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May 8, 2014

Class Notes #1: Northwood Junior High School

Posted by Shara
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We love talking about and reviewing books here at TeenReads, but what's even more exciting is hearing what YOU are all reading!

Therefore, we're excited that Crissy Mombela's 8th grade class at Northwood Junior High School in Highland Park, IL, wrote our first ever Class Notes blog post! In this new blog feature, we have classes from around the country talk about the books they're reading, either together or independently, and rate them out of five stars.

In Crissy's class, each student read books and short stories that focused on rights, including civil rights, women's rights and worker's rights. Read below to see their thoughts on the books, and maybe you'll be inspired to read one! And of course, look out for the next Class Notes post.


 

Name: Jorge E.
Title: THE CIRCUIT by Francisco Jimenez
Stars: ✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: This book is sad and very descriptive to a point where you can almost see through the character’s eyes.

I read the book THE CIRCUIT by Francisco Jimenez. It’s about a boy and his family that migrated from Mexico to California for better job opportunities. They discover finding a job is hard: the dad, the older brother, Roberto, and the author work on the fields most of the time while being careful to not let anyone know they were there illegally. There is always a fear of being caught by la migra (border police).I enjoyed reading this book because it’s mostly nonfiction and tells how the author and his family lived. It is a true story of what immigrants have to face when they cross the border. This book is sad and very descriptive to a point where you can almost see through the character’s eyes.

Name: Nathalie R.
Title: THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
Stars: ✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: I liked this book because it could happen in real life and it gives you an understanding of how situations affect people.  

THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez is a book about a sixth grader named Chela who is entering middle school.  Her school year starts off rough because she gets into a fight with her friends and her father, Apá, has a stroke.  Chela’s father is not well and her whole family is worried about him.  Now, her grandmother comes to move in with them.   Abuelita has very strong perfume that smells up the whole house!  At first, it bothers Chela, but then they become closer because of Apá’s condition.  Chela begins to gain courage ---she starts being stronger. I liked this book because it could happen in real life and it gives you an understanding of how situations affect people.  I would recommend this book because it teaches you life lessons.  

Name Diego T.
Title: THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK by Kristin Levine.
Stars: 
✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: I like this amazing book because it talks about how friendship doesn’t see race or skin color.  

I read this amazing book, THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK by Kristin Levine.I liked this book because it talks about racism, and white and black girls who are fighting for their rights.  It is historical fiction and it is set in Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1950s.  Some people are spreading rumors about the girls because they were caught hanging out together. They became friends because they are in same class.  The girls like to hang out; they don’t care about race.  I like this amazing book because it talks about how friendship doesn’t see race or skin color.  

Name:  Israel B.  
Title:
The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez
Stars: 
✰✰✰✰
Quote: I would recommend to teens who are interested in what happens to families who come to America to have a better life

The short story The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez is a work of realistic fiction based on the experiences of Francisco Jimenez (author of the books BREAKING THROUGH and THE CIRCUIT).  It tells the story of a family who crosses the border into the United States.  When they cross the border, they go to work for sharecroppers in California.  The conditions are very bad, and they have a hard time because they can’t speak English. Just when things are looking up, everything falls apart. I enjoyed this book.  I would recommend to teens who are interested in what happens to families who come to America to have a better life.

Name: Giselle A.
Book: THE SECRET SCHOOL by Avi
Stars:  
✰✰✰✰
Quote: “I enjoyed reading this book because it talks about someone who really likes to study and didn’t let anyone stop them.”

The historical fiction book THE SECRET SCHOOL by Avi tells the story of a teenage girl named Ida who enjoys going to school.  She is an eighth grader just like her friend Tom. One day, her teacher, Miss Fletcher, has to leave her students because her mother gets sick. Since there isn’t a teacher, the school has to close because there is no time to get a substitute.

Ida wants the school to keep on going because she wants to go to high school. Mr. Jordan, who is head of the school board, says that girls can’t go to high school. Even though the school is closed, Ida decides to open the school without anyone knowing. Ida meets a woman named Miss Sedgwick who gives her an exam to go to high school. Mr. Jordan discovers that Ida opened the school, and now all of the students have to pass in order for the school to stay open. Ida asks the students if they want her to be the teacher, and they say yes.

Nobody stopped her from wanting to learn. Even though Mr. Jordan said that girls could not go to high school, she studied hard and that’s why she decided to open the school again. She ignored what Mr. Jordan said and did not believe him. She dreams of becoming a teacher. Do all of the students pass the test? Do Ida and Tom get to go to high school? I enjoyed reading this book because it talks about someone who really likes to study and didn’t let anyone stop them.

Name:  Ulises M.
Title: BREAKING THROUGH by Francisco Jimenez

Stars:✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: This book made me think about how much immigrants have to sacrifice when they come here for their children.

In the book titled BREAKING THROUGH by Francisco Jimenez talks abouthis migrant life. He was four years old when he first came to the United States with his family.  He was always living in fear because he was in the United States illegally.  His family came here for a better life.  His family moved a lot because they were migrant workers; this means they traveled from farm to farm looking for work.  His life was hard; he wanted to get an education but couldn’t always be in school because he had to work to help the family.  This book made me think about how much immigrants have to sacrifice when they come here for their children.  I recommend this book because it talks about the importance of education and survival.  

Name: Adam G.
Title: THE CIRCUIT by Francisco Jimenez
Stars: 
✰✰✰✰
Quote: You get pulled in because you feel the fear that Francisco went through

THE CIRCUIT by Francisco Jimenez is a book about a migrant child that had to move to California with his family. Francisco, the author of the book, talks about what happened in his life. He talks a lot about the struggles he faced when he moved to California with his family. Francisco was always afraid to go to school because he was afraid people would know he was a migrant child and was here illegally.

