Genre: Young Adult

WWII Resistance & a Plot to Assassinate Hitler: Faithful Spy by John Hendrix

by John Hendrix
Published by Harry N. Abrams Genres: Biography, Nonfiction, Young Adult

“Faith, without action, is no faith at all. Love, without sacrifice, is no love at all.”

What books inspire you on a profound level, maybe even on a spiritual level? I am of the belief that stories have the capacity to change the reader from the inside out.

If you are familiar with this blog and my research, you might remember one idea I propose. Reading and responding to books for young readers is one way to nurture our spirituality as adults. And this is exactly what happened as I read Faithful Spy, a nonfiction text with amazing graphics by John Hendrix.

DIETRICH BONHOEFFR, SPY IN THE RESISTANCE

This moving story depicts the courageous life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who spoke out and took a stand for justice during the dark era in WWII Germany when the Nazis were in power. This is a true story about someone incredibly interesting. And Bonhoeffer was a member of the Resistance, a spy, a pastor, and ethical thinker! The text includes direct quotations from Bonhoeffer himself, adding a rich dimension to a well-researched biography. Take a look at the illustrations in this one. You will probably be mesmerized!

Something else I love about this book is the way the author charts the journey of Bonhoeffer as he realizes he must alter his life in order to truly take a stand for what he believes.

Bonhoeffer recognizes that what the Nazis are doing is wrong and his life choices reflect amazing conviction and courage. As a result, he works to convince others to do the same. Like Bonhoeffer, we can confront injustice in the ways we are able, but maybe this stand for justice can be even more effective when in the context of community.

Hendrix provides a well-needed book for today’s young readers, and I’m interested to know what other readers think about Bonhoeffer’s life and the way he took a stand in the face of evil and hatred.

A YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction finalist, this young adult text is engaging and inspiring. So, once you open this book, you might not be able to put it down until you’ve turned the last page. Faithful Spy, like many other books for young readers, reinforces to me that adult readers also have opportunities to be inspired and grow in compassion and wisdom.

What books for younger readers have inspired you? Are there other biographies or autobiographies for young readers that you would recommend? If so, tell me about them!
What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: Anna and the French Kiss

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

We have a real treat today: My New England blogger friend, Andi from Andi’s ABC, is guest posting for Falling in Love with Books! She’s sharing a book that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, and yes, she wants you to fall in love with:

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Enjoy!

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When Katie was doing sign-ups for this she tweeted me and said she hoped I signed up because she knew what book I would do. Anyone that knows me knows which book I would do. I’m pretty predictable when asked to do a guest post about a book I love and want other people to love. I consistently pick the same book and I’m not the least bit ashamed by this. What book is it you ask?

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I first read Anna back in December of 2010 as a suggestion from a friend. To say I fell in love is a huge understatement. I devoured the whole book in about a day and it just made me feel good. It made me smile and it made my heart ache and it made me yearn for that kind of crush and that kind of friendship and that kind of love. It transported me to Paris and made me feel like I was a part of their lives and I am so grateful to Stephanie Perkins for that.

Since that first reading I have read Anna in print and audio a total of 10 more times.

It is oddly gratifying to find a book that you love that much, that can make you feel that much. Honestly I love a good reread. It’s something I have done for years, but I have to really truly love a book to want to read it as much as I read this one. I have to feel something to really want to immerse myself in the world again and again and Anna and the French Kiss does that to me and I think it will do that to you too. Between the characters, the romance, the setting and the story telling you will fall in love it. I can almost guarantee it.

And to show you just how much I love it, here is a look at my current collection:

collection

Thanks, Andi! Now that sounds like a book worth falling in love with! I adore Andi’s collection, and my collection of Anne of Green Gables editions is growing…I wonder if I might reach this standard of excellence…

Have you read Anna? Are you planning to? I have to admit that I am going to start reading this book on Sunday…It will be my first read! And it’s going to be freezing here on Valentine’s Day so I anticipate reading, sipping coffee, and maybe eating chocolate cake…

What Katie Read

Goodbye, Lunar: WINTER (2015) by Marissa Meyer

Goodbye, Lunar: WINTER (2015) by Marissa MeyerWinter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 10th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 824
Goodreads
five-stars

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

It’s time. Time for me to share with you my thoughts on one of my favorite books of 2015, and my most anticipated release for 2015.

