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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Why Teachers Should Let Students Read Manga by Luis, 8th Grade

Mrs. Moye let me read manga for most of the year. I read a huge variety of awesome mangas, but some teachers don’t like manga for different reasons. But I feel like I have the right to read whatever I want. Manga isn’t just fighting cartoons, some of them have a better plot than books. For example, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has a better vampire plot than other vampire books out there. Some have great love stories or more realistic action. Manga is truly something that teachers should let their students read and enjoy. And who knows–they may even learn Japanese!

Why 6th Graders Should Be Allowed to Read More Mature Books If They Want by Star, 6th Grade

I believe 6th graders should be allowed to read more mature books. It allows the kids to venture into a world they still have a while to actually enter. They allow kids to feel more emotions, such as sadness in love. For example, in the book The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Hazel and Augustus express such love for each other despite their differences. And when something sad happens at the end of the book, it causes the reader to be sad. Another reason 6th graders should be allowed to read more mature books is because they get kids into more real world situations before they have to experience it themselves. For example, in the book Orbiting Jupiter the author throws the reader into a real life situation. 

Why We Shouldn’t Ban Books by Paola & Amy, 7th Grade

Book banning: The horrible act of taking a book deemed “inappropriate” for students and then restricting access to that book. This has been done for years and many people actually think that this helps keep children from certain material. While it actually causes problems. 

It Keeps Important Topics Away From Kids

The biggest problem with banning books is that most of the banned books talk about very important social topics. While many people think that exposing kids to these topics will hurt them, the opposite can actually be said. The more kids learn about these topics, the better educated they are. They could then form their own opinions and even come up with ideas to help other people. Additionally, by keeping these materials away from teens and kids, they might make bad decisions because they’ve never thought about it. And by banning the books, people are making the topics more intriguing.

Why I Like Books About Social Justice by Alex, 8th Grade

I think that social justice books are the best to read for multiple reaasons. One big reason is that social justice is a very relevant topic that goes on daily, whether between a cop and an unarmed man or people of different races experiencing racial tension. I think that no matter what the situation is, it’s always interesting to see it unfold. After reading a book that deals with heavy teantion, I like to put myself in that persn’s shoes and think about how I would have handled the situation. Another reason why I believe that social justice books are interesting is because I have never had to deal with much oppression in my life which is why I think it is good to learn about other people that have dealt with oppression beacuse it makes me feel like I am not ignorant about the situations in our society. Just because I don’t deal with  them, doesn’t mean I should know about them. 

My top social justice books:

  • Ghost by Jason Renolds
  • I Am Alfonso Jones
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Yummy by G. Neri
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Why I Like K.A. Holt Books by Maya, 6th Grade

My first ever K.A. Holt book that I read was House Arrest, and ever since then, I have fallen in love with her writing. After I read House Arrest, I read Knockout, Redwood & Ponytail, and Rhyme Schemer. I love how her books are written like a verse of a poem because not many authors write the way she does and it captures emotions. I also love how in House Arrest she wrote the book over weeks to follow along. Also, I love that House Arrest, Knockout, and Redwood & Ponytail are in a series but you don’t have to read them in a certain order. Redwood & Ponytail was an amazing book to me; it has an important message which is never be afraid to show who you are no matter what others think. Thank you, K.A. Holt, for writing amazing books!

Reasons Why I Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Axel, 6th Grade

I like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series because it is fun to know how Greg lives his life and learn about him. It also includes comedy which makes me laugh time to time while reading it. Greg’s family is really funny and weird and sometimes do embarrassing things which is fun to read about. Greg and Rowley do funny things too–usually activities for their own purposes that always end up as a disaster because Greg tries to imagine how to make everything perfect for him and when he tries to make it perfect, something goes wrong. All of these are why I like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series. Oh! And every year a new book comes out, and so far each one I’ve read is great!

Book Stereotypes That Are NOT TRUE! by Cooper & Jacob, 6th Grade and Mrs. Moye

  • There are girl and boy books.
    • This stereotype has lasted for many years and is still believed vy people. There is no such thing as a girl or a boy book. 
  • Long books are boring
    • Long books are not boring because a long book just has more action and fun in it. 
  • Graphic novels are for children.
    • Graphic novels are for everyone. They have life lessons and the images bring it all together. 
  • Books are the same as movies. 
    • Movies have to cut things out because of time. To get the full story, you have to read the book. 
  • Cool kids don’t read/Only nerds read.
    • Smart people read.
  • Judge books by their cover. 
    • The cover isn’t even chosen by the author and sometimes covers are so misleading!
  • Non-fiction books are boring.
    • Then you aren’t reading the right nonfiction books for you! Try a different kind. 
  • “I don’t have time to read.”
    • Yes you do. You aren’t making time to read. Just 20 minutes a day can impact your life in such a positive way!
  • Children’s books aren’t good. 
    • Any children’s book will prove this wrong because they have a huge impact on the reader. 
  • Independent reading doesn’t help you learn anything./Books are a waste of money.
    • Books can help the reader learn! Instead of playing and buying video games, buy books!

Thank you everyone for your great essays!

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Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Apollo 11 mission. To celebrate this momentous celebration, I am happy to share some fantastic space books! (And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!)

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
Author: Katherine Johnson
Published July 2nd, 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.”

In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Author: Brian Floca
Originally Published April 9th, 2019 by Richard Jackson Books

Brian Floca explores Apollo 11’s famed moon landing with this newly expanded edition of Moonshot!

Simply told, grandly shown, and now with eight additional pages of brand-new art and more in-depth information about the historic moon landing, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery—a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Hidden Figures: Young Readers’ Edition
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Published November 29th, 2016 by HarperCollins

This edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book is perfect for young readers. It is the powerful story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship
Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Elisa Paganelli
Published May 7th, 2019 by Sourcebook Jabberwocky

A heartwarming story of a friendship-seeking moon that also celebrates the extraordinary 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing!

From high up in the sky, the Moon has spent her whole life watching Earth and hoping for someone to visit. Dinosaurs roam, pyramids are built, and boats are made, but still no one comes. Will friends ever come visit her?

One day a spaceship soars from Earth…and so does her heart.

Includes bonus educational pages about the moon mission!

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong
Author: Don Brown
Published September 24th, 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers

As a young boy, Neil Armstrong had a recurring dream in which he held his breath and floated high above the people, houses, and cars. He spent his free time reading stacks of flying magazines, building model airplanes, and staring through the homemade telescope mounted on the roof of his neighbor’s garage. As a teenager, Neil became obsessed with the idea of flight, working odd jobs to pay for flying lessons at a nearby airport. He earned his student pilot’s license on his sixteenth birthday. But who was to know that this shy boy, who also loved books and music, would become the first person to set foot on the moon, on July 20, 1969. Here is the inspiring story of one boy’s dream – a dream of flying that landed him more than 200,000 miles away in space, gazing upon the awesome sight of a tiny earth hanging suspended in a perfectly black sky. On the thirtieth anniversary of the moon landing, Don Brown’s expressive story reveals the achievement of this American legend, Neil Armstrong.

Previously Reviewed and Recommended:

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**Thank you to Milena at Simon & Schuster for providing the books for giveaway!**

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Strong Women Characters by Vanessa & Angelina, 8th and 7th Grade

