Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

I found this book really absorbing. It is the story of a Muslim family that immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh prior to 9/11, told first person by 14-year-old Nadira. Her family is close, despite Nadira's jealousy of her seemingly perfect older sister Aisha. Although the family seems well assimilated on the surface, in reality they have a motto, "Go to school. Never let anyone know. Never." Nadira's father decides that things have become too tense for them in the U.S., with other Bangladeshis being deported, so he takes them to Canada to apply for asylum there. Unfortunately, too many other Muslim immigrants are doing the same thing, and Canada turns them away. When they try to reenter the U.S. they are stopped, and the father is put in jail to await a deportation hearing. This is the beginning of the real story - how Nadira has to become the strong one and bring her family back together. Read this not only because it will help you understand the situation of illegal immigrants in the U.S., but also because it's a gripping story. Review by Stacy Church

Friday, May 05, 2006

First Boy by Gary Schmidt

This is the best book I have read in a while! It is suspenseful, has great characters, and is beautifully written ("...the sun was already set and drawing the day down after it.") The main character is Cooper Jewett, a 14 year old boy who lives in New Hampshire with his grandfather. The suspense kicks in right away, as Cooper's best friend Peter notices a black sedan "prowling Main Street like a panther." Peter's grandfather dies very early on in the book, leaving Peter all alone on the dairy farm. He is determined to keep the farm running, which is hard enough: keeping up with the chores, his schoolwork, and cross country. It becomes even more difficult when someone starts sabotaging him and trying to drive him off the farm. Gary Schmidt also wrote the Newbery Honor Book, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, which I definitely want to read. Review by Stacy Church