Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne

There is nothing like a couple of sick days to grant readers that coveted extra time to read! Thanks to my recent illness (and Natalie C's willingness to share her book with me), I have finished the new Harry Potter!

As many of you have likely heard by now, this 8th book in the Harry Potter series is actually a play...written in play form with stage directions and everything. Don't let the format scare you off, though. You will find that you quickly adjust to it once you start reading.

The story picks up 18 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the gang are married adults with children. The main characters are Albus, Harry's youngest child, and Scorpious, Draco's only child. The boys are best friends and are Slytherins at Hogwarts. The core of the adventure involves Albus and his attempt to come to terms with who he is and what his place is in the wizarding world. A new dark character and a Time Turner machine are forces to be reckoned with throughout the story. However, more than anything else, the new Harry Potter is about the relationship between a father (Harry) and his son (Albus).

Recommended for mid-upper elementary Harry Potter fans.

CAUTION: Frequent backwards time travel and references to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as well as other Harry Potter books make knowledge of the Harry Potter series helpful.

By Mrs. N.

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

A Mango-Shaped Space revolves around Mia Winchell, a 13-year-old girl for whom sounds, words, and numbers have specific colors and patterns. For example, her best friend Jenna's name is "a bright, shimmering shade of green with some yellow highlights" while her sister Beth's name is "the murky brown of swamp water." When she was young Mia assumed everyone experienced sounds, words, and numbers in color the way she did. However, a traumatic classroom experience in third grade made it clear that she was all alone in her view of the world. At that point she began keeping her colorful view of life a secret from her family, Jenna, everyone.

Failing grades at school force Mia to tell her parents the truth and seek help. Eventually she learns she has a type of synesthesia, a condition in which a person's five senses cross in different combinations. This leads Mia on a path of self acceptance that involves a interesting love interest or two and has a sweetly satisfying ending.

A Mango-Shaped Space, a Schneider Family Book Award Winner, is a great example of the overlap between fiction and nonfiction. The book allows readers to experience the real-world condition of synesthesia and Mia's fictional life...double bonus!

Recommended to upper elementary students.

By Mrs. N.