Post Tagged with: "girls"

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

I’m not so sure it’s a great book… but I can’t seem to put it down.

Halo hits all the right buttons for today’s modern tween girl: the main characters are supernatural (angels); there’s a romance; cute and enigmatic boy characters; a spunky yet conflicted girl protagonist.

Halo tells the story of three angels who have been sent to earth to set things right. Apparently evil is overtaking us, and enough is enough for the Guy upstairs. One of the angels is 17-year-old Beth, who is more susceptible to her new human form than her two older and wiser siblings. She succumbs to the temptations of human emotion and falls in love with a human boy. This sets up a conflict, since she finds herself too busy dating to pay attention to the more charitable pursuits she has been put on earth to fulfill. The whole thing comes to a climax when a sexy male devil character sets his sights on her.

Kinda like Twilight
Whereas Twilight, the hugely popular teen-girl-fantasy novel against which all others must now be measured, had vampires, Halo has angels. Twilight is set in a quiet, nondescript town in the U.S.; so is Halo. Both have strong female lead characters. Both books feature gentle (yet strong) male love interests. In both books, the female lead characters must battle supernatural forces. And in both books the main character is quickly swept off her feet by a boy with whom she falls irrevocably in love, a love she puts beyond all else – including common sense and her responsibilities.

If your teen or tween girl liked Twilight, I’m going to bet that she’ll enjoy Halo.

It’s a gentle love story, an easy read, with just enough action to keep the pages turning. And it’s clean. Angel-clean.

However, I would have liked the book to have been edited a bit more carefully. Not only are there occasional grammatical errors, but some of the dialogue is stilted, especially when the kids are tryin’ to talk hip-like. That’s the writer’s fault but also the editor’s, who should have pointed it out and asked for rewrites.

I once had an editor who talked about an author who “worries every word.” Halo feels like it was written a bit hastily, without the words having been sufficiently “worried” by this young author (Alexandra Adornetto is 19.)

But it doesn’t really matter, because the kids are reading the book in droves and loving it, with or without clunky dialogue.

Adornetto is already working on the second book in what will be a trilogy: Hades, due out next year. The third book will be entitled Heaven.

She is also working on a website for young aspiring authors which will offer writing tips. Now, that is something to really look forward to, and something that will undoubtedly help to get kids writing. Good for her.

Related Links
Here’s the video trailer for Halo.
And here’s a nice video interview (1:30) with author Alexandra Adornetto.

Previous articles posted on Getting Kids Reading
The Twilight Series.
New Twilight Book.
Newest Twilight Book – Free.

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Newest Twilight book – free

the short second life of bree tanner – by Stephenie Meyer

It’s hot off the press and today until July 5 it’s available free online here.

The book is a novella, only 178 pages, and its protagonist is one of the minor characters from Meyer’s earlier novel, Eclipse.

Bree Tanner is a “newborn vampire,” whose life is dangerous and ultimately tragic. The book is told through her voice, giving Twilight fans a chance to look at Eclipse in a completely different light.

As a parent, you should know that your girl will definitely want this book. That Chapters/Indigo is selling it for $9.99 when you purchase another teen book. And that it’s available online for free until July 5, 2010.

Even if you’re not planning on reading this book, check out the free online version – the technology is pretty interesting. You can increase the size of the print, view it as a one-page or two-page spread, and choose individual pages to read or just go through it all page by page.

If you’ve got a reluctant reader, this may be just the ticket. It’s a short book, full of action, easy to read and it’s online. Until July 5.

I bought the book yesterday and it only took me – I tend to be a very slow reader – an hour or so to get halfway through it. It’s interesting and it clips right along. And I like that Stephenie Meyer lets her readers into her thought process (in the Introduction) in terms of the way she thinks about her characters. She may get kids writing as well.

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Profile: Girl, 7, tomboy likes nature, video games

  • April 13, 2010 at 8:00 am
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When you’re trying to choose books for your own child, it’s really useful to ask kids with similar interests what they like. Chances are, there’ll be some cross-over. But it’s kind of hard to find just the right kid. So we’ve got a series of Profiles (click on Reading Profiles in the Categories for more) to help you with some great book suggestions.

Here’s a spunky, imaginative and extremely interesting seven-year-old girl with some great book choices.

Girl, almost seven, Canadian, reading above grade level.

Kooky, brave, tomboy

Pokemon, animals, nature, computer games

1) The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (the original, not the Disney version)

2) Unicorn Wishes and entire World of Wishes series by Carol Barton

3) Wild Paws series by Susan Hughes

4) The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

5) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

6) The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

This is a great list. It’s got some wonderful classics… and then some unicorns. You’ve gotta love this girl!
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Profile: Girl, 8, likes skiing and horses

  • April 9, 2010 at 1:03 am
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Quite a charmer.

Here is a girl I know quite well. She’s a fun-loving, easygoing girl who has a twin brother (with a very different, albeit nonetheless charming disposition). If you know a girl like her, check out this girl’s favourite books and maybe your girl would like them, too.

