May 10th, 2010- Apple Island or The Truth About Teachers

I finished reading a book a few weeks ago called "Apple Island or The Truth About Teachers" by Douglas Evans. Throughout this book, I felt a bit mad that the teachers on Apple Island wanted to spread 'Operation Misteach' all over the world. That is, by teaching students around the world the wrong facts- basically making the world dumb. This is the stupidest I have ever heard of. Firstly, why bother even trying to do that? It's pointless. According to what I just said, I didn't think that the author had a very good plot. Some parts of the book were repetitive which made the story 'stuck' and boring. I also felt happy for Bradley because he was brave and courage's to save his class from becoming 'crabby'. I don't think this was a just right book for me because it was easy- it didn't have any challenging words. People do many brave things like Bradley does in the book. That connection helped me understand the conflict better.

Bradley changes from the beginning to the end of the story by his attitude. He is very frustrated with school and teachers in the beginning of the book but saves good teachers at the end. He becomes happier and not so moody at the end of the book.

The problem of the story gets solved by Bradley saving all the good prisoners on Apple Island and by him saving people from becoming 'dumb'.

Reading Response- April 22nd, 2010

I have recently finished reading a book called The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie. This book was very interesting because this author actually was an ordinary skinny Spokane Indian boy living in the rez (reservation) and he writes about his personal life experiences and created it into a book. Junior was just an ordinary boy living in the rez and then moving into an all-white school for a better education. Although he is picked, teased, issued with serious medical problems and is considered a traitor to the tribe, he is determined to go to Reardan-the all-white school- and in the school, finds a strength inside him that he never knew about. He auditions for the basketball team and surprisingly gets in because the coach believes in him. In a basketball season, Junior then has to face the rez team which looks so betrayed, in the contrary, throwing stones at Junior. This book made me feel happy when Junior found his victory after going through a lot of pain and sad when he was teased and vomited with his disease of cerebral spinal fluid inside his skull. I can relate to him because I've remembered times when I felt like nobody liked me at all. I admit, I wasn't as brave as Junior or Arnold Spirit (his Reardan name) through times such as these, but I could sense the feelings he was having which helped me understand the book. I think this was a just right book because I could feel what Junior was feeling with my experiences and I could understand the plot perfectly.

I think the two most influential characters are Junior and Rowdy, Juniors best friend. Junior is a skinny, uncool guy and Rowdy is a tough, hardcore kind of guy. Even though their differences, they were still best friends. A punch in the face was a sign of love to them. They were different kind of people but had a feeling deep in their gut's which made the best of friends. In the beginning of the story, Junior as I said is the nerdy guy trying to join the basketball team in Reardan (yeah, right!). Towards the end, he proves himself to be brave, best player in the basketball team but most of all, just wants to be good ol' pals with Rowdy again who hates him too ever since he left the rez. It's amazing to read how different the Indians and the American's were. The Spokane tribe was a crazy half drunken tribe and attending at least 42 funerals in an entire 13 years was no big thing. Yes they were crazy, but they had love. A love they had for each other in the tribe. They show it very differently and they're proud of it. Rowdy changed because in the beginning he was tough and a bit mean, typical Rowdy, but at the end of the book he forgave Junior which was a major event.

The problem of the story is solved by Rowdy and Junior becoming best buds again. Also Junior forgets about her sister dying in an accident in another country. He was proud to be an "explorer of the world"- going to Reardan and facing all the challenges. In truth, I really don't know what I would change about the book because everything fits in nicely. Even though this is pretty minor, I would not include the smart and intelligent guy in Reardan as Junior's friend because he didn't act as any major character in the book and wouldn't have made a difference if he wasn't included in the book.

When I closed the book, I didn't feel worried or scared for Junior, I felt proud for what decisions and choices he had made.

