In 1887, Annie Sullivan leaves Boston by train to travel to Alabama. Annie is a teacher on her way to her first teaching assignment, but it isn’t just any student Annie will be teaching. The child Annie has been hired to teach is both deaf and blind and no one knows whether the little girl named Helen will ever be able to learn. Annie discovers her new student to be stubborn, uncooperative and violent – she even knocks Annie’s teeth out! But really, who can blame her? How frustrating would it be to be stuck in a silent and dark world? Helen doesn’t know how to ask for things or tell someone if she doesn’t feel good. Lucky for Helen, Annie isn’t any pushover – that’s how she got the knickname “Miss Spitfire.” Annie doesn’t give up. Helen doesn’t give up. A miracle happens.
Based on the true life of the very real Helen Keller. Annie Sullivan did what most people thought would be impossible, she taught Helen to read and write and speak. Helen Keller graduated from college and became a lecturer and champion for the causes of blind and deaf people everwhere. If you like this story, told from Annie’s perspective, you might also like reading the real story from Helen’s point of view. Helen wrote an autobiography about herself, The Story of My Life: Helen Keller. Annie and Helen, two people who never gave up and accomplished the impossible. Author: Sarah Miller
As if his life isn’t enough of a mess: his father left before he was born, he can’t seem to control his temper and he keeps getting kicked out of school…Percy Jackson vaporizes his teacher…whoops!…and is almost killed by a minotaur…yikes! Percy’s Mom decides it’s time he knew the truth – Percy is a demigod, the son of a mortal woman and a Greek God. His mother sends him to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods, for his own safety. At camp, Percy learns that his father is Poseidon, God of the Sea, and that Poseidon is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt. And when Zeus isn’t happy, nobody’s happy! Percy and his new friends at camp have to find out what really happened to the lightning bolt before a war between the gods wipes out mankind. Whew! Lots of action and laugh outloud funny. You’ll want to read more about Percy, and luckily, you can, there are 5 Percy adventures in all! Author: Rick Riordan
Zoe wants to learn to play the piano more than anything but has to settle for a wheezy Perfectone D-60 organ that her Dad brings home. Instead of playing classical music Zoe is left with organ versions of old TV theme songs. Things just aren’t right, and it’s not just the organ. Zoe’s mom is always at work, her Dad is afraid to leave the house and a weird boy from school starts following her home from school every day! When Zoe enters an organ competition, she and and the people around her find out that trying your best, even if it is on a wheezy old organ, is what really matters. Zoe finds that her life isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect enough. Available on CD. Author: Linda Urban
That wimp Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is back. In Rodrick Rules, Greg tells us about his summer vacation and his plan to stay out of trouble when he returns to middle school. (I’m pretty sure he can’t do it!) His bigger problem though, is keeping his brother Rodrick from telling everyone about Greg’s most embarrassing experience of the summer. If you missed Greg’s first story, you can read it online on Funbrain. You can also watch aninterview with Jeff Kinney, the author. He shares everything you ever wanted to know about Greg and his story. Author: Jeff Kinney
It is with a lot of sad feelings that we read about the flooding in Indiana and the tornado in Iowa that killed four boy scouts. As the story of those events continues to unfold, a single message is very clear: knowing what to do saves lives. The story of the boy scouts in particular points out the fact that kids like you can, and do, make a difference in an emergency. It’s good to know about the different kinds of disasters so you can be prepared to take care of yourself, and maybe some of the people around you:
Thinking about these disasters can be scary. Sometimes, it helps to read about events that are scary in a fiction book. Reading about the event helps us live the experience…without actually having to live it. We can envision ourselvs in the situation and ask good questions while we have time to get good answers. Where should I go at home if a tornado is coming?
There is a fiction book some of you might be interested in called Night of the Howling Dogs. It is the story of a boy scout troup that is camping in Hawaii on Kilauea (a volcano) when an earthquake strikes and their campsite is overrun by a tsunami. It sounds like an, “oh, that would never happen” kind of story…but it is based on the true experience of a boy scout troup in 1975. One of the boy scouts that was actually there, is the cousin of the author. Like the boy scouts in Iowa, the scouts in this story use their knowledge of first aid & search & rescue, as well as courage and strength, to help each other survive. Author: Graham Salisbury
Two thumbs up to all boy scouts and the skills they learn, and our sympathies for the losses they have suffered this week.