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Under Review: Book Reviews from the Press Team

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” - Mason Cooley

We had a lot of snow this winter, and it probably got dull and dreary for many of you. But if you've been reading, you've been visiting all kinds of places and times, anywhere from a manor in England to a spaceship in the future. Reading is a ticket to any world or dimension you feel like visiting, and you don't even have to get out of your favorite plush chair! For many of us at the press team, when we're not doing homework or creating awesome newspaper posts, we're reading! Check out some of our favorite books this season!

Thank You, Jackie Robinson by Barbara Cohen (reviewed by Austin McGinnis)

I love Thank You, Jackie Robinson. It is a novel about friendship. Through laughter and tears, this story reviews life's realities. It is told by a 12-year-old boy whose mom owns an inn. One day, a new cook comes. Soon enough the boy, Sam (Sammy), becomes really good friends with the cook - a 60 year old man named Davy. When Sam was a little boy, his father had died. Now, he finally gets to make a connection, and loves Davy very much. Sam also has a very special talent: reciting baseball games. Both of them love the Brooklyn Dodgers. So, Sam finally finds someone to share his talent with - kids at school didn't really like to go about with his talent. I recommend this book to all who love to read.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (reviewed by Afnaan Damrah)

Caddie Woodlawn is a very remarkable book set at the time of the Civil War. Eleven-year old Caddie is always up for adventure. She swims, plays, and befriends Native Americans with her brothers. While her mother doesn’t approve of Caddie being a tomboy, on account of the death of Caddie’s sister, her father let Caddie go free along with her brothers. Only then did she become strong, determined, and brave. She gets into many problems and misadventures, such as the time when her cousin, Annabelle, came over for a visit. Caddie and her brothers played many pranks on her and ended up in deep trouble. One time, Caddie overheard a group of men planning to attack the Native Americans, whom Caddie and her brothers had become friends with. She rode her horse away from her house and across the river to warn them. Read this book! Discover the adventures that occur in the Woodlawn family. I read it five times and will read it five more times and never get tired of it! Carol Ryrie Brink is a very skilled author and brings life to the book. You will fall inside its world and only come out when you reach the end.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (reviewed by Shayla Miller)

Summary: In this magical series, you get to explore the wizarding world through Harry Potter’s eyes. Whether you're going to play a harsh and daunting game of Quidditch for your Hogwarts house or face the evil dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, and his little cronies with your best friends by your side, there is always something new and fun in store for you when you first open the pages. In the first couple of books, you are introduced to some of the ways of the wizarding world and discover the horrors of what happened to the young orphaned boy, Harry Potter, when he was just a baby. You also get to delve into the wonders and history of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that is run by the highly esteemed and most powerful and wise wizard to ever live, Professor Albus Dumbledore! The next few years get much much tougher for Harry and his friends as they uncover more secrets about Harry’s past and what evils may be lurking around the corner. A crazy man breaking out of the most secure wizarding prison to hunt Harry down, werewolves, battling dragons, surviving under the surface of an icy lake for an hour, a dictator for a new teacher, those horrible O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) exams, falling in love, and the return of Lord Voldemort are just a few things that Harry and his friends have to fight through as they are adapting to their new life as young, developing wizards and witches. And then the series ends on an epic battle between good, and evil. But who will win?

Reviewer's Notes: I think the first time I read this series was when I was about 10 years old which after thinking about it, is a long time ago, and I have reread the series about 5 times over again. My favorite thing about the series is how you can so easily engulf yourself in the story and feel like you’re actually in the wizarding world, experiencing all these amazing scenarios. There is a lot of magic (obviously) and spells and stuff, so that often turns people away from the series. But it is my favorite book series of all time and I can’t wait to dive back into it in the future!

Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Football by Howard Bryant (reviewed by Evin Wells)

Legends by Howard Bryant is awesome. It goes over the top Super Bowls, the top players, and teams involved in football. Howard Bryant does a fantastic job explaining what exactly happens in each game and he is amazing at recapping football games. My favorite Super Bowl to read about in this book is Super Bowl 49, in which the rookie cornerback “Malcolm Butler” made a game-winning play, intercepting the ball on the one yard line. One of the things I loved most about this book was how, after every Super Bowl that Howard recaps, he talks about the top players and teams. I also really enjoyed reading this book because of the tone that Bryant uses, which is very conversational and entertaining to read and is also suitable for someone who knows nothing about football. It seems like Bryant was directing this specifically towards kids; the tone he uses is really on board with kids nowadays. At the end of the book, there are a lot of really great pictures of players, and they are really cool to look at. Legends is a great read for people who know a lot about football, and also people who don't. Someone who knows nothing about the sport can actually be entertained and informed by this book. A really awesome thing about this book is that you can read it over and over and it will still entertain you. Howard Bryant did an absolutely amazing job on this book. I still read it over and over again and it is always fun to read. Legends is an awesome book that I recommend it for everyone.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (reviewed by Ruqaiyah Damrah)

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of realistic novels for middle-age readers. Wonder, however, is special. This is a novel about August "Auggie" Pullman, a boy with extreme facial deformities who has been homeschooled his whole life. When he enters the fifth grade, his parents decide to enroll him in Beecher Prep. This novel is his story of trying to cope with endless bullying and torture and learning to love himself, all while dealing with the pressures of normal kids, like homework and friends. I loved that this book truly shows kids as they are today, with all of their good and not so good moments. Everyone that Auggie crosses paths with, from the bully to the teachers, has their lives changed forever. The story is told from several pointviews, so you get a look into the internal struggles and feelings that all the characters go through and, by the end of the book, I felt like I knew the characters as friends. Auggie and his friends and family are such funny, smart, kind, and real characters that you can't help but get attached to, and everyone changes by the end of the novel. Wonder will really force you to take a look at your own prejudices, and this is something most people don't want to do. This is an amazing, uplifting, and beautiful novel that every person - from the youngest to the oldest - should read and share.

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