Girl, 8, Canadian, in French immersion at school. Enjoys reading and being read to.

Eight-year-old girl who likes playing with her friends, books, skiing and horses. And is charming.

1. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall
Birdsall has also written a sequel (which this girl enjoyed), The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, and is writing a third book in the series. There will be five Penderwicks books in all.

This is President Obama and his daughter putting the book into backpacks for kids whose families are in the military. (The book for the boy-backpacks is The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan.)
Here’s a link to the Obama article.

2. Felicity Wishes: Secrets and Surprises, by Emma Thomson

3. Princess Lillifee, by Monika Finsterbusch

4. Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

This very popular book follows the life of Miss Rumphius from childhood to old age. As a child, she decides what she wants to do with her life when and then achieves her goals – which includes searching for ways in which to make the world more beautiful.

5. Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, by Leslie Connor and Mary Azarian

The story centres around a young woman leaving the “old country.” The text begins, “She could have picked a chiming clock or a porcelain figure, but Miss Bridie chose a shovel back in 1856.”

“Oh, and why stop at five favourite books? I also like the Junie B. series, Clarice Bean, and the Ramona books.”

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New Twilight book

  • April 6, 2010 at 11:21 am
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Here’s something exciting to tell your teenaged daughter.

There’s going to be a new Twilight book out soon.
June 5, to be precise.

Here’s the title (deep breath): The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella.

Author Stephenie Meyer is calling it a novella, although it’s 192 pages long. For her that’s a novella, since her books typically come in at more than double that size.

The story is the tale of Eclipse (her third Twilight novel), told from the point-of-view of Bree Tanner, a minor character from that book. It will retail for $16.99 in Canada.

Cool facts
Here are some cool facts to casually let slip in conversation with your teenager, showing that you’re an oh-so-plugged-in parent who sometimes knows even more than she does.

* Bree Tanner was a newborn vampire created by Victoria. (Your teenager will likely not even remember this character, because Bree was killed off early in her chaotic young life, so this will be a cooler fact than you may realize.)

* $1 from every book will go to benefit the American Red Cross (think about it…)

* Meyer began the book as a short story to “help me examine the other side of Eclipse, which I was editing at the time.”

* The book will be posted online, free, from noon June 7 to July 5.

* Stephenie’s name is spelled with an “e” rather than the traditional “a” because it’s taken from her father’s name – Stephen. I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s still cool.

Here’s Meyer’s website.
Here’s Bree’s website.
And here’s another article I posted about the whole Twilight series.

Sorry about the long delay in posting – I’ve had a backlog of deadlines. I’m still not finished with ’em, but I’ve got too much stuff to blog about to wait any longer! More soon. And thanks for all of the great feedback I’ve been getting from everyone (you know who you are). Please keep those e-mails and comments coming!

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Alice now and then

  • February 27, 2010 at 8:19 am
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Do cheer up, Alice dear!

This is the first Alice in Wonderland – the namesake.

It’s Alice Liddell, one of three girls to whom Lewis Carroll told the original story of Alice Through the Looking Glass. They urged him to write it down, and the rest is history.

The Globe and Mail has a wonderful slide show of Alice through the ages, including an Annie Lebowitz portrait, one by the Hunter S. Thomson illustrator and this one, from the movie.

Please do encourage your child to read the book, or read it out loud to them. It’s so worth it.

It’s also a good idea to show them the Globe’s slide show. Reading extensions like seeing the movie or getting a taste for the background of a book can really help to get kids reading.

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Finger Puppet Book Bags

  • February 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm
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A little gem from the literacy conference.

It’s a knitted book bag, with finger puppets that adhere with snaps to the bag. A knitted string lets the child hang it around her neck and take it anywhere.

Each bag has a theme. For instance, the Ocean bag has a handpainted ocean scene, and it comes with a clownfish, a crab, a mermaid, an octopus, a sea turtle, a seal, a shark and a starfish.

The idea is that you put a book, or a couple of books, into the bag.
There’s a list of book suggestions for each bag. For the Ocean bag, they suggest Baby Beluga, by Raffi and Commotion in the Ocean, by Giles Andreae (and eight others).

Then, wherever your little reader goes, she carries an entire puppet show with her.

Interacting with literature is definitely a great way to get kids reading.

The bags are made in Bolivia by indigenous peoples; it’s a Fair Trade project, benefitting both countries and helping families in Bolivia earn a living wage.

You can purchase a bag, a product the owner calls 3 Bags Full, from her website.

And speaking of the owner – here she is. Her name is Sue Berlove, and boy, she is passionate about what she does. Do visit her website. For one thing, they have way better pictures of her bags than the one I’ve used here (taken myself, as if you didn’t know.)

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Profile: Girl, 7, likes art, spaghetti

  • February 1, 2010 at 8:51 am
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Playing in the snow.

