Student Voices: Christina Diaz Gonzalez’s Visit to Kellee’s Middle School


I am so lucky because my principal began an initiative at my school where we get to have an author visit our school yearly (2022: Nathan Hale, 2020: Neal Shusterman, 2019: Jennifer A. Nielsen). The author sees all students in the school, so it is a great community literacy event for my school, and I love being able to bring this experience to all 1200+ students each year!

This year, we hosted Christina Diaz Gonzalez!
The visit was phenomenal and included 5 presentations for approximately 240 kids, book signings, and a small presentation in Spanish for our emerging bilingual students who have been in the US for a year or less. It was all such an amazing experience!

Here are some reflections from my students from after the visit. I asked them to think about what they learned, what they enjoyed, how they were impacted, or anything else they wanted to share:

  • The Christina Diaz Gonzalez visit was something I will cherish forever. I learned to normalize authors and realize how authors are real people and how they’re not magical beings with neverending ideas. I enjoyed how she managed to keep the presentation light and sweet but as well as interactive, she made me interested in so many more of her books!…I love how she reminds us how important Hispanic Representation is. These author trips are something I will forever cherish when I go to High School. Thank you for putting the effort and time into doing this Mrs. Moye! I really appreciate it!
  • [The visit] impacted me because it showed me that I could accomplish my dreams.
  • I learned that you can pursue whatever you like and you should be passionate about what you want to do.
  • I learned a lot from her visit to our school, and it was really cool! I learned about how it could be a struggle to write a book, and how 1 book or author can inspire someone. I really liked how she got to answer my question, and how a lot of people cared to ask many questions which made it even more detailed and fun to listen to stories. I feel like it impacted me, and some other people, to encourage them to be an author. I am currently writing a book, and her amazing books are encouraging me to finish my book. I am so glad she came because it was really cool to see an author explain and show about writing books.
  • I’m glad she came because her whole presentation was just amazing, I liked that I had the opportunity to meet her and I liked the tips she gave us and of course, the stories that she told us.
  • I am glad she came because in my other school we never got a visit like this one.

  • Well, I really enjoyed how much Christina Diaz Gonzalez was like an everyday person. You see famous people on the back of book coves, and their names on movie posters, and things like that. You expect them to be a different way. You expect them to be different from everybody else. But that’s obviously not the case seeing as many actors, authors, and directors all act just as normal as everyday people. Christina Diaz Gonzalez seemed just as normal as me and I respect her a lot for this.
  • I very much enjoyed how she let us ask questions, and I liked the questions that the kids asks.
  • This visit also made me think differently about books like how you can relate to a story really easily or learn something new every day.
  • From the Christina Diaz Gonzalez visit, I learned that being an author is harder than people may think. I enjoyed that she was fun. She spoke in a way where you can’t really get too bored or bored at all and she showed us those cool trailers of her books. This impacted me by meeting someone who’s Cuban. I don’t ever meet any others that are Cuban.
  • I learned that she has a similar childhood to some of the people at the school that don’t know how to speak English or understand it. I’m glad she came because the whole school knew about her books and to be able to see those students that were so excited to meet her happy and to get to know her more.
  • What I learned from yesterday was that Christiana Diaz Gonzalez is an inspiring author that uses her family to help write her books, which I enjoyed. It inspired me to try to write my own stories about my family. I am glad she came to HCMS because she has a difficult past, and I have had one too.
  • During the part where she was talking about her very first story that she had written, it made me think about how creativity really does come from anything. A little thought can slowly grow and grow, it just needs a little bit of effort added into it, so that impacted me to open my eyes and “see beyond” generic ideas.

As you can see, Christina’s visit was highly engaging and inspiring. I would highly recommend her for a school visit!


Student Voices: Insights from Karina D., Emma Y., Nour B., Maria F., Bianca C., and Anabella S.



Favorite Book Quotes by Karina D., 6th grade, & Emma Y., 7th grade

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

  • “Sometimes, things that appear very different on the surface are actually the exact same at their core.” – Jameson Winchester Hawthorne from The Inheritance Games (the first book) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    • This quote stuck out to me as I was reading the book, this specific scene stuck in my head. Basically, the main character, Avery, was trying to unlock her new inherited billionaire house and she had a task of finding the key. The thing is, the keychain that the key was attached to contained a bunch of other keys – all similar to each other in shape and size. She figured the odd one out in record time while on a call with Jameson Winchester Hawthorne – who inhabits a part of the billionaire mansion. He was surprised, and then decided to say this quote, which stuck out to me since it hints at a deeper mystery in the book. – Emma The One (The Selection Book 3) eBook : Cass, Kiera: Kindle Store

  • “Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.” – Maxon Schreave from The One (the third book of The Selection) by Kiera Cass
    • This quote stuck out to me as I was reading this book, because it really wrapped a lot of things up in the story. They were in a situation where it was life or death, which adds a lot more suspense to the book itself, and the quote. It also provides information about who Prince Maxon chooses in The One to marry and spend the rest of his life with. This moment filled my heart with joy, which is why I definitely like this quote. Also because it’s something that I would understand myself, if I were to be in love I’d think back to this quote and smile, to fully understand the meaning behind the words.  – Emma

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

  • “I’ve been waiting for you a long time, Alina” He said. “You and I are going to change the world.” ― The Darkling from Shadow and Bone (the first book) by Leigh Bardugo
    • This quote stuck out to me because it’s really funny, it’s misleading because of what happens with the Darkling – let’s just say it’s an interesting thing to take note of. He really acknowledges the fact that the darkling and Alina can change the world together, change the Grishaverse and The Fold itself, which may or may not happen in this book, the first book of the series.. They make a powerful duo, but we find out later in the book if it’s for better or for worse. Definitely recommend, there’s also a bunch of other good lines in this story to take note of. – Emma Earthquake in the Early Morning (Magic Tree House #24) (Magic  Tree House (R)): 9780679890706: Osborne, Mary Pope, Murdocca, Sal: Books

  • “There is no water and still less soap. We have no city, but lots of hope.” ― Mary Pope Osborne, Earthquake in the Early Morning
    • This quote stuck out to me because just when they lost their house to an earthquake, with all their belongings, (and continued) the one thing they didn’t lose was their hope, just as inspiring as it sounds. That told me when times are rough, just don’t lose hope. – Karina Twister on Tuesday (Magic Tree House, No. 23): 9780679890690:  Osborne, Mary Pope, Murdocca, Sal: Books

  • “I love teaching. It’s a job that lasts forever. Whatever you teach children today travels with them far into the future.” ― Mary Pope Osborne, Twister on Tuesday
    • This book Quote stuck out to me cause it shows that the knowledge you teach is the knowledge that could lead to the future. Which shows that knowledge can last for eternity and just will be taught over and over again. – Karina

Books vs. Movies by Nour B., 7th grade

Debate: Books vs Movies — RVA Weekly

Is the book always better than the movie? In most cases, yes. The reason behind this is that most of the time the book is too boring to turn into a film. So the directors had to add extra parts to make it more interesting or leave stuff out because it wouldn’t add anything to the movie. 

When the book is being turned into a film, it’s probably better to let the author direct it so they can portray the book exactly like they wanted it to be. The movie is almost always the directors point of view of the book which can be interpreted differently so many times. While authors can portray the book just how they wanted to. Most people say the book is better than the movie or TV show because they’ve read the book and were disappointed by how they left out some of their favorite parts from the book. 

One of the reasons the book is (almost always) better than the book is. The director has to fit the book into about a 1.5-3 hour movie. That’s pretty hard considering all the details included in the book. When you read books you get to see what the character is thinking while in movies you often don’t get that privilege This leaves us to fiure out what the character is thinking through what they say or do in the given situation. Books also provide background knowledge while the movie doesn’t have enough time for that. When you read a book you get a lot of information about the characters, in the movie they just show the characters and give you no information on who they are and what happened to make them who they are.

