Summary: Eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Hunger Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He mentors the female tribute from District 12. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Mrs. Lopez's Take: If you enjoyed the Hunger Games series you are sure to enjoy this prequel. This story reveals how Snow came to be the ruthless leader of Panem. With the same amount of exciting twists and turns as the other books in the series, this book does not disappoint.
Summary: Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America.
Mrs. Lopez's Take: The author writes from personal experience which gives this story an authentic perspective. It makes you think about the experience of an immigrant to our country and how we can do better welcoming them. It is written in poem format. That with its beautiful language, makes for a quick read.
Summary: When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season. After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant -- and possibly win?
Mrs. Lopez's Take:: This book was a thought provoking story about identity and understanding prejudices by changing perspective. This was an interesting story of a developing friendship, with interesting characters. However, I do think it oversimplified the idea of overcoming prejudice by just scratching the surface of the issue.
Summary: Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger has attended 247 funerals. But that's not surprising, considering that her family runs the town funeral home. And even though Great-uncle Edisto keeled over with a heart attack and Great-great-aunt Florentine dropped dead--just like that--six months later, Comfort knows how to deal with loss, or so she thinks. She's more concerned with avoiding her crazy cousin Peach and trying to figure out why her best friend, Declaration, suddenly won't talk to her. Life is full of surprises. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.
Mrs. Lopez's Take: This is a beautiful story with a fantastic main character that you cannot help but fall in love with. Comfort has a very witty take on life and the events around her. I found myself laughing at loud at some parts of the story.. Be warned! I sobbed like a baby and needed to take a break from the book at one point. I'm not a fan of books that make me sob, but because the rest of the book was so wonderful and well written, it was worth the twisting my heart and my stomach painfully.
Summary: More than 60 years have not dated this wonderfully absurd tale--it still makes kids (and parents) laugh out loud. Poor Mr. Popper isn't exactly unhappy; he just wishes he had seen something of the world before meeting Mrs. Popper and settling down. Most of all, he wishes he had seen the Poles, and spends his spare time between house-painting jobs reading all about polar explorations. Admiral Drake, in response to Mr. Popper's fan letter, sends him a penguin; life at 432 Proudfoot Avenue is never the same again. From one penguin living in the icebox, the Popper family grows to include 12 penguins, all of whom must be fed. Thus is born "Popper's Performing Penguins, First Time on Any Stage, Direct from the South Pole." Their adventures while on tour are hilarious, with numerous slapstick moments as the penguins disrupt other acts and invade hotels. Classic chapter-a-night fun
Mrs. Lopez's Take: This is a timeless, fun and funny story you are sure to enjoy. A must read!
5-Word Booktalk: Children smuggle gold away from Nazis.
Themes: History, Perspective, Courage, Patriotism
In the bleak winter of 1940, Nazi troops parachuted into Peter Lundstrom's tiny Norwegian village and held it captive. Nobody thought the Nazis could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children could fool the enemy. It was a dangerous plan. They had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds. It meant risking their country's treasure—and their lives. This classic story of how a group of children outwitted the Nazis and sent the treasure to America has captivated generations of readers.
Mrs. Lopez's Take: With a World War II setting, this story has no choice but to be exciting. This story is based on true events which makes this book an interesting read.
Summary: Chase's memory just went out the window. Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head.He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is--it's a question of who he was . . . and who he's going to be. From the #1 bestselling author of Swindle and Slacker, Restart is the spectacular story of a kid with a messy past who has to figure out what it means to get a clean start.
Mrs. Lopez's Take: This story provokes the question "Can you restart your life?" You are forced to examine your own life and how you affect the people around you. For that reason alone, I thought this was a great book!
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