Login
Copyright (c) 2015 by Katherine Larison Conditions of Use    Privacy Policy Return to Blogmeister
-- Blogmeister

Captain Larison's Blog

My classroom is the library.

by Katherine Larison

Related Links
Coehlo's official site
Ishmael Beah
Sherman Alexie
Chief Joseph
M. T. Anderson
Paolini
Elizabeth Knox
Geraldine McCaughrean
Jay Asher
Danger's Hour
Neal Shusterman
Walter Dean Myers
Kristin Cashore
Jo Graham
Roland Smith
Siobhan Dowd
Neil Gaiman
Patrick Rothfuss
Suzanne Collins
Sally Gardner
Lois Lowry
Chaim Potok
Darren Shan
Cinda Williams Chima
Brian Katcher
Stephen Ambrose
Michael Grant
Patrick Ness
Nancy Farmer
N. K. Jemisin
Jeff Stone
J. K. Rowling
Paolo Bacigalupi
Emma Clayton
Jennifer Brown
K. L Going
Matt de la Pena
Richard Preston
Scott Westerfeld
David Benioff
Ron Kovic
Lisa McMann
George Martin
I Am Number Four
Tamora Pierce
Andrew Scott Card
Matthew Brzezinski
Marie Lu
Veronica Roth
Elspeth Cooper
Melba Pattillo Beals
Wendelin Van Draanen
Alan Averill
Jerry McGill
Daniel H. Wilson
John Green
Christina Baker Kline
Laini Taylor
Deb Taber
Brandon Sanderson
Richard Paul Evans
Teacher Assignments
Teacher Entries
Show All
Student Entries

Article posted December 2, 2014 at 11:13 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 1369

Rebecca Stead has written a mysterious tale which takes place in 1979 America. Miranda is the protagonist and she is helping her Mom to prepare for the game show, “The $20,000 Pyramid.” Miranda loves to read “Wrinkle in Time” over and over again. “Wrinkle in Time” is one of my favorite books so I was fascinated by the time travel aspect in Stead’s novel.

Miranda has trouble making friends and she finally makes friends with AnneMarie and Colin. Throughout the book Miranda gets mysterious notes from someone who seems to know the future. By the end of the book we know what is going on and who the time traveler is.

Article posted December 2, 2014 at 11:13 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 1369



Article posted September 23, 2014 at 08:40 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 622

Richard Paul Evans has written an action-packed science fiction adventure. Michael Vey is bullied and he has Tourette’s syndrome. Attending Meridian High School in Idaho Michael hides his secret abilities. Michael can produce electricity and shock other people. Michael has two friends, Ostin and Taylor Ridley. The Elgen Academy tries to recruit Michael and Taylor but the Academy is not what they appear to be.



This book is the first in a series, and I am really looking forward to the next one! The cadets have already asked for me to buy the next book, “Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen.”

Article posted September 23, 2014 at 08:40 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 622



Article posted August 25, 2014 at 09:48 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 436

Brandon Sanderson has written some superb science fiction with an unexpected ending. David is the protagonist and he is trying to kill the Epic, Steelheart, the being who killed his father ten years ago. Steelheart used to be human before he morphed into an Epic when Calamity appeared. David joins the Reckoners, fellow humans trying to kill the Epics. David tries to convince the Reckoners to take out Steelheart. Megan explains an Epic as “a test of what we’ll do, if we have power. Enormous power. What would it do to us? How would we deal with it?”



The ending is wild and unexpected but Book 2, Firefight, continues the saga. The series is called The Reckoners.

Article posted August 25, 2014 at 09:48 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 436



Article posted July 8, 2014 at 02:13 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 520

Jin is a spreader in this futuristic society. Jin is a neut, short for gender neutral, neither man nor woman. Jin is a spreader of plagues designed to control the population. Jin calls itself “it.” The other main character is Sandy, a female nearly raped, but saved by a neut. Deb Taber shows us a society which is outgrowing its resources and the neuts are trying to save the entire human race. Jin is extraordinarily good at designing very specific plagues. One plague is delivered via music to target specific malignant emotions such as murderous hatred. Taber forced me to think about sexuality in a totally new way.