Reading the book leaves you with some type of imagination to picture where they are or what the character looks like while the movie the characters and setting look completely different than what is described in the book. The book gives you freedom to imagine what the character look like and what the setting is like. This is often ignored by movie directors  and many fans of the book are left disappointed or upset.

In conclusion, the book is almost always better than the movie. While there are some exceptions to this, it is correct most of the time. Reading allows you to feel like you are also experiencing it while the movie just feels like you’re just watching it. 

The Truth About The Hunger Game Series (Spoiler Alert!) by Maria F., 8th grade The Hunger Games - Library Edition: 9780545310581: Collins,  Suzanne: Books

The inner workings of what actually happens! 

Warning: A lot of unpopular opinions are present 

The Hunger Games series is such a good book series but have you ever thought about who is the true villain or looked at who we should blame for prim’s death. Also what is truly going on with every character and their motives. Today I’m going to be going into more depth on what I think of the series and provide several theories that might even answer some of the questions above. 

Gale Is One of the Villains Of Our story! 

Hey I know what you might be thinking, Gale how could Gale be a villain, he was always there for Katniss! Or was he? From the very beginning of our story we were introduced to Gale and the author introduced him as a side character who played a protagonist role in the series. But why would we question his actions then. Well let’s look a little deeper, in the beginning gale acted like he and Katniss were just good friends and “he cared for her.” But later on in the story it proves that he did actually have secret feelings for Katniss and this had inevitably confused Katniss on who to chose, which didn’t help her mental health state. At Katniss’ lowest point in life Gale showed up and made it more confusing. Fine this doesn’t make him a villain but it does serve us every right to call him not a good person. But now let’s look more into Gale’s character throughout the book series. Gale has been proven time and time again that he hates the way the government is run, and clearly despises the capital.  So lets flash forward to the third book when gale designs that nuclear bomb that ends up killing one of my favorite characters Prim! He claims he did not know what the purpose of the bomb was and had no idea it was going to kill prim. But clearly he knew that designing a bomb is made to kill people. So Gale was willing to kill innocent people all around the capital? Also the real question is he designed a super powerful bomb but yet didn’t even take one second to ask what it was for! He killed his people and not only that, he ruined Katniss as well. So in conclusion, gale is a secret villain in disguise you decide!

Peeta Is the Best Character In the books! 

In the Hunger Games series peta is presented as a main side character so how can he be the best character in the whole series. Well let’s just say Susan Colonies knew what she was doing when she presented peta. She made peta a lovable character from the start who just happened to fall head over heels for our main character Katniss. The reason why Katniss is not the best character is because of her thought process on things, and instead of character development in Katniss we saw none of it. But yet in peta we did, peta even with his PTSD that he got in the hunger games, Yet he was still able to think with a strong mind. Peeta Is a character who went through so much for Katniss and we love him for that. 

Katniss went through too much and yet she still didn’t fail us? 

I feel like this is a given idea that Katniss has been through so much that mentally is not ok. But I did feel like putting it in here since it does contribute to topic one. What I mean by that is clearly Katniss has been through a lot from going through the hunger games and losing her sister. But yet Gale never helped,I feel like Gale just worried her more than helped which is why I say that he was never the best character. But yet Katniss didn’t fail us because in the end she ended up killing president coin. Many might say that was a foolish move on her behalf. But I think even in her terrible mental state her killing president coin was the best move she could have made. It was brave due to the fact that was her own leader and she knew what she was risking. The killing coin has stopped form another version of hunger games arising and yet she did this all in her terrible state of mine!

Effie Trinket Hates The Games! 

How could Effie hate the games if she announces the whole procure and draws the names. I don’t have that much evidence to support this theory but you can tell that Effie never enjoyed having to see Katniss and Peeta go through what they went through. You can tell that she had a soft spot for them and her having to see all that happen to them just didn’t sit well with her. 

President Snow Just wanted what was best for the Capital 

I had left the best one for last! How could someone as cold as president Snow want something good that is not for himself. Well hear me out although we can all agree president snow had the most evil character traits in the books. He did unfortunately care for the capital but never for the right reason. President Snow had worked so hard to create the evil foundation that he made from the districts divisions to the capitol. So just like anybody that worked hard on something they don’t want it to crumble. So when Katniss had posed a threat he was shocked on how somebody could have dared to do such a thing. Which is why what happened in the second book happened. President Snow did that in hopes of having Katniss’ death come true which didn’t happen and resulted in President Snow’s enemy never to be gone. So he had to take drastic measures due to the fact that he just wanted to protect the capital. So in the end president snow never cared for the district people but for his capital. 

My Mixed Feelings on the Author of Harry Potter by Bianca C., 8th grade

J.K. Rowling's tweets on LGBTQ community sparks outrage - YouTube

Although I do love the Harry Potter series: I think it pretty amazing. I love the whole story line of Harry Potter adventures to defeat lord Voldemort… But I do have a big problem with the Author J.K Rowling because of her being anti- trans. As someone who is in the LGBTQ+ community, it is something I have a problem with because I believe that just because you weren’t biologically born a woman doesn’t mean you aren’t because I believe we can be whoever we want to be.  

I get that she is a huge feminist, but it just isn’t right telling trans- women that they aren’t real women because they weren’t born as one but they can still be a women in their heart, and if you feel like you are a women then you are you don’t have to go through being pregnant or getting your period 7 days a month to be a she. So that why I have a huge problem with J.K Rowling.

We should all get to choose who we want to be: even our gender.  We choose the decisions in our lives we can be who we want to be and J.K ROWLING HAS NO RIGHT SAYING WE CAN’T MAKE THAT CHOICE. And by her treating trans- women like this, she’s making people feel tarnished by the Harry Potter books because of J.K Rowling anti trans posts on twitter And a lot of the actors from the harry potter movies totally disagree on J.K. Rowling’s views on trans women. They have repeatedly argued on the trans topic.

She is totally mistaken if she believes trans women aren’t real women because they are and that the truth is why I have mixed feelings on Harry Potter because I hate what she’s been saying about trans people, but I do love her books so you can see why I’m confused.

4 Classics I Want to Read That Actually Sound Good by Anabella S., 8th grade

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins  Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson

The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story with only about 64 pages, and It sounds like every last page is going to be a masterpiece. The story follows a woman and her husband who rent a house for their summer vacation. The Narrator (the woman) suffers from depression while her husband John, who’s a doctor, belittles her illness, thoughts, and concerns. The Narrator’s treatment for her depression (given to her by her husband) is that she must do nothing active.  However, she feels that writing is a form of freedom for her and so she decides to start a secret journal to help calm her mind. In this Journal, she mostly describes the house. She speaks mainly positively about the house but then some disturbing elements start to pop up. The Narrator becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in particular in one of the rooms and she starts to believe she can see things (a woman) trapped in the wallpaper. What was first believed to be a fun summer getaway turns into a psychological battle of terror, solitude, and freedom. A woman who slowly goes insane trapped in a room surrounded by dull yellow wallpaper. 

