The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Boom! Boom! Boom! A cannon fires. And then another. And then another! More tributes dead. This is all good for Katniss Everdeen, who is competing for victory in the 74th Hunger Games held in the country of Panem.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem. In Panem there are 12 districts, and Katniss lives in District 12. This district is known for coal-mining, and is universally recognized as very poor. The people are starving, and when Katniss’ father dies in a mining accident, her mother sinks into deep depression, and Katniss must learn to hunt in order to keep her family alive. Winning the games will mean riches beyond compare for her and her family, and glory for her unpopular district. Will she make it back to her family alive? Will the odds be in her favor? Travel with Katniss on her action-packed journey through the Hunger Games as she struggles to survive.

Katniss
Some of the universal themes that are portrayed in this book are love, family, courage, oppression, and tyranny. But, because some of these things are very mature, I would recommend this book to kids ages 12 and up.
My favorite parts in this book are whenever Cinna, Katniss’ stylist describes different costumes that Katniss wears to her interviews, training, and other public appearances. And, of course, my favorite character is Katniss.
In addition to to this book, there are two others in the series: Catching Fire and Mockingjay. If you do end up reading the first book, be sure to check out the next two! Also, there are movies for all of them, and Mockingjay Part Two is coming out in November 2015. I hope that these books keep you on the edge of your seat like they did for me!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins thought he was the least likely candidate to be fighting the most evil forces in the world. He was perfectly comfortable in his hobbit hole, drinking his tea and taking naps every few hours. Until, that is, Gandalf the Grey sends several unruly dwarves to wreck his home, destroy his peace, and devour all of his food. This is the start of the journey that ends up forcing Bilbo to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that will change the course of his life forever and make him into a legend in Middle Earth.

thehobbit

Middle Earth, a fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien is inhabited by many people and creature groups, such as Dwarves, Elves, Wizards, Hobbits, Orcs, Men, Animals, Giants, Trolls, Dragons, and Talking Trees, to name a few. This story is primarily about the Dwarves and the Hobbits, with a couple of wizards thrown in to help and guide the other two groups. Many years before The Hobbit begins, a dragon had stolen the Dwarves’s gold and retreated into the Lonely Mountain to hoard the treasure until the original owners muster the courage to steal it back. The reason they enlist Bilbo to join them on their quest is because, unlike the dwarves, he is small, nimble, and quick, which are some necessary qualities for stealing something from a dragon. Because of this, Bilbo is given the nickname ‘Burglar’. Not necessarily something Bilbo is comfortable with.

bilbo

This book touches on many universal themes, which may be one of the reasons why The Hobbit is so enduringly popular. Some of these themes include Good vs. Evil, the Power of Friendship, Courage in the face of danger, and Triumph over adversity.

If you’re someone who enjoys a good, challenging fantasy story, then this is a great book for you! In terms of age level, I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up. Also, there is a great movie that came out two years ago based on this book. Be sure to check it out!

 

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is a gripping story set during World War II, as the Nazis are killing the Jews by the thousands. Most of the German civilians are oblivious to what is going on, including Bruno, a nine-year-old boy whose father is a Nazi officer stationed at a concentration camp. To him, the Third Reich is saving the world from disaster. When his father gets promoted, Bruno and his family move to Out-With, a very dreary, desolate and boring place. When Bruno first arrives there, he sees many people in the distance, behind a very tall and sharp-looking fence. Who all have one thing in common: They are all wearing what Bruno thinks are striped pajamas. Bruno doesn’t know what’s really going on until he meets a Jewish boy named Shmuel, who opens his eyes to things that he never could’ve dreamed of. Things like discrimination, injustice and concentration camps. Bruno discovers the problems of the real world, and they’re shocking.

bruno

My recommended age group to read this book is ages ten and up because although Bruno is nine years old in the beginning of the book, there are still some pretty tough elements that can be hard to comprehend in this book. Also, The Boy in The Striped Pajamas has a very unexpected ending, so if you’re one of those people who always need happy endings, this is not a book for you. I, on the other hand, thought it was very powerful, and I thought that the ‘unexpected ending’ made the whole conflict seem more real and appalling to me.

My favorite character in this book was Shmuel, because his situation is very pitiful, but he’s also very mature, and he is a lot different from Bruno because he knows so much more about how the Jews are suffering.

If you are intrigued by Holocaust/WWII literature, this would be a good book to add to your reading list.

