Young Adult Fiction

MLS Graduate Student's Reading Blog

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Avi The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0380714752

The year is 1832. Mr. Doyle, an American businessman, and his family are transferred from London, England back to America. Thirteen  year old Charlotte Doyle, in order to finish her school year, follows later as the only female passenger aboard the merchantship Seahawk. During her journey, young Charlotte finds friendship and support in places she never dreams of, sees through society's prejudices, find courage to overcome betrayal, strength to prove herself and chooses to make amends for acts of transgression.

Avi recreates an accurate account of a sea passage on the Atlantic in the year 1832. At that time, this trip would take Captain, passenger and crew one to two months on the sea to reach their destination. In a flashback, Charlotte Doyle tells her story in first person narrative. Appropriate dialect is used when each character speaks, identifying the cast level of the characters in the book. Aboard the ship are: a well- mannered Captain Jaggery with a ruthless reputation for brutality, Zachariah, the black ship's cook, who befriends young Charlotte, First Mate Mr. Hollybrass, Second Mate Foley and a "motley" crew of all temperaments. This realistic work of fiction allows the reader to live vicariously through Charlotte. The journey upon the Seahawk has high and low tides, truth, understanding, misunderstanding, surface judgments about others and ends in a surprising conclusion. This is a credible fresh account of a time where invisible "rules" governed behavior, dress, attitude, socialization and class separatism.

Avi includes a number of references at the end of the book. There is a labeled diagram of a merchant ship, an explanation of "Ship's Time", explanation of the crew hierarchy and a ship's chain of command. Charlotte's position and restrictions within society are clearly presented when introducing her as the main character. Class stereotyping is addressed. Avi's main character, Charlotte, goes through a metamorphosis of ideas and behavior to blossom in an unexpected way. This historical fiction is worth the read! The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a fresh account of history. Seeing through Charlotte's eyes can "hook" young readers to this genre.

Images Credited to:


ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 1991 Winner Young Adult Fiction United States
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, 1991 Winner Fiction United States
Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, 1993 Winner Washington
Golden Kite Award, 1991 Award Book Fiction United States
Jefferson Cup Award, 1991 Honor Book United States
John Newbery Medal, 1991 Honor Book United States
Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children's Literature, 1991 Winner United States
Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 1996 Winner Massachusetts
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, 1994 Winner Grades 6-8 Florida
Utah Children's, Informational, and Young Adults' Book Awards, 1994 Winner Young Adult's Book Award Utah

School Library Journal:
“On a long, grueling journey from England to Rhode Island in 1802, a 12-year-old changes from a prim and proper girl to a swashbuckling mate of a mutinous crew and is accused of murder by the captain. Awash with shipboard activity, intense feelings, and a keen sense of time and place, the story is a throwback to good old-fashioned adventure yarns on the high seas . . . . A breathtaking seafaring adventure.”

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1990)
Returning from Britain in 1832 to her family in Rhode Island, 13-year-old Charlotte tangles with a tyrannical sea captain and his mutinous crew. In the book's first half, Charlotte paints a painfully chilling self-portrait of a girl brainwashed by her father into acceptance of male, and class, authority. But after persistently acting as Captain Jaggery's spy--long after the reader knows he's a villain--and even betraying the well-justified mutiny that's brewing, Charlotte makes a heroic turnaround in response to Jaggery's brutal lashing of Zachariah, the ship's cook as well as the wisest person (and only black man) aboard. She wins the crew's forgiveness by climbing to the royal yard (as they've dared her to do) and becomes one of them--only to find that, after such a taste of independence, home is not the safe harbor she imagined. Plucky Charlotte, whose hard-won competence as a sailor is paralleled by her moral growth, survives enough surprising reversals and suspense to rival the adventures of Jim Hawkins. Tautly plotted, vividly narrated, carefully researched: a thrilling tale deepened by its sober look at attitudes that may have been more exaggerated in the past but that still persist. 1990, Orchard/Watts, $14.95; PLB $14.99. Starred Review. © 1990 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Subject Headings from CLCD
  • Mutiny Fiction.
  • Sex role Fiction.
  • Self-perception Fiction
  • Ships Fiction.
  • Sea stories.

