Thursday, May 16, 2019

Brainstorm 179: An Ode to the Super Readers of the Class of 2019

Today is the last day of classes for the Seniors at our school. I started a tradition a few years ago of sharing books that were loved by some of the super readers of the class. Most of these students read a book a day in middle school. (Yes, you read that right. 300-500 page books regularly gobbled down in one day.) Their consumption rate slowed as they got older and the amount of homework they had went up in high school, but even then they still usually had at least one book checked out at any given time (or 10), they binge read during school breaks, and when a new book in a beloved series came out they reverted to their middle school ways and showed that they could still devour a book in one afternoon/evening when they chose to do so. If you were to sit down and chat books with any of these soon-to-be-graduates, here are some of the books they might recommend you read. Click on the title of the book for reviews and summaries.

Super Reader #1 is a very eclectic reader. He likes to read mostly fantasy and scifi, but also will try renowned classics and award winners in any genre.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Super Reader #2 has read a majority of our middle grade fantasy collection, a sizable chunk of our YA/Adult fantasy collection, and an admirable chunk of the YA/Adult scifi collection. He really likes series, appreciates some goofy humor, and had ongoing competitions with Student #1 about which of them would get new books in certain series or by certain authors (especially Brandon Sanderson) read first.

The Fires of Calderon (The Balance Keepers, #1) by Lindsay Cummings

The Emerald Enigma (Space Drifters, #1) by Paul Regnier

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Super Reader #3 is an avid Harry Potter fan, was introduced to Brandon Sanderson by an older brother, and loves contemporary romance and historical romance, especially Lauraine Snelling’s Blessing, North Dakota series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

A Measure of Mercy (Home to Blessing, #1) by Lauraine Snelling

Super Reader #4 is another fantasy fan. She loves fairy tale rewrites and animal fantasy, but will also read little snippets out of just about any genre. She’s a huge Redwall fan, and Jessica Day George fan.

Redwall (Redwall, #1) by Brian Jacques

Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower, #1) by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Midnight Ball (The Princesses of Westfalin trilogy, #1) by Jessica Day George

Super Reader #5 also is a fantasy lover. He is an avid Percy Jackson fan, and would regularly start asking me when I would start the holds list for Riordan’s newest book several months in advance. He’s gotten two of his younger siblings also hooked on Percy Jackson, and he’s still pretty excited about a new Riordan book or books that are fantasy based on a mythology.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1) by Rick Riordan

Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1) by Ellen Oh

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Brainstorm 178: International Reads Pt 7: the Middle East

There’s only a few more regions left in our International Reads series. This week we have some Middle Eastern books. There are several countries in this region I just couldn’t find a book for. Authors, we could use some books set in Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Yemen it seems. I found several short stories from real people in Syria and Yemen combined in with other refugee/displaced people stories (I recommend checking out We Are Displaced or The Displaced if you’re interested in some of those but I’m not including them here since they’re both combos of stories from many countries). For the full parameters I’ve set for books included in this series please refer to the first post in the series (it will explain why there’s no Arabian Nights-ish stuff here). And in the interest of space, I’m not including summaries or reviews here. Please click on the book’s title to see my review, or if I haven’t read the book yet, others’ reviews.

Looking for other International reads? Here's the rest of this blog series so far:

International Reads Pt 1: Africa

International Reads Pt 2: Asia

International Reads Pt 3: Australia, New Zealand, & Oceania

International Reads Pt 4: Central America & the Caribbean

International Reads Pt 5: Europe & Eurasia 1/2 

International Reads Pt 6: Europe & Eurasia 2/2


Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Picture Book, Lower Grade Fiction
*Note: Some parts in the USA


Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization by Paul Kriwaczek
Genre: History, Adult Nonfiction

Babylon’s Ark: the Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Babylon Zoo by Lawrence Anthony, with Graham Spence
Genre: Animal Stories, War Stories, Memoir, Adult Nonfiction

The Librarian of Basra: a True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
Genre: Picture Book Biography, Lower Grade Nonfiction

Poppies of Iraq by Brigitte Findakly, ill. by Lewis Trondheim
Genre: Memoir, Graphic Novel, Adult Nonfiction
*Note: Some parts in France

The World Is Not a Rectangle: a Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter
Genre: Picture Book Biography, Lower Grade Nonfiction


A.D. 33 (A.D., #2) by Ted Dekker
Genre: Historical Fiction, Religious Fiction, Adult Fiction

Dawn (Night Trilogy, #2) by Elie Wiesel, translated by Frances Frenaye
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense Fiction, Adult Fiction

The Language of Angels: the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson, ill. by Karla Gudeon
Genre: Picture Book Biography, Lower Grade Nonfiction

Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef with Ron Brackin
Genre: Autobiography, Religious Nonfiction, Thriller, Adult Nonfiction


Queen Rania of Jordan (Snap Books: Queens and Princesses) by Mary Englar
Genre: Biography, Middle Grade Nonfiction


Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller, Middle Grade Fiction
*Note: Some parts in Europe

The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine Di Giovanni
Genre: Current Events, Memoir, War Stories, Adult Nonfiction


1453: the Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West by Roger Crowley
Genre: History, Adult Nonfiction

The Emperor’s Winding Sheet by Jill Patton Walsh
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Mosque by David Macaulay
Genre: Architecture, History, Religion, Middle Grade Nonfiction


Mimi’s Hair (Mimi) by Fatima Sharafeddine, ill. by Rasha Mounib al Hakim
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Picture Book, Lower Grade Fiction

