Top Five Friday!

Friday December 10, 2010
Recently I have started asking kids at my school to nominate a book each week if they really liked it and to give me a short reason why. Each week I will pull five of the nominated books and post them here on Le Blog.

Just FYI...the student nomination blurbs are direct quotes from my middle school kids. I fix the spelling errors for the most part but to stay true to the kids, I didn't change any of the actual wording!

by Allan Stratton
Goodreads Summary: The truth is closing in. Life's not easy for Sami Sabiri since his dad stuck him at a private school where he's the only Muslim kid. But it's about to get a lot worse.
When Sami catches his father in a lie, he gets suspicious. . . . He's not the only one. In a whirlwind, the FBI descends on his home, and Sami's family becomes the center of an international terrorist investigation. Now Sami must fight to keep his world from unraveling.

An explosive thriller ripped from today's headlines, borderline is the story of a funny, gutsy Muslim-American teen determined to save his father, his family, and his life.

Student Nomination: "I nominated this book because it is awesome! Reading about how a Muslim kid has to deal with racism and stuff because of their religion made me really think about how hard it must be. This book is exciting and it was fun to read about the FBI too."

The Ivy 
by Lauren Kunze w/ Rina Onur
Goodreads Summary: Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do? Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with

the guy she loves to hate ...
the guy she'd love to forget ...
the guy she'd love to love ...
and Matt
the guy she really should love ...
all vying for her attention.

But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams. Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?

Student Nomination: "I nominated this book because I really liked it and the story was easy to get into. It talked a lot about what can happen in college. The good and the bad things. It was easy for me to get into this book because I really want to go to college and I kept picturing myself in the place of Callie and all the stuff she was dealing with. The story talks about all the fun stuff that you can do with your freedom after high school but it also shows bad things that can happen if you make bad choices. I think all kids should read this book so they know what to look out for! I told all my friends to read this book too!"

by Sophie Jordan
Goodreads Summary: With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

Student Nomination: "Firelight is a really good book because it has an original story that I've never read about before. The idea that she can be a dragon and a human is really cool. The best part of the story of course is the romance between Jacinda and Will. I told all my friends who liked Twilight to read this one too because they won't be disappointed! I hope there is a another book (sequel) because I'm still wondering about some things that happened in the book. I really loved this book!"

Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones, Book 1)
by J&P Voelkel

Goodreads Summary: In the ancient city of Itzamna, Lord Six-Rabbit wakes up screaming. A great warrior king of the mighty Maya, he has dreamed he was a lowly, flea-bitten monkey. How could this be? Was this some sorcery sent by his half-brother, Tzelok, the evil priest?

1200 years later, in Boston, Massachusetts, 14-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in San Xavier, the tiny Central American country where his father grew up. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. He's always suspected that his parents cared more about the Ancient May than about him and this proves it. When he's mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they've had a change of heart. But he's met at the airport by one of their colleagues, who explains that his parents have gone missing at the remote Maya temple of Ix Chel. He also tells Max the legend of The Jaguar Stones, the five sacred stones of Middleworld (the Maya name for the world of men) which enabled Ancient Mayan kings to wield the powers of living gods.

Student Nomination: "I thought this book was cool because it was like Indiana Jones but for kids. In the sixth grade we learned a lot about the Maya so it was cool to read about some of the legends in the book. I like adventure stories so that is why I liked this book."

Nancy and Plum
by Betty MacDonald

Goodreads Summary: It was Christmas Eve. Big snowflakes fluttered slowly through the air like white feathers and made all of Heavenly Valley smooth and white and quiet and beautiful.

So begins the story of two orphaned sisters at Mrs. Monday’s Boarding School. But nothing is heavenly for Nancy and Pamela (aka Plum): their parents died in a tragic accident years ago, they’re constantly punished by the cruel Mrs. Monday, and they’re all alone for the holidays.

Luckily, Nancy and Plum have each other, and though their prospects may be bleak, they’re determined to change their lot for the better. If their plan works, the spirited sisters will never spend Christmas at the cold, dark boarding school again. But what will they find on the other side of Mrs. Monday’s gate?

Adventure, warmth, unforgettable characters, and unexpected kindness abound in this classic story by Betty MacDonald, which was originally published in 1952. With illustrations by the acclaimed Mary GrandPr√© and an introduction by Jeanne Birdsall, National Book Award–winning author of The Penderwicks, this edition introduces the spunky, beloved heroines to a new generation of fans.

Student Nomination: "At first I wasn't sure if I would like this book because I was getting really mad about all the mean stuff that Mrs. Monday did to them (Nancy and Plum). The story is about how hard their lives are after their parents die and they run away from the boarding home. They have a lot of dreams about what they want. Because they are sisters they care about each other and take care of each other after they run away. I was glad about the happy ending."