Avi Official Website
History behind the book

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Browse search for JStor

Compentency #6
ISAR 5013.20

Browse search for JStor

Search Focus:  Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series

I am looking for articles about the author of the Twilight Series, Stephenie Meyer. My search leads yields on hit.  English Journal boasts and article titled "The 2005 Honor List: A Wealth of Books to Compare".

The article has the words "twilight" highlighted in the second paragraph.

Databases: Successive Fraction Search in WorldCat

Competency #6
ISAR 5013.20

Successive Fraction Search WorldCat

Search Focus: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series

Starting with the word "undead", a broad concept I conduct my first search.

A total of 1,984 results are returned.

Now with this broad search the total number of hits is split into nine categories: books, visual, sound, internet, computer, serials, scores, articles and archival. I am looking for a book. I am going to click on the "add more terms to your search?" and enter qualifiers to lead me to a smaller set of results.

The search is reduced to a total of 14 records ranked by "number of Libraries" I need to make sure that this title is available at TWU. I will add in the qualifier field that allows search within "my library" by entering Texas Woman's University's code. I am directed to OCLC to retrieve the code and find out that TWU's library has the title I am looking for.

Databases: Citation Pearl Search (Snowballing) in BIP

Compentency #6
ISAR 5013.20

Citation Pearl Search (snowballing) with BIP

Search Focus: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series

My Scenario: I am a mother of a teen and she wants to go and see the movie New Moon, based on the book of the same title by Stephenie Meyer. I have a copy of the book in hand and enjoyed the read. I want to find other works by this author. I will enter the ISBN to find the specific title.

The specific record is hit and I see more information like the Author's Name, Publisher and a series title Twilight Saga No. 2. I am going to hit that link. The result of this link is the 25 hits seen below. Expanding further...I am going to look up other work with this particular plot line.

I am choosing to look at Vampires Fiction link and the results returned are much higher.

This results in Snowballing the search to 4,704 results.

Databases: LibLit Building Block Search

Compentency #5
ISAR 5013.20

I formulated a possible search. The success of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series let me to focus on searching about: vampires, good, daylight, and romance, love....etc.  I chose the topic because I am interested in working in a middle school library. This new "vampire Genre" is a huge trend in YA Fiction and many young readers are drawn to it. 

LibLit building block search

I start small with the word vampire. The database returned 59 records. I noticed that the first eight hits had Vampire in the title. Within these results I narrowed the field by adding more facet terms and connected using Boolean operator. I am going to add AND romance NOT Dracula. Results were narrowed to 7 records. But the range is too diverse. Title one is Selling Sex in a Recession by G. Bond is a misleading. This article is about the paranormal genre that has recently become popular with the rise of the Vampire Romeo and his Human Juliet. The title would make many shy away from this retrieval because of the title  even thought the article is applicable to the search.

Finally I will search within Results and come up with one article with a 70% Return score:

Freitas, D. The Next Dead Thing [Bibliographical essay]. Publishers Weekly v. 255 no. 46 (November 17 2008) p. 23-4

The abstract of the article is:
Abstract: Ever since Stephanie Meyer's vampire romances became a hit among teens, children's editors have been taking advantage of the trend for death-related books. That is not to say that every project with a supernatural slant is being green-lighted, however, with every editor aware of the dangers of oversaturation. According to Elise Howard, senior vice president and associate publisher for fiction at HarperCollins, the appetite for these novels is still unsatisfied, but the market is getting more discerning. Howard, editor of Claudia Gray's May 2008 Evernight and the upcoming March 2009 Stargazer, is currently looking beyond vampires to zombies. She believes that the average female Meyer fan is not necessarily going to go for zombie books because with all the exploding body parts, they have a very masculine feel. At Simon Pulse, vampires, zombies, witches, and their paranormal siblings are featured side-by-side on a diverse list.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Actual Size

Picture Book Review
LS 5603.20/Spring 2010
S. Vardell

Jenkins, Steve. Actual Size. Boston: Houghton Mufflin Company, 2004.

