MADreads

A review of Sway by Katarina M. Spears

Sway (aka Jesse Alderman) is a high school senior with a lot of power. As I was reading this book I could not believe what he was involved in. When the principal asks Sway to get rid of a student (by setting him up for expulsion) Sway stashes drugs in the kid’s locker and the kid is gone. Sway buys drugs from some scary characters; saying he will do anything for cash. Sway and his accomplices beat a man to a pulp after the man rubs up against Sway’s close friend Joey (Josephine ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
October 24, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Wait! Wait! by Hatsue Nakawaki

This is a sweet story that depicts a young child walking and observing animals. Along the way, the child sees a butterfly, a lizard, birds, and cats. As the child walks towards each creature, with hands out, the child is thinking, “wait, wait.” The child wants to touch and observe the animal up close. But of course, the animals fly or run away. I love how this book shows young children’s naturally curiosity and fearlessness. The story ends with the child being scooped up by the father and ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
May 9, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

Laurel’s mother and grandmother both died in Hurricane Katrina, and Laurel doesn't want to deal with her pain. She has left behind her father and younger brother and ends up on the streets using the highly addictive drug, meth. Along the way we meet Moses, an artist that has taken it upon himself to paint murals of teens that have lost their battle with meth. Needless to say, he is always painting murals. He knows Laurel and is sure that he will soon be painting a picture of her. Fortunately ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
March 14, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep by Crescent Dragonwagon

Alphabet books are great for one-on-one reading and discussion, but there are not very many you can read all the way through. I decided to give this one a try for a group of children at a childcare center, since it has more of a story than many alphabet books that I have seen. I wanted to see if it would be interesting to children from beginning to end. It’s bedtime and the child is not sleepy, so the Mom tells the story of how all of the awake animals are getting ready to rest.  Beginning ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
August 16, 2013 | 2 comments
A review of Just Behave Pablo Picasso by Jonah Winter

If you are looking for a book that reinforces following your heart, this is it. Pablo Picasso has a natural ability for painting, and people love his “rose-colored paintings.” He makes a very good living painting them. However, he is bored to tears and doesn’t care about making a living, he longs to paint something different. After viewing an art exhibit featuring African masks, he begins painting in an abstract manner and creates his famous painting,“Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon.” It is so ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
May 17, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

If you missed this book when it first came out in 2009, now's your chance to check it out. This is a book to be savored. The pace is slow, similar to the steamy hot Texas summer of 1899 when the story takes place. Calpurnia (Callie) is the only girl in a houseful of brothers. When her elusive, naturalist grandfather notices her writing observations of the world around her, she becomes his assistant, working alongside him in his laboratory behind the family home. It is in this lab where she ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
April 26, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I could not put this book down--it was an engrossing, emotional rollercoaster ride. Ten-year-old August (Auggie), is going to school for the very first time after being homeschooled by his mother. He is apprehensive about entering the 5th grade because of the way he looks. Auggie was born with severe facial deformities that have required extensive surgeries, but he still doesn’t look “normal.” At one point, Auggie says, “I won’t describe what I look like.  Whatever you are thinking, it’s ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
December 7, 2012 | 1 comment
A review of If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche

Artistically, this is one of the coolest books I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine the time that went into the creation of each illustration. The artist has fashioned the most amazing, intricate bas-relief cut-paper collages of fifteen very unique homes from different time periods and from a variety of countries around the world. One could easily spend many hours looking at the incredible detail on each page. From cave dwellings to castles and yurts to airstream trailers, each home includes a ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
August 17, 2012 | 0 comments
A review of Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Bradley

Kimberly Bradley, along with almost everyone else who has researched the topic, believe that Thomas Jefferson, former president of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence, fathered seven children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, after his wife Martha past away. The names, ages, and the work that the children did are historically documented, but their feelings and conversations are not. With painstaking detail, Bradley writes the story of what it might have ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
June 8, 2012 | 0 comments
A review of Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a funny, sweet story about how Mortimer, a zombie, goes about trying to find love. When a box of chocolates filled with worms and a heart (that looks like the real thing) fail to attract a girl, he decides to write a personal ad for the newspaper. Part of it reads, “Tall, Dead, & Handsome, If you like taking walks in the graveyard and falling down in the rain. If you’re not into cooking, if you have half a brain.” He ends the ad by asking a potential ...read more

Reviewed by Lesley K on
February 10, 2012 | 0 comments