Article posted July 8, 2014 at 02:13 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 520



Article posted April 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 737

Laini Taylor has written an amazing book. The forces of angels and chimaera clash in this incredible story. Karou and Akiva, a seraphim, are the main characters in this fantasy. Karou is raised by the chimaera and Brimstone is her foster father. Brimstone says, “Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.” Karou’s name means “hope.” There are two earths in this book; the one with seraphim which has magic and two moons and the one where humans live.



This is the first book of a trilogy and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Article posted April 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 737



Article posted March 4, 2014 at 12:15 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 548

Jerry McGill has written an inspiring memoir. Jerry was shot in the back at the age of 13 and became a quadriplegic. Jerry wrote the book as “a letter to the man who shot me.” Jerry’s doctor explains “that I was a quadriplegic and Leslie was a paraplegic. For the first time he also explained to me in detail how the bullet was still sitting in my neck and always would remain so. Because it had lodged so close to my spine it would have been dangerous to remove it, so they just let it stay there.” Jerry would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

I cried and laughed as I read McGill’s book. He explains how he gains control of his bodily functions, including sex. He has a BA in English literature and MFA in education from Pacific University in Oregon.

Article posted March 4, 2014 at 12:15 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 548



Article posted March 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 368

Robots try to take over the world!  “The Awakening affected only human-shaped robots, such as domestics, safety and pacification units, and related models- a tiny percentage of Archos’s overall force.  But with Mikiko’s song began the age of freeborn robots.”  Archos is the artificial intelligence running the war to kill humans.  The freeborn robots start helping the humans.  The battle scenes that Wilson wrote are very realistic and bloody.



Daniel Wilson has a Ph.D. in robotics and the battle scenes are more than believable.  Wilson wrote the book as a flash-back after Cormac “Bright Boy” Wallace finds a data cube.



 

Article posted March 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 368



Article posted January 27, 2014 at 09:42 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 319

Did you know that the orphan trains sent approximately “two hundred thousand children from the East Coast to the Midwest between 1854 and 1929?”  Christina Baker Kline has written a touching novel of two orphaned teenagers; Vivian Daly and Molly Ayer.  Vivian’s story takes place in 1929 and Molly’s in 2011.



Vivian is from Ireland and her Irish name is Naimh, pronounced “Neev.”  Her family dies in a fire in New York City and her mother is placed in an insane asylum.  As an orphan she is forced to change her name.  She is placed with two families before finding a home with her third family.  She suffers abuse, attempted rape, and starvation.  Vivian tells her story to seventeen year old Molly, an orphaned Penobscot Indian.  The two stories are interwoven as Vivian now in her eighties recalls her past.  Molly discovers that she and Vivian have a lot in common.



 



Article posted January 27, 2014 at 09:42 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 319



Article posted November 12, 2013 at 09:39 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 373



John Green made me laugh and cry when I read this book.  The two main characters are teenagers with cancer, Gus and Hazel.  This is how Gus describes cigarettes, “They don’t kill you unless you light them.  And I’ve never lit one.   It’s a metaphor, see:  You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” 



 Hazel reads a lot of books and her favorite book is An Imperial Affliction.  Gus uses his wish to take Hazel to visit the author of her favorite book in Amsterdam.   This is an enlightening book about dying and living as a teenager.





 

Article posted November 12, 2013 at 09:39 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 373



Article posted August 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 402

 The Beautiful Land



Alan Averill has written a CREEPY, horrific, time-travel story.  Takahiro O’Leary is the protagonist with Samira Moheb as the “woman he has loved since high school.”  Samira is suffering from severe PTSD from the Iraq War.  Tak is a time traveling scout for the Axon Corporation.  Axon is run by a crazy, mad scientist out to destroy the world.  Did I mention it is also funny?  Tak tells Sam “ninety percent of time travel is running like hell….I should have mentioned that.”



I could not put this book down.  The story line is very unique and kept me on edge until the end!





 

Article posted August 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 402



Article posted July 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 377

Wendelin Van Draanen has written the touching story of sixteen-year-old Jessica.  Jessica loses her leg in a school bus accident and has to learn to walk again and to run again.  Her running leg costs $20,000!!  Jessica was not just a track star she LOVED to run, especially with her dog, Sherlock.



