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People Are Like Plants: Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

Bonjour!

Today is my Husband’s birthday! I think he’s pretty awesome so Happy Happy Birthday to him!

HusbandOkay, on to more bookish things! Since my school is an International Baccalaureate World School, I’m always on the lookout for titles that have a global focus. TSerafina's Promise by Ann E Burghis is why I had high hopes when I started reading Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg.

Serafina has
a secret dream.

She wants to go to school
and become a doctor
with her best friend, Julie Marie.

But in their rural village
outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
many obstacles
stand in Serafina’s way–
little money,
never-ending chores,
and Manman’s worries.

More powerful even
than all of these
are the heavy rains
and the shaking earth
that test Serafina’s resolve
in ways she never dreamed.

At once heartbreaking and hopeful,
this exquisitely crafted story
will leave a lasting impression
on your heart.

Serafina’s Promise gets points for being a beautifully written novel. But it also get’s points for having an international (non USA) setting, and extra points for being a novel in verse! This book has it all…a librarian’s dream!

This book is set up into three clearly cut parts. To start out, we meet Serfina a preteen Haitian girl living in extreme poverty. Serafina is responsible for hiking to gather the family’s daily water provision but we quickly learn that she deeply desires to go to school and one day become a doctor. I’m impressed with the way Serafina is written because it’s impeccably realistic. Serafina is very innocent, yet she struggles with jealousy toward her friend who can afford to go to school. She deeply loves her family and sick baby brother yet is resentful towards her worried mother’s strictness. Despite living in a different setting Serafina’s realistic character allows teens from more privileged circumstances to connect with her.

One of the strongest aspects of this book is the setting. The descriptions of Serafina’s home, the flood scenes, and the city details after the earthquake, it is clear that this story takes place in Haiti, not just any random developing nation. The Haitian Creole words sprinkled in throughout the verse only add to that already strong sense of place. Sometimes non English words in a story can distract the reader, but these fit in well and are usually easily understood based on context, however there is a Haitian Creole glossary in the back of the book to help with this further (*the educator in me cheers in delight!*).

And to make this book that much better, while reading I stumbled upon a few short lines that immediately became one of my favorite quotes ever. To set the scene Serafina is working on a garden with the help of Gogo, her grandmother who praises Serafina’s hard work with the plants.

“Gogo’s word make me feel taller.

People really are like plants -

kind words make them grow.”

Serafina’s Promise is one that is strongly recommend to middle grade readers because it is such a sincere and well written story. I also think it could be a very powerful book in a classroom or book group setting, so teachers and librarians…have at it!

Author: Ann E. Burg

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 24, 2013)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 304 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books Read in 2014 (So Far)

Hello!

Pat me on the back because I’ve been super organized! All of the posts for this week were pre scheduled because I am currently on a field trip! That’s right folks! For my first week of summer I am chaperoning a 5 day field trip to Disney in Orlando with around 60 6th graders! So that’s where I am today…Disney!

Insane? Yes! Fun? Yes!

The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is the best books I’ve read so far in 2014. I’ve already read 43 books this year so it was difficult to narrow it down to the 10 titles I’ve enjoyed the most. So, after a good hard look at all the books I’ve read already in 2014, here are my favorites.

  The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderThe Diviners by Libba Bray 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Diviners by Libba Bray (my review)

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (my review)

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (my review)

Cress by Marissa Meyer The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Cress by Marissa Meyer (my review)

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (my review)

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Serafina's Promise by Ann E Burg

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

So there you have it! Which titles made it onto your favorites of 2014 (so far) list?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Art I’d Frame

Hiya!

I totally judge books by their covers! I know it’s wrong…but I don’t care! I just a sucker for a pretty cover and in the YA world there are tons of lovely covers out there, but sometimes you get some that just stand out above the rest.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Cover Art I’d Frame”. I guess if I’m thinking about book cover art as “frameable” I tend to lean towards those that are illustrated. There are probably other cover I’d consider “frameworthy” floating around out there, but here are ten that just stand out as lovely.