Crime and Punishment - Wikipedia

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment is one of the most well-known pieces of classical literature and for good reason. The story is about Raskolnikov, a former student who lives in poverty in Saint Petersburg, and one day he decides to murder an elderly local pawnbroker who has made her way to a small fortune. Raskolnikov wants this fortune for himself and so he kills her as his solution to get the money. Then from the point in which he kills her onward, his mental states start to darken and deteriorate. Raskolnikov becomes enveloped by his guilt and then has to deal with moral dilemmas on whether he should confess or continue to lie about what he did. This book has me crazy with the urge to read it and get a full understanding of everything that happens and I’m also really intrigued by Dostoevsky’s style of writing. The Setting Sun (New Directions Book): 9780811200325: Dazai,  Osamu, Bett, Sam: Books

The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai 

Osamu Dazai is a great classic Japanese author who also wrote the book No Longer Human. No Longer Human is my favorite book to this day so I have high expectations for The Setting Sun and I have a feeling it won’t disappoint. (The Setting Sun is originally in Japanese and translated to English). The story of The Setting Sun is set in the early post-war years of WW2. It follows a 29-year-old aristocrat called Kazuko who divorced her husband and decided to move back in with her mother. After the war had ended the family had lost most if not all of their money due to the war and would now have to move from Tokyo to the countryside. We get to follow Kazuko as she tries to make a living for herself while her mother’s health is declining and her brother is trying to come to terms with the new state of the world after the war. The biggest reason why I want to read this book so much is due to Dazai’s amazing way of being able to show the change in society after so much harm was done to the people post-war and how the spirit, culture, and moral code at the time were changing. He also does an amazing job of showing how society and the changes happening put a strain on the main character. You get to see clearly into the mind of the character and how they think, making the character feel real while making you connect with them and understand all that is happening to them at the time. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

This is again another common classic piece of literature most people know, but it should be noted that the book does touch on a lot of hard topics, so I recommend you look into the book more before you decide to read it. The story is set in the 1950s and follows Holden Caulfield who is 16 years old. We first meet him right when he is released from an institution and his story starts at Pencey prep, Pennsylvania (The fourth school he has gone to and is on his way to failing again). After getting into a fight with a friend Holden packs up early and goes home to Manhattan. In Manhattan, he stays in a hotel where he finds a girl and asks her to run away with him but when she denies him he gets angry and heads to his childhood home where his little sister is. He tells her that he has failed out of yet another school and she gets angry telling him that he can’t go around hating everything. He ends up going to the same school as his little sister and continues to try to find himself and form some kind of future for himself. The story doesn’t have much of an elaborate plot besides an angry kid having to change schools over and over yet the book calls my attention and I think it might be because of all the things I’ve heard about the style of writing and the way that the characters are expressed. I feel like there is a lot more to the book which I don’t know yet and I’m crazy to figure it out. 

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at ___!

Student Voices: Recommendations by Anna Liz R., Brielle P., Ava G., Chase S., and Silvia S.



Books to Read for Each Season by Anna Liz R., 7th grade

Sometimes you just want to get in the vibe of each season, so here are some book recommendations you should read during winter, spring, summer, and autumn! 


The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – This book is so sweet and nice that it will just bring you a warm smile on a cozy winter afternoon. The fantasy and the use of personification is incredible, and it feels like the author is speaking only to you at times. I would really think that Despereaux would love snow and the winter holidays. 


Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1)

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson – This book has a lot of forest scenes that will just remind you of the Spring season. Plenty of oranges, kingdom conflicts, and running and chasing. Just as exciting as the season itself!


The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – This book literally takes place over summer where Percy goes to the Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp. Not only that, but all those water scenes make you want to go to the beach on a hot summer day. 


Undercurrents by Willo Davis Roberts – This mysterious book takes place over summer where the family with a new stepmother spends their summer vacation in a beach house where only the truth about the stepmother gets revealed little by little. I love the summer setting in this book!

Framed! (Framed #1)

Framed! by James Ponti – If you have nothing to do on a hot summer day, you should really read Framed. Of course, this book starts with Florian’s and Margaret’s last days of summer. Where they spend most of their time at a museum using TOAST. However, they get involved with FBI cases, and it’s up to them to solve it. Definitely a quick read on a summer day!


The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – This awesome book gives you dark academia vibes with all the mansion and the lifestyle of the Hawthorne family. All the mysteries and strategies are incredible. A dark academia person loves autumn, so this book is perfect for that time of year.

A Danger to Herself and Others

A Danger To Herself And Others by Alyssa Sheinmel – This book gives you more of Halloween vibes that has many cliffhangers. And to see how the main characters turn out to be really gives you villain vibes as well.

Death Note: Another Note - The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases

Death Note Another Note: The BB Murder Cases by Nisio Isin – This book is more for the anime watchers that enjoy the anime Death Note. This is an alternative ending from the anime with some new characters. This book has reminds me of the spookiness of Halloween because of each murder case that they have to solve. And the plot twist at the end is incredibly insane.

Books to Read in the Springtime by Brielle P., 7th grade

Korgi series by Christian Slade & Ann Slade

Books and Original art - Korgi and Joker! - Mixed Age Threads and Misc -  CGC Comic Book Collectors Chat Boards

This series is yes, a wordless graphic novel series about reading the Korgi series and admiring the artwork, the details, and interpreting the book is so relaxing and calm to do. The first book in this series reminds me a lot of the springtime, the feelings, the “Korgipeople” everything in it is so sweet and feels like flowers in the springtime.♡

Lou! by Julien Neel

Journal infime (Lou!, #1)

First off, when I first saw this book I was in awe it definitely caught my eye just by the cover and the title(specifically the heart exclamation point in the title). Not only was the book itself catching my attention but when you read the story you really fall in love with the characters, the artwork, and the storyline, everything is a chef’s kiss. Well, now how does this relate to the springtime? Not only does this book have all these qualities it is in fact mostly in the springtime which means if you like flowers, sun, etc. This book is a perfect read. Plus, if you enjoy this book it is a series so there are more to love! ♡

Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Series Volume 1-4 Books Set By Alice Oseman : Alice Oseman: Books

This book series is amazing, it has romance, and adventure everything you would want in a book is in this book. Not only is it a cute book but it has great animation/drawings I thought it was such a cute series.♡

Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron

Maybe a Mermaid

This book is so cute! I love the story so much and the mom and daughter relationship reminds me so much of Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. I love how this story begins as a cute kid story and then transforms into a mystery of the house and the mermaid. This book could also work for the summertime!♡

Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice

Pretend She's Here

This kinda horror book I thought was perfect for the springtime, think about it if you are on spring break and you’re bored your gonna want something interesting. Now let me tell you this book is FILED with an interesting plot. Basically what happened was the girl on the rights friend died and her mom comes out of nowhere and… well nothing good happens so that’s why you should read it!♡

Mystery Book Recommendations by Ava G., 7th grade

Framed! by James Ponti

Framed! (Framed #1)

After moving to Washington, 12 year old  Florian Bates uses his theory of all small things aka T.O.A.S.T, in which he lands himself a job as a FBI agent with his new friend Margaret. They go through a journey from lowkey spying on people on the subway to getting involved in a huge art crime that could be directed to an even bigger art syndicate.

Spy School By Stuart Gibbs

Spy School (Spy School, #1)

Even if he is only in middle school, Ben Rigby is already training to be in the CIA. But except for his insanally good math skills and being incredibly awkward, he really doesn’t have any good “spy” skills. Could the CIA really want him as a junior agent?

One Of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1)

Bayview High’s detention room contains 5 students. A beauty, brain, criminal, athlete, and an outcast. But when one of the students doesn’t make it out alive the other 4 are the top suspects. Which one could have killed him? They all have motives but which one actually killed him? 

Ten Recommended Graphic Novels by Chase S., 8th grade

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

This Was Our Pact

This Was Our Pact is an emotional graphic novel about a friend group or “pact” of kids who are Ben’s (the main character’s) classmates. There is a festival where the townspeople gather lanterns and float them down the rivers, the pacts goal was to find out where these lanterns end up, but the pact shatters due to a fallout and leaves Ben with one other unusual kid who isn’t really popular and doesn’t fit in, Nathaniel. The 2 embark on a journey filled with magic and friendship in which the likes of nobody else has ever gone on. This is a very great graphic novel with relationships and fantasy merged into one.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Adapted by P. Craig Russell, Illustrated by Various Illustrators

The Graveyard Book, Volume 1

Bod is a normal boy, but he doesn’t have the most normal life. Bod was and is raised by ghosts, and his solitary guardian is neither living nor dead. There are many easter eggs in Bod’s graveyard home, like a hidden entrance to the city of ghouls, but also a wide variety of peril. In the living world, a man named Jack is still out there and has already killed Bod’s whole family. It is up to Bod to find out answers about his life without putting it at risk. This is a very fantastical and suspenseful graphic novel that really puts you in a beautiful new world in a shade of grim.

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

Fake Blood

AJ is a regular schoolboy starting a new school year, but as he looks at his surroundings he notices everybody is changing except for him. He hasn’t grown or has had out of the ordinary or fun summers like his friends have. AJ also had a crush on a girl who ended up being obsessed with vampires, and during a school project AJ tries to win her over with vampire attire, but gets different than he expected when he finds out she herself is a slayer. Now, it’s up to AJ to preserve the school and keep all the students in it safe. This is a graphic novel tying real life experiences with drama and fantasy, having a mythical sense of danger into what seems like an ordinary environment.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau


Ari has just finished high school and is ready to move to the big city with his band. But Ari needs to convince his father to let him quit his job at their struggling family business. Ari has worked at their business since he can remember and he used to love it, but he can’t believe wasting his whole life over it. While interviewing for possible replacements, he finds someone who loves baking just as much as he wants to escape it, and the two form a close bond. It is up to Ari not to ruin everything and obtain the hopes of his dreams. This book has such a real life experience to it, the occupations, the situations, the romance. All of it has suspense and is an enticing graphic novel to read.

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds

The Iliad

Based on the Greek poem The Odyssey, over three thousand years ago, two armies faced off in what would be known as the famous Trojan War. This graphic novel places readers into the valleys of Troy. The men and women who struggled through the war, and the experiences of those who were caught in the crossfires. This graphic novel is very historical and informative, it gives you a better image and understanding of war and its pains and struggles, rather than romanticizing it and gaslighting the harsh circumstances of war.

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond, Illustrated by Dave McKean

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf

The world is a relatively safe place, there are mountains, forests, oceans, animals, plants, everything you can imagine. There’s civilization, tea, cakes, and all sorts of imaginative features of the world. But this world provides gaps of features with nothing more but emptiness. Harry, Sue, and Ben are intrigued by this world and want to investigate it. With sticks and stones, twigs and dirt, what are conjured out of these through imagination consist of a mouse, a bird, a snake, and a wolf. But as their conjurations increase, so do their power, and slowly but surely, the question is put into place: how powerful is too powerful, and will it be out of their control? Can they unmake what’s already been made? This graphic novel is suspenseful, especially for such a calm environment to begin with. The problem isn’t pre-set, it slowly builds up over time and that’s what makes this book so enlightening and cautioned.

Last Dance by Hanna Schroy

Last Dance

Miriam has trained her whole life to be on stage with the ballerinas. Her hard work has finally paid off after she became the prima ballerina of the Lulli Dance Company, but she hasn’t been entirely transparent with them. Miriam has sustained a wide variety of bruises, scratches, and injuries that have taken a heavy toll on her. One disastrous ankle injury though means one thing, that she might have to give it all up forever. Miriam discovers a pair of slippers that, according to a spirit, will give her the strength to regenerate and heal her injuries. She just wanted one thing in return: to be on stage and perform with the rest of the ballerinas, just like Miriam. This graphic novel accurately portrays struggle and the urge to follow your dreams, it really is enlightening and puts things in perspective in regards to other fields.

City of Secrets by Victoria Ying

City of Secrets

There is an orphan named Ever Barnes who’s job is to guard a secret in a puzzle-box of a building. Many others who work at the building look away when Evers passes by, except a person named Lisa and the head of the Switchboard, Madame Alexander. It only clicks to Evers after he is beset by a gang of rogues to find out the secret for him to conspire with his friend Hannah to discover the secrets he was so guarding this whole time. This graphic novel escalates from a rough standstill to a coup and betrayal. I think it’s a very exciting change of events and to conclude a good graphic novel.

The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski

The Runaway Princess: (A Graphic Novel)

Robin is a princess who starts to rebel against her strict and uptight parents. The princess loves adventure and is willing to go on all sorts of journeys in the outside world. But her parents aren’t too pleased with her sudden departure, and they set out into the world to go find her and bring her home. This graphic novel really is similar to the famous “Rapunzel” story but in a very different sense under very different circumstances. Nonetheless, I do think it has a good plot and it really is a transformation to the word graphic novel.

The Red Maze by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, Illustrated by Various Illustrators

The Red Maze

The Red Maze is a part of a wide multiverse series of different worlds and the whole 5 Worlds series has never disappointed us. The main character is still determined to save the galaxy and in this graphic novel, she is headed towards the red maze, a nonstop maze of pipes in which the final destination leads to the red beacon. They must confront a ruthless businessman and a secret rebellious leader with their friend who returned from another source and light the red beacon. I like graphic novels that are widespread and involve travel, this book emphasizes that by highlighting the series of events to go succeed for the bigger picture. 

》Book series I’d recommend as a Middle Schooler ↴ by Silvia S., 7th grade

A series I highly recommend would be Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries 11

You go through a journey with Nikki Maxwell through her new middle school. And someone find out her secret and is ready to use it against her at any moment. Find the truth about Mackenzie Hollister and what true friendship is. But make sure you read them in order or things will get confusing.

Summary: New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles. But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day. And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!! And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such CRAPPY luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year.

If you like Dork Diaries then I bet you’re gonna love the Misadventures of Max Crumbly by Rachel Renée Russell

Rachel Renee Russell Misadventures Of Max Crumbly 3... — Books2Door

Max crumbly is Nikki Maxwell’s love interest’s best friend that goes to a different school nearby. Max gets stuck in his locker by his bully on a Friday and no one realizes he is away. But he and someone get out after finding out there are bad guys out for them!︴

Summary: There’s a lot that’s great about his new school, but there’s also one big problem—Doug, the school bully whose hobby is stuffing Max in his locker. If only Max could be like the hero in his favorite comics. Unfortunately, Max’s uncanny, almost superhuman ability to smell pizza from a block away won’t exactly save any lives or foil bad guys.

The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels by Raina Telgeimier, Gale Galligan, and Gabriela Epstein

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #1) (Revised  edition): Full-Color Edition (1) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix):  Telgemeier, Raina, Martin, Ann M., Telgemeier, Raina: 0000545813875: Books

Throughout the books you learn the struggles of each girl like family, friends, and health issues they have. And even more severe matters like the loss of a loved one or divorce. It comes to show true friends don’t think any differently of you because of something you might be ashamed of.

Summary: Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn are The Baby-sitters Club! Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Book 8) Book Online at Low Prices in  India | Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Book 8) Reviews & Ratings -

You’ll get a good laugh out of some pages of this book! Also, if you haven’t watched the movie, I suggest it, too

Summary: Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride.

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their list of recommendations!

Student Voices: Thoughts on Characters from Ana T., Katie S., Eva S., and Gabriela C.


Thoughts on Characters

Ten Characters I Would Like to Meet by Ana T., 7th grade

 ♡ Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

I want to meet her because I look up to her. I would love to be friends with her, and she is such a hard worker. I would also love to use her time travel necklace.

Edward Cullen from Twilight

I want to meet him because he seems really nice plus if I get to meet him I get to meet his whole family, and I would love that! And I really want to go to Forks!

Ron Weasley from Harry Potter

I want to meet him because he is so funny on the books, and and he’s such a good friend; I would love to be friends with him <3

Prince Maxon from The Selection

I would like to meet him because I feel like he would be funny, and he’s such a good person too, so I would love to meet him!