Here’s a girl who’s 7, and likes art, ballet and spaghetti. She also loves books. Maybe you know someone similar, who would like the same books she does.

Female, age 7, Canadian, loves reading

Smart, creative

Art, Disney World, spaghetti, ballet, soccer, horses and playing in the snow and on the beach

1) Camping Out: A Shadow Story, by Lisa Allen and Julie Sharp

2) The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch

3) Eloise’s Guide to Life: or, How to Eat, Dress, Travel, Behave and Stay Six Forever, by Kay Thompson

4) Thomas’s Snowsuit, by Robert Munsch

5) Santa Knows, by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith

Want to know more about this post and the profiles we’re writing about? Click here.

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Profile: Girl, 8, likes nature, poetry, art

  • January 25, 2010 at 11:18 am
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Pippi meets Wednesday.

Here we have a likeable, creative, nature-loving and artistic eight-year-old girl.

She’s a little bit Pippi Longstocking and a little bit Wednesday Adams.

Sound like someone you know? If so, she might enjoy the same books this girl enjoys.

Female, age 8 (almost 9), Canadian, enjoys reading (smaller books)

Attentive, caring, nature lover

Nature, poetry, writing, art

1) Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson
(Take a look at Eva Ibbotson’s bio – it’s fascinating.)

2) The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall

3) The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

4) Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Dog Days, by Jeff Kinney

5) The Fog Mound series, by Susan Schade and Jon Buller

(The rights have just been purchased, to create an animated feature film of these great books.)

What the heck is this post about? This’ll explain it.
The mom who interviewed her daughter said she was really interested to hear how her daughter described herself, and the thoughtful list of books she came up with. Great job! Thanks, S and L.
The image is a picture of Pippi Longstocking and I think it conveys this girl’s spirit pretty well. This is the illustrator.
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Boys don’t like school

  • November 27, 2009 at 8:07 pm
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Send the message, “I want to hear the story you want to tell.”

OK, here are some final highlights from the Leonard Sax seminar:

1) Many more girls than boys graduate from university. This is true for Canada, the UK, and the US. Sax says boys have given up on school and on marks – they been given the unintentional message that “school is for girls.” His theory is that boys have been marked according to girl-based systems. When boys get low marks because they haven’t put enough colour in a drawing, or because the drawing is violent, they give up; they figure they just can’t do it. Then they say, “school is for girls.”

2) The same applies to reading. When they’re faced with a book like Jane Eyre, which doesn’t immediately appeal to the “boy brain” they say, “reading is for girls.”

3) And writing: When a boy writes a story that contains action (and/or violence) and limited character development, they get marked down for it. So they say, “Writing is for girls.”

4) It’s our job – as parents and educators – to find a way to make boys find reading, writing and studying relevant to them. Sax says, “want to hear the story your boy wants to tell.” They want to tell a story that has action, excitement, car crashes! Why do we insist they tell stories the “girl way”?

5) The top three factors at age 15 that determine who will graduate:
-grades at age 15
-reading ability
-study habits
Gender in ability isn’t a factor! So boys can do it – they’ve just become demotivated to do it. (See 1-3, above.) They think that “school is for girls.”

6) This isn’t to say that girls don’t have problems. They do. They’re more likely to have an eating disorder, be clinically anxious or depressed and become moody.

7) Boys understand boundaries. Instead of saying, “no throwing snowballs,” make some boundaries. “Snowball throwing within this area only.” Boys get “inbounds vs. out-of-bounds.” And they’re good with it.

8) Boys like action and that includes violence. Give them boundaries, says Sax. “generic and classic violence (wars, car crashes) is allowed; personal/threatening (specific to a person) violence is not allowed.”

9) 40-year-old men and women can sit still for the same amount of time. But a six-year-old girl can sit still and pay attention about twice as long as the average six-year-old boy.

10) There are boy-oriented teachers, and girl-oriented teachers. Sax says very few teachers are both – nearly all teachers prefer to teach one gender over the other. And it has nothing to do with the gender of the teacher.

11) Boys learn better when they’re standing. It’s been researched. (At our school, one grade-six teacher offers exercise balls rather than chairs if kids want to use them. Great idea.)

12) When girls have a personal bond with a teacher, they’ll work harder for them, so as not to disappoint them.

13) Girls’ eyes and brains process colour and texture earlier than boys. Boys’ brains process movement. It explains why girls use 10+ crayons in drawings, while boys use one or two. It explains why boys’ drawings have scribbles (it’s hard to draw action!) and car crashes. It explains why girls like dolls and boys like trucks.

I talked to my son about colour. Without prompting, he said, “Mom, when I draw at home I use one colour. But if I’m at school and I want to get a good mark, I use lots of colours.” That could have come right from Sax’s lecture. Boys prefer to use one colour, but are graded on using many colours. (Having said that, my son’s teachers are awesome – and very empathetic to boys, so I’m definitely not dissing anyone here. But he definitely has gotten the message that more colour is better.)

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