Monday, September 28, 2015

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Mrs. Edwards chose this awesome book last year as one of her Battle of the Books picks.  Not only does she promote reading in classes, but also makes sure her BoB teams have amazing selections.  I have enjoyed listening to the conversation between the Library Ladies and some of the BoB students about the author’s choice to write a new series in the midst of finishing this one… they are dying for the next book to come out!

This fantasy-adventure series by Sarah J. Maas is titled Throne of Glass.  In Throne of Glass, we are thrust into a medieval-like world where we meet the beautiful Celaena.  Celaena, although breathtaking, is deadly... an assassin… a mercenary.  And is known and feared by everyone.  She lives in a land where magic has been forbidden and purged by the King; it’s existence so far removed that it’s now only known in tales and myth.  

Celaena has been imprisoned in the salt mines of Endovier, a prison known only for it’s death toll.  Until one day Chaol, Captain of the King’s Guard and best friend to Prince Dorian, comes for her.  She is offered a deal to gain her freedom by becoming the King’s Champion Assassin.  The biggest problem is: Celaena works for NO ONE… and despises the king.  Celaena finds herself at the palace, thrust into a violent tournament of champions with mercenaries from far and wide.  She proves herself, but not without stumbling across a deep-hidden mystery within the depths of the palace and finding friendship and love in the most unexpected of places.  Throne of Glass will keep you on the edge of your seat, hungry for the next book.

I love searching YouTube for book trailers.  Sometimes I find trailers that are so much like movies that I wonder if a movie hasn’t been done for the books.  Most of the trailers are done by students, so the quality is reflective of that.  This trailer is one of the more professional ones I’ve found; done by Bloomsbury Publishing.  I think this trailer is very effective in it’s simplistic text, clean images, and powerful music.  Students connect to things better with music involved, and it will be more impactful with the right songs.  This trailer sets up well to the intrigue and adventure of the story. I see this beek potentially being used by English teachers when looking at plot structure, characterization, sub-plots, and flashbacks. It is crafted masterfully with an ending that will leave the reader hungry for more.

Works Cited
Throne of Glass by Sarah J.Maas. (2012, July 26) . Retrieved from <>.
“Throne of Glass.” Wikia, 2013. JPEG file.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

I know I’m only a year old and a fish to boot, but I have heard the expression “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”  From a fish perspective, this could not be a more uninviting cover, I mean white background with simple black lettering, and a pair of shoes.  I don’t even have feet and especially don’t dream of running.  My dreams primarily consist of large fingers chasing me around my bowl or swimming in the ocean with sharks.  The Library Ladies got this book in the library not too long ago, and I think Mrs. Edwards promoted it as a California Young Reader Medal (CYRM) book at one point.  When she talks about it now, she often brings up the plain cover and even admits to judging books by the cover herself!!  But apparently after she read it, she really ‘connected’ with the story… whatever that means.  This is what she says about The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen.
Jessica is a junior in high school, and if someone asks her who she is, she will respond with, “I am a runner.”  Jessica isn’t just a runner though, she’s the best, and although she is only a junior, she has already captured the attention of several colleges.  On the way home from a huge meet at her school’s big rival, the bus is involved in a terrible accident.  A vehicle slammed into the side of the bus right where Jessica and one of her best friends was sitting.  Jessica woke up several days later to discover that she was missing a leg!  The accident not only left her an amputee, but she also found out that one of her teammates had been killed.
Jessica went into a shell; she didn’t want to talk to anyone and struggled to catch up in her classes.  She was even seated in ‘preferential’ places in her classes (the back of the room).  It was here that she gets to know Rosa, a girl in her math class who has cerebral palsy.  As Rosa and Jessica become friends, Jessica begins to realize that life isn’t all about running for her, and for some people it means something so much more.  Check out this incredible story of perseverance and friendship today!

This is a fantastic story to connect with any student who has something so important that it is part of their identity like sports, a hobby, playing music, creating art, or any number of things.  Students can connect because this story is so powerfully possible.  In addition to the empathy they may feel for the character at losing what defined her, students can also begin to have a greater understanding of the mental strain that people who face sudden amputations may have.  The author Wendelin Van Draanen also brings into the story cerebral palsy, which is a condition that very few students understand.  This trailer is one of the more powerful ones I have found; again, the music and connection to the book while providing just enough of a teaser for readers is well done.  
Works Cited
Book Trailer: The Running Dream. (2012, October 4). Retrieved from

“The Running Dream.”, 2012. JPEG file.

It's Friday in The Brary!!  I'm swimmin' with the big boys.  #bookfacefriday