So Hugo Cabret…although I enjoyed the movie better, the book was great too. It starts off with a boy who works on clocks. He is by himself and doesn’t have a home or any parents. His dad died in an explosion but left behind a little experiment that he’d been working on. It didn’t completely break during the explosion and it was the only thing that survived and so Hugo took it to where he was staying next to a giant clock that he always fixed. He would work on the project but Hugo needed tools which he didn’t have. He also didn’t have money so he tried to steal the tools of a toymaker but got caught. The man there caught his notebook with the drawings of the invention and got Hugo in trouble, trying to take him to an orphanage, but Hugo would run away. It kept going like that until he showed him the actual project he was working on and the man enjoyed that and took him in. It is a good book but kind of long to read. It is not fantasy or mystery or romance, it’s a totally unique kind of book that is realistic and people in the world may relate to it. It has a lot of pictures and definitely shows a lot of what’s going on.
The movie was even better than the book. I understood the movie much clearer. I don’t like reading books often but I really like watching movies and since I watched the movie second after I had already read the book, it gave me a better understanding of everything. I recommend it to elementary or middle school students.
Reviewed by Rahma – 8th grade
Find The Invention of Hugo Cabret at the library.
I read a book called Inside Out and Back Again about a refugee who has to leave Vietnam and goes to live in Alabama. They’re 10 years old and they go to school and get picked on so they need to learn self-defense. It’s a poetry book and has an interesting type of writing in stanzas. It was full of adventure and that’s the real stuff that’s happening in this world so it keeps readers informed. I loved it.
Reviewed by Jonathan – 8th grade
Find Inside Out and Back Again at the library.
Oscar: Maus is a two-part graphic novel about how it was during the time of the Nazis. It is pretty much about a family that goes through concentration camps. They eventually end up in Auschwitz, the most infamous of all concentration camps. The main character is also the author who is talking to his father about his experiences. I would recommend it to people who want to learn about the Holocaust and are not afraid of getting devastated by the consequences of learning about it.
HM: Yeah, pretty much I recommend it to people who don’t get scarred from the things that happened. It is non-fiction and after reading the books, you can see that Art Spiegelman, the author of them is also a journalist of his father’s history. And his father in the book is constantly riding a stationery bike which shows how he’s stuck in a place, going in a circle. But it’s a really good graphic novel about pretty much the time of the Nazis, the Jews and concentrations camps and the horrible things that happened in there. Pretty much everything is horrible. It’s horrible and terrifying and makes you cry.
Reviewed by Oscar and HM – 10th & 12th grades
Find Maus at the library.
How I Built This – this is a really good podcast, too. It is also on NPR and it talks about start-ups. They interview people who started successful businesses like Airbnb and Ben & Jerry’s and Clif Bar and Patagonia? A typical segment is probably 15 minutes but the whole podcast is longer. They do these in little segments and you can skip the ads and basically it’s really good and interesting. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in small businesses or just inspiration of how companies run, I guess.
Reviewed by Lucky – 15th grade
I am going to recommend some good podcasts here. The first one is Code Switch – it’s really good. It talks about microagressions and cultural/race topics. They do a really good job about getting all the way there, answering the question. They have a beginning question and a little bit at the beginning, and you think “that’s easy enough.” But it’s not; it’s never that easy and they’ll just keep going. They really interview a lot of different people!
Reviewed by Lucky – 15th grade
Lawrence: I’d like readers to read The Omnivore’s dilemma where they give you specific details of what’s in your food and what are called genetically modified organisms. GMOs can be cancerous towards your health and to the community at hand. Basically everything you eat is made out of corn and not 100% real. I definitely recommend this book to people who like health and fitness and I would also recommend it to people who like to eat and wonder what’s in their food. The book is a non-fiction book, so that’s true, too.
Jonathan: Me and my brother both read this and I learned that they put gunpowder and the stuff you find in nukes into the fertilizer that they use to grow food. And also sometimes when they run out of food for cows they feed them cow brains and that is what caused mad cow disease. And also to get good beef they have to feed the cows corn and once the cows eat the corn they make poop pyramids which they all step in. It’s very unsanitary. The author said that most likely after reading the book you might become a vegetarian, or a vegan; I don’t want to become a vegetarian, though. But I do not want to eat McDonald’s cheeseburgers anymore.
Reviewed by Lawrence and Jonathan – 9th & 11th grades
Find The Omnivore’s Dilemma at the library.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie is about this MMO player who basically quits working and she just stays at home all day playing online. Her character in the game is a guy and she makes friends with another player whose character is a girl. Some things about that character remind her of character that she met in a previous game and the two join a guild and start going on adventures. But in the real world she ends up accidentally bumping into a guy at a convenience store and he ends up being ** spoilers ** he ends up being the other character and also the other player of that other character that she was reminded of. The anime flips between her perspective and his perspective and as a viewer you’re screaming at the screen “just get it already!” It’s really obvious at some points, especially in the middle of the series. At one point she goes on a date with a different guy, but he’s trying to get them together as well. The guy working at the convenience store is also one of the guild members so they keep asking him for advice. Eventually they realize that they are who they are. This all takes place in Japan in a big city, too. But it’s just one of those coincidence-based stories. I recommend it to people who like MMOs or anime or rom coms or people who love (but also simultaneously hate) those stories where you’re like “just get together already, we all know you’re perfectly suited for each other!”
Reviewed by Oscar – 10th grade