Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bamboo People vs. The Great Wide Sea

First off, we want to say that we hope neither of these books win. We've both read books that have already been eliminated that we enjoyed more.
We wouldn't recommend either book for high school. They would have to be pushed into the hands of upper elementary and junior high boys in order for them to be read as the covers and descriptions are not very appealing.
There were certainly parts in both books we enjoyed.
In The Great Wide Sea the bond between brothers and the danger and excitement of their adventures, while somewhat unrealistic, was what kept us reading. Spoiler alert!! We would have both been happier if the dad had not miraculously walked into the room at the end, but had died instead.
In Bamboo People, we liked the convergence of the two different viewpoints and the way that child soldiers, refugees and the Burmese conflict were worked into the story without lecturing. The themes of humanity in intolerable situations and friendship were also compelling. We felt the book would be more appropriate with an upper elementary class and that there are better choices for studying conflicts or child soldiers once students hit junior high (Chanda's Wars and A Long Way Gone).
Since we can't throw both books out, we choose Bamboo People to go on to the next round.
Barb and Mona


  1. Doesn't sound like the strongest division - but maybe to make Andrew happy historical fiction will triumph in the end.

  2. I too, hoped the dad had bought the farm or went swimming with the fishes or whatever. I only read half of Bamboo People and half of it was better than Great Wide Sea which was a nice light snack but honestly I think I teach kids who could have written that story. (But I am pretty sure they would have killed off the dad)... I vote for Bamboo People but I it was not better than the last two I read.

    So...what they said.