April 2007 Archives

I think someone at a conference recommended this book.  Whoever it was I'm grateful.  So Far From the Bamboo Grove rates "Excellent" on my list.  It all felt so real.  The story made me feel pain for what 11 year old Yoko had to go through, yet felt honest because she shares the times she whined.  It taught me about a situation I wasn't previously familiar with--when the Japanese living in Korea in 1945 had to leave their homes and return to Japan. 

Originally published in 1986, the book was reprinted by HarperCollins in 1994 and is still for sale.  Anyone wanting to understand the bigger picture of WW2 should read this book!  Yoko Kawshima Watkins also wrote a sequel called My Brother, My Sister, and I.

Murder Mystery, yet so much more - Perfect Shot

Brian uses basketball to block his memories of the murder of his girlfriend.  But then he receives a school assignment to study the justice system in relationship to a girl's murder in 1913.  What if his memory of the jogger he saw is like the evidence not presented in the historical case?  What if Amanda's father will go to jail wrongly accused like Leo Frank did?  But justice will prevail, right?  He told the police about the jogger.  His father says to stay out of it.  But then his father also says to stay out of it when his best friend is arrested for being a black kid in a white part of the city and Brian knows that's not right.  So what is he to do?

This book by Elaine Marie Alphin is very compelling.  I thought I'd read just a bit before bed, but then two hours later I'm still up reading and must reach the end.  The Perfect Shot (Carolrhoda, 2005) could not have been titled anything else, which you'll see when you read it yourself. 

I already was looking forward to Elaine speaking at the Kansas SCBWI conference in June (http://kansas.scbwi.org/), as I've been helped by many of her articles in Children's Writer in the past, and I really like her book Counterfeit Son, but now I almost feel in awe that Elaine Marie Alphin is coming to our conference!  I hope to learn a lot from her.

Here's her website:  http://www.elainemariealphin.com/

My recommendation on this book is only start it when you have a lot of time to read. Because, if you're like me, all thoughts of what you're supposed to be doing will get shoved aside by the desire to know what happens in the story. None of my "I'll stop at the end of a chapter" thoughts stood a chance. Eventually I just gave in and read to the end of the book.

Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005) by Stephenie Meyer puts you right in the midst of Bella's dilemma and then goes back to the beginning of how she got there. Along with Bella--as long as you don't read the give-away on the back of the book*--you're discovering who or what Edward and his family are. It's a story of unbelievable things being believable. Of love, trust and sacrifice.

If you like unusual, I'd say this is a must read. Then, of course, you'll want to read the sequels. New Moon came out in 2006. (My husband has reserved it at the library for us.) The third book , Eclipse, comes out in August 2007. Read more at http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/

*"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once." -Stephen King, novelist