The final installment in the Lunar Chronicles: WINTER!

What I Loved

Like many of you I had a bit of trepidation about reading Winter—only because I didn’t want the series to end. At the same time, I spent all those months leading up to its publication extremely excited about its publication. Winter was probably my most anticipated release of 2015, and in the School Library where I work, I threw a party to celebrate the release of Winter for the 5th and 6th grade readers who were excited about the book.

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What’s cool is that more 5th and 6th graders are now reading the series since I started talking about the books!

Don’t you love when you spread your excitement about a series with other readers and they get excited too!?! That’s only one of the many wonderful benefits of working as a librarian!

But, back to Winter! What did I love about this book? First of all, I appreciated the many references to the Snow White source tale that made their way into Winter. Whether it’s a reference to the huntsman, the fear that Winter is more beautiful than Levana, or the threat of a poisoned apple, Marissa included just the perfect number of references to the original fairy tale to make Winter an even more compelling novel.

I also loved the way this last installment in the series featured the reunion of all the star players, and continually shifted between their different perspectives. We get close to Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress all over again throughout the story. 

When CRESS ended, I was really interested in how things would pan out between Cress and Thorne, so of course I was really excited every time Winter switched to a scene about Cress and Thorne’s relationship! What are Thorne’s feelings towards Cress? Would the two ever have that heart to heart we all wanted them to have? I read Winter waiting to see if my questions would be answered…

Speaking of relationships though, I can’t forget to mention Cinder and Prince Kai—loved, loved, loved all their interactions in this book. I especially appreciated the way Prince Kai supported and encouraged Cinder in her journey for justice for Lunar as well as Earth. She wanted to make things right, and Prince Kai showed himself as someone whose heart wanted the same.

And of course, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen to Scarlet and Wolf. Would Scarlet escape the clutches of the evil Levana? Speaking of Levana, was she redeemable? Well, I won’t give away anything here, but I will say I was completely satisfied with the way everything resolved in the story.

I just wish there was more!

Illuminations of Spirituality

I can’t share my thoughts on Winter, and not mention a few aspects of the story that I think highlight some potential areas of spirituality. I won’t go into great detail in this post about these aspects, but these are dimensions I think could bring up discussion about some of the deeper issues in the story.

-Cinder’s desire to see social justice established throughout the realm of Luna and also on Earth.

-The notion that deep down the members of the “Wolf Army” were still the authentic individuals they had been before they had been “turned.”

-The sacrifice of Ryu for Winter.

-The way Winter was in tune with the animal world, and her connection with the animals she interacted with.

-The deep friendship between Iko and Cinder—two beings that are completely different, and yet their connection was life changing.

Who Should Read This Book

Anyone who started the Lunar Chronicles with Cinder absolutely must finish the series by reading WINTER. This series is epic, and each novel builds on the previous one. Winter is fabulous in the way it weaves together the stories of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, and Levana, culminating in a tense, exciting, and rich conclusion.

The Final Illumination

This book was just about flawless in the way that Marissa wrapped up all the loose ends from the previous installments.

I am in love with these characters; they seem like dear friends that I now have to say goodbye to. And yet I don’t—as I can read the series over and over again. I sincerely wouldn’t mind if Marissa informed us she was just going to keep writing about this universe and these characters. I would read every book she wrote! Fairy tales are near and dear to my heart, but just as dear are reworked, expanded, and even subversive fairy tales. I appreciated the way that Marissa infused life into these fairy tales but also adapted them and colored them so that they fit within the science fiction setting she created. It really was wonderful!

five-stars
What Katie Read
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