Tag Archives: divorce

The Games In Which We Compete: A Review of ‘The Crossover’ and ‘Booked’

“Continue, dear young men, to give the best of yourselves in sports competitions, always remembering that the competitive spirit of the sportsman, though so noble in itself, must not be an end in itself, but must be subordinated to the far more noble requirements of the spirit. Therefore, while I repeat to you: be good sportsmen, I also say to you: be good citizens in family and social life, and, even more, be good Christians, who are able to give a superior meaning to life, in such a way as to be able to put into practice what the Apostle Paul said about athletes to Christians of his time: ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it … They (athletes) do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable’” (l Cor 9:24-25).—Saint Pope John Paul II from his address to the Bologna Soccer Team, December 9, 1978

The Crossover

Interest Level:


Grade Level Equivalent:


Review and Thoughts

Kwame Alexander’s book The Crossover would’ve made my basketball-lovin’ heart oh so happy back when I was in middle school.  Alexander uses poetry to write so passionately about the sport and brings in a close family to add to the drama of the novel. Continue reading The Games In Which We Compete: A Review of ‘The Crossover’ and ‘Booked’

Strength in the Face of Danger: A Review of ‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”– St. Francis of Assisi

Reading Level: Grades 5-6

Interest Level:  Grades 5-8

Review and Comments:

As Brian buckles his seat belt and settles in the small plane to begin a trip to visit his father for the summer, he never dreams his life is about to change forever. He is distracted by angry, raging thoughts about his parents’ divorce.  In the tangle of all of those emotions is a secret about his mom and that “Secret” is like an anchor weighing him down not only in his heart but in his thoughts. Those thoughts again assault his mind as he begins his flight. After a lengthy period of silence, he and the pilot finally begin to talk a bit. Brain is surprised when the pilot shows him how to use the rudder, and he actually flies the plane on his own.  After that things go horribly wrong.  The pilot has a heart attack and dies leaving Brian alone flying over the vast Canadian woods. Continue reading Strength in the Face of Danger: A Review of ‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen

Friendship Marks a Life: A Review of ‘Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon’

“I want my friend to miss me as long as I miss him.”  Saint Augustine

Suggested Grade Level

Grades 2-3

Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon by Paula Danziger is a realistic story about Amber, a spunky third grader, who is almost always very confident.  She knows she is messy, has a good memory, and can sometimes be sarcastic, according to her mom.  Her teacher says she has “an active imagination,” and she doesn’t argue that point.  She expresses her feelings so well throughout the story that the reader is allowed into the special places in her heart.  When she begins a sentence with “I, Amber Brown….” it signals that she is about to make an important announcement about herself and her present state of mind.  Amber is facing a very difficult year however. Her best friend is moving away. We can see that at the beginning of her story she is struggling with the emotions of losing her best friend when she says, “When I grow up and remember third grade, I’m going to immediately try to forget it.” This is her journey. Continue reading Friendship Marks a Life: A Review of ‘Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon’