Friday, March 16, 2018

Ketchup Clouds By Annabel Pitcher

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Ketchup Clouds
    Written By: Annabel Pitcher

Zoe has a deep dark secret that no one can ever find out about. She hides this secret from her parents, her sisters, and her friends. The one person she finally decides to open up to, is a death row convict in Texas.The two reasons she chooses to open up to him, is because it is almost time for his execution date and they both did the same type of thing. Both Zoe and this prison inmate, Mr. Harris, killed the person that they were supposed to be madly in love with. 

The book is each of the letter that Zoe wrote to the prisoner, telling him the events that led up to the killing, the killing itself, and how she is trying to deal with it. She tells Mr. Harris everything that she thinks and feels about her life know that this tragic event has happened. Each letter that she writes is written in the middle of the night out in an old shack that is behind her house. The reason she writes at night, is so no one will know what she is doing. 

Ketchup clouds is a love story between Zoe and Max. This love story is the guiding theme that helps create the stage for the death of one of the characters. It also helps us get a clear cut picture of what Zoe's life was like before and after the murder, and why she is now acting the way that she is. This book is also filled with family problems, and underage drinking. Each one of these themes helps Zoe sort out and herself and figure out how to live now that she has killed someone.

I enjoyed reading this book. I thought that the plot and the characters were developed in away that made them seem relatable. I enjoyed the fact that this book was written about a topic that hardly gets talked about. Towards the end of the book, I could not seem to put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next. Ketchup Clouds was written in a way that made a hard topic relatable to its readers.

I would recommend this book for anyone who is 18 and up. The reason I say 18 is because of its sex, underage drinking, lying to parents, and murder scenes. Each one of these items were written in a way that made it seem like it is okay to do all of these things at a young age. It helped show the reader that you can do anything you want and not a single person will ever realize what is happening. I thing that this book is something that needs to be read by someone who is mature enough not to take what this book is saying to literally. These are the reasons I would recommend this book for someone 18 and older. 


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Copper Sun By Sharon M. Draper

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Copper Sun
By: Sharon M. Draper

Imagine yourself as a fifteen year old child. You think that you have your whole life ahead of you and nothing can seem to go wrong. You have a great family and a fiance that you are madly in love with. Then your life gets completely turned upside down. You are taken away from your family and friends, and taken to a land that you know nothing about. This is young Amari's life. Amari is a fifteen year old African American woman whose life went from childhood games to being sold into slavery and having to learn to live when there seems to be nothing to live for.

The story begins by following young Amari's adventures in Africa. It looks at how she interacts with her family and friends, and how much listening to her dad tell his stories means to hear. All of a sudden a bunch of strangers came into her village and the villagers welcomed the strangers with open arms. This was a mistake. Once the villagers started sharing their ritual dance with the strangers, the stranger opened gun fire and violence out on all of the villagers. The stranger killed all of the adults and younger children. The teenagers, however, were captured and chained together to be taken to the English Colonist.

On the boat ride to the English Colonies, the women were chained to the upper deck and were used to pleasure the boat workers. The men were kept under the deck and barely saw any sun light and received barely light water. Amari was scared to death, on the boat she meets a friend named Afi. Afi became a second mother to Amari and Afi helped Amari learn how to seem emotion-less when she was bursting with emotion. Once the boat finally reached the colonies, all of the slaves were placed into a holding cell until the next slave auction. Amari was sold to Mr. Derby as birthday present for his oldest son. Mr. Derby also bought the indenture of a young girl, Polly, who is the same age as Amari.

Once the two young girls get to the plantation, Mr. Derby tells Polly that she is to train Amari in English and help her understand the ways and rules of being a slave. With these two girls working together all the time they start to form a friendship. These two girls also befriend an older African American women and her son. Both of these friendships, help Amari adjust to her new life and help her start to find her reason for living. On the plantation, Amari sees thing that she never would have thought possible and helps her friends find a life they could only dream of.

Copper Sun is a great read. This book was full of action from the very beginning and kept me wanting to find out what happens next. Once I started reading this book, I could not seem to put it down. This book brought up many different emotions, I would go from laughing to crying all in the same chapter. This book was written in away that made it easy to understand such a complex topic that so many people are afraid to talk about. This was a great read, and I would recommend it for my friends and family, who are interested in history.

I would recommend this book as an independent read for someone who is 15 and older. The reason I say 15, is because they would already have the background knowledge needed to understand the context in the book. I would also read this book to a fourth grade class as a whole class read. Reading this book with fourth graders would help them get an understanding about a social studies content they are learning about.


