Tag Archives: Karen Harrington

Winding down and gearing up

5 May

With only six and half weeks remaining, the school year is gearing down.There is still a lot to do to finish this one well, but my thoughts are straying to summer and the next school year. This will be the first time in 5 years I don’t have to move rooms or buildings. It is almost

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Just this week, the final 2016-17 OBOB book lists were published for all three divisions. The first three quarters were published earlier, but the last four titles were just announced. I am ordering my  book set and starting to think about a new Oregon Battle of the Books bulletin board. I’ve read a few of the titles already, have heard of a few of the others, but there are also a couple I’ve never heard of, making reading them exciting. I like to read the books over the summer, if I can, so I have them all done by the time OBOB season rolls around. I never know them to the degree the kids do, but I like to get the gist of the book, so I can talk intelligently about them.

Here is the 6-8 Division list:

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The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

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Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

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Dark Life by Kat Falls

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Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart

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Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

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The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

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The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

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Masterminds by Gordon Korman

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The Menagerie by Tui T. and Kari Sutherland

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A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

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Unfriended by Rachel Vail

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The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Courage

20 Oct

We are talking about Everyday Heroes in reading this days. The word courage has come up, as have many other characteristics. IN Courage for Beginners,  by Karen Harrington,

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twelve-year-old Mysti Murphy has a mom who has agoraphobia and a former best friend who has turned “hipster” and now treats her terribly. When her dad is hospitalized because of an accident she feels alone and as though she sis the on one keeping her family afloat. Then she meets Rama Khan, a 6th grader whose name sound like that of a Superhero,  at the “loser” lunch table. Mysti doesn’t like change, but with her friend Rama Khan by her side, she is able to face her fears and move on.

At first I was frustrated by Mysti’s acceptance of her ill-treatment by he reformer friend, Anibal. I wanted her to confront him, call him out for his bullying behavior. But that wouldn’t be true to her character. Almost 50 year lob me would do that, but I don;t think my 7th grade self would have done that either. Sometimes, it takes a while for a person to give up the hope that a friendship will go back to normal.

Everybody has fears they have to face. And it is courage that helps us do it.

Sure Signs of Crazy

29 Nov

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Like me, Sarah was born a fraternal twin. My mom used to bathe my twin sister and I in the kitchen sink. Sarah’s mother tried to drown her in their kitchen sink when she was two. She succeeded with her brother.

In  Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington, we spend the summer between 6th and 7th grade with Sarah. Her 6th grade teacher has challenged his pupils to write a real letter during the summer. Sarah takes this idea nd runs with it. She writes letters to Atticus Finch, talks to her Plant, develops her love of words and generally  monitors herself to decide if she will go crazy like her mom.

Harrington succeeds in creating a genuine likable and believable character in Sarah. I felt the book started off a little on the slow side, but my perseverance was rewarded with a wonderful coming of age novel. This one is sure to be on one of the end of the year “best” lists.

Randy Ribay

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