Serafina's Promise by Ann E BurgSerafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

I love the muted pastel colors and the shape of the girl’s arms.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail CarrigerThe Finishing School series by Gail Garriger

These covers are just so strikingly beautiful that I’d want them hanging in a fancy dressing room, if I was wealthy enough to have a fancy dressing room, that is.

The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

When you look at this cover closely you see just how detailed and gorgeous the brush strokes are.

Chomp by Carl HiaasenAny of Carl Hiassen’s middle grades book covers

The simplicity and vivid colors of his covers just draw me in. They remind me of the paper cutouts of Matisse.

After the Snow by SD CrockettAfter the Snow by S.D. Crockett

I actually haven’t read this book, but I’ve always loved the look of these trees.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This one is prettier without the text over it because the title is covering the horse and rider’s reflection in the water.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkA Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

I love the simplicity of the silhouette and sunset.

The Lion, The WItch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (cover illustrations by Pauline Baynes)

Nothing beats classically illustrated book covers like these.

The Goose Girl by Shannon HaleThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (illustrated by Alison Jay)

Jay did the artwork for the first three books in this series and they’re so bulbous and beautiful!

Princess Academy by Shannon HalePrincess Academy by Shannon Hale (illustrated by Tim Zeltner)

This has always been one of my favorite covers. I just adore the touch of whimsy Zeltner’s work has. I actually like his non book covers even better than this!

Well, would you frame any of the book covers I’ve selected this week?

 

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Reading Queue: April

The Reading QueueHello!

Holy junk April surprised the heck out of me! One day it was March and the next….BAM! APRIL!

I guess that’s how it happens though isn’t it? haha

Well, I’m back and ready to bring you a brand new Reading Queue…even if it is a few days late!

What is the Reading Queue?  The Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hola!) and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for the month. You can check out other participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

What I Read in March

March was a really good reading month for me! I was able to finish eight books, which is two more than my average six! Now, I’m counting one I Did Not Finish (DNF) because it’s my list and I can! haha

The Lord of Opium by NancyFarmerThe Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer (DNF)

Maybe it’s because I didn’t read House of the Scorpion, but I just couldn’t get into this one.

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was a very cute contemporary filled with family and romance.

Jessica Darling's It List by Megan McCaffertyJessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty

I haven’t read the original Jessica Darling books, but I know now I must!

Skybreaker by Kenneth OppellSkybreaker (Matt Cruise #2) by Kenneth Oppel

Starclimber by Kenneth OppelStarclimber (Matt Cruise #3) by Kenneth Oppel

This series is one of my new favorites!

March Book One by John LewisMarch (Book One) by John Lewis

Civil Rights history in graphic novel form! I loved it!

Serafina's Promise by Ann E BurgSerafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This novel in verse was beautiful.

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I really enjoyed this trilogy a lot!

My April Reading Queue

There are so many books I want to read so badly this month! I’ve already started three of them, so I’m hopeful about my goal of ten!

The Flame in the Mist by Kit GrindstaffThe Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

The Boy Problem by Kami KinardThe Boy Problem by Kami Kinard

Icons by Margaret StohlIcons by Margaret Stohl

Half a Chance by Cynthia LordHalf a Chance by Cynthia Lord

The Hypnotists by Gordon KormanThe Hypnotists by Gordon Korman

Ghost Hawk by Susan CooperGhost Hawk by Susan Cooper

Manor of Secrets by Katherine LongshoreManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

TheTimeFetchThe Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

Better to Wish by Ann M. MartinBetter to Wish by Ann M. Martin

Doll Bones by Holly BlackDolly Bones by Holly Black

There you have it! Have you read any of the title on my April Reading Queue?  Please feel free to link up and join us this month! I’d love to check out your Reading Queue too!