  • Sophie Quire (from Sophie Quire) is strong even though her mother passed away. She stands up for what she believes in and adventures off to attempt to ave what she finds important.
  • Grace Blakely (from All Fall Down) is a brave girl who lost her mother at a young age. She stands up for what she believes is right even when nobody trusts her.
  • Maddie Manchester (from Not If I Save You First) is torn from her past, but she follows her beliefs and stands up for herself. She discovers the truth, stands up to assassins, and protect what’s important.
  • Linh Cinder (from Cinder) is living a normal life until she discovers new truths. Finding companions along the way, she attempts to fight evil and bring them to justice.
  • Agatha (from School for Good and Evil) overcomes her doubts and discovers her own dreams and beliefs.
  • Kestra Dallisor (from The Traitor’s Game) is a runaway princess who tries to escape her present and figure out her past. She protects those who are innocent and close to her.
  • Other favorites:
    • Chaya Lindner (from Resistance)
    • Cammie Morgan (from Gallagher Girls)
    • Alex Bailey (from Land of Stories)
    • Katarina Bishop (from Heist Society)

Most Inspirational Women in Books by Georgia & Natalie, 6th Grade

  • Cassie Sullivan (from The 5th Wave) spent the whole span of The Fifth Wave trying to protect her brother. Even in great sorrow and loss, she made the ultimate sacrifice so her brother could grow up in a safe world.
  • Mare (from The Red Queen) was put in a castle of danger where one wrong move could get her killed. She has to act like a princess to save her family while also being an advocate for a “red”volution.
  • Alyssa (from Dry) is the perfect big sister. She went through hell and back to protect her little brother and was prepared to do the unthinkable to keep her brother from suffering.
  • Cleo (from A Death-Struck Year) risked her life to help the sick. In the midst of an epidemic with no parents or family, 17 year old Cleo went houst to house saving people and risking her life.
  • SPOILERS!!!
    Mallory (from Sword of Summer) sacrificed herself. During a war, a bus was dropping off more soldiers when Loki took control of her body and made her set a bomb on the bus. When she took control back of her body, she deactivated the bomb saving 72 people but died in the process.
  • SPOILERS!!!
    Cinderpelt (from Warriors: The Fourth Apprentice) protects those around her. When every other cat is out of camp, a badger attacks the medicine den. Cinderpelt protects the kittens inside with the cost of her life.
  • Gerta (from A Night Divided) is a 12 year old from East Berlin who got caught between a rock and a hard place when in the middle of the night the Berlin wall was built up around her side of town. In order to protect her family, she faces betrayal, spies, and possibly death. All of this just to save her family.
  • Imogen (from The False Prince) seems like just a common servant but risks her life numerous times to protect someone she cares about.
  • Gina (from The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days) is focused on doing helpful things around her neighborhood at night during the summer. She is spending her time trying to make others’ lives better.
  • Molly (from Castle Hangnail) is the only person that can save Castle Hangnail!

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Controversial Characters (Are they villains? Or are they heroes?) by Elsa, Kaley, and Max, 8th Grade

  • Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series: Even though J.K. Rowling makes Dumbledore seem like a wise, old guide helping Harry, Dumbledore is often manipulative, selfish, and cold. While Harry saw Dumbledore as a mentor, Dumbledore only saw Harry as a pawn. Dumbledore used Harry’s feelings toward him to make Harry do what he wants. (Elsa)
  • Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series: At the end of the series, J.K. Rowling attempted redemption with Severus Snape. I feel as though it wasn’t enough and if anything it made me not like him more. While he was a villain for the majority of the series, the fact that he was bullied and then obsessed with Harry’s mom is supposed to make the fact that he is a trash person for 6.5 books okay… (Kaley)
  • Tedros from the School for Good and Evil series: Tedros, the love interest of both Sophie and Agatha in the first book, is so self absorbed and ignorant. In the first book, he seemed very fake and would do whatever he wanted. (Elsa)
  • Sophie from the School for Good and Evil series: I totally get that Sophie was supposed to come across as artificial and stupid. It was one of her character flaws that was supposed to be overruled by her good traits like being a good friend to Agatha. I don’t think it did and think the bad outweighed the good. (Kaley)
  • Naomi’s Dad in Two Naomis: Naomi’s dad is a controversial character in my opinion because the author tried to make the reader feel sorry for him and that he was really trying; however, I do not like him because he should not force things on the children. Some children take longer to deal with changes. (Max)