How big is a Goliath frog? What about the eye of a giant squid? How small is a pygmy mouse lemur? The answers to these questions and more are included in Steve Jenkin's book Actual Size. This book allows all who read it to compare their size to the "actual" size of some of the interesting animals and insects of our world.

Author Steve Jenkins has taken science to a new "size" for young readers. This beautifully crafted book features eleven different animals. Inside the front flap of the book jacket is a ruler that measures 1'1/4". This ruler furthers the impact of each animal's size. Inside the book, on double page layouts, Mr. Jenkins has created "Actual Size" images of a pygmy shrew, atlas moth, dwarf goby, giant squid, Alaskan brown bear, ostrich, giant anteater, Goliath birdeater tarantula, great white shark, gorilla, pygmy mouse lemur, Siberian tiger, Goliath beetle, Giant walking stick, African elephant and the giant Gippsland earthworm. The contrasting scale of these animals is fun and factual. Along with these beautiful collages and intricate cut paper creations, Mr. Jenkins inserts valuable scientific information relevant to the each subject. This information includes: lengths, wingspans and weights. The most striking part of the book comes on the Crocodile page. This tri-fold page is sure to make an impact on the reader and gives a new meaning of being "up close and personal'. The reverse side of the triptych shows the size of the Goliath Frog in mid leap. Lastly, if the reader desires more information on the animals depicted, author Jenkins includes more detailed information about each of his subjects in the back of his book. He includes additional facts about: habitats, eating habits and locations. Jenkin's research, creative presentation and reputation produce a credible information book. Actual Size is sure to become a classic and a necessary addition to any library's holdings

Images credited to

Arizona Young Readers' Award, 2006 Winner Non-Fiction Arizona
Beehive Award, 2006 Winner Informational Utah
Books of the Year, 2004 Winner Ages 2 to 4 United States
Editors' Choice Top of the List, 2004 Winner Youth Nonfiction United States
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award, 2006 Winner Early-Primary Grades Non-Fiction North Dakota
Garden State Children's Book Award, 2007 Winner Nonfiction New Jersey
Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2007 Honor Book Grade K-1 Michigan
Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, 2005 Honor Book United States

Anita Ganeri (Books for Keeps No. 163, March 2007)
"As its title suggests, this delightful large format book illustrates animals, and parts of animals, both large and small, at Actual Size. So, on the first spread, the reader meets a life-sized atlas moth (the world’s largest moth) with a dwarf goby (the world’s smallest fish) for comparison. On the next pages, we come face to face with a giant squid’s eye, a brown bear’s snout and a giant anteater’s tongue (complete with life-sized termites), among many other delights. With charming, collage-style illustrations, this book are packed with wow! Factor and should appeal to younger and older readers alike..."

Pat Thomson (Carousel 35, spring 2007)
"This is a good-looking, ingenious and helpful book which depicts animals in proper proportion, dispelling often false assumptions. The pygmy shrew sits easily under the title, with plenty of room to spare, a gorilla's single hand fills one page and it takes a double spread plus an extra fold-out page to show just the saltwater crocodile's head and jaws. The back pages give more conventionally presented extra detail about each animal. Adults and children can share their astonishment". Category: Non-Fiction. Frances Lincoln, D9.99.

Steve Jenkins
Steve Jenkins Website

Recommended Readings from Librarything website
What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Robin Page
Biggest, Strongest, Fastest by Steve Jenkins
Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
Maria Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Munoz Ryan
What do You Do When Something Wants To Eat You? by Steve Jenkins

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins

Picture Book Review
LS 5603.20/Spring 2010
S. Vardell

Kerley, Barbara. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins. New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

Who is Waterhouse Hawkins and what did he have to do with dinosaurs? The book The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by David Selznick tells a reader just that. All are familiar with the fossils and skeletal remains of dinosaurs that stand prominently in museums around the world. Yet, how did we come to understand what these extinct animals looked like? This book has the answers as author, Kerley, leads the reader through Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins' life in three stages with insight into his creative mind.

This biographical story combines the talents of author Barbara Kerley and illustrator Brian Selznick. Kerley's text conveys factual information about Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins. It is clear Ms. Kerley did her homework and delivers a credible biographical story. This man, Waterhouse Hawkins, won the praise of the most ardent scientist of his time and the Queen of England. The recreation of the dinner party within the colossal mold of Hawkins's Iguanodon, complete with actual Menu in the bad of the book, serves to attest to this pioneers resourcefulness. Events like this dinner party lead to the dinosaur sculptures that grace the grounds of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London. His project for Central Park in America was thwarted tragically by Boss Tweed's vandals and discontinued. The triumphs and struggles of this ground-breaking mind are shared with the reader and in the end makes even the most ardent "couch potato" want to roll up sleeves and unearth the remains of Hawkins work in Central Park.

Once again the brilliance of Brian Selznick shines through. The illustrations convey the stories period setting. The reader, immersed in the past, begins to appreciate how "ahead of his time" Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins is. Based on the original sketches of Mr. Hawkins, illustrator Selznick recreates images and interprets scenes in this extraordinary mans life. The detail is incredible. At the end of the book there is even a page contrasting the dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins with the "now" interpretations of this extinct species. To lend credibility, the author and illustrator both take a page to account for the resources and references gathered to bring this story to book form. Both Kerley and Selznick strive to accurately portray Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, the events in his life and his dinosaurs.

ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 2002 Winner Non-Fiction United States
American Booksellers Book Sense Book of the Year (ABBY) Award, 2002 Finalist Children's Illustrated United States
Garden State Children's Book Award, 2004 Winner Children's Non-Fiction New Jersey
Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2003 Honor Book Grades 4-5 Michigan
Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, 2002 Honor United States
Randolph Caldecott Medal, 2002 Honor Book United States

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2001 (Vol. 69, No. 13)
who could resist? Staring straight out from the handsome album-like cover is a slight man with a shock of white hair and an intense, intelligent gaze. Over his shoulder looms the enormous mouth of a dinosaur. This is perfectly designed to pique reader's curiosity with one of the strangest true stories dinosaur lovers will ever read. The man is Waterhouse Hawkins, who, in Victorian England, devoted his life to making ordinary people aware of dinosaurs at a time when most had never heard of them and could not imagine what they looked like....

Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2001 (Vol. 55, No. 2))
Hawkins, a British artist who combined scientific observation with sculptorly imagination to create the earliest full-scale dinosaur reconstructions, receives fanciful biographical treatment in three “ages” (chapters), corresponding to stages in his career. Kerley focuses on his commissions in England and the United States and on the destruction of his models--doubtless at the orders of New York’s infamous Boss Tweed. Although there is much intrinsic interest in this aspect of Hawkins’ story, dinophiles are here to see how Hawkins’ interpolations stand the test of subsequent scholarship, and this juicy topic gets short shrift

Images Credited to:
Waterhouse Hawkins' concept drawing for the would Paleozoic Museum, featuring extinct
          American Fauna (including Hadrosaurus, Laelap
          [today known as Dryptosaurus] and Mosasaurus
 Barbara Kerley's Official Website

Barbara Kerley'sWebsite
Scholastic Interview with Brian Selznick

Related topics from CLCD
Hawkins, B. Waterhouse (Benjamin Waterhouse), 1807-1889 Juvenile literature.
Hawkins, B. Waterhouse (Benjamin Waterhouse), 1807-1889.
Dinosaurs--Models--History--19th century Juvenile literature.
Modelmakers--Great Britain Biography Juvenile literature.

