Do you know what a scarlet pimpernel is? It is a little red country flower. But is also the code name of a mysterious hero who saved countless lives from the guillotine during the French Revolution. Baroness Emma Orczy’s novel The Scarlet Pimpernel is set in England in 1792. It focuses on a “the cleverest woman in Europe” Lady Marguerite Blakeney and her husband Sir Percy Blakeney. The Blakeneys are the most popular couple in Europe. However they are not at all happy. They used to love each other before they were married but now Sir Percy is an idiotic nobleman for whom Marguerite feels only good natured contempt. However despite their unhappiness life goes on. Marguerite is the queen of London society and gossips with everybody about the one thing on everyone’s mind: The brave, daring, and cunning Scarlet Pimpernel who smuggled poor French aristocrats out of France to safety right under the very noses of the Republican government of France. Like everyone else Marguerite thinks very highly of him never once did she think she might be forced to betray him. One night Marguerite is visited by an old friend and a member of the Republic of France, M. Chauvelin. He has come to Europe on a mission, to catch the Scarlet Pimpernel. He wants Marguerite’s help. He had discovered evidence that Marguerite’s brother, Armand, is in league with the Scarlet Pimpernel. If she helps him, he will spare Armand from the guillotine and if not Armand will pay dearly for his crimes. Unknown to Marguerite the stakes are higher than she could ever have guessed. Baroness Orczy does a wonderful job of showing her readers the horrors of the revolution but also conveying a message of hope and showing that there are good people in the world. I read that book four times in a row because I just couldn’t put it down. It is full of action, adventure, cleverness, and bravery. If you are looking for a good exciting story with high stakes this book is for you.

I recently polled most of our students during book browse visits and asked them what their favorite book was so far this year. Click on the image to link to their responses and maybe give one a try!

Mysticat33 says:

A long time into the future, a young woman named Nell, lives in a place called the Pale and Pasture. The sick live in the Pale, the healed lived in the Pasture. The island was desolated and barricaded from human interaction of the outside world during a horrible epidemic with a disease that takes people’s limbs. Nell is one of the many survivors of the sickness by being given biochemical heart, the first person with an biochemical organ transplant. But unfortunately her father was the genius who invented the biochemical limbs as a fight against the sickness. Now everyone expects her to have the same world-changing ideas. In the book SPARE AND FOUND PARTS by the new author Sarah Maria Griffin, it tells the story of how Nell is coping with everyone knowing her as the daughter of the famous Dr. Crane. She wants to do something huge, something good for the community. It’s hard when she barely has any friends since her heart ticks like a clock every day so everyone sees her a different. Then one day she finds a hand on a beach and it sparks a new idea. What if she could build a whole person from just spare and found parts? This is a completely new novel that has many secrets and interesting mechanics in it. If you love engineering, dystopian worlds, or ingenious character personalities, this book might be right for you!

Silverdolphin827 says:

Have you ever wondered what the world will look like in a few hundred years? If so that you will defiantly be interested in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Guy Montag is a fireman. He burns books for a living. Just like his father and his father’s father. Montag is happy…or is he? One day when he was walking home from work he meets a girl named Clarisse. She was different. She spent time thinking, her family sat around just talking, and she made him realize he wasn’t happy. Montag no longer was happy burning books. He wanted to read them. So when they were burning down a house that was holding books Montag took one. What will happen now? Find out in this fast-paced story of a dystopian future.

athlete vs. mathlete coverThinkPoodles says:

I recently finished Athlete VS. Mathlete by W.C. Mack. This book follows the two stories of fraternal twins Owen and Russell Evans. Owen has always been the family’s star athlete, while Russell would rather focus on his Masters of the Mind competitions. However, when the new coach for the basketball team arrives he puts Russell on the team. Eventually, it shows that Russell is a pro at basketball. Meanwhile, a new student threatens Russell’s position as leader of his Masters of the Mind team. Russell is going to need some help, luckily the perfect person lives just down the hall. Can Russell keep his rightful place, and can this family have two athletes? Read the book to find out.

ThinkPoodles says:

I recently finished a book series not currently found in the JFDS library. The Last Kids on Earth, by Max Brallier, follows Jack Sullivan, and to put it into Max’s own words, “POST-APOCALYPTIC ACTION HERO!” Set in the once-charming little town of Wakefield where monsters now roam the Earth. You’ll see your typical zombies, but you’ll also see some unique original monsters. Can Jack survive the monster apocalypse and complete the “ULTIMATE FEAT OF APOCALYPTIC SUCCESS?”  Read the book to find out.

by SilverDolpin827

Have you ever wondered what happens to your favorite fairytale characters after their stories end? In Chris Colfer’s novel The Wishing Spell you can find out! Alex and Conner’s lives have been rough since their Dad died and they are in more need than ever of a little magic. When their Grandma gives them her storybook of fairytales the twins had no idea they were going to embark on an adventure of a lifetime! After discovering the book was a portal to the fairytale land after falling into it the twins immediately start to look for a way home. Along the way, they make new friends and meet characters they had only dreamed of meeting. Little did they know they were going to discover a secret that would change their lives forever. This fast-paced adventure story is impossible to put down and you’ll find yourself wishing you could fall into this book yourself! This amazing fantasy story is full of surprising twists and will bring magic to the life of anyone who reads it.

Read another fantasy book review by SilverDolphin827, here.

Review by JFDS teacher Mrs. Kennedy who teaches 8th grade social studies and ELA.