Jacob from Twilight

I would like to meet him because he’s really funny in the book, and I feel like he would be really sarcastic but like the funny kind.

♡ Ren from Love & Gelato

I would love to meet him because he’s so sweet, and I feel like if I meet him we would be funny.

Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter

I would LOVE to meet her she is so calm, and she is such a good friend. I would love to meet her and try on her glasses.

♡ Alice Cullen from Twilight

Alice is my favorite twilight character. She is so sweet, loyal, and honest!

Alosa Kalligan from Daughter of the Pirate King

Alosa is a strong woman, and she is really independent and smart, so I would like to meet her.

Nikki from Dork Diaries

This was one of the first books I’ve read when I first came here, so I would definitely like to meet her!    

Favorite Characters by Katie S., 8th grade


When people think of heroes, they probably think of Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter. These heroes are heroes, that is true, but today I am going to write about underrated heroes from books that aren’t as popular or common but should still be recognized.

  • Fort Fitzgerald from The Revenge of Magic – Fort has got to be on this list for three main reasons. 1) For me he is the most improved hero. He started off annoying and self absorbed, but over time he showed his true colors and became caring and sincere. 2) As I said earlier, Fort is extremely caring and would do practically anything for his friends when they are in trouble. 3) And finally Fort is one of those characters that years after you read the book, you still think about him and the story.
  • Simon from the Simon Thorn series – Simon is funny and witty is just a great character to have around. I enjoyed the whole series very much and, (no surprise) Simon was my favorite character of the whole book.
  • Elijah from the Magi Series – As I am writing this blog, I am looking through all my favorite books and I came across the Magi series. I really enjoyed the adventures that Elijah went through and I had to put him in this blog.
  • Jax from Eighth Day – Jax is personally for me the hero of the whole story. He is trustworthy, kind, and he always stands with his friends. He saves the day multiple times and is  a key part to the whole story.
  • Max from Maximum Ride – Max is one of my favorite characters of all time. She has the best attitude toward life itself and she is always there for her family.


Here are my favorite book villains of all time.

  • Olivana from Royal Academy Rebels –  Olivana is a typical villain. She starts off as the nice fairy godmother but as more details are revealed, it is shown that she has a darker plan.
  • Mitus from Frostblood – This “being” controlled and manipulated all the kings and made them bad. If he isn’t the true villain in the story, then I don’t know who the villain actually is.
  • Charlie from Charlie Thorne series – I know she is supposed to be the ‘hero” of the story, but she is so manipulative, and does things that benefit only herself and her ow survival.
  • Overlord from H.I.V.E. – Overload is the ultimate villain. He created a clone so he could have a host after his own body dies, and what’s worse is he killed hundreds of people to get what he wants over his lifetime.
  • The Circle of Cavan from the Gallagher Girls series – The Circle of Cavan is the group bent on taking over the world. They have world leaders under their influence and they will kill anyone to get what they want.

Unlikely Villains by Eva S., 8th grade

Villain – a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot.

Villains can come in many shapes and sizes, backgrounds and pasts, but sometimes the villains of a story, or even in real life, are not always portrayed as villains. Here are some book characters that turned out to be the true villains in a story.

  1. Albus Dumbeldore (From the Harry Potter series) – The Harry Potter franchise is one of the most popular and liked books out there. Everyone knows that Harry Potter, the main character, fights, and defeats, the villain in the story, Voldemort. But what if Vodemort wasnt the only villain in the story? Dumbledore, a person that Harry Potter idolizes and cares for deeply, is actually a villain. In the span of the seven Harry Potter books, Dumboldor used, and manipulated Harry Potter, even after his death, to achieve his goal. From the first day of attending Hogwarts, Dumboldor has used Harry in trying to defeat Voldemort, knowing full well, that Harry would have to die to get rid of the horcrux inside of him.
  2. Raven (From the Delirium series) – Raven is a well beloved character in the Delirium series. But is she really all that good? Raven not only uses Lena, but puts her in forced situations that causes Lena to be in life threatening situations.
  3. Ruby Elizabeth Daly (From The Darkest Minds series) – The Darkest Minds is one of my favorite books series of all time. The main character, Ruby, is portrayed as unique and special from the very beginning, and as the book progresses the readers cheer her on from obstacle to obstacle. However, the longer the reader reads the series, the more they start to realise that Ruby may not be the most pure of heart. Ruby lies to, deceives, and kills countless people to make sure her secret is safe. She even does this to her closest friends.
  4. Caleb Prior ( From the Divergent series) – Caleb Prior, the older brother to Beatrice Prior, seemed in the beginning of the book, a  kind, caring, and perfect older brother. But, this is not the case. Caleb was one of the most surprising villains in the first book, Divergent, when the readers found out he betrayed and sold out his own sister to Erudites leader.
  5. Zachary Goode (From the Gallagher Girls series) – Zachary Goode is the main characters love interest and friend. However, from the very beginning, Zach had been keeping secrets and having secrets agendas to make sure no one found out his darkest secrets. He manipulated and lied to everyone around him to make sure his secret was safe, just to save himself from looking bad.

I was inspired to write this blog because of another blog post called “Focus on Villains by Diego, Luis, Elsa, Kaley, Max, Mariana, & Daniela”. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post.

One Character I Like and One I Don’t by Gabriela C., 7th grade

  • Jameson Hawthorne: I appreciated reading The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and finding this hidden gem of a character. I enjoyed trying to decipher what each of his moves meant and what the next one might be. Jameson was always unpredictable which meant that each page with him was a thrill-filled adventure. Ms. Barnes always manages to outdo herself with characters so it is no surprise she managed to have such a fun one.
  • Bryce Loski: It’s safe to say that Bryce Loski was not one of my favorite characters in Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. My main problem with him was how much of a jerk he was to Julie, and I know this is a bit of a contentious opinion because many readers enjoy Bryce and his redemption; I just don’t think Bryce is more than the sum of his parts.

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at characters!

Student Voices: Favorite Reads from Derrick T., Gavin Z., Kyan V., Leticia R., and Reed R.


Favorite Reads

Ten Favorite Fantasy Series by Derrick T., 7th grade

The Fantasy Genre, defined by as “imaginative fiction dependent for effect on strangeness of setting (such as other worlds or times) and of characters (such as supernatural or unnatural beings)”, is my favorite genre of books. I enjoy when an author immerses you in a completely different world, sometimes literally, and these are some of my favorite series in this genre.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians]: A Series Review – greenish bookshelf

Percy finds out he is the son of the ancient Greek god Poseidon! He and his fellow half-bloods (half mortal, half god) go on many quests to save the world from evil mythological creatures.

Curse Workers by Holly Black

Book Review: The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black - The Night Bookmobile

In a world where workers can “curse” someone with a touch, Cassel is the only person in his family without the gift. But something strange is happening, and Cassel must unravel the conspiracy around his life, and the life of someone whose death is his fault.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) (Artemis Fowl, 1): Colfer, Eoin:  9781368036986: Books

Artemis Fowl is not just a genius, he makes other geniuses seem inept by comparison. And he just discovered a whole world underneath our feet: one full of magic.

Magisterium by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Magisterium Series 5-Book Set: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare: Books:

Everyone wants to be a magician. Except for Call. His dad has warned him about the danger of magic his whole life, and how he MUST not get into the mages school, the Magisterium. But Call fails at failing, and now must face the dangers of his new school.

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice Series (Complete 12 Book Set) : John Flanagan:  0680474137794: Books - Amazon

Will is an orphan. At his choosing ceremony where he picks his profession, he is denied by all the craftmasters. Except one named Halt.  He is a mysterious ranger, a group of skilled archers who are rumored to dabble in sorcery, and will teach Will how to be a ranger. But being a ranger comes with many risks. Will Will survive?

