Book Review by Ann Jonas, Tradebook Buyer - CSB/SJU Bookstores
this review was published in the St. Cloud Visitor
Three Cups of Tea: The Young Reader’s Edition by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin, Adapted by Sarah Thomson, published by Penguin, 2009
Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin wrote the bestselling book Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Change the World…One School at a Time, in March 2008. This young reader’s edition simplifies Mortenson’s remarkable, true story for younger readers. It has updated photos, new illustrations, a glossary, and ends with an interview with Greg’s 12-year-old daughter, Amira. Mortenson has built more than 60 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, dedicating his life to changing the world, one child at a time, by promoting education and peace in Central Asia. The book is an inspiring read for ages 8 and up.
Extra Credit by Andrew Clements, published by Simon & Schuster, 2009
Author Andrew Clements has written more than 60 books for young readers, including Frindle and Lunch Money. In Extra Credit, Abby Carson is on the verge of failing sixth grade. She will have to meet some specific conditions, including some extra credit, or she will have to repeat sixth grade. For her extra credit, Abby has to find a pen pal in a foreign country, correspond with them, and give a report on her experience. She chooses Afghanistan and her first letter arrives at a small school in the hills north of Kabul. The best English writer in that school is eleven-year-old Sadeed Bayat, but their culture deems it improper for a young boy to write letters to a young girl. Therefore his younger sister Amira dictates and signs the reply to Abbey. A growing friendship and some learning experiences involving cultural differences and lifestyles make this an interesting and educational book for readers age 8-12.
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008
The cover of this book states that The Willoughbys is “nefariously written & ignominiously illustrated by the author.” This statement should give the reader a clue as to the type of book this is. It is a cleverly written tale of a very dysfunctional family of four children who would like to be orphans and their parents, who are not very interested in being parents. Author Lois Lowry, who wrote Newbery Medal winners The Giver and Number the Stars, shows her versatility by using sarcastic humor and references to classic children’s books throughout the book. The target age group for this book is 9-12 years; older readers—including adults--will thoroughly enjoy this book as well.