The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

61sidpXiAIL.jpgBruno is a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany. When Hitler begins targeting Jews and placing them in concentration camps, Bruno doesn’t have to worry because his family is a part of the SS. Told from Bruno’s perspective, there is a lot of confusion surrounding what is going on, and why his family is moving to a place called “Out-With”. An aspiring explorer, Bruno meets a young boy from the other side of the fence and forms a friendship. Will he be able to fight the prejudice his family supports? Will he be able to save his new friend?

I really don’t know how to feel about this book. In some ways, I really want to love it. I feel like there is some innocence in Bruno’s perspective that is valuable because as the reader we understand why things are how they are, however we see our main character lacking this knowledge. In other ways, however, Bruno’s ignorance is extremely annoying. Even at 9 years old, you would expect him to be able to catch on to things a lot quicker. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5. It’s something worth reading, but I think other holocaust books narrate this time in history much better.

Common Sense Media Rating: 12+ years old

 

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

brown girl dreamingThis is probably going to be one of the most unfavorable reviews I write. I was really disappointed with this one. I have had brown girl dreaming on my booklist for quite some time. I started adding more multicultural literature to my bookshelf last year, and this one grabbed me from the moment I heard about. It has won so many awards! People love it! What could go wrong…

Brown girl dreaming is the memoir of Jacqueline Woodson written in verse. Jacqueline grew up during a changing time in America, especially the south. Segregation was still going strong and the south didn’t plan on changing anytime soon. Jacqueline’s family is from the south and she spends some of her time there, but mostly she lives in Brooklyn with her mother and siblings. This memoir recites the life of Jacqueline trying to find her place in life. She speaks about the troubles she faces in school, the differences in the north and south, sibling rivalry and everything in-between.

Okay, I honestly can’t write anything more in that summary. I hated this book! I really did. I keep thinking that there is probably something I am not seeing in Jacqueline’s verse, but I was bored to tears. This story could have been left sitting in a diary – I think it would fit better there. I love multicultural literature, and I love memoirs…but not this one. I give it 1 out of 5. Now, I need to start selecting better stories.

Common Sense Media Rating: 10+ yrs