Number the Stars by Lois Lowry [Book Review]

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I read a paperback copy that I own. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: N/A
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: February 9, 1998

Plot

Number the Stars is a historical fiction tale that tells the story of Annemarie living in Copenhagen in 1943, during World War II. She’s ten-years-old, trying to be brave and understand what’s going on in the world in terms of the war and Nazis standing on every street corner. Her best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. This is the story of Annemarie and her family standing up for what they believe in.

I read this book in elementary school and recently the fifth grader I babysit had to read it for school. I re-read it on my own as a refresher. This book opened many discussions between us, especially in light of what’s happening in the world today.

Characters

The characters are based on the author’s friend’s story, leaving this a historical fiction novel. The main characters are aged ten. Annemarie and Ellen do their best to continue living their lives as normal kids but, of course, the war has other plans. I thought the two characters were well-done and had the minds of children, even in dark times.

The adults were just as well done. They handled what was happening around them with poise and only told the kids what they thought they needed to hear, but not necessarily sugar-coating the situation. They were well thought-out, over all.

Writing Style

This is a short book being under 150 pages. It’s meant for a younger audience and I think Lois Lowry hits the nail on the head. Number the Stars depicts a perfect picture of what living in World War II was like all the while keeping the information relevant and simple to understand for the readers.

As I said, this book opened a lot of heavy discussions between myself and my 11-year-old. We were able to have an honest discussion with one another without delving too deep into the heavy stuff. It was age-appropriate but he certainly understands what happened in that dark time. (In fact, he taught me some things!)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is a must-read by all. It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book is a wonderful representation of that tragic time in history.

5

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Guts by Raina Telgemeier [Book Review]

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I borrowed a paperback copy from the kids I babysit. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier | RachelPoli.com

Title: Guts
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Middle Grade

Series: Smile, #3
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Plot

Guts is about a middle-schooler who ends up with stomach issues. She doesn’t know why and it begins to take a toll on her physically and mentally. Not to mention she’s dealing with everyday middle-school drama: mean girls at school, best friend drama, homework, no privacy at home, etc.

I didn’t realize how relatable this book would be until I started reading it. Raina, the protagonist, has anxiety over food and others getting sick. As someone who has anxiety (and gets it worse about germs due to COVID) this book was exactly what I needed to read.

The overall plot was well done showing us how and when Rain began to have her troubles and carries us through as she overcomes them. It captures the teenage girl in a realistic light among life, school, fears, and growing up in general.

Characters

The characters were the best part, I think. Raina is the protagonist but she’s also the author as Guts is a memoir as well. Where were these books when I was growing up? I don’t know.

But the characters are well-done in the sense that you can relate to their middle-school issues. I also related to Raina’s parents as they did their best to be supportive and help Raina through her troubling times.

Writing Style

Being a graphic novel, this story is told through dialogue, minimal description, and lots of pretty pictures. The author’s art style is cool and makes it easier for young kids to read and comprehend. The overall topic of the story isn’t too heavy, despite it being about mental health. But mental health is something we need to normalize and this book captures it perfectly, showing kids they’re not alone when they feel this way.

Guts by Raina Telgemeier

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Guts by Raina Telgemeier is a quick read and a book everyone should read at some point. It’s certainly an eye-opener for young kids that’s informative and entertaining at the same time.

5

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Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria by J.M. Bergen [Book Review]

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I was given a free ARC of this book from the author’s publicist at Book Publicity Services. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Title: Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria
Author: J.M. Bergen
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Series: The Elandrian Chronicles, book 2
Publisher: Elandrian Press
Publication Date: May 20, 2020

Plot

Book two takes place three months after the events of book one. Thomas and his friends seem to believe the battle is over though more dangers await them.

The plot was well done since it picks up where the previous book left off. The story was already established with new ideas put into place. This was another fun adventure.

Characters

Most of the characters were already introduced in the first book. We get to know them a little more in this one but it’s refreshing to see them again. The kids are the lot of fun to follow in this story. They’re serious when they need to be but their kid-antics and mannerisms still come out here and there and it’s realistic.