Copper Sun By: Sharon M. Draper

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Copper Sun, by Sharon Draper, is a novel that draws it readers in by the harsh reality of the slave trade and slavery in the United States. This novel takes the perspective of Amari, a fifteen-year old girl who lives in Africa, who has her whole life turned upside down when white strangers come to her village and kill the weak and capture the strong. She is branded and beaten and thrown onto a slave ship. While on the ship, she witnesses the tragedies and horrifying experiences that so many African Americans faces during the slave trade.
            When she reaches the US, she is sold to a plantation owner who give her to his son, Clay, as a birthday present. Amari has hit an all time low at this point. She is beaten and broken. All she can dream about is her escape. She must learn to survive first. While at the plantation, she is befriended by a white indentured slave girl named Polly. She begins to build a relationship with her and they plan their escape to Florida near a Spanish colony; Fort Mose.
            While they are on the run to Fort Mose, they run into many problems like starvation and wild animals. The girls must rely on each other to survive because that is all they have. Copper Sun leaves its’ readers with a history lesson.  The novel is well written that makes you feel and connect with each character. She didn’t sugar coat anything in this book, that is what draws its’ readers in. You get a great overview, through Amari, of how harsh slavery was. I recommend this novel for 15 and up and to anyone who is interested in slavery and the slave trade in Africa.

Tex By: S. E. Hinton

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Tex, by S. E. Hinton, is a thrilling novel that is centered around Tex. Tex lives with his brother, Mason McCormick, since they have been abandoned by their father. Their father left on a 5-month rodeo circuit tour rather than take care of his parenting responsibilities. Mason and Tex now have to take care of everything. He sends them money but hasn’t sent any in a while. Tex is a 14-year old basketball phenom who lives a good life. He hopes to leave his town and go on to college. One thing that Tex loves is his horse, Negritto, but Mason has to sell him to pay for the bills. This causes a fight between Mason and Tex which resulted in Tex getting a black eye.

Since their dad has left, things have gotten bad. After an outing, Tex and Johnny got to Charlie Collins house where he is throwing a party. They all get drunk. Collin’s father discovers them all passed out and blames Tex. As the story progresses, we come to find out that Mason has developed an ulcer. On they way back to the hospital, they pick up a hitchhiker that points a gun at their heads. They lived by driving their car into a ditch.
Their father sees this and decides to come back home. This isn’t a good idea since Mason is still angry at their father. He makes promises that he can’t hold up to; not yet. Tex is a dramatic novel that is packed with action. You become attached to the main characters that really make you care for them. This novel does have a lot of actions and mature content. I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up.

Copper Sun By: Sharon Draper

This book is about a fifteen year old girl, Amari, who lives in Africa and loves her life. She spends her time roaming the land, daydreaming about her future marriage, avoiding chores and harassing her little brother. Amari's live changes for the worst, along with everyone else in the village. 
Everyone was planning to welcome these strangers that were visiting with food, music and dancing. Until these strangers come in shooting and kidnapping people, including Amari. Her parents and brother both died from the gunshots. 

Amari and other young people found themselves chained together walking for days. They finally reach the coast and Amari views the ocean for the first time before getting packed into a ship. Amari and the other victims endured horrific conditions; hunger, thirst, sickness and rape. The ones who didn't make it were thrown overboard. Amari wanted to die but met a lady named Afi, who gave her hope and courage. 

As they reach arrival in America, Amari was sold to the highest bidder as a gift. Amari meets a young girl Polly, a white girl who was also a slave to the same rice grower. The two girls become best friend and both fight together for survival. As the book goes on it shares how their friendship might be the key to their freedom. 

I would recommend this book to high school students, like junior and senior high. Its definitely a book for mature readers. It's a good book filled with action packed and realistic problems. It was a good read and leaves you hanging after every chapter wanting more. The book really gives you a good perspective of what actually happened in history. 


Copper Sun // Sharon Draper

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Amari, a young African American girl who has been removed from her home and family. As for her family, they were murdered right before her own eyes as she was forced onto a boat headed for the United States. Sold to be a slave on a plantation in South Carolina, where she is given her slave name, Myna. 

Working on the plantation is where she meets Polly, a white servant. Both of them struggle through hardships with working on the plantation. As well as the two girls keeping a large secret from the plantation owner regarding his wife and the race of the new born baby. The two are sneaky and are set forth to put a escape plan in place in hopes to gain their freedom. 

Freedom is what they were seeking and eventually once reaching Fort Mose, their long journey to freedom was complete. Amari, Polly and Tidbit are now free and think their troubles are behind them, however some unexpected news comes about. Amaria finds out she is pregnant and begins to question her future. 

I feel this book was a total typical slavery book, and for me personally I never enjoy reading anything on slavery because I am at the point where I have had enough of learning of it. Perhaps since I am an African American myself. But this book went deep into depths to describe some of the tragic events that happened to slaves which can always be difficult for someone to