Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This book won the Newbery Award, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. A one-year-old boy's family is murdered, and he finds refuge from the murderer in a cemetery. The ghosts of people buried there decide to protect him and raise him within the fences of the graveyard. Since no one knows his real name, he grows up being called Nobody Owens, or Bod for short. Bod is taught his lessons by various ghosts, and he learns some ghostly powers that come in handy. He makes some unapproved trips into the human world, and they all end up as problems. It's predictable that the murderer will return to kill Bod during the climax.

The idea of ghosts raising a child as their own was quite interesting. Bod was very happy living with them, but he became curious of the outside world. The adventures were entertaining, but the main conflict with the murderer seemed to be forgotten for too long. His return came later in the plot, and I would have liked to have seen it developed more. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much.

Lexile level from is 820.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

This book is a graphic novel, and I gave it a rating of three out of five.There are actually three plots in the book, but they all come together in the end. The first plot involves a monkey king who wants to be treated as a god. He's rejected because he's a monkey, and he does all he can to transform himself into something greater. The second plot describes a young boy of Chinese decent who strives to be accepted by his peers. He discovers that he likes a girl and is embarrassed to share his feelings because of his heritage. The third plot centers around an Ameican boy who has moved to a new school each year. Each spring, his Chinese cousin comes to visit his schools and behaves obnoxiously. As a result, the American boy must move after the teasing he takes from his classmates. Again, all of the plots unite in the end to form an interesting conclusion.

I'm not a huge graphic novel fan, so I'm reluctant to give them good scores. This books offers a valuable lesson to people to accept yourselves. Be proud of your heritage.

Lexile level from is 530.