The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

Home - Leigh Bardugo | Author

Alina has never been special. But one day when her friend is in mortal danger, she discovers a new ability that might patch the literal tear in her country. But not everything is as it seems, she soon finds herself in the middle of an evil scheme that’s been in place for over 500 years.

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini Collection The Inheritance Cycle Series 4 Books Set  Eldest | eBay

When Eragon finds a blue stone in the forest, he thinks it might mean a little money for his family. He certainly doesn’t think it will be a dragon egg! But after Saphira hatches he is dragged into a plot to save the kingdom from the evil king.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series 1 - 6 Books Collection  Set by Michael Scott (Alchemyst, Magician, Sorceress, Necromancer, Warlock  & Enchantress): Michael Scott, The Enchantress By Michael Scott  978-0552562577,

Sophie and Josh live normal lives until they discover that Nicholas Flamel is Josh’s boss. And now they are in danger, and Josh and Sophie are magicians! The three of them then go on to stop the Dark Elders from taking over the world.

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers Book Review – R.E. KLINZING

When Finn falls asleep, he becomes a hologram at Disney World! He and the other kingdom keepers must protect the parks from the evil overtakers.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Why Harry Potter Books are Great for School-Aged Readers - Speech Therapy  Centres of Canada

Harry Potter lives with his mean aunt, uncle, and cousin. On his eleventh birthday, a literal giant tells him he is a wizard. Throughout the series he, along with new friends, has to fight his parents murderer, the evil wizard Lord Voldemort.

Top Six Sports Books for Kids by Kyan V., 7th grade

These days, there are many sportsbooks to choose from. It can be hard to choose because of a great deal of different genres and sports. This blog post lists my top 6 favorite sportsbooks, fiction, and nonfiction, for kids. Remember the list is not in order! I have read these books and highly recommend them, especially if you love sports!

Pele, The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon and illustrated by Vincent Brascglia

Pelé: The King of Soccer: Simon, Eddy, Brascaglia, Vincent: 9781626727557: Books

This book is a perfectly illustrated graphic novel that captures Pele’s crazy life from a young boy to a world champion. It dives into Pele’s childhood and how he became what he is today. I love this book because it proves to everyone that you can come from nothing and still be one of the best soccer players to ever live. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover (The Crossover Series): Alexander, Kwame, Anyabwile, Dawud:  9780544107717: Books

This book is exceptionally unique because of how it is structured. It’s composed of lots of short stanzas. In a way, it’s almost like a 200-page poem. This book is amazing because it shows how one can change their life with their actions. This book is not only teaching you about basketball, but also life lessons for the future.

Year in Sports 2022 by James Buckley Jr.

Scholastic Year in Sports 2022: Buckley Jr., James: 9781338770254: Books

A new book in this series comes out every year. They are action packed, full with statistics and fun facts about every sport you can name. This is one of those books you can read for hours at a tie and read the whole thing 5 times and it would still be interesting.

The Football Fanbook by Gary Gramling

The Football Fanbook (A Sports Illustrated Kids Book): Everything You Need  to Become a Gridiron Know-It-All - Kindle edition by Gramling, Gary, The  Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids. Children Kindle eBooks @

This book is all about football. Everything you could think of about football. This book has fun facts, formations, playbooks, records, strategies, comparisons, and more. I love this book because you can discover so many new things about the amazing sport of football. By the way, there is also a Baseball Fanbook as well.

The United States of Sports by Bill Syken

The United States of Sports: An Atlas of Teams, Stats, Stars, and Facts for  Every State in America (A Sports Illustrated Kids Book): The Editors of  Sports Illustrated Kids, Syken, Bill: 9781547800001:

This book goes state by state and shows you where their sports teams are located, statistics, rivalries, fan favorites, mascots, and the state’s trophy shelf. It also includes college teams. This book goes through all 50 states. I love this book because you can learn about other states, and dive deep into your state’s sports programs.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost (1) (Track): Reynolds, Jason: 9781481450157: Books

This book is good because everyone can relate to it in one way or another. Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw is trying to overcome some difficult challenges in his childhood. With the help of his mentor, Coach Brody he overcomes these difficulties through running track at an elite level.

Thank you for reading my top 6 sports books for kids. I highly recommend reading all of these books! Some of them are so underrated. See you next time — bye!

My Favorite Book Series by Gavin Z., 8th grade

Randoms by David Liss

Randoms (3 book series) Kindle Edition

Very interesting and unique. I haven’t read many books that include leveling systems and skill trees like a video game.

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey

Chris d'Lacey on Twitter: "Nice cover refresh for The Last Dragon  Chronicles. Hrrr!" / Twitter

These books focus on dragons but what’s most interesting is the clay dragons that come to life in this series.

Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland

Wings of Fire: The Complete Collection Series Set (Book 1-15) NEW Paperback  2022 | eBay

Takes place in a different world with 3 moons. They tell the story from the dragons perspective, and interestingly treat humans as “pets.”

The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories Complete Hardcover Gift Set: Colfer, Chris:  9780316556828: Books

In this series, a pair of twins travel across the fairy tale world and meet many childhood favorites like Jack and the Beanstalk or Cinderella. 

A Tale of Magic series by Chris Colfer

A Tale of Magic... Collection by Christopher Colfer | Little, Brown Books  for Young Readers

Taking place in the same world as the Land of Stories, this series happens before that series. Kind of like a prequel but still has really interesting new characters that didn’t appear in the land of stories. 

Favorite Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels by Leticia R., 6th grade

Dawn and the Impossible Three

Dawn and the Impossible Three: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #5):  Full-Color Edition (5) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix): Martin, Ann M.,  Galligan, Gale: 9781338067118: Books

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her frst big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter.

My opinion: I really enjoyed reading this book. I could really relate to the book! I have felt what Dawn has felt where she was new and was just trying to find a friend. It was really fun reading this book! And I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys graphic novels, and drama books.

Boy-Crazy Stacey

Boy-Crazy Stacey: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #7) (7) (The  Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels): Martin, Ann M., Galligan, Gale:  9781338304510: Books

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are baby-sitting for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous house right on the beach, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

My opinion: I loved reading this book because I felt how Mary Anne felt, shes feels like she has so much things to do and so much responsibility and I have felt that way as well. Being stressed constantly could even ruin friendships and relationships.

Claudia and the New Girl

Claudia and the New Girl: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #9) (9)  (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix): Martin, Ann M., Epstein, Gabriela:  9781338304572: Books

Summary: The Baby-sitters are sick of Ashley, and they think Claudia’s a traitor. Claudia’s got to decide: either the Baby-sitter’s Club or the new girl – one of them has got to go.

My opinion: I enjoyed this book because I could relate to it and learn from it. When I started reading this book, I liked it, but after I got to the middle, I realized that it was trying to show the reader a life lesson; it was that you can always have more than one friend.

Logan Likes Marry Anne

Logan Likes Mary Anne!: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #8) (8) (The  Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels): Martin, Ann M., Galligan, Gale:  9781338304541: Books

Summary: It’s the first day of a new school year, and while Mary Anne doesn’t know what to expect from the eighth grade, she’s looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. One thing she definitely doesn’t expect is to meet Logan Bruno, who just moved to Stoneybrook.

My opinion: I thought that this book was so realistic because everyone goes through this when they go into a new school or any new place everyone feels scared and doesn’t know what to expect. And I think that is a very good book anyone could relate to.

Kristy’s Great Idea

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #1) (Revised  edition): Full-Color Edition (1) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix):  Telgemeier, Raina, Martin, Ann M., Telgemeier, Raina: 0000545813875: Books

Summary: Kristy thinks the Baby-sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun—and make tons of money.