Dinosaur Study

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hitler Youth: Growing Up In Hitler's Shadow

Picture Book Review
LS 5603.20/Spring 2010
S. Vardell


Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hiter's Shadow. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-439-35379-3

Germany 1926, Adolph Hitler officially created the Hitlerjugend, the Hitler Youth. Hitler has been quoted to say, "I begin with the young, we older ones are used up...but my magnificent youngsters!" This is the story "about the children and teenagers who followed Hitler and the National Socialist Party during the years 1933 to 1945" (Bartoletti 2005). This is the story of twelve German boys and girls.


It is clear that author Susan Campbell Bartoletti spent countless hours researching factual information, written records, photographs past and present and seeking the personal accounts for her book, Hitler Youth: Growing Up In Hitler's Shadow. Following the table of contents Bartoletti engages the reader with a two page layout that gives brief biographies about "The Young People In this Book". Chronologically unfolding, this text takes the reader on an uncomfortable journey. Bartoletti uses straight forward language to tell these personal observations and accounts. This straight forward approach treats the reader and the subjects with respect and doesn't minimalize the tragedy experienced. Bartoletti includes an Epilogue telling "What became of the young people in this book". Following the Epilogue is a "Timeline of the Hitler Youth" as well as an "Author's Note". She continues to add credibility by adding a section "About the Photographs". Susan Campbell Bartoletti's documentation is meticulous. Time is taken to "Quote Sources" within the story and the text ends with an exstensive Bibliography, Acknowledgments and detailed Index. As a result, Hitler Youth: Born in Hitler's Shadow is a valuable award winning resource that will add diversity and conversation to any who study or seek information about the era in our history that is World War II.

Carolyn W. Field Award, 2006 Winner United States
John Newbery Medal, 2006 Honor Book United States
Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, 2005 Honor United States
Parents' Choice Award, 2005 Gold Non-Fiction United States
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, 2006 Honor Book United States
Top of the List: Editors' Choice, 2005 Winner Youth Nonfiction United States

From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5-8–Hitler's plans for the future of Germany relied significantly on its young people, and this excellent history shows how he attempted to carry out his mission with the establishment of the Hitler Youth, or Hitlerjugend, in 1926. With a focus on the years between 1933 and the end of the war in 1945, Bartoletti explains the roles that millions of boys and girls unwittingly played in the horrors of the Third Reich.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. What was it like to be a teenager in Germany under Hitler? Bartoletti draws on oral histories, diaries, letters, and her own extensive interviews with Holocaust survivors, Hitler Youth, resisters, and bystanders to tell the history from the viewpoints of people who were there. Most of the accounts and photos bring close the experiences of those who followed Hitler and fought for the Nazis, revealing why they joined, how Hitler used them, what it was like. Henry Mentelmann, for example, talks about Kristallnacht, when Hitler Youth and Storm Troopers wrecked Jewish homes and stores, and remembers thinking that the victims deserved what they got. The stirring photos tell more of the story. One particularly moving picture shows young Germans undergoing de-Nazification by watching images of people in the camps. The handsome book design, with black-and-white historical photos on every double-page spread, will draw in readers and help spark deep discussion, which will extend beyond the Holocaust curriculum. The extensive back matter is a part of the gripping narrative. Hazel Rochman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Photos credited to:  Susan Campbell Bartoletti Official Website

The work of Susan Campbell Bartoletti
World War II

Additional Titles:
The boy who dared
2008 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Scholastic Press, New York : U.S.A [Fic] [PZ7.B2844 Boy 2008 ]
Daniel half human : and the good Nazi
2004 David Chotjewitz ; translated by Doris Orgel. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York : U.S.A [Fic] [PZ7.C446355 Dan 2004 ]
Children of the swastika : the Hitler Youth
1993 Eileen Heyes. Millbrook Press, Brookfield, Conn. : U.S.A [324.243/038] [DD253.5 .H48 1993 ]
Soldier boys
2001 Dean Hughes. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York : U.S.A [Fic] [PZ7.H87312 So 2001 ] Lexile: 0790

Related topics from CLCD
Hitler-Jugend Juvenile literature.
National socialism and youth Juvenile literature.
Jewish youth--Germany--History--20th century Juvenile literature.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Germany Juvenile literature.
Jewish children in the Holocaust Juvenile literature.

