Tag Archives: guns

Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Sunrise Over Fallujah

Bibliographic information: Sunrise over Fallujah.Walter Dean Myers. Scholastic Press, 2008. $17.99. 290p. ISBN-13:  9780439916240.
Summary: Robin “Birdy” Perry has signed up for the military in honor of his favorite uncle. He is assigned to be a part of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although, that is just the code name. Birdy and his new friends in the military’s Civil Affairs Battalion tend to just call it “War”. Him and his new friends are profoundly changed by the war happening around them. Some of his friends make it and are able to go home or are transferred to a different faction, but some of his newest friends do not make it through to the end.
Reading level and interest level: RL: age 12 and up IL: age 12 and up
Review: In this novel, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Myers writes about the true horrors and sadness that come with war. His writing is vivid and he doesn’t beat around the bush trying to make something so terrifying and horrible sound better than it is, he outright tells the truth. His characters are memorable and stick with the reader long after the book has been put down. Yet again with a Myers novel, teens will be able to relate to the story and characters and it will give them a sense of camaraderie. A powerful read that should not go unnoticed.
Readers’ annotation: War. Birdy has been ready for this his whole life, but when he gets there it’s not like anything he was expecting.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book talks about war and what it is like for a young man or woman to join the troops. This book will be helpful to young adults who have or are thinking about joining in the military. They will be able to read about Birdy’s experience and gain perspective and understanding about the military and the emotions and actions that go along with participating in the troops.
Issues present: This book has a bit of violence and gun use. People are inclined to object to books that have violence and guns in them and do not want their children reading such books. Although, it is important to remember that you cannot always shield your children from reality and when somebody goes to war there is undoubtedly going to be some violence and many guns. So, Myers is just writing the truth.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Robin “Birdy” Perry’s character.
Pg. 1 letter to his uncle about heading to war and his nervous yet excited behavior.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction: war and violence, death
Readalikes:  Other Myers books, Fallen Angels, Feed, Purple Heart
Author’s website:  http://www.walterdeanmyers.net/
Awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2011), Sakura Medal Nominee for High School Book (2010)
Reviews: Boolist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Sunrise-over-Fallujah-Walter-Dean-Myers/pid=2420783; School Library Journal: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6551321.html; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-439-91624-0; Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/walter-dean-myers/sunrise-over-fallujah/
Why I chose it: I had never read any books about war before because I was never really interested in it, but I was told by a friend that this was a good book and it would change my views on war books. Boy was she right.


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Filed under Anger/Violence, Death

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser

Bibliographic info: Give a Boy a Gun. Todd Strasser. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Adults, 2012. $16.00. 146p. ISBN-13: 978-0689811128.
Summary: Brendan and Gary are being bullied and teased by the jocks at their school. Finally one day they decide they are fed up with the situation and decide to take matters into their own hand. One day they stealing a set of guns from their neighbors and take them to school where they hold their classmates hostage. During the hostage situation Brendan and Gary decide that the only thing that matters to them is revenge on the people who have wronged them.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: 12 and up
Review: This harrowing fictitious documentary is told through the view-point of many people in Gary and Brendan’s lives, teachers, students, friends, family, etc. It is put together as if the story was taken from different newspaper clippings and interviews of what was witnessed. It creates an atmosphere that appears realistic while reading. And in a way the story is true, even in its fiction. The characters are incredibly believable and you can see the development of Gary and Brendan from passively aggressive to actively aggressive boys. The story is hard to take in and shocking while reading, but you can’t deny the true of it. Strasser did his research when writing this tale. He has given us a reason to think hard about gun control and safety. This book should be read not just by children, but adults too.
Readers’ annotation: With stolen guns in hand and a room full of hostages Brendan and Gary decide that revenge is the only thing that matters to them.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book would be a great source for children who are struggling with bullying and want a solution but don’t know what that may be yet. After reading this book, they will understand that the use of guns is not the answer and they way that Gary and Brendan handled their situation could have been handled differently. I think that having a look at the thoughts and feelings of the people around Gary and Brendan will show readers that there are people who care and want to be able to help. Murder and suicide are not the answers.
Issues present: There is violence, school shooting, gun use, suicide and bullying by jocks. Although, it is a great source for gun control and safety. Everything written in this book rings with truth and people cannot deny the true. Sometime a real shocking book like Give a Boy a Gun is a good way to get people to understand what is happening in their school and there are ways to prevent such situations. Parents and teachers especially will benefit from reading this book.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce and describe Brendan and Gary.
P 93  Gary’s suicide note – very telling of the character.
P 107 Brendan’s suicide note
Genre or subject: realistic fiction: school shootings, bullying
Readalikes: Endgame, Hate List, Leverage, Friday Night Lights, Making a Killing, and Lethal Passage.
Author’s website: http://toddstrasser.com/wordpress/ ; http://www.toddstrasser.com/index.html
Awards: American Library Association ALA Popular Paperbacks For Young Adults; New York State Charlotte Award winner; Rhode Island Teen Book Award Winner; Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Award Master List; Washington Irving Children’s Choice Book Award (New York); Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Master List; Kansas Ten Selection for Middle School/Junior High (Kansas State Reading Circle); Top Shelf Fiction for Middle Schoolers (Voice Of Youth Advocates)
Reviews: Kirkus review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/todd-strasser/give-a-boy-a-gun/; Boolist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Give-a-Boy-a-Gun-Todd-Strasser/pid=5462454
Why I chose it: I found the idea of a school shooting as well as a hostage situation interesting. Also, the title really stands out and catches your attention, or at least it did mine.