I liked reading this book because it really talks about the challenges you face when you immigrate. Also, the book was very interesting because when all the bad things happen, you wonder how they will turn out. For example, you get pulled in because you feel the fear that Francisco went through when his baby brother (Torito) was very sick and  you don’t know if he will make it or not.

Name: Damian C.
Book: A. PHILIP RANDOLPH: Integration in the Workplace by Sarah Wright

Stars: ✰✰✰✰
Quote:  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about civil rights.

A. PHILIP RANDOLPH: Integration in the Workplace by Sarah Wright is a book about A. Philip Randolph, a civil rights activist who fought for equality for African Americans throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  In 1941, he convinced President Roosevelt to ban segregation in the armed forces. He also helped organize the March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr. in front of the Lincoln Memorial where MLK made his most famous speech. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1964 for all the work he did to help bring equality to African Americans.  I found it interesting to learn how it was back then and I didn’t really know about the work he did.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about civil rights.  

Name:  Eric R.  
Title: The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez
Stars: 
✰✰✰✰
Quote: I would recommend this book to teens who are interested in immigrants who cross the border illegally and how it affects their lives.

The short storyThe Circuit by Francisco Jimenez is realistic fiction. It is based on the life of Francisco Jimenez. Francisco was scared to cross the border because the border patrol might catch his family. They were coming to the United States. When they crossed the border, a strange woman was waiting for them. She took Francisco and his family to a work camp. When strangers talked to Francisco, he didn’t understand English. They had a hard life picking grapes. Francisco went to school while his brother worked. He was scared because he couldn’t speak English --- everyone looked at him strangely.  Francisco asked for help.  The teacher helped him read and offered to help him play the trumpet.  Unfortunately, life brings more setbacks and the music is never played.  I would recommend this book to teens who are interested in immigrants who cross the border illegally and how it affects their lives.

Name: Desi C.
Titles: UPRISING by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Stars: 
✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: Margaret Haddix is very descriptive; I felt like I was a part of the story.

I read the book UPRISINGby Margaret Peterson Haddix. This book is historical fiction and it’s based on the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. The main characters are Bella, Yetta, Jane and Mrs. Livingston, who tell the story of the horrible working conditions in the factory. The conditions were bad because there were at least 200 women and children in one room sewing and making new clothes out of old ones. They didn’t get any breaks because they were on a deadline. They all worked from 3 am - 5 pm. Jane, who was from a wealthy family, was fighting for the women and children to have better working conditions. Unfortunately, it was too late --- there was a fire that people say was caused by somebody throwing away a cigarette that was still lit. On that day, 145 women and children died in the fire or by jumping off the building and landing on the cement. The story is based on real events and it is a sad story.  Margaret Haddix is very descriptive; I felt like I was a part of the story. Was Jane’s fight for the workers’ rights finally heard? Do Bella and Yetta survie? If you want to know more read the book UPRISINGby Margaret Peterson Haddix.      

Name:  Nanci S.

Title: THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
Stars: 
✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: I recommended [this book] to young people who want to learn about Latino culture and the importance of family.  

Post:  The book THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez is about an 11-year-old girl, Chela Gonzalez, who is in her last year of elementary school. She lives a happy life with both of her parents, two brothers, and her older sister, Silvia. On the first day of school, Chela wakes up, but she’s surprised because her Apá didn’t wake her up. When she goes downstairs to see what happened to her dad, she finds her mom and one of her older brothers, Angel Jr., on the floor next to her dad. Her mom tells Chela that her dad had a stroke and that they called the ambulance. When the ambulance gets to their house, Chela and her 3 other siblings are told to stay in the house. Her abuelita moves in with them and Chela says that when her abuelita got there, the house was filled with the smell of old lady perfume.Many days pass as Chela and her siblings wait for news.  They missed the first day of school and a couple more days.
After a couple of days, her dad returns safely to the house, so Chela and her brothers are sent back to school. Chela’s first day of school doesn't go that well.  She gets the worst seat in the classroom, and she finds out that her supposed best friend, Nora, has abandoned her and gone with the popular girl group. Chela is so devastated by her father’s health and her friendship problems that she buries herself in school work. After some weeks pass, everything seems to be okay until her dad has a second stroke. This time, the doctors aren’t so sure if he’s going to make it. During this time, she gets closer to her abuelita who teaches her how to be courageous. I really enjoy this book. It has emotional ups and downs, but at the end, Chela discovers who she is.  I recommended it to young people who want to learn about Latino culture and the importance of family.  

Name:  Ulises G.  
Title:  THE CIRCUIT by Francisco Jimenez

Stars:✰✰✰✰✰
Quote: It made me think about how hard it must be to make the decision to cross the border

I read the book THE CIRCUIT by Francisco Jimenez. It’s based on the author’s life when he was growing up between Mexico and California.  Francisco and his family crossed the border illegally because they wanted a better life.  They dug and crawled through the fence to cross over.  From that point on, they lived in fear.  They lived in fear of being caught by the border patrol because they were illegal. They really just wanted to work and make money so they started working on different farms.
Francisco’s mother, father and brother did most of the work until he got older.  He also worked on the farms, but he would hide because he wasn’t supposed to work at a young age.  He really wanted to be in school, but when he did go, it was hard to understand the teachers as he didn’t know English.  The book tells the struggles he had all of his life.
I liked the book because it made me think about how hard it must be to make the decision to cross the border and not live on the streets.  They knew it was wrong, but they wanted to survive. I would recommend this book to people who want to learn more about Francisco Jimenez’s experiences in the migrant camps.  It made me realize the importance of education because the children were forced to work to help their families.