I broke my leg in 2007 and had to learn the “sit-and-scoot method.”  Jessica takes her first shower after the accident and explains how she gets up the stairs, “my little sit-and-scoot method will be even easier going downstairs than it was coming up…”





Article posted July 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 377



Article posted June 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 277

Melba Pattillo Beals tells the true story of her experience at Little Rock’s Central High when it was first integrated in 1957.  This book was a real eye-opener because I had never realized that the African American students were constantly hazed.  The “Little Rock Nine” were physically tormented and verbally abused.  Their families were also threatened. 



Beal writes “Our people continued to lose their jobs, their businesses, and their homes as pressure was exerted to convince them to talk us into voluntarily withdrawing from Central High.”



 



 



Article posted June 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 277



Article posted May 6, 2013 at 02:20 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 238



This book is a combination of knights and magic.  Elspeth Cooper has written a swashbuckling tale with Gair as the protagonist.  Gair can fight with his sword or his magic.  He is also a shape shifter.



Magic in this land comes as “the music of power.”  This is the first in a series called “The Wild Hunt.”  In the second book more characters are introduced.



Veronica Roth’s book takes place in a futuristic dystopian society.  When Beatrice Prior turns sixteen she has to choose one of the five predetermined factions.  She discovers she is not entirely one faction but is drawn to several.  Tris (Beatrice) discovers that there is great unrest and danger as she trains to be part of the Dauntless faction.  There are some great actions scenes that make this book very exciting to read.



 One of the quotations that inspired Roth’s character Tris is written by Agamemnon, “My will is mine…..I shall not make it soft for you.”





Marie Lu has written a fast-paced science fiction thriller.  Day is a criminal and June is out to catch him.  The two teenagers are from opposite ends of the social spectrum.  Day is poor and June is rich.  June believes that Day is responsible for her brother’s death.  Day is a “Robin Hood” character and believes the government is not what it seems.  The second book in the series, Prodigy,  is also very popular with the cadets.



  I finally bought one, The Fallen by Paul Langan.  Martin Luna’s brother has been accidentally shot and killed.  The bullet was meant for his gang leader.  “And bullets don’t have names.  They cut down anyone.  Everyone.  Even eight-year-olds who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  This story was very touching as Martin conquers his anger and finally does the right thing for himself and his mother.





Article posted January 29, 2013 at 08:43 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 198



Article posted December 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 202



I have a fascination with the Holocaust dating back to high school when my Avon lady came to the house. My Avon lady, Hilda, had a number tattooed on her arm and I asked her about it. She told me the Germans had tattooed her arm during World War II.



Brzezinski’s book is really excellent and well researched.  He explains the different factions of Jews in Poland and why it was so hard for them to unite against the Germans in Warsaw.







Article posted December 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 202



Article posted November 30, 2012 at 11:14 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 200



I consider Ender’s Game a science fiction classic.  Card wrote, “Battle School is for training future starship captains and commodores of flotillas and admirals of the fleet.”  Andrew Scott Card created a military school of the future and the cadets love reading this book.  The battleroom scenes in null gravity are my favorite part of the book.





Article posted November 30, 2012 at 11:14 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 200



Article posted October 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 169



Tamora Pierce’s series about Beka Cooper is a fantasy mystery. The first book, Terrier, is excellent. This book is also a coming of age story as Beka deals with her family and her job. I really enjoyed reading my first book about the fantasy realm of Tortall!





Article posted October 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 169



Article posted September 21, 2012 at 09:23 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 162



Whoa, hold onto your seat!  This is one action packed book!  Pittacus Lore has written great science fiction.  My favorite character is Bernie Kosar, the dog, who is not what he seems.  I cannot wait to rent the movie and then read the other two books in the series.  The series title is “The Lorien Legacies.”





Article posted September 21, 2012 at 09:23 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 162



Article posted August 31, 2012 at 04:24 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 494



George Martin’s series is incredibly bloody and incredibly good.  This is a soap opera on a very grand scale.  Knights, queens, wizards, kings, and dragons all play a part.  Daenerys Targaryen is my favorite character of the series.  I have all five books in the series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.”  The cadets really like this series.





Article posted August 31, 2012 at 04:24 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 494



Article posted May 1, 2012 at 07:48 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 184

The final book in the Wake trilogy, Gone, was very dark but had a great ending. Morton’s fork is a recurring theme in Lisa McMann’s book. Morton’s fork is defined as “A situation involving choice between two equally undesirable outcomes.” (Wordsmith.org) The heroine, Janie, must choose between two bad outcomes. What a dilemma she has!