Video  —  Posted: December 15, 2017 in Reading
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JFDS Student Book Review

Posted: December 15, 2017 in Reading, Student Book Review
2017/12/14 at 9:59 pm

A review by Morgan in 8th grade

As of late, I’ve been on an extreme reading kick and (knock on wood) I hope that doesn’t end soon. I’ve just been devouring novels like my life depends on it, and Cress by Marissa Meyer was no different as the 550 page novel was read just as quickly and easily as a 200 page book. Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles quartet following Linh Cinder, a cyborg mechanic turned wanted criminal from New Beijing, Carswell Thorne, a fugitive who’s been disobeying the rules since he was born, and Scarlet and Wolf, a hotheaded French 18 year old who’s the series’ counterpart to Little Red Riding Hood and her love interest who was a former Lunar warrior. The four all have one common goal, prevent the power hungry leader of the Lunars, Queen Levana, from marrying the young Emperor of New Beijing, Emperor Kaito, and causing endless pain and suffering on Earth. Under Levana’s control works a miserable 16-year-old girl named Cress who is forced to hack for the Queen’s assistant in order to proceed in forcing the Earthen leaders to relinquish power over to her. In a desperate attempt for escape from her Satellite prison of seven years, Cress enlists the help of the four formerly mentioned space fugitives, bringing a lot more danger and adventure on the path to starting an inevitable war between Earth and Luna. Cress was a thrilling read that surpassed the high standards Cinder held making any reader not wanting to put the book down as the thrill of the science fiction, romance, and political downfall, coming in at a strong 4.9/5 stars. Recommended for those with a love for Sailor Moon, Divergent, Harry Potter, The Land of Stories, and/or The School for Good and Evil, Cress was a stunning novel that was nearly impossible to put down.

JFDS Student Book Review

Posted: December 9, 2017 in Reading
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Mysticat33 says:
A review by Carolyne S. in 7th grade

space case jacketWouldn’t it be awesome to live on the moon? Well from experience, Dashiell Gibson can tell you no. In the novel, SPACE CASE by the well-known author Stuart Gibbs, it tells the story of Dash Gibson’s life at the new lunar colony made on the moon. It’s the year 2041 and only a few lucky families and scientists from Earth are sent to live up in the lunar colony. Dash and his family were sent from Hawaii and have to stay for three years! Dash thinks it’s such a boring life and the bathroom situation in space drives him insane. Then one night, while Dash was in the bathroom he overheard one of the most famous scientists, Dr. Holtz, talking on the phone about something really exciting. Dash was very interested and couldn’t wait until morning to hear what he was going to tell what he had discovered. But that morning Dr. Holtz was found dead and Dash thinks he was murdered. No one else will listen to him and a few people are trying to keep him quiet about Dr. Holtz’s death. Dash is determined to find the murderer and prove it to everyone else. Can Dash solve the mystery of Dr. Holtz’s death before the murderer carries out with any other plans… This intriguing mystery is filled with humor, suspense, and a little bit of science fiction as Dash unravels the mystery. I recommend this book if you have enjoyed other books by Stuart Gibbs or if you like space and astronauts. This is the first book in a three book series (the MOON BASE ALPHA series). It was well-written and I just couldn’t put it down! I hope you think about reading this sometime and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

JFDS Student Book Review

Posted: December 8, 2017 in Reading
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Kwame Alexander, the author of The Crossover, released a new book called Solo. Solo follows the story of recent high school graduate Blade, the son of a washed up rock star Rutherford Morrison. The story follows the strained relationship between Blade and Rutherford as Blade tries to live his life as a normal teenager without the shadow of Rutherford and the drugs and alcohol and fame which lead Rutherford to addiction which leads most people to associate that with Blade. The reckless behavior from his family causes destruction onto Blade’s life as a family secret gets unleashed changing everything. Filled with rock music and love, Solo is a delightful read for anyone twelve and over coming in at a solid 4.5 stars.

Review by Morgan in gr. 8

Maine writer Gillian French

Posted: December 6, 2017 in Reading
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I went to the Bangor Public Library recently for a talk by Maine author, Gillian French, and I had the most wonderful time. It can be tough getting motivated to go out on these dark December evenings, but I am so glad I did as Gillian shared memories of her childhood and teenage years and how many of her memories became ideas for her books.

I purchased a copy of her newest book, The Door to January, for our library. Gillian read part of the first chapter and she immediately had everyone in the audience on the edge of our seats. I know this book is going to be a perfect read for those of you who love a good spooky ghost story!

Click on the image to read more about this book

Wonder is almost here

Posted: November 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

I would imagine you already knew that the book Wonder is coming out as a movie on Friday, November 17th. I hope every student in our school gets to see it eventually, but for those who haven’t read the book, please consider checking out one of our many copies available in our library. We have so many copies because we read Wonder as a school-wide read the fall of 2013.

 

I’ve decided to get multiple copies of Palacio’s second book, Auggie and Me, as a way to continue Auggie’s story and get to know three of the supporting characters in Wonder, Julian, Charlotte and Christopher.

Consider signing up to reserve a copy for yourself and join us at one of the discussions happening in December!

In the meantime, here’s a fun way to celebrate the lessons the book can teach every reader, young and old.

Click on the image to create a personalized Wonder poster

 

Taking the time to reflect…

Posted: October 29, 2017 in Reading

This fall, I asked all of our students to create a “reading log or journal” so they might pause and reflect on what they’ve read or listened to before moving on to their next book. While some might choose to write a brief summary, others might choose to write a question, or a connection the book had to their world. I’ve also asked them to add any title they’ve started, and to reflect on why they did or didn’t finish the book. I hope the reading log helps our students grow as readers.

I’ve started my reading log, and only wish I had done this years ago!