Summer Reading 2013!!!

Posted: June 7, 2013 by togetherbooktalk in Uncategorized

Dear friends,

We are all set to go for summer reading!

To win free books, check out the New York State Library’s Summer Reading Book Lists. Read any book on the list, then post a review right here! 

Happy Reading!

 

Taking a September Break

Posted: September 14, 2012 by togetherbooktalk in Uncategorized

Hello everyone!

Just like you, the Together Book Club is getting back to school this month. We’re taking a break to let everyone settle into their new routines, but we’ll be back with Shooting Kabul in October!

In the meantime, check out Together programs at these libraries across the state coming this fall:

See you in October!

The Votes are In: Your New Book Club Picks!

Posted: August 14, 2012 by ameraxa in Picks

Almost two weeks ago we asked you to vote for what books you wanted to read next. Well, your voice has been heard! We’ve put them in order by how many votes each book received, starting with the most votes. Here are your new Book Club Picks:

October

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadi’s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind. Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home?

November

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath…as long as they stay in the Underneath. Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning.

December / January

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl’s journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro’s revolution. In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched. As the revolution’s impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía’s parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own. Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

January / February

Resistance by Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis

Paul and Marie’s French country town is almost untouched by the ravages of WWII, but the siblings still live in the shadow of war. Their father is a Prisoner of War, kept hostage by the Germans. When their friend Henri’s parents disappear and Henri goes into hiding because of his Jewish ancestry, Paul and Marie realize they must take a stand. But how can they convince the French Resistance that even children can help in their fight against injustice?

Thank you to everyone who voted! Your input was greatly appreciated!

REVIEW: The Lightning Thief

Posted: August 9, 2012 by ameraxa in Summer Reading

All summer we’ll be featuring book reviews from kids like you! Every kid who submits a review will get their review published on the Together Book Club blog AND win a free book! Sound good? Great! Click here to get started!

* * *

This exciting review has been brought to you by our friend VIKASH, a 6th-grader from Brentwood!

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Genre: Chapter Book, Mystery, Adventure, Fantasy or Science Fiction,  Comedy (funny)

Rating: AMAZING: Stop everything that you’re doing and read this book RIGHT NOW!


The name of this book is Percy Jackson and the Olympians:The Lightning Thief. The Lightning Thief is the first of a five book series. The main characters are Percy, his mom Sally, and his two best friends, Grover and Annabeth. The story is about Percy who finds out he is a demigod. A demigod is the child of a Greek god and a mortal human. Percy goes to a special camp with other demigods. At the camp they train to fight monsters. Percy goes on a quest with Grover and Annabeth to prove to the god Zeus he did not steal his lightning bolt and save his mother from the god Hades.

I liked the part when Percy, Annabeth,and Grover run into Medusa. They cannot look into her eyes or they will turn into statues. I also liked the part where Percy magically sprays water from the toilet into the face of a bully at camp named Clarisse. I think Percy is a funny, yet serious boy. He is very nice and sticks up for his friends. He is not very smart but is still a good friend to have.

I would recommend this book to a friend because it is fun and interesting. The best thing about this book is after every chapter it leaves you wondering what is going to happen next. I think everyone will like it because it has a mix of genres such as comedy and fantasy. This book is different from any other book I have ever read. That makes it even better. This is the best book I have ever read!

This book is really popular! For more input on The Lightning Thief click here and here.

REVIEW: Leo the Snow Leopard

Posted: August 9, 2012 by ameraxa in Summer Reading

All summer we’ll be featuring book reviews from kids like you! Every kid who submits a review will get their review published on the Together Book Club blog AND win a free book! Sound good? Great! Click here to get started!

* * *

This review has been brought to you by our super-awesome-amazing friend CHLOE, a 3rd-grader from Akron!

Leo the Snow Leopard
by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff

Genre: Picture Book, Non-fiction, Drama (sad or serious), Adventure

Rating: OKAY: Read this book if you’re in the mood, but don’t feel bad about skipping it.

The book that I read was Leo the Snow Leopard by Juliana Hatkoff and I chose it because I love snow leopards. It’s about a snow leopard without a mom. He has a journey across the world to find a new home. He found a home at the Bronx Zoo.

I liked the book because it was a good story. My favorite part was when Leo bit the person who found him, it was funny! I like Leo because he is cute.

It was a good book and I would recommend it to my friends who are animal lovers. I think people who love animals would like this book. This book did not remind me of other books that I’ve read.

After you read this book, you can go to the Bronx Zoo and see the Himalayan Highlands exhibit where Leo lived!

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Share your thoughts in the comments!

REVIEW: Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing

Posted: August 8, 2012 by ameraxa in Summer Reading

All summer we’ll be featuring book reviews from kids like you! Every kid who submits a review will get their review published on the Together Book Club blog AND win a free book! Sound good? Great! Click here to get started!

* * *

This terrific review has been brought to you by our friend TEE, a 4th-grader from Port Leyden!

Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing
by Judy Blume

Genre: Chapter Book

Rating: AMAZING: Stop everything that you’re doing and read this book RIGHT NOW!

I read Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume. I wanted to read it because I love the Fudge books. This book is about Fudge messing up things like he normally does. Sometimes Peter has to fix things.

My favorite part was Fudge’s birthday party. They had three different types of little kids there, an eater, a crier, and a biter. I also liked the part where Fudge thought he was a bird, and jumped off the jungle gym. That kid is crazy. Peter and Fudge are the main characters, they are brothers, who are very different.

I like this book very much. I would say to my friends, “This is awesome, you should read it. It is funny!” I think most people would like this book, it makes you laugh. Of course this makes me think of other Fudge books, I have read.

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Share your thoughts in the comments!

