Off the Shelf - Blog
The subtitle for Silver People is Voices From the Panama Canal and hearing from different voices is really what this book is like. The strongest voices are from the silver people, workers on the Panama Canal who can only earn silver coins (not the gold coins earned by the white man) because of the darker shade of their skin. We hear from Mateo, a Cuban teen who comes to work on this massive earth moving project that took place in the first years of the 20th century. We also hear from Henry who has come from Jamaica because he has heard that he can earn good money working on the canal as well as from Anita, a girl adopted by an herb woman who teaches her to use the secrets of the forest to heal. Joining the chorus are howler monkeys, blue morpho butterflies and even trees. The award winning author Margarita Engle writes in verse, and the story moves along in an easy, flowing way. We follow some of the characters as their lives intersect within the setting of this monumental project. When I was younger, I got a chance to cross the Panama Canal, and was amazed at this feat of engineering but never considered the impact on those who lived and worked there and the environment. After reading this book, I feel like my eyes have been opened on this place and time. If you like historical fiction and appreciate the flow of poetry, you'll love this book.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a book about the future. In this future, at the age of 13 parents can have to choice to "unwind" their kid. Unwinding is when doctors will take all the child's organs and parts away and give them to different kids around the world. The unwound kid will still be able to have some control of the parts when with an other kid, but not all control. There is three different ways that a kid can be unwound. One is that the parent thinks that the child is beyond saving so they will sign papers to have them unwind. Two is that the government thinks that you don't have enough talent to stay in one piece. And three is that you are born to be unwound, this means that you are a tithe, in which the family gives 10% of everything to God, including their kids. The book is about three kids who try to escape the process of being unwound. The main character's names are Conner, Risa, and Lev. Conner's parents thought that he would be happier unwound so they signed the papers. Risa lives in a state house, which means that she lives with the government of that city. Risa is a musician, but the government feels like she doesn't have enough talent to live so they send her to be unwound. Lev; short for Levi, is a tithe and has always been ready to be unwound. But when Conner escapes and saves Risa and Lev, they find themselves running from the whole world. Will they survive with their lives?
After his grandfather dies DJ sets out to fulfill his request in Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters. Contained in sealed envelopes, grandfather has assigned each of his six grandsons a task to complete. DJ is the oldest and must venture to the top of Mt Kilamanjaro in order to spread his grandfathers ashes. Since DJ is a successful athelete he feels confident in his ability to climb to the summit and complete his task. In fact, he expects to make it to the top in two days with another day to return. Even before he begins his climb there is plenty of adventure on the way to his destination in Tanzania.
This is a fun story of adventure complete with maps and twists as the plans unfold on life journeys for each grandson. Grandfather is dearly beloved by each and this is just one adventure in the seven series, each with a different author.
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