Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Monday, February 23, 2015

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Ultra vs. The Nazi Hunters

Hmm, I don’t like being the first in my group to post.  I always have great intentions to track down my group members and have fantastic conversations about what book should move forward before posting.  And then it’s the deadline.  And I need to get something posted, no time to talk.  So, my vote is for Ultra to move forward.  

Ultra is a little bit fantasy, a little bit heartstring-tugging, fast-paced and interesting.  It’s  a book I would recommend to kids without hesitation.  The main character is Quinn Scheurmann.  He has some super-powers (the fantasy part) due to a rare medical condition.  As a result, he can run.  And run and run and run.  He takes part in an ultra-marathon called the Shin-Kicker 100, running 100 miles through the wilderness.  Along the way, we learn more about the story that got him to that race, meet some interesting characters and get to watch him learn about himself.  It would have wide appeal to students, I think, and there is nothing too edgy for junior high or even some grade 5 or 6 students.

The Nazi Hunters would appeal to some kids and I actually quite enjoyed it.  The book tells a true story about a team of spies that works together to capture Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi responsible for the death camps.  The story is interesting, and if you know your history, you’ll know the good guys win.  And of course there are lots of opportunities for cross-curricular links here.  It’s tough going at times though and takes some focus and concentration to keep all the players and events straight.  I can see it appealing to a select group of students who have the stamina to wade through it and a keen interest in the historical events, but I don’t think it has the wider appeal and teach-ability of Ultra.  

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