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Brainstorm 177: International Reads Pt 6: Europe & Eurasia 2/2

This week has absolutely flown by. I can’t believe it’s already time for another installment in our series on books set in countries and cultures around the world. We're headed to Europe & Eurasia again this week. There were just too many countries to cover in one week so this is the 2nd half of that. To see the first half of the Europe/Eurasia books visit International Reads Pt. 5: Europe & Eurasia 1/2. To see the full parameters I've set for the selection of books in this International Reads series, please visit International Reads Pt 1: Africa. And of course, that’s the place to visit for some books set in African countries too. It was harder than ever to stick to the parameters of no fairytale/mythology books for these countries. I had several books I thought of for these countries (even one for Slovenia!) that I had to ignore because I set myself these rules. Someday, they will make it into a Brainstorm. Here are the other blogs posted in this series so far:
International Reads Pt 2: Asia
International Reads Pt 3: Australia, New Zealand, & Oceania
International Reads Pt 4: Central America & the Caribbean

I'm not including summaries or reviews today in the interest of space. Clicking on the title of the books will take you to either my review of the book or a general summary and other reviews.


Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos
Genre: History, Biography, War Stories, Young Adult Nonfiction

Food Fight Fiesta!: a Tale of La Tomatina by Tracey Kyle, ill. by Ana Gomez
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Holiday Stories, Picture Book, Lower Grade Fiction

Messi by Guillem Balague
Genre: Sports, Biography, Adult Nonfiction

Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle, ill. by Raúl Colón
Genre: Picture Book Biography, Novels in Verse, Literature, History, Middle Grade Nonfiction

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, ill. by Robert Lawson
Genre: Animal Stories, Picture Book, Lower Grade Fiction


Kristina: the Girl King (Royal Diaries) by Carolyn Meyer
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman, translated by Henning Koch
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Adult Fiction

My Happy Life (Dani, #1) by Rose Lagercrantz, ill. by Eva Eriksson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Lower Grade Fiction

Nate the Great Saves the King of Sweden by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, ill. by Marc Simont
Genre: Mystery Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lower Grade Fiction

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Humor, Middle Grade Fiction


Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman
Genre: Adventure, Sport, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

Bloomability by Sharon Creech
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

Dogs in the Dead of Night (Magic Tree House, #46) by Mary Pope Osborne, ill. by Salvatore Murdocca
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Lower Grade/Middle Grade Fiction

Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Genre: Historical Fiction, Classics, Middle Grade Fiction


Conspiracy in Kiev (The Russian Trilogy) by Noel Hynd
Genre: Thriller, Spy Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Adult Fiction

The Mitten: an Old Ukrainian Folktale by Alvin Tresselt, ill. by Yaroslava
Genre: Folklore, Animal Stories, Picture Book

The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: a Holocaust Survival Story by Peter Lane Taylor with Christos Nicola
Genre: History, WWII Stories, Survival Stories, Middle Grade/Young Adult Nonfiction



The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII Stories, Adult Fiction

Nick of Time (Nick McIver Adventures through Time, #1) by Ted Bell
Genre: Time Travel, Historical Fiction, WWII Stories, Middle Grade Fiction


Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel, ill. by Nancy Carpenter
Genre: Picture Book Biography

Claude Going for Gold (Claude, #8) by Alex T. Smith
Genre: Humor, Graphic Novel, Lower Grade Fiction

The Inside-outside Book of London by Roxie Munro
Genre: Lower Grade Nonfiction, Tour Books, Picture Book

MI5 and Me: a Coronet among the Spooks by Charlotte Bingham
Genre: Memoir, History, Spy Stories, Humor, Adult Nonfiction

Rules of Murder (Drew Farthering, #1) by Julianna Deering
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Religious Fiction, Adult Fiction

The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII Stories, Middle Grade Fiction


Airman by Eoin Colfer
Genre: Thriller, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Castle on the Rise (Lost Castle, #2) by Kristy Cambron
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Stories, Mystery, Thriller, Romantic Fiction, Religious Fiction, Adult Fiction

Leprechauns in Late Winter (Magic Tree House, #43) by Mary Pope Osborne, ill. by Salvatore Murdocca
Genre: Time Travel, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Lower Grade/Middle Grade Fiction

There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Music, Religious Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Always Room for One More by Nic Leodhas, ill. by Nonny Hogrogian
Genre: Folklore & Folksongs, Picture Books, Lower Grade Nonfiction

Five Days in Skye (The MacDonald Family Trilogy, #1) by Carla Laureano
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Foodies, Romantic Fiction, Adult Fiction

For the Glory: the Untold and Inspiring Story of Eric Liddell, Hero of Chariots of Fire by Duncan Hamilton
Genre: Biography, Sport, History, Christian Nonfiction, Adult Nonfiction

Howl at the Moon (Haggis and Tank Unleashed, #3) by Jessica Young, ill. by James Burks
Genre: Animal Stories, Mystery, Humor, Graphic Novels, Lower Grade Fiction

Katie Morag Delivers the Mail (Katie Morag, #1) by Mairi Hedderwick
Genre: Historical Fiction, Picture Books, Lower Grade Fiction

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter (The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, #1) by Diane Magras
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Adventure, Survival, Middle Grade Fiction


Longbow Girl by Linda Davies
Genre: Time Travel, Thriller, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Sport, Young Adult Fiction

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1) by Ransom Riggs
Genre: Time Travel, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy, Superhero Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
*Note: Parts happen in the United States.