Freedom Crossing- March 10,2010

Yesterday, I finished reading a Civil War book called Freedom Crossing by Margaret Goff Clark. This book made me feel so emotional because slaves were treated so badly. This book really grabbed my attention because it was very interesting. I can connect with Laura (the main character of the book) because she had to take a really big risk and if something went wrong, they could end up in illegal trouble with the police. Well, I haven't made that much of trouble, but Laura did it for the good. Sometimes, even without people knowing that I'm doing something good I get in trouble because I'm doing it for the good- I hope I make sense. I think this is a just right book for me because I could comprehend what was being mentioned in the book and also I was really into it. There were a few challenging words but not many which made me able to read the book fluently.

Laura changed the most in the story. Before Martin (young boy slave-12) was helped by Joel Todd and Laura's brother into her house, Laura was pretty much against slaves because her aunt and uncle hated slaves so she disliked-not hated- but disliked black people. At the end of the story, she ends up helping Martin to escape to Tryon's Folley a house that is part of the Underground Railroad because of how she slowly feels really bad for Martin and other slaves. Some of the things that helped change Laura's mind were: Reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which really moved her; her brother persuading her to help Martin escape and last but not least, inside, she knew it was the right thing to do.

The problem of the story was resolved by faith and trust. Joel Todd had sent her a note giving hints that slaves were in Tryon's Folly- this was the note.

March 2, 2010- 38 Weeks till Summer Vacation

I have just finished reading our literature circle book called 38 Weeks Till Summer Vacation by Mona Kerby. I can relate to this book a lot because I'm in 5th grade and this takes place in 4th grade. In the beginning of this book, Nora Jean Sampson (main character) couldn't wait till 4th grade was over because of this bully named Jimmy Lee. Well, I'm the total opposite- I feel really excited and can't can't wait till the school year is over. We all deal with bullies so I know how Nora Jean felt when she was being bullied about her being so thin (not to mention, like a stick!). A lot of things in the book could make sense to me since we are only 1 year apart. This helped me comprehend what I was reading. I don't think this was a "Just Right" book for me because I found it fairly easy to read. Even my lit circle group thought it was very easy and wanted a book a little tougher. I want the next lit circle book I read to be a little bit more challenging because I kind of felt like I was reading a book WAY to easy to read. It was a nice book to read but it didn't have much description and I'm the type of person who likes to read books with lots of description.

The main people who changed were Jimmy Lee and Nora Jean. Like I said, In the beginning of the book, Nora Jean wanted the year to end as quickly as possible. At the end though, she enjoyed being in 4th grade and felt the opposite of what she felt at the beginning of the year. She also changed because she had a BFF (best friend forever) and a BF (best friend). She thought she was "best friends" with Thomasina- A very pretty girl who never ever got teased, she was also very popular. Thomasina was a little bossy but nevertheless, Nora Jean admired her. Nora Jeans best friend was Rosalie Chester who was always nice to her and everyone else. She was fat though that's why she got teased by Jimmy Lee. At the end of the book when Thomasina says "Help me carry my things. You can come back for your stuff later" Nora Jean said, "Do it yourself, Thomasina. I'm busy." Which just shows that she didn't care for Thomasina anymore. She also started liking school because Jimmy Lee was being nice to her and saved her life when she choked on pizza. Speaking of pizza, Jimmy Lee changed. As I told you, he used to be very mean and tease many people, but when his class had a pizza party and Nora Jean choked on her pizza, Jimmy Lee saved her life by pushing her stomach in and doing some precedure he saw in a magazine. He started being nice to everyone after that. But how did he suddenly become nice? That I don't know. It's a good question though.

The problem of the story was that Jimmy Lee kept making fun of Nora Jean and sometimes Rosalie and stole things from Nora Jean. She wanted to get back at him for all the mean things he had done to Rosalie and her. It got resolved by the pizza party (in the library) when Nora Jean choked and Jimmy Lee saved her and became nice to her. She was nice to him as well. I have a prediction: maybe Jimmy Lee had earlier problems in life which made him become a bully only because he felt bad for himself. I'm glad everything worked out between Nora Jean and Jimmy Lee at the end though. I think the authors message is to not bully others but just have fun.