Monday, February 7, 2011

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead is a "Wrinkle in Time" type middle grade novel. It's set in New York City in the 1970s. A girl named Miranda finds herself in the middle of a mystery after her friend gets punch, her apartment key gets stolen, and strange notes, written to her, start arriving. The author of the notes knows specific things about Miranda that no stranger should know. Miranda is scared, but she tries to get to the bottom of the mystery on her own.

This book is great! It won the Newberry Award in 2009. I read the first chapter over again after I finished the last chapter because all the answers were planted there for the reader at the very start. I love books like that. A Wrinkle in Time, one of my all-time-favorite books, is cleverly sewn throughout the plot. I loved it.

I recommend this book and A Wrinkle in Time for fourth -sixth grade students.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Seventeen Second Miracle

The Seventeen Second Miracle, by Jason F. Wright, is about a tragedy that turns into a beautiful lifetime of service to others. The story is told by Cole Conner. He is the son of Rex Conner, who felt responsible for the accidental drowning of his girlfriend's younger sister. Rex's escape window out of the dark year that followed the drowning was to do at least one small act of kindness for someone each day or perform a "seventeen second miracle." The impact on Rex, his girlfriend and future wife, his son, his son's wife, and countless friends and strangers is profound. Rex and his family proved to themselves and those around them that a miracle can be performed in as little time as seventeen seconds.

The book had me crying out of sympathy and sometimes joy. Serving others is a beautiful thing. This book was an inspiration.

This book is categorized as an adult book, but many of the characters are teenagers. I recommend this book to YA readers. Two great and lasting life lessons can be taught through this book, forgiveness and love.