Anne Frank Remembered

Millions of people all around the world have read Anne Frank, A Diary of A Young Girl, but few people have heard about the story of the eight Jews who hid from the Nazis for almost three years from the perspective of the one who risked her life to keep them safe. Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies is a wonderful book about a young woman who helped to hide the Frank family and four other Jews in The Netherlands during World War II.

Miep Gies

Miep Gies was an office worker at Opekta, a company that made pectin in Amsterdam. She hid Anne Frank and her family, and will be remembered for her bravery and kindness for years to come. Miep wrote a biography later in her life, about hiding the Franks, from her point of view. She relates to anyone who reads Anne Frank Remembered the personalities of some of the people she hid, and the anxiety and danger of trying to hide, feed and protect these people in peril. Unlike in Anne Frank’s account, Miep uses the real names of the people she was helping. Miep was the first person to revisit the Secret Annex after it was raided by the Nazis. That is when she found Anne’s diary, and decided to keep it until Anne returned home. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to give Anne back her diary.

Miep and Otto

One of the most interesting parts of Anne Frank Remembered is the details of the Gies’s meeting of Otto after the war was over and all of the concentration camps still run by the Nazis were liberated. Miep wrote her story in 1987, and died January 11, 2010. I really admire her for her bravery, and how she was willing to risk her life like she did for a cause that she believed in.

To see a news story about Anne Frank Remembered, including an interview with Miep Gies, click on the link below.

NBC News Story

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you’ve been living in America or Europe for the last decade, you probably heard of Harry Potter before. Many people had suggested these books to me to read, but I always resisted and said that they were just for fantasy-lovers. Boy, was I wrong.

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The first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, is about an 11-year-old boy, Harry Potter, who has been living with his horrible aunt and uncle, and their spoiled, bratty son, Dudley, ever since his parents died. He hates it there, because he is very different from the Dursley’s. While Mr. and Mrs. Dursley live very ordinary lives, and are very ordinary people, Harry, (though he doesn’t know it) is a wizard. So when a letter arrives from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry sets off on the Hogwarts Express, not knowing what awaits him there.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is about a boy who finds out his true identity, and realizes that he has a big role to play in the huge battle of Good vs. Evil in the Wizard world. Will Harry rise to meet the challenges before him, or will the dark side prevail? There are so many things to love about this book:  mystery, adventure, and friendship. Even the descriptions of life at a boarding school are interesting.

wizardfriends

The only reason this book may not be for you, is if you strongly dislike anything to do with witchcraft or wizardry, even if it is harmless. Also, I wouldn’t recommend Harry Potter to younger children, because if you end up liking the first book, and want to read the rest of the series, the story can get pretty intense and violent toward the end. There are 7 books in this series:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- Year 1
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- Year 2
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- Year 3
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- Year 4
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- Year 5
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- Year 6
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows- Year 7

I hope that, if you read this book, you love it as much as I do.

War Horse

While we’re in war zone, let’s time travel back to World War I. This post is about a book called War Horse, by Micheal Morpurgo.

Joey is just an ordinary horse working on a farm with his best friend, Albert. (Albert is a human) But when Joey goes to war, Albert doesn’t get to go with him! Will they ever see each other again?

joey and albert

My favorite part of the book is when Joey and his horse friend, Topthorn get a break from the war and go to live with a little girl named Emily and her grandfather. A sweet friendship develops and they become fast friends. There is a bit of gore in this book, and if you aren’t interested in World War I,  you might not like this book. But other than that, I think you will! War Horse is fairly advanced reading, so I’d recommend it for girls (or boys) 10 and up. Once you finish the book, there is also a movie out based on the book, but your parents might not let you watch it because it’s PG-13. I hope you enjoy reading this book!

war horse

Number the Stars

Hello Readers,

Sorry I haven’t written a post in so long, I’ve just been kind’ve busy, but never mind that.

Do you ever wonder how awful World War II actually was? Well, look at it from a little girl’s point of view. Annemarie Johansen lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and life became more difficult after the Germans invaded. But when her best friend goes into hiding, will she be safe?

number the stars annemarie

I think this book is very good and will leave you on the edge of your seat! I especially like Annemarie, she is so brave, and she is very mature for her age. Number the Stars is best suited  for girls who are interested in WWII. In fact, this might be a good book to start with for someone who’s not yet ready to read The Diary of Anne Frank. The age level would probably be from 8 and up, or history gurus. (like me)

I hope you really enjoy this book, just like I did.