We wanted to create a way where we could read a few books, learn about many titles and have fun doing it! The tournament style reading of the Mighty Smackdown means that in the first round each participant reads two books, discusses both in a blog post, selecting one book to move on to the next round. Teachers are asked to commit to one round but most, if not all, continue on. We will read to the end when we will have only one book left standing!
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia
The Family Romanov is a wonderful nonfiction that reads like a story. We found the writing to be extremely engaging. We all agreed that it is a well written story about the life and lifestyles of not just the Russian elite but the everyday people. The use of letters and diaries from the commoners contrasted greatly with the extravagant and ill informed outlook of the Romanovs. Having read the adult version of this book, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, this version is a great read for young adults as an introduction to the social and political history of communist Russia. On the other hand we found that Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms was a difficult read. It was choppy, jumped all over the place and we had a hard time relating to the main character. Visitors to Africa would be able to relate to the imagery better then those that have never been. This was a book we would not recommend to students.