Monday, May 31, 2010

Kate and I will be participating in MotherReader's 48-Hour Book Challenge on June 4-6. The goal is to read as much as possible over a 48-hour period. Related activities include writing reviews on one's blog and visiting other participants' blogs to read their reviews.

I had so much fun doing this last year that I'll be joining again. Last time, I read for 16 hours and finished 4 books, and I hope to increase those numbers this year. Kate will be an "unofficial" participant, so her hours won't count for prizes, etc., but she still hopes to finish a good number of books!

For every hour I read/review/blog, I'm going to donate a dollar to The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region, an organization that provides adult literacy training. For every hour Kate reads, I will donate a dollar to her pick, The Central Asia Institute, which she describes in her review of Three Cups of Tea: The Young Reader's Edition.

Please consider joining us for this fun event or donating to these two very worthwhile charities!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Three Cups of Tea: The Young Reader's Edition

by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Adapted by Sarah Thomson. Foreword by Jane Goodall. Includes interview with Amira Mortenson
Three Cups of Tea: Young Reader's Edition was our selection for our Parent-Child Book Club. The man who this book is about, Greg Mortenson, won the Sitara-e-Pakistan award from Pakistan and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Three Cups of Tea has won several awards. You can visit his websites: Three Cups of Tea, The Central Asia Institute, and Pennies for Peace.

Three Cups of Tea is about Greg Mortenson's mission to build schools and give education to poor children, especially girls, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Greg was climbing K2 to put his sister's amber necklace at the top of the mountain. Christa, his sister, had died of seizure on her twenty-third birthday in 1992. In attempt to climb the mountain, he got lost and drifted into a small village, Korphe. He met the people of Korphe and he promised to build a school. Fortunately, a mountain climber and scientist, Jean Hoerni, gave him a check for twelve thousand dollars, enough to build his school. When he went to Korphe again, he had to first build a bridge, but luckily, on December 10th 1996, the Korphe School was finished. After that, he kept on building more schools. Now, Greg Mortenson is the director of the Central Asia Institute and is still building more schools.

This book was a fantastic read and I am sure that everyone will enjoy this book- adults or kids. But, I felt that at the start, the speed of events went very slowly, as it was written with phrases that explained very little action that happened. About halfway through the book, the speed changed. Another point is that most of the characters introduced into the book were very hard to keep up with. Some of them were mentioned at the start and then not mentioned until the very end. However, Greg Mortenson is a fabulous character and I know that everyone will enjoy reading about his adventure.

Reviewed by Kate

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Word Nerd

Being a huge Scrabble fan, I have to use, for my first blog review, one of my favourite young-adult books of this past year. Word Nerd by Susin Nielson is published by Tundra Books and, just a couple of weeks ago, it won the Ontario Library Association's 2010 Red Maple award.

Word Nerd is a wonderful book about 7th-grader Ambrose who, friendless and bullied, lives a lonely life with his over-protective mother until he meets an ex-convict neighbour and discovers the world of competitive Scrabble.

Nielsen describes the same competitive Scrabble subculture that Stefan Fatsis portrays so brilliantly in Word Freak (mentioned in Nielsen's acknowledgments) but from a teenager's perspective. Having been a tournament Scrabble player myself, I can confirm that Nielsen gets it right. She succeeds in describing the eclectic mix of personalities that get drawn in by this game and conveying the reasons why it's so easy to become obsessed by it. However, the book is about so much more than Scrabble. It's about gaining your independence, casting aside your prejudices and finding the place where you really belong.

There are a few mild and humorous references to Ambrose's emerging sexuality, so even though some booksellers include this book in the 9-12 age category, parents of younger children may want to wait a bit before introducing this book. It is certainly an appropriate and easy read for middle-school children.

Reviewed by Paulina

Welcome to Our Blog!

Welcome to our new blog! We're looking forward to sharing our book reviews with you. We read all kinds of books and our reviews will probably cover a variety of genres and authors, but in particular, we hope to introduce you to some of our favourite Canadian and young-adult books. We are big fans of the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading programs. In the past few months, Kate has read all the Silver Birch fiction and non-fiction nominees for 2010, and currently, Paulina is working through the adult Evergreen list. We hope to write reviews for some of these and other books we come across.