditions, her grandfather goes missing, leaving a message for Gwen not to worry.

In this book, the setting really affects the characters.  In NYC, everything is crowded and busy.  This affects Gwen and her friend Robert several times.  One time, while shoe shopping, Gwen sees a shadow with no person nearby to make the shadow.  Since the store is crowded, nobody else noticed the shadow.  Another way how the setting affects the characters is the music.  Gwen and Robert are in NYC because they want to go into music majors in college.  Without their shared love of music, Gwen and Robert would never have made their discovery.

I would change the ending of this book a little bit.  In the ending, Gwen’s grandfather dies.  If I had written this book, I wouldn’t have had him die.  I would also have had Gwen’s Uncle Hank be nicer and help Gwen after her grandfather died.  Also, I don’t think that the police really caught William.  I would have had the police ask Robert to help them find him.  Overall, I think this was a great book.

Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix

9 Dec

This week I’m in the middle of a book called Palace of Mirrors.  This is a  fantasy book by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Peterson Haddix.  It is about a girl named Cecilia who is the true princess.  She is disguised as a peasant girl so that the people who killed her parents, the king and queen, don’t kill her.  A commoner named Desmia is on the throne as a decoy.

I chose to read this book for three reasons.  One reason is that I saw one of my friends reading this book.  We have similar tastes in books so decided to read this book.  Another reason is that I have read many other books by Margaret Peterson Haddix and really enjoyed every single one of them.  The third reason is that another one of my friends had just returned this book to the library and gave it a very high recommendation.

I have mixed feelings about one of the characters in this book.  Cecilia’s best friend, Harper, does some kind of weird things.  He plays harp because his mother doesn’t want him to go to war.  When Cecilia and Harper get to the capital city, Harper is trying to play harp for money, but he plays mournful songs instead of happy ones.  He also wants to get picked up by a press gang and get carried off to war.  I don’t think he really believes that Cecilia is the true princess.

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

9 Dec

This week I read a fantasy book by C.S. Lewis called The Magician’s Nephew.  This is the first book in the Narnia series.  It tells how Narnia, the talking animals, and the Wicked Witch, Jadis, came to be.

There are two characters in this book that I didn’t like.  One of them, Uncle Andrew, is the uncle of Digory, one of the two main characters.  Uncle Andrew had a box that his godmother had given him from the lost island of Atlantis.  Inside the box was magical dust, and Uncle Andrew used it to make himself an evil Magician.  The other character that I don’t like is another evil Magician named Jadis.  Jadis was the queen of a different world and was sent to sleep for many years.  Digory and the other main character, Polly accidentally woke her up, thereby setting off another chain of events.

I chose this book mainly for one reason.  My sister and dad have read all of the Chronicles of Narnia and have wanted me to read them ever since.  I decided to try one and liked it so much that I decided to blog about it.  There was another reason that I decided to read it, though.  On my flight to Africa, one of the only movies was Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is based on another Narnia book.  After I watched it, I was curious about what happened before that and I wanted to read some of the other books.

Rowan Hood:Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest by Nancy Springer

9 Dec

This week I read a book called Rowan Hood:Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest.  This is a fantasy book by Nancy Springer.  It is about a girl named Rosemary who is the daughter of the woodwife Celandine.  A woodwife is someone who can use plants very well for healing and can find springwater just by feeling its pull inside them.  The king’s men burned down Rosemary’s home and killed her mother because they thought she was a witch.  Rosemary leaves and goes to find her father, the outlaw Robin Hood.  Girls can’t go to Sherwood Forest, so she disguises herself as a boy named Rowan.

I chose to read this book for a few different reasons.  One reason is that I read a book about Robin Hood and really enjoyed it.  Another reason is that my little cousin gave them to me and said that she enjoyed them a lot.  My cousin and I often share book recommendations and she had recommended a lot of good books to me before.

I really enjoyed reading this book. There are a few things that I would change about it, though.  The first thing that I would change would be Rowan’s wolf-dog, Tykell.  I think that he should be more wolf than dog so that he can protect Rowan better.  The other thing that I would change is Ettarde.  Ettarde is a princess that tried to escape becoming a princess.  Rowan protected her and welcomed her into her little band of outlaws.  The thing I would change about her is her manners and abilities.  Etty knows how to write and I think she should teach Rowen how to write, too.  Other than those little things, I think the book was really good.

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

9 Dec

This week I read a great realistic fiction book called A Mango-Shaped Space.  This book is by my favorite author, Wendy Mass.  This book is about a girl named Mia who sees colors when she sees words, hears words and names, and hears noises.  Mia has kept this a secret from everyone because she didn’t want to look crazy.

I really, really enjoyed reading this book.  I liked it for several reasons.  One reason is that Mia has a black and white cat just like me.  Another reason is that Mia is a synesthete, which means that she sees colored letters and numbers.  I think that being a synesthete would be really cool.  I also liked this book because it isn’t just about Mia’s colors.  In the book, she has problems with her best friend, her family, and her cat.  I think that those aspects of the book make more realistic because in real life, life isn’t just about one thing at a time.

Mia and I don’t have much in common.  Mia is a synesthete and I’m definitely not.  Mia really doesn’t like math and she loves history.  I love and math and don’t really like history.  I only have one sibling and Mia has two siblings, one older and one younger.  Mia only has one best friend and a few kinda close friends.  I have three best friends and four other kinda close friends.  Even though Mia and I aren’t very alike, I think she’s an interesting character.

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

9 Dec

This week I read a book called Umbrella Summer.  Umbrella Summer is a realistic fiction book by Lisa Graff.  This is a book about a girl named Annie.  Annie’s brother Jared died five months ago of a rare heart disease.  Ever since, Annie has worried a lot.

I think this book has a realistic lesson.  I think the author’s message is that you need to let go when someone you love dies.  You can be sad for a little while, but eventually you need to let go and accept that the person is gone.  Annie is afraid the same thing is going to happen to her as Jared and she worries about every little thing.  For example, she doesn’t do bike races anymore because you could fall and kill yourself.  For her, letting go means to stop worrying so much and just enjoy life.

I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone.  I didn’t really think this book was that good because it’s really serious and kind of boring.  All Annie does is worry and get band-aids just in case something happens.  At the end I think it gets a little bit more interesting, but not much.  I don’t recommend this book to anyone who thinks that things like that are boring.