Writing Style

Even though this book is classified as middle grade, I think it’s a fun read for all ages. The writing style isn’t “too young” yet it’s not complicated for a younger audience.

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria is a great sequel to a unique series. I’m looking forward to book three.

5

Favorite Quote

“Dying would be a terribly ineffective way to save the world.”

J.M. Bergen, Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria

About The Author

J.M.’s debut fantasy/magic series originally started as a bedtime story for his oldest son. The story turned into a saga, and one book turned into five.

When J.M. isn’t working on the Thomas Wildus books, you can find him playing with his kids, napping, or dreaming up new adventures.

If you ever meet him and can’t think of anything to talk about, you might ask about Herman the Shark, the Kai and Eli stories, or why Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip is his all-time favorite book. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll have questions and stories of your own (if you do, he’ll think that’s far more interesting).

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I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 5
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 1, 2012

Summary – I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

Ten-year-old Leo loves being a newsboy in San Francisco — not only does he get to make some money to help his family, he’s free to explore the amazing, hilly city as it changes and grows with the new century. Horse-drawn carriages share the streets with shiny new automobiles, new businesses and families move in every day from everywhere, and anything seems possible.

But early one spring morning, everything changes. Leo’s world is shaken — literally — and he finds himself stranded in the middle of San Francisco as it crumbles and burns to the ground. Does Leo have what it takes to survive this devastating disaster?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and I’m going down the line.

Book Cover

The cover is “realistic” enough in the sense that shows the heart of what the story is about – right in the middle of the natural disaster.

Plot

Leo goes about his normal life, selling newspapers and occasionally getting beaten up by some local bullies. He treasures his father’s piece of real gold that was passed down from his father’s father.

Then the earthquake happens and the fire spreads. Leo and his friend stick together in order to survive and possibly get out of the city – but there’s really nowhere to go. The journey they go on for those few hours is a great one of determination and survival that no one should ever have to go through. It was an interesting read.

Characters

Leo and his friend Morris were great characters to read about through this tragedy. They even help the two bullies out when they were in trouble and even become friends with one of them. It was great character development for all of them throughout.

Writing Style

As always, this book was a quick and easy read. There was just enough information about the natural disaster, but it wasn’t thrown into your face.

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great, informative read. Even though it’s a big young, anyone can read it and get something out of it.

3.3

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I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 4
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 1, 2011

Summary – I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor, 1941

History’s most terrifying moments are brought vividly to life in the action-packed fictional I SURVIVED series! Do you have what it takes to survive … the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

Eleven-year-old Danny Crane is alone on his favorite beach in Hawaii when the world is torn apart and World War II officially hits the United States. Does he have what it takes to find his way home in the midst of the bombs, the smoke, and the destruction of the day that will live in infamy?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and decided to continue them.

Book Cover

The cover says a lot of what the book is about and set it right at the climax of the story.

Plot

Danny and his mother move to Pearl City, Hawaii from New York City. She’s a nurse on the island and Danny isn’t too thrilled to be there. When she leaves for work, he’s torn with the idea of running away back to New York, but he doesn’t want to hurt his mother. Then the attacks happen.

Like the other books in this series, the plot is well-executed and the fictional character is always set up to be brave and help out in any way during the disaster. It was certainly an interesting read.

Characters

I liked all the characters in this one. Danny was a great protagonist and he was great with all the other characters. The supporting characters such as Mack and Mrs. Sudo were helpful and had a purpose throughout the story as well.

Writing Style

Like the rest of the series, this is a quick and easy read. There’s a lot of information about the bombing of Pearl Harbor in this one, including facts, resources, and other information in the back of the book. It’s certainly a good read.

I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This was a great read and, in my opinion, the best so far in this series. It’s worth a read to learn more about this tragic event.

4.3

Favorite Quote

“You’d have to be crazy not to be scared, with what was happening in the world, with America at war with both Japan and Germany now.”

Lauren Tarshis, I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (I Survived 4)

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