Book Review Samples


The Face on the Milk Carton

by Caroline B. Cooney

Janie Johnson thought she had an ordinary family. But one day she sees a familiar face on a milk carton. It was a missing girl, and it was Janie.

All at once her life turns upside down. Was she kidnapped? Are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson her real parents? And if not, who are her real mom and dad? Things are suddenly very complicated. On a scale of 1 to 10, this book rates an 11. You won't be able to put it down.

Lisa Steuer, Age 10
Ricky Point, New York
Cricket Magazine. April 1998


Nightjohn

by Gary Paulsen

Nightjohn is a story about a captured slave brought back to a southern plantation. He arrives with a secret weapon--the ability to read. When he meets Sarny, a young slave, and tells her about letters and words, she is immediately fascinated. But literacy among slaves is illegal. The plantation owner, Clel Waller, is watching Nightjohn carefully, and when he does catch the slave teaching reading, he turns into a madman.

This book is a fast and exciting read and an incredible change of pace for Gary Paulsen. He did a great job of going into the minds of the characters and their feelings about slavery, literacy, and the man called Nightjohn.

Duncan Kerr, Grade 7
Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, Maine
Voices from the Middle


Children of the River

by Gerry Conlon

In the Name of the Father tells the true story of Gerry Conlon who was sentenced to life in prison for an I.R.A. bombing that he did not commit. Since Conlon, who had fled to England to escape the bombing and violence in his native Belfast, was an Irishman in England during the time that the I.R.A. bombs were going off, that seemed a good enough reason for the English police to force a confession from him, a jury to convict him of murder, and ultimately condemn him to life in prison. After fifteen years in prison, and the help of Gareth Peirce, an English lawyer's energetic aide, the previous verdict was quashed in an appeal and Conlon was released.

This book shows how countries at war can sometimes use innocent people as scapegoats according to their nationality and not their crime. I enjoyed this book a lot because it shows Conlon's unforgettable and courageous struggle from despondency to triumph.

Megan Crotsley, Grade 8
Readington, Middle School, Readington, NJ
Voices from the Middle


Journey to the New World

by Kathryn Lasky

This book is a diary of a girl named Remember Patience Whipple. Her family journeys from Holland to the New World. They travel on the Mayflower for 65 days. This diary is like an adventure. it has parts about the first Thanksgiving and the first encounter with Native Americans.

I like this book because I really like to read about children my age and the hardships they experienced through their childhood.

Everly Harris, Age 10
Holy Trinity School
Des Moines, Iowa
Storyworks, November/December 1997


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