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Filed under Anger/Violence, Bullying, School shootings

Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte

Bibliographic information:
Raiders Night. Robert Lipsyte. Harper Teen, 2007. $6.99. 256p. ISBN-13:  978-0060599485.
Summary: Matt is one of the captains for the Nearmont High School varsity football team. He is in his senior year and he is ready to move out and go to college. Getting a sports scholarship is of is highest priority until broken ties lend him a different route that he did not before see. When a new kid, Chris, is transferred to join the varsity football team, Matt’s fellow captain feels like he is being replaced and thinks it is a good idea to teach Chris a lesson so that he knows his place. However, things are take too far and it creates a rift among teammates that they may not be able to mend, and Matt is stuck in the middle.
Reading level and interest level: RL: Grade 9 and up IL: Grades 9-12
Review: This gripping story will leave a lasting effect on the reader. Told through the view-point of Matt we are put on the back-burner and made to watch the disaster unfold. Filled with an emotional roller coaster the reader wants to reach into the pages and shake the main character out of his stupor to get the results we are looking for, but never get. Throughout the book Matt is indifferent to what is going on around him, but by the end of the novel Matt goes through a transformation and we are looking at a new character who is more likeable. Lipsyte leaves an open ending that promises a hopeful outcome where the reader is left imagining what will be done to remedy the situation. From beginning to end you are kept wondering, “what will happen next?”
Readers’ annotation: When captains go against each and team members split apart, what is Matt going to do to bring them all together again?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book has bullying, violence, and negligence by both parents and teachers. Children reading this book will give the reader some insight into a football players mind and give them the notion that not all players are the same.
Issues present: There is bullying, violence in the form of a school shooting, gun use, and abusive or neglectful parents and teachers. All of these things might make a parent or teacher not want their children to read this book, but it could be useful to somebody who it being bullied. They might read this book and think, “Oh, I’m not the only one being bullied.” They will be able to take the other kids situation and deduce that how Gray handled the situation was not the best way to go about it.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Matt our main character.
Pg. 81: from beginning and end on second sentence on pg 82. – describes main character.
Pg. 183: “Chris walked out of the shower room…” to “I’m going to kill you.” – catch their attention, climatic part.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction, bullying, sports (football)
Readalikes: Leverage by Cohen. Other books by Lipsyte.
Author’s website: http://www.robertlipsyte.com/index.htm
Awards and lists: Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2009)
Links to reviews: Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-059946-1 ; Booklist has a review if you have an account with them, or you can read their review on amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Raiders-Night-Robert-Lipsyte/dp/0060599480/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362119891&sr=1-1&keywords=raiders+night
Why I chose it: I wouldn’t normally pick of a book about sports mainly because I am not a huge fan of sports, but I thought this book sounded interesting and the idea of one of the captains of a football team had opposing view-points with the other captain caught my attention. When you break a team up nothing good can come of it and I was curious to find out how it all turned out in the end.

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Filed under Bullying