This documentary by Guido Knopp and the ZDF Contemporary History Department is the first comprehensive film portrayal of the young people in the Third Reich. Above is part 1 of 5 provided by Youtube.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The future of reading....texting??

ISAR 5013.20
Competency #7
Yahoo Search

Images credited to Education Cartoons for Teachers by Randy Glasbergen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Book Review
Module 3

Florian, Douglas. Dinothesaurus. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing Division, 2009. ISBN 9781416979784

Douglas Florian creates a book of "prehistoric poems and paintings". His anthology contains twenty-three dino-themed verses. Mr. Florian cleverly constructs poems that are entertaining, as well as instructional.

The poetic formula is arranged with the consistency of altering rhyming lines. Each poem is to be experienced while learning will come from the whole. Scientific terms and dinosaur names are incorporated and lend credibility to the information relayed. Among my favorite is the first poem title the Age of Dinosaurs where Mr. Florian includes each of the periods of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. The majority of the poems are based on individual types of dinosaurs. Among the species included are: Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Plesiosaurs, Seismasaurus, Baryonyx, Tyrannosaurus rex, Iguanodon, Triceratops, Ankylasaurus, and Barosairis. Deinanychus, Stegaceras, Micropachycephalosaurus, Troadon, Pterosaurs, Minmi and Spinosaurus. He concludes his collection with the poem "End of the Dinosaurs" and follows with a "Glossarysaurus" and references for dinosaur museums, fossil sites and finally a bibliography with further reading suggestions.

 Mr. Florian is responsible for the illustrations filling this book of poetry. The pictures are all combinations of multimedia. Mr. Florian uses pastels, paper cutting, collage with copied images and newspaper clippings, paint, colored pencil, watercolor and ink wash. The childlike "prehistoric" style of each illustration, not only compliments the subjects of each poem, is intriguing and displays a fresh interpretation of the extinct species.

Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award, 2010; Nominee
Gillian Engberg (Booklist, Mar. 1, 2009 (Vol. 105, No. 13))

Starred Review* Florian, whose previous picture-book poetry collections have covered the animal kingdom, from dogs and cats to lizards and pollywogs, takes a few evolutionary steps back in this exuberant verse roundup of prehistoric creatures.

 Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2009 (Vol. 77, No. 2))
In the fine tradition of Jack Prelutsky's Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, illustrated by Arnold Lobel (1988), a set of dinophile-pleasing verses penned by a poet with a rare knack for wordplay and silly rhymes finds apt visual setting fronting playful images of monsters rearing up from extinction to grin toothily at young viewers.

Art: Collage/ Mixed Media art of Romare Bearden (1914 - 1988)
Romare Bearden Foundation
Romare Bearden Lesson Ideas

Dinosaur thematic units

Literature: Other works by Douglas Florian
Lesson Plans site: A to Z teacher stuff
Information Resource: Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

Mr. Florian reading poetry from Dinothesaurus. Additional links appearing under the finished video are the property of those who posted their video on Youtube. I have not followed all links. User discretion is advised when veiwing any unknown links.

Images credited to Romare Bearden's Homepage and  Art of Romare Bearden: A resource for Teachers. Video provided by Simon & Shuster via Youtube.

What my mother doesn't know

Poetry Review
LS 5603.20/Spring 2010
S. Vardell

Sones, Sonya. what my mother doesn't know. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Adolescence, coming of age, immaturity to maturity is an experience we will go through or have already weathered. All teens have the experience in common, but each has to make the emotionally exhausting journey alone. Sophia is no different.

