Lorenzo Walker Tech HS & Institute of Tech

Friday, February 23, 2007

Off the Shelf 0607-12

Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida
By Victor Martinez
© 1998

This National Book Award and Pura Belpre Award winner is about a fourteen-year-old boy struggling to be a “vato firme, the kind of guy people respect” amidst a gang-infested neighborhood. The pull of the gang surrounds him via his peer relationships and the lack of guidance from his abusive father and his unemployed older brother. But there is something inside Manny that keeps pushing him away from this lifestyle, as well. Will he join?

The storyline of this book is motivation enough for reading, but it is further enhanced by descriptive writing that paints the picture of this adolescent’s search for identity and self-worth. When Manny’s grandmother dies, his emotions are metaphorically described as,

She will flake away into dirt, I thought, just as the sun does the bottom of a pond during a drought. Her shadow will be erased, and her soul will drift to heaven like the fluff of a dandelion in the wind.

The ‘parrot in the oven’ comes “from a Mexican saying about a parrot that complains how hot it is in the shade, while all along he’s sitting inside an oven,” which implies a certain amount of ignorance. However, the author also reflects on the circumstances that limit one’s choices – both those beyond one’s control and those that one accepts as conditions of their life!

My recommendation: 4 out of 5 stars
Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist


Monday, February 19, 2007

From the Principal's Desk

Our principal, Jeanette Johnson, has her own blog - titled From the Principal's Desk! She is just getting started and invites your readership and comments. As a leader in our school and our district, I have no doubt that this blog will not only be informational, but thought-provoking. Welcome to the world of blogging and the Read/Write Web, Ms. Johnson.

photo credit: David King, Blogging Billboard, http://www.flickr.com/photos/80994469@N00/83057291

Off the Shelf 0607-11

Fat Kid Rules the World
By Kelly Going
© 2004

(Mature Content and Realistic Language)

Overweight and depressed, Troy is ready to give up! He is friendless and misunderstood by his father and brother with whom he lives. At 300 pounds, thus his nickname, the “fat kid,” he stands at the subway platform with suicidal thoughts of jumping in front of the train. The unlikely encounter with Curt, a very underweight and homeless teen with problems of his own, prevents the jump. It also leads him through some interesting introspections as he takes on the challenge to be the drummer in a punk rock band.

Disturbing content in regards to social and personal issues will not appeal to all readers, but the underlying themes are more universal than not. Curt’s character (a counterpart of Kurt Cobain in some ways) is popularized for mostly unhealthy reasons, but his soul is both personable and humanitarian. Troy’s journey leads him to a better understanding of others and a higher comfort level with himself. The punk rock musical environment may be a motivator for some teen readers.

**2006 Florida Teen Read

My recommendation: 3 ½ out of 5 stars
Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Off the Shelf 0607-10

Al Capone Does My Shirts
By Gennifer Choldenko
© 2004

Set on the island of Alcatraz in the mid-1930’s, this delightful read chronicles six months of the life of Moose Flanagan. At the time, Alcatraz was a high security prison, housing criminals such as the infamous Al Capone. Moose is forced to move to Alcatraz when his dad takes a prison guard job. He adapts to this new environment, despite his tag-a-long autistic sister and the trouble-making daughter of the warden.

The author’s exploration of autistic behaviors and dealing with an autistic child, as both a family and an institution, is laudable. Even the seriousness of these issues, though handled delicately, is intertwined almost transparently within the story – making it all that more realistic.

My recommendation: 5 out of 5 stars

Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist


Friday, February 02, 2007

Off the Shelf 0607-9

Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Change and Win
By Spencer Johnson
© 2002

This book was written for teens by Spencer Johnson. It is a parable which you will not only enjoy, but you will find the real life applications on how to approach the changes you will encounter in your life very helpful. It follows two groups of characters; two mice and two little people who all live in a maze. Their daily lives revolve around looking for cheese. If they have cheese, they are happy, however if there is not enough cheese, then they are not happy. Find out what happens when the supply of cheese, which has been in the same location, dwindles to nothing. Learn how some of them coped well while others did not cope well with this change. What would you do? Would you go out immediately and search for cheese in other locations or just sit and hope it reappears before you starve to death, This parable has helped millions of people deal with the changes in their lives from careers to marriages. At the end of the story there is a discussion among several teenagers that will help you to gain insight in how to deal with life’s changes.

My recommendation: 4 out of 5 stars

Submitted by Bob Dallmann, LWIT Coordinator – Workforce Education Programs & Technology