My opinion: I thought this book was super fun because it was explaining how things started and showed the reader the very beginning of things. I think that everybody should read this book first not because its the first book but because it’s descriptive of how things started.

Ten Favorite History Books I’ve Read by Reed R., 7th grade

Today I will be talking about my top ten favorite history books I’ve read. I’m a big fan of history books, and I have read many. I’m into wars and past conflicts. My favorite types of historic books are biographies and expeditions.

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and  Won the Revolutionary War: Thomas B. Allen: 9781426300417 -

I love this book because it emphasizes the tough times within the Revolutionary War. I also like how this book talks about the spy work the United States did on Britain. That was one of the ways the United States won the war. I also like how this book talks about how a good leader George Washington was, like how courageous and brave he was. He was also very confident.

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story: Wallace, Sandra Neil,  Wallace, Rich: 9781629794280: Books

The reason I chose this book is because I wanted to learn more about the North Pole expeditions. One of the main reasons I like this book is because it gives detail about the crew members’ lives aboard the expedition and how they chose to take the expedition. I like this book because it puts into perspective how we didn’t know what was at the top of our planet and this expedition helps the world learn more about the north pole. It’s amazing how brave these men were because the food they ate was disgusting. It was so cold that all the sled dogs died. When you think about it today the only ships that really go up to the north pole are those big icebreakers that have thick metal hulls and these guys were doing it in a wooden boat. 

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Lincoln's Grave Robbers: Sheinkin, Steve: 9780545405720: Books

No one talks about how Lincoln’s grave was robbed, and I feel that there should be more known about it. I like how it shows the backstory to the grave robbers and why they’re robbing the grave. I like how they introduce the Secret Service because this was around the time that the Secret Service was first getting started and this was one of their big investigations. I like how this book makes the investigation intense like it’s coming down to the wire. 

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson Chasing Lincoln's Killer: 9780439903547: Swanson, James L.:  Books

I love the way the book keeps the chasing aspect through the whole book. I also like the way it feels the climax is going on the whole time in the book, like it never ends until the end. I find it so interesting how John Wilkes Booth was a famous actor and a “good guy” and was so friendly and everything, and how trusting society was back then, like how the president didn’t have very much security and how they just had a little dinky wood fence that would be in someone’s backyard but now there’s a huge metal fence.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

Another event that I’m fascinated about is the Chicago fire. It amazes me how Chicago was one of the most developing cities in the midwest and then all of a sudden it just turns into smoldering ashes. I like how the author uses first hand accounts to tell the story and the people that were in the event’s experience. Most of the books that I’ve read about tragic events usually don’t talk about how the city came back but in this book it talks about the people of Chicago and how they powered through. This book really shows how coming together can cause things to get better. 

Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography by Louise Borden

Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography: Borden, Louise: 9781629796741: Books

This is probably one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. I’m kinda biased because I love to ski, and I love the snow in general. I have always been into special ops military books and the idea that not many people know about what’s going on. This book is all of that. I like how the book emphasizes the secret operations in the alps and how they were behind enemy lines. Around this time the invention of camouflage was just starting to be used in the military. They used the camouflage in the alps and within their platoon. 

Black and White Airmen: Their True History by John Fleischman

Black And White Airmen: Their True History: Fleischman, John:  9780618562978: Books

I like how in some of the most racist times in our country’s history the airmen came together to fight in the war. I like how we came together as a country and fought in Europe, for people’s freedom. Its pretty amazing how brave the airmen were because they were practically flying a tin can at 15,000 ft. I like how this book follows both of the characters’ paths in their life and when they meet. 

All Quiet on the Western Front (All Quiet on the Western Front/The Road Back #1) by Erich Maria Remarque All Quiet on the Western Front: A Novel: 9780449213940: Erich  Maria Remarque, A W. Wheen: Books

There aren’t very many books I’ve seen that are about the German school boys POV. I think this book is eye opening for me but the things described in this book are unbelievable. These boys go into WWI and see all of the terrible things that are happening. I think if you want to see more of the gorey side of WWI this is the book for you. One of the reasons I chose this book is because I think WWI needs to be more talked about. 

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson by Kostya Kennedy

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson: Kennedy, Kostya: 9781250274045: Books

I am a baseball fan, and this book is a biography about Jackie Robinson and how he overcame the challenge of African American people not being allowed to play baseball. I like how this book emphasizes his legacy even after his death in 1972. I also like how this book included the death threats and letters written to him about how if he played baseball bad things would happen.

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy

This is one of my favorite books of all time. This book includes all the little details about the people that got its illness and the super disgusting practices they used at the time. I like how the author uses first hand accounts to portray the yellow fever. I wish we would talk more about the yellow fever in school and just in general as it is one of the most important events in our history that is just forgotten.

Thank you so much to my student voices today and for sharing their favorite reads!

Student Voices: A Look at Representation and Reading from Kanak S., Naomi G., and Jaz P.


A Look at Representation and Reading

Guide to Books with Indian/Desi Representation by Kanak S., 8th grade

Representation is so important. Finding books with characters that either look like me or have the same cultural background as me can be so hard. It is even harder to find books written by Indian/Desi authors as they are hardly ever spotlighted. So here is a list of books with Indian representation written by Indian authors. 

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Maya is cursed princess with a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction. The Raja, her father arranges a wedding for political gain which breaks her whole world apart. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of a man named Amar. Or at least she though he was a man… Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power and as Amar’s wife she finds more about herself than she ever thought possible. But Akaran has its own secrets-Maya suspects her life is in danger. The fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance of Maya’s hands. She must discover an ancient mystery that spans many reincarnated lives to save herself and those she loves the most. 

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California. Though she does not want to, she comes closer to having to work for her father’s company with every passing day. Tempest goes to visit her father’s newest project, she discovers her former stage double dead inside a wall that had apparently been sealed for more than century. Tempest believes that she was supposed to be the victim of this crime so, she sets out to solve this crime. As she continues to investigate this mystery, Tempest starts to wonder if the Raj family curse had finally come for her. 

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

Kaikeyi the only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya group up on tales of the might of the gods. Yet she watched her father banish her mother and amount her worth to how wonderful of a marriage alliance she would be able to secure. When she called for the gods they never came. Desperate for independence she turns to the tales her mother and her used to read where she found magic that is hers alone. With this new discovered power Kaikeyi transforms herself many a times determined to create a better world for the women around her and herself. However, as the evils from her fairytales threaten cosmic order, the path she has chosen has clashed with the destiny the gods had assigned to her family. Now Kaikeyi must decide whether her resistance is worth all the chaos it will create – and what legacy she chooses to leave behind. 

Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh

Manny Dogra a CEO of a successful company that helps people manage their relationship breakups. She is also planning her wedding to architect Adam Jamieson while dealing with the death of her parents. Manny never understood her immigrant parents who wanted her to be an All-American girl. She knew nothing about her South Asian heritage and it was never a problem till her parents passed away and an image of Manny had been edited to make her appear whiter. Suddenly, the women who had built an empire helping people to be true to themselves was having an identity crisis. When an annoying client by the name of Sammy Patel approaches Manny with an out of the ordinary breakup request the best solution presents itself: If they both agree to a set of terms he will give her a crash course in being Indian at his brother’s wedding. What follows is Manny indulging herself in all things Indian. Manny meets the wonderful aunties and uncles of the Patel family and discovers much more than she had ever thought possible. 