Reading what my mother doesn't know by Sonya Sones shares Sophia's personal journey of growing up including emotive new feelings, physical desires, changes of course and the possible discovery of "true" love. This free verse story is a mirror into Sophie's mind. Conversational language and current vocabulary create a very relevant reading experience. Sophie is a "cyber-savvy" teen navigating the internet and her hormones at the same time. Ms. Sones creates a very three dimensional Sophie. Using strong imagery and description the reader becomes immersed in Sophie's world. The ups and downs of Sophie's life relate to readers of any age. Another interesting element that Ms. Sones, the artist, adds to this verse novel starts on page 231. Between the pages 231-259, in the lower right hand corner, resides a charming "flip art" image. This sympathetic character wades through her confusion and ultimately chooses her own end. This book is a great read for young adults immersed in seeking the first loves of their lives. This is a difficult, confusing time of life and knowing you are not alone can ease that adolescent angst.

Iowa Teen Award 2006
Soaring Eagle Book Award, 2004

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2002)
At almost 15, Sophie is trying to make sense of her intense emotions, unreliable hormones, and ever-changing feelings. A novel told through a series of prose poems speaks in Sophie's lively, gut-level honest voice. Her confusion as the rapture she once felt just thinking about her boyfriend Dylan cools to ambivalence, and then to irritation, is refreshingly realistic.

Melissa J. Rickey (Children's Literature)
... The highs and lows of Sophie's life reflect much of the excitement and anguish that mark adolescence--maintaining and developing new friendships; experiencing first love; despairing of parents in the midst of marital strife and personal transitions; and facing down religious bigotry and collective scape-goating. Sophie negotiates all of these life-events with honesty, openness and humor as she reconstructs her identity and learns to trust her own perspective.

Animated Flip Book Resources: Flip Book Ideas

Interesting take on the traditional flip book.  Additional links appearing under the finished video are the property of those who posted their video on Youtube.  I have not followed all links.  User discretion is advised when veiwing any unknown links.

Literature Connections:
Sonya Sones Official website
Other Books by Sonya Sones:
Make connection with Nikki Grimes' jazmin's notebook and other coming of age books featuring girls from different bacgrounds and cultures.

Images credited to Sonia Sones official website.  Video from Youtube.

jazmin's notebook

Poetry Review
LS 5603.20/Spring 2010
S. Vardell

Grimes, Nikki. jazmin's notebook. New York, New York: Puffin Books , 1998. ISBN 0803722249

PLOT SUMMARY: Jazmin is a young black girl growing up in a tough neighborhood and dealing with an absentee mother. Her only solace is her poetry and recording her thoughts on the stoop of the apartment she and her sister share.

jazmin's notebook is a free verse novel by Nikki Grimes. With a poem introducing each chapter, this novel features a "young afro-american teenager" expressing her opinion through her notebook (Dean Wilder, A.J. Boggs and Company 1999). Readers get an internal view of Jazmin's life and the inspirations for her poetry. A strong fleshed out character, Jazmin has a mind of her own and a will to succeed despite the setbacks of her earlier years. Nikki Grimes gives her young character determination and vision. Rooting for Jazmin becomes a joy and the reader will be actively cheer for the heroin until the end. This verse novel can inspire anyone to work hard and achieve their dream. The reader is left with a clear picture and hope for Jazmin's future.

Coretta Scott King Book Award, 1999 Honor Book United States

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1998)
Jazmin is a bright, introspective 14 year old growing up in Harlem in the early 1960s who faces the harsh realities of her world with a poet's heart and soul. Living with her competent older sister who's little more than a teenager herself, Jazmin looks at the world with an endearing mixture of realism and optimism, which she expresses in a poem at the opening of each first-person chapter.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1998)
There's a poetic soul taking notes up on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City, and her name is Jazmin Shelby, the star witness to the hard lives and high hopes in a novel from Grimes (Come Sunday, 1996, etc.).

Link to Coretta Scott King curricular resources at

CLCD 's Nikki Grimes titles

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database additional search results for subject African Americans Juvenile Fiction
Nikki Grimes Official Website

Images credited to and Official Site of Nikki Grimes