Monday, April 25, 2016

THE BATTLE FOR ROOM 314


THE BATTLE FOR ROOM 314
by Ed Boland

The author left his twenty year career as a nonprofit executive with a great salary to follow a dream to teach school. Before he resigned from his position, he took teaching classes at night to get his teaching certificate.  He was hired to teach in a tough New York City public high school.  When you are in college studying education, you take a lot of theory classes, how to write lesson plan classes, etc.  However, classes rarely inform  you how to handle extreme student behaviors and problems.  You generally learn these things from veteran teachers or by your own ingenuity.  Mr. Boland struggled trying to teach children who were homeless, selling drugs to support their families, hungry and poor.  He tells his story with humor and insight but it is heartbreaking to hear how so many of these students read at an elementary school level and can barely write a coherent sentence.  How can one teacher possibly help 30 at risk students?  According to his book, Mr. Boland tried many innovative (and successful) lessons.  The students were a tough lot though and acted out in class or didn't show up at all and he found it difficult to ascertain if they were learning anything.  Many teachers and administrators don't last long in these difficult schools.  Boland had hoped to make a difference for kids but found it so challenging and draining that when his old boss called him to come back to his former job, he accepted.  This book was quite eye-opening and should be read by people making decisions about curriculum and graduation tests.  No child can learn if they are not safe, looked after, fed, clothed and given motivation by parents to excel at school.  Every child in the United States should be able to receive a quality education but for many that is not the case.  In the back of the book Mr. Boland gives ideas on how to improve education.
This is an important book to read!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, April 18, 2016

I HAD TO SURVIVE

I HAD TO SURVIVE: HOW A PLANE CRASH IN THE ANDES INSPIRED MY CALLING TO SAVE LIVES by Dr. Roberto Canessa and Pablo Vierci


In October of 1972, a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying a rugby team and their friends and family, crashed in the Andes mountains.  Roberto Canessa was a 19 year old, second year medical student at the time.  He did all that he could to help the injured and dying.  The group was stranded for 79 days in subfreezing weather with no food.  In order to survive, the living had to resort to eating the dead.  Eventually Roberto and 2 others made a 10 day trek through the Andes, at dangerously low temperatures, in order to get help.  Eventually they did meet people who helped them and rescuers were sent to retrieve the other 14 survivors still stranded on the mountain.  After this horrific ordeal, Roberto felt it was his calling to become a doctor.  He became a pediatric cardiologist, known world wide for his work with newborn heart patients.  It is unbelievable to me that anyone could have survived that long in those frigid temperatures. Dr. Roberto Canessa is a shining example of someone who faced unbelievable hardship and came through it stronger and more determined than ever to do good.  
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, April 11, 2016

INCONCEIVABLE


INCONCEIVABLE
by Carolyn & Sean Savage

When Carolyn and Sean Savage's attempts for a third child ended in miscarriages they finally resorted to IVF to help them expand their family.  The IVF procedure resulted in the healthy birth of a baby girl and a number of embryos frozen.  About a year after the birth of their daughter, the couple decided to move forward with trying to bring to life more of their embryos.  The Savages were thrilled to find they were pregnant.  However, shortly after they learned of the pregnancy they were told another couple's embryo had mistakenly been implanted into Carolyn.  She was pregnant with another couple's child.  After the other couple learned the news they quickly let the Savages know they wanted this child.  Carolyn and Sean did much soul searching.  They decided the right thing to do would be for Carolyn to carry the baby to term and then hand the baby over to his biological parents.  This book tells the heartbreak that Carolyn and Sean experienced as they fell in love with their "Little Man" knowing he wasn't theirs.  Would they ever see him again after he was born?  The Savages faith helped them tremendously through their heartache.  This disarmingly honest book made me admire the Savages and the path they chose to follow as they handed over the ultimate gift to another couple while they went home empty handed.
Reviewed by Mimi @  Genoa Branch Library    (I downloaded this audio book from hoopla)

BURN BABY BURN


BURN BABY BURN
by Meg Medina

It's summer in 1977 in New York City.  It's a hot, hot summer with a power black out, cases of arson and a serial murderer named Son of Sam.  Nora is on the cusp of adulthood during this wild summer.  Her mom loses her job, her brother is out of control, and she has college to think about.  The one good thing to happen to Nora over the summer is the fact that Pablo starts working at the same deli where she works.  Dare she go on a date with him though when the Son or Sam is targeting young couples in parked cars for his killing spree?  This young adult book has two parallel stories running throughout the book, one is the violence in the city and the other is the violence that Nora is experiencing in her home.  This book is well written and touches on topics that will interest teens.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, April 4, 2016

BEHAVE


BEHAVE
by Andromeda Romano-Lax


This is a historical fiction book about the founder of behaviorist psychology, John B. Watson and his second wife Rosalie Rayner Watson.  She met him after her graduation from Vassar College.  She became his assistant at John Hopkins University.  He conducted, with her help, experiments on babies to prove that parents could raise healthy, well disciplined children.  He went on to write a parenting guide that became all the rage in the 1920's and 30's.  Watson claimed that kissing, hugging and interacting too much with babies ruined them.  This form of parenting became all the rage.  Watson and Rosalie began an affair while they worked together and eventually were found out costing Watson his job and his wife.  After his divorce, he and Rosalie married and went on to have two children of their own.  Rosalie raised their children according to her husband's research but found it difficult not to lavish love on her boys.  The facts in this story are true but since there is not a lot of information on Rosalie, the author could only guess at some aspects of their lives and marriage.  This book is quite interesting, illustrating as it does, the child rearing ideas at that point in history.  Obviously, child psychologists went on to ascertain that Watson's methods were suspect and his outcome downright dangerous to children.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Friday, April 1, 2016

ONLY EVERY YOU


ONLY EVER YOU
by Rebecca Drake


If you like thrillers, you will enjoy reading Only Ever You.  A young mother takes her 3 year old daughter to the park.  As she turns away for only a few moments to give assistance to another mother, her daughter disappears!  After thirty minutes she finds her daughter but notices she has a pin prick like mark on her arm.  She and her husband take the child to the ER but nothing can be found wrong.  They take her home, feeling that all is well but it isn't!  Three months later the child goes missing again but this time she is not easily found.  This tense story has a lot of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.  
Reviewed by: Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ALLIGATOR CANDY, A MEMOIR


ALLIGATOR CANDY, A MEMOIR
by David Kushner

When David Kushner was a four year old, living with his family in the Tampa, FL area his 11 year old brother, Jon, was murdered.  The year was 1973 and the day was Sunday.  Jon had ridden off through the woods on his bike to the 7-11 store to get some candy.  Before he left, his young David asked his brother to bring him some Alligator Candy.  Jon never returned from the store.  His bike was found hidden behind some trees but it was another week before Jon's body was found.  Nothing was ever the same for the Kushner family.  The family rarely spoke about Jon and David had many unanswered questions about his brother's death.  Utilizing his investigative journalism career, David delved into the past and read everything he could find about his brother, as well as, interviewing dozens of people.  His memoir is a loving tribute to his brother while also telling the story of a family that found their way back from tragedy.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library