Keya Das’s Second Act by Sopan Deb

Shantanu Das has been living in the shadows of his past. In his fifties, he finds himself isolated from his traditional Bengali community after his divorce from his wife Chaitali; he hasn’t had a conversation with his eldest daughter Mitali in months; and he lives everyday with regret for not accepting his teenaged daughter Keya after she came out as gay. As the anniversary of Keya’s death approaches, Shantanu wakes up alone in his suburban New Jersey home and realizes it is time to move on. This is when he discovers a box in his attic that could change everything. He begs Mitali to come home. She does come home out of pity not realizing that her life is about change. Inside the box is an unfinished manuscript that Keya and her girlfriend were writing. Neesh Desai, a new love interest for Mitali with regrets of his own, comes up with an idea, one that would give a sense of permanence to Keya: what if they are to stage the play? It could be an homage to Keya’s memory, and a way to make amends. First, the Dases need to convince Pamela Moore, Keya’s girlfriend, to give her blessing. And they have to overcome ghosts from the past they haven’t met yet.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdaz

Everyone likes Humaira Khan, but when she comes out as bisexual to her friends, they invalidate her identity saying that she can’t be bisexual if she’s only dated guys. Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship with a girl her friend’s absolutely hate Ishita Dey. Ishu is an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track to college, the complete opposite of Hani. Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so she has the chance to become head girl. Despite their pact they start to have real feelings for each other. However, relationships are complicated, and certain people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from getting their happily ever after. 

Why Darius the Great is One of the Best Mixed Representations Out There by Naomi G., 8th Grade

Recently I read Darius the Great is Not Okay, and it blew my mind with how much it related to me. I related to this book on such a deeper level than others because, Darius, our protagonist is biracial, and most of the book follows him going to Iran for the first time, while dealing with clinical depression, and learning the ways of friendship. 

Darius is half Persian. His mother is Persian and his father is white. We see how he struggles with feeling Persian enough, which is a similar problem for many mixed children because you’re too much and not enough. For example, Darius gets picked on at school for being different, too Persian, but in Iran he feels isolated and different because in this case he is not Persian enough. I feel the same thing growing up in a Jewish school where everybody spoke English, and I would struggle knowing some English words, or I had different ways of saying things; I was different. Though when I was with my mom’s side of the family, from Costa Rica, it was also hard because I was isolated and had a hard time fluently speaking Spanish because I was scared my pronunciation still wasn’t good enough, so again I was different; it made me feel at though I just wasn’t Hispanic enough. I could barely speak Spanish, and I still struggled with English. 

To this day I still have the same struggle because I had to pick up how to speak from my surroundings, from home, similar to Darius. My mom spoke a different language but never ended up teaching me, at least not very well. Darius’s mother tried to teach him proper Farsi too late, so he also has the struggle of not being able to communicate. 

This book shows how being biracial/mixed can be a struggle, yes its full of different cultures, but sometimes it can be hard to handle. This book and the sequel continue to represent mixed BIPOC in the best possible way. 

Reading Opens Up Portals to Your Imagination by Jaz P., 7th Grade

What does reading have to do with your imagination you may ask? Well, for starters, it expands it, leading you on to new journeys filled with more adventure and excitement! The best thing about reading is that there is a book for everyone. From romance to science fiction to horror to comedy, there’s books about almost anything you can think of. Once you find one you like, you’ll learn to love reading it and want to continue more. Reading doesn’t just open up new portals to your imagination, it even increases your vocabulary, too. One benefit to reading is that it will cause you to look at things from different perspectives, and you’ll learn to appreciate it for what it is. According to reading can enhance your problem solving skills and also preserve your memory as well. Studies have shown that if you continue to read even after retirement 73% of those who do so won’t develop dementia. Adding on, it triggers one’s curiosity. You may have questions about everyday items but after reading, trust me, you’ll have plenty more. You can be more creative, too. states that “a side-effect of this imagining of different scenarios is that it leads to exploring new possibilities. In this pursuit of your imagined solutions, you acquire more and more knowledge and skills.” This is added on to the idea of how it can trigger your curiosity. Who knew reading had so many up-sides?!

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at representation and reading!

Student Voices: Nathan Hale’s Visit to Kellee’s Middle School


In February, after two years of waiting, Nathan Hale finally came to Hunter’s Creek Middle School!

For his visit, he did 5 large group presentations where he told two different stories (one about James Garfield and one about Lewis & Clark) then a lunch writing workshop (where students wrote their own comic). Students greatly enjoyed their time with Nathan Hale!

Here are some reflections from my students:

  • Nathan Hale’s visit was so fun and entertaining while also being educational. He talked about the corps of discovery but not just about Luis and Clark, he focused on their group rather on just them who other people wouldn’t have even mentioned. I love how he said that they ate every single animal they came across and that they got fat due to eating all that meat I especially liked that York still had his abs even after he got fat. I didn’t even know that they took mercury who sent them. Nathan Hale was so nice and funny I would have loved to say thank you, but I’m sad I didn’t get to. But thank you Mrs. Moye for presenting us with the opportunity to meet Nathan Hale, I enjoyed it.

  • Meeting Mr. Hale was an experience I will never forget. He was so fun and light-hearted and he made sure that learning history an unforgettable experience. He made everything easy to understand and kept me engaged the whole lesson. Overall, this was one of my favorite experiences meeting an author.

  • I loved Nathan Hale’s visit. I think he was super funny when he was tell us the story about the corps of discovery and his art style was amazing as well. I  I also loved that he had humor in the story but also got the information of the story across. 

  • Nathan Hale’s visit was awesome! I loved the different stories and how creative he was. I thought that the story about Garfield was really intriguing and unique. He educated me about a piece of history I had no idea about. I loved the way animated the characters as well, I thought it was brilliant. I really hope he can come visit again soon–it was an amazing time, I never got bored.

  • I loved the presentation! I liked how he animated his illustrations. I almost wish he would turn the Lewis and Clark explanation into a book. I would definitely read the book. I also loved the way he included some of the forgotten people in the expedition like York and Pomp.

  • Nathan Hale was an entertainer. He expresses and talks in a way that captivates the audience, and makes them want to laugh loud at his jokes. Nathan Hale is able to make a story interesting, with nothing more than paper and a pen. Personally, for me, I don’t enjoy history, because it’s usually all gloom and doom, but Nathan Hale made it fun, funny, and entertaining, all while drawing out the scenes at the same time. Nathan Hale is a great multitasker, considering he must draw very fast and well, and still incorporate it into the story, all in 45 minutes. I really enjoyed Nathan Hale’s visit to our middle school, and I loved the way he interacted with the crowd.

  • My reflection on the Nathan Hale visit was that it was absolutely amazing. Like, seriously, it was really good. I loved the whole presentation about Lewis and Clark and the core of discovery. Nathan Hale really made me believe that I was seeing the story unfold right as he was drawing it. Which in its own right, is so cool! His drawing was so fun and interesting and I loved all his characters. The story itself was really entertaining, and I enjoyed the whole story, though I think my favorite part has got to be when he did the voices and characters for the core of discovery tryouts. My favorite characters I think would be York or Sacagawea. All in all, I thought that the story was great, the characters were great, and Nathan Hale was amazing.

  • Nathan Hale is very funny, and it was really cool how he connected Garfield the cat and Garfield the president. It was cool to see how he basically created another short graphic on the spot during the presentation. I was there for the special book presentation, and it was so interesting to see how he interacted with everyone. In my opinion, he would make a great teacher. 

  • Nathen Hale was a very funny and I loved the story of the president Garfield.  He is very talented at expressing his thought and emotions with drawing and making them appealing and fun to others. I really like how he told us the way he works and how he can make everyone laugh with his illustration and way of telling the story. 

  • I found his presentation to be amazing. The speed at which he drew was incredible, and he was still able to draw accurately. I was also very impressed with how he was able to draw something and move on to a different section of the screen, but then use the drawing later, while being able to change it slightly to suit his purposes. And pertaining to the story itself, I was surprised how he found a very “happy” historical fact in the usually bloody stories.

As you can see, he was so engaging; I would highly recommend him (and my students would, too!) for any 4th-8th grade author visit!