15 of the Most Evil Characters in Books by Daniela & Mariana, 8th Grade

  • Slade from Blood on my Hands
  • The Governor from Stung
  • The Evil Queen from The Land of Stories series
  • The Masked Man from The Land of Stories series
  • Lady Iris from The Land of Stories series
  • Snow Queen from The Land of Stories series
  • Sea Witch from The Land of Stories series
  • The Queen of Hearts from The Land of Stories series
  • Captain Hook from The Land of Stories series
  • Morina from The Land of Stories series
  • The Police from Ghost Boys
  • Hellhounds from Good Dog
  • Aiden’s Dad from Good Dog
  • Secret Murderer from One of Us is Lying
  • Steven from A Girl Named Digit

10 Comic Villains I Wish I Could Fight by Diego, 8th Grade

  • Thanos: I would like to fight Thanos because he is the strongest supervillain. He beat The Avengers!
  • Reverse Flash: I would fight Reverse Flash because he is the archenemy of the Flash and is very fast and super smart.
  • The Joker: I would fight the Joker because he’s a very smart scientist and a criminal mastermind. I think I would lose.
  • Lex Luthor: I would fight Lex Luther because he’s the archenemy of Superman and is very powerful though I think I could win.
  • Catwoman: I would fight Cat Woman because she’s very agile and would be difficult to fight because of her agility and coordination.
  • Harley Quinn: I would fight Harley because she is very smart and is Joker’s partner and would be hart to defeat.
  • Magneto: I would fight Magneto because he’s very powerful since he can control magnets and magnetic fields.
  • Loki: I would want to fight Loki because he is the god of mischief and would be fun but hart to beat.
  • Venom: I would like to fight Venom because when the symbiote turns into Venom, he turns really lethal and powerful, similar to fighting Spiderman.
  • Doctor Doom: I would like to fight Doctor Doom because he is Spiderman’s archenemy and is very mean and knows how to create armor. He also is an intellect, knows sorcery, and is a telepath.

Top 10 Manga Villains by Luis, 8th Grade

  • Blackbeard from One Piece: Marshall D. Teach, also known as Blackbeard, is the captain of the Blackbeard Pirates and is known as one of the baddest pirates in the manga.
  • Piccolo Daimaku from Dragon Ball Z: He’s the main antagonist of Dragon Ball. He’s one half of the No-Name Namekian alongside Kami-sama. He’s known for assassinating innocents during the Martial Arts Tournament and assassinating Master Roshi.
  • Zamasu from Dragon Ball Z: Zamasu is a god of time. He started hating humans after Trunks started messing with time travel. He wants to kill all humans for Trunks’s actions against time.
  • Majin Buu from Dragon Ball Z: Majin Buu is a monster created by magician Vividi and reused by his son. Buu’s only objective is to destroy all living creatures on the planet, even killing Vividi.
  • Frieza from Dragon Ball Z: Frieza is the emperor of the universe, and his only desire in life is to attain immortality.
  • Kars from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Kars is the one responsible for the Villain vs. Human War and killing all of his species except for 3 men. He is right now floating in space not thinking.
  • Dio Brando from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Dio is a vampire. Dio wants to reset the world to his wishes. He’s able to stop time and kills half of the stardust crusaders.
  • Enrico Pucci from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Pucci is a priest but once he meets Dio his believes change. Dio is his god now and Pucci is helping with resetting the whole universe.
  • The Major from Hellsing: The Major is the master evil human in the world since all he wants is war, destruction, and chaos.
  • Madara Uchiha from Naruto: Shippuden: Madara is th descendant of the 2nd son of the sage of sixpathes, part of the Uchika clan, and the first Uchiha to unlock the eternal Mangekyou Sharingan which gave him great powers.

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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