Janie meets her father who is also a dream catcher. He is in a coma getting ready to die when Janie finally meets him. Janie comes to terms with her alcoholic mother, the father she never knew, and her love for Cabel. The conclusion was very satisfying.



Article posted May 1, 2012 at 07:48 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 184



Article posted April 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 178



Ron Kovic’s book left me feeling horrified. The treatment of Vietnam veterans by medical personnel and the general public was shameful. I followed Kovic on his journey from patriotic American for the Vietnam War to patriotic American against the Vietnam War, and all war. Kovic explains the battle in which he was wounded at the very end of the book.



Article posted April 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 178



Article posted February 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 154



102 Minutes tells a riveting tale of “the unforgettable story of the fight to survive inside the twin towers.”  I watched a lot of the specials on TV for the tenth anniversary and was familiar with some of the survival stories.  The most fascinating part of the book was the 1968 fire code which reduced the number of stairwells required in tall buildings. (Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn page 109)



Article posted February 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 154



Article posted January 5, 2012 at 07:21 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 172



This is a very Russian book. Benioff’s telling of the siege of Leningrad in World War II is both hilarious and chilling. Lev Beniov is the story’s hero. He is thrown in jail and then sent on a quest to find a dozen eggs. I really felt like I was there during the siege, battling the Nazis. This was historical fiction at its best.





Article posted January 5, 2012 at 07:21 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 172



Article posted December 18, 2011 at 02:55 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 185



Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson is powerful. I have bought as many Apple products as Microsoft products. The first computer I bought was an Apple IIe and then a Macintosh. It was fascinating to read about the development of the Apple machines and operating systems and Jobs’ devotion to “make great products.” Currently I own an iPod and an iPhone. I really enjoy using both of them because they are user friendly. Jobs was both an entrepreneur and an artist. Jobs wrote, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Jobs was incredible at showing us the good stuff!



Article posted December 18, 2011 at 02:55 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 185



Article posted October 31, 2011 at 01:48 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 359



Leviathan takes place in an alternate world at the start of World War I. Darwinists are able to create a huge airship which is really an ecosystem, a “fabricated beastie.” Opposing the Darwinists are the Clankers who have incredible mechanical walking machines. The two main characters are fifteen year old Deryn and Alek.  Deryn is disguised as a boy so that she can volunteer for the British Navy as an airman. Alek is an Austrian prince trained in war. Alek and Deryn become allies.



Keith Thompson is the illustrator and his drawings add to the realism. The genetically engineered animals would be hard to comprehend without his drawings.



Westerfeld has written some masterful fight scenes for both Alek and Deryn.



Article posted October 31, 2011 at 01:48 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 359



Article posted September 26, 2011 at 01:57 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 166



This book gave me the creeps, but I loved it. This modern medical mystery by Richard Preston made me realize how we are connected to other primates. Through sheer luck an extremely contagious virus from Central Africa was contained in a Washington, D.C. primate lab. We may not be so lucky next time.



Article posted September 26, 2011 at 01:57 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 166



Article posted August 5, 2011 at 01:37 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 323

Miguel gets sent to Juvi for one year. He ends up in a group home and decides to run away with two other teenagers. His journey ends up being a healing process. He starts reading books in the group home and he takes some books with him when the three escape. (I love it when the hero reads a lot!)



The judge has instructed him to write in a journal and Miguel enjoys the experience of writing. The novel is written as Miguel’s diary. As the three boys make their way down the California coast each one comes to terms with his problems. Matt de la Pena's book is heart wrenching as the boys’ crimes  are revealed.



Article posted August 5, 2011 at 01:37 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 323



Article posted June 4, 2011 at 04:30 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 183



This is a funny coming-of-age novel.  Liam is seventeen and his father throws him out of the house.  It seems Liam can do nothing right. He goes to live with his gay uncle to finish high school. There are some unresolved issues in Liam’s life. Should he be true to himself or continue trying to please his father?



Kelly Going has written an insightful, hilarious novel about the complex relationship between a teen and his father.