REVIEW: The Year of the Dog

Posted: August 7, 2012 by ameraxa in Summer Reading

All summer we’ll be featuring book reviews from kids like you! Every kid who submits a review will get their review published on the Together Book Club blog AND win a free book! Sound good? Great! Click here to get started!

* * *

This review has been brought to you by our friend KIMBERLY, a 4th-grader from Calveerton!

The Year of the Dog
by Grace Lin

Genre: Chapter Book

Rating: GOOD: Put this book on your summer reading list!

The book that I read was The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin. I wanted to read this book because it was about a Chinese-American girl and I was born in China. The book was about Grace, a Chinese (Taiwanese)-American girl living through the Chinese Year of the Dog.

I liked that the book taught me about Chinese traditions and what the Year of the Dog means to Chinese people. There is nothing in the book that I did not like. My favorite part of the book was when Grace (Pacy) won fourth prize in the book writing contest. She meets a new friend Melody and spends good times with her extended family in the Year of the Dog.

I would recommend this book to friends because it is a funny book, for example, her father just throws Christmas lights on a bush as decoration at Christmas in his slippers. I believe some people may not be as interested in a book about a Chinese-American girl since they may not relate to it. I do since I am Chinese-American.

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Help pick the next book!

Posted: August 5, 2012 by ameraxa in What do you think?

We want to hear what you think! Vote in our survey at the bottom of the post and tell us which book sounds the best to you for our next Together Book Club book. Vote by Sunday, August 12th and we’ll announce the winners that week. Below are quick descriptions of each book:

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer. When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don’t know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody’s business. Soon Foster – who dreams of having her own cooking show one day – lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge – learning to read . . . just as Foster and Mama start to feel at ease, their past catches up to them. Thanks to the folks in Culpepper, though Foster and her mama find the strength to put their troubles behind them for good.

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadi’s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind. Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home?

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath…as long as they stay in the Underneath. Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning.

The Red Umbrella  by Christina Gonzalez. The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl’s journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro’s revolution. In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched. As the revolution’s impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía’s parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own. Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

Resistance  by Carla Jablonski. Paul and Marie’s French country town is almost untouched by the ravages of WWII, but the siblings still live in the shadow of war. Their father is a Prisoner of War, kept hostage by the Germans. When their friend Henri’s parents disappear and Henri goes into hiding because of his Jewish ancestry, Paul and Marie realize they must take a stand. But how can they convince the French Resistance that even children can help in their fight against injustice?

REVIEW: Charlotte in New York

Posted: August 2, 2012 by ameraxa in Summer Reading

All summer we’ll be featuring book reviews from kids like you! Every kid who submits a review will get their review published on the Together Book Club blog AND win a free book! Sound good? Great! Click here to get started!

* * *

This awesome review has been brought to you by our friend MADELINE, a 4th-grader from Riverhead!

Charlotte in New York
by Joan MacPhail Knight

Genre: Historical Fiction (fiction set in the past)

Rating: GOOD: Put this book on your summer reading list!

I read Charlotte in New York by Joan MacPhail Knight. I picked it because it takes place in New York City and it’s about art. Charlotte is a girl who lives in Boston with her family and friend Lizzy. Charlotte’s Dad is a painter who has a customer that comes daily and buys his paintings. He asks her Dad to be in a museum in New York. Charlotte and Lizzy and their families rent an apartment in New York City because of her dad’s painting in the museum. Charlotte and Lizzie explore New York.

The best part was when they went to the ball because they all were dressing up and Toby, Charlotte’s dog, was dressed up as a clown. Another good part was when Charlotte and Lizzy were on a boat going to New York and saw the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is the symbol for New York. I like Charlotte because her Dad is a painter and she hung out in New York City.

I would recommend the book to a few friends because its really good and it takes place in New York City. It’s a book for girls and boys, but more for girls because there are more descriptions of dresses. This book reminds me of Red, White, and True Blue Mallory. They are in Washington D.C. and they visit New York too. This was a really good book!

After you read this book, you can check out the Statue of Liberty for yourself on Liberty Island!

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

REVIEW: The Lightning Thief

Posted: July 31, 2012 by ameraxa in Summer Reading

All summer we’ll be featuring book reviews from kids like you! Every kid who submits a review will get their review published on the Together Book Club blog AND win a free book! Sound good? Great! Click here to get started!

* * *

This review has been brought to you by our fantastic friend NATALIE, a 6th-grader from Hammondsport!

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Genre: Chapter Book, Adventure, Comedy (funny), Fantasy or Science Fiction

Rating: AMAZING: Stop everything that you’re doing and read this book RIGHT NOW!


I wanted to read this book because my brother suggested that I read it. This story is about demigod Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, being sent on a quest to find Zeus’s master lighting bolt, because he was accused of stealing it. Right before even finding out he was a demigod, Percy’s mother was attacked by the Minotaur, which Percy defeated. Percy’s didn’t even know his best friend Grover was a centaur. At camp half blood he meets Annabeth, and soon both them and Grover are on the quest for the master bolt…

What I liked about this book is it is so perfect for every reader. Both girls and boys will be pleased with this book. It has action but is not dark or bloody. It is also very funny; I have literally found myself laughing out loud! One of my favorite parts was when Percy got advice from a poodle! I thought Percy was funny but serious when he had to be.

I would give this book 5 stars. I would recommend this book to all my friends because it is so funny and action packed. I do not think some people will like it and others not. I think everyone will like this book because it is so awesome. This book did not remind me of anything else I have ever read, it is breathtakingly one of a kind.

Still on the fence about the book even after this awesome review? Click here to read what another Together Book club member thought of it! Share your thoughts in the comments!