Article posted June 4, 2011 at 04:30 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 183



Article posted April 2, 2011 at 08:47 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 324

This novel tells the story of a school shooting and its aftermath. Valerie’s boyfriend Nick shoots students at the end of his junior year. Valerie believed her “hate list” was an imaginary list, not a list Nick would take action on. Valerie goes through therapy and through flashbacks we see the Nick that she loved. Jennifer Brown’s book makes me cry and see how harmful bullying can be.



Article posted April 2, 2011 at 08:47 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 324



Article posted March 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 167

Emma Clayton has written a science fiction thriller! Mika lives in a future London where there are no animals because of the Animal Plague. Mika’s twin sister is kidnapped and the story follows his quest to find her when everyone else thinks she is dead. The Secret is revealed at the end of the book which makes the reader demand a sequel. One of my cadets read this and begged me to purchase the series. The Roar and The Whisper make up this series.



Article posted March 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 167



Article posted February 13, 2011 at 07:20 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 177

Paolo Bacigalupi has written an exciting science fiction adventure. Fifteen-year-old Nailer scavenges for copper wire in an abandoned oil tanker. He has an abusive, drug addicted father. He nearly dies in the opening scene of the book. The plot revolves around his rescue of Lucky Girl.



I enjoyed the fast pace of this novel and the setting. The Gulf Coast in the future has killer hurricanes and drowned cities.

Article posted February 13, 2011 at 07:20 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 177



Article posted December 6, 2010 at 10:11 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 277

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series have become classics, books of enduring value. I am reading “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and I am waiting to see what Voldemort is going to do next.



Harry Potter is the quintessential protagonist; an orphan, a wizard, and a teenager. I cannot wait to finish reading the series. I will be watching the newest movie over Christmas break.

Article posted December 6, 2010 at 10:11 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 277



Article posted December 6, 2010 at 09:27 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 153

Article posted December 6, 2010 at 09:27 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 153



Article posted October 11, 2010 at 10:24 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 285

Cormac O’Brien wrote about the battle of Salamis. “Greek independence had been saved. Though Greek culture would have survived under Persian rule, the course of Western history would undoubtedly have been very different.” O’Brien makes these battles come alive.

Article posted October 11, 2010 at 10:24 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 285



Article posted September 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 166

Kung fu fighting reigns in this book! Jeff Stone’s writing is fast-paced and filled with martial arts. Fu is a twelve-year-old monk who also has some traits of the tiger. “Tiger” is the first book in the Five Ancestors series.



Fu and his four brothers are the only survivors of a surprise attack against the Cangzhen temple. The setting is 14th century China. Ying, a former Cangzhen temple student, is the villain who led the attack. Fu and his four brothers “must find a noble way to change Ying.”

Article posted September 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 166



Article posted July 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 172

Really COOL read!! N. K Jemisin’s “The Hundred Thousand Kindgoms” is the first book of her trilogy.



In Book One of the Inheritance Trilogy Yeine Darr is the female protagonist. Yeine’s mother has been murdered and then she is named an heiress to the king. Yeine battles with her cousins and the gods to a satisfying and surprising conclusion. I am really looking forward to Jemisin’s next book.

Article posted July 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 172



Article posted July 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 151

This “coming-of-age” novel by Nancy Farmer is compelling. Matt is a clone and therefore ostracized by most of the people on the Alacran Estate. Matt grows up in a futuristic society in a country called Opium. Opium is between the United States and the former country of Mexico, now called Aztlan.



Matt battles prejudice and cruelty as the book follows his life from birth to the age of 14. Matt’s DNA is from a drug lord who has made many bad decisions. Matt is also presented with decisions between good and evil.

Article posted July 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 151



Article posted June 4, 2010 at 10:12 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 161

“The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness is a fast-paced science fiction thriller. This book is the first in the “Chaos Walking” series.



Todd and his talking dog, Manchee, discover secrets. Todd must run for his life right before his 13th birthday. On Todd’s planet the men and animals can hear each others’ thoughts. Todd also discovers a wrecked scout ship and one survivor. The ending of this book is a cliff hanger setting up the next book in the series.

Article posted June 4, 2010 at 10:12 AM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 161



Article posted April 20, 2010 at 09:09 PM GMT-6 • comment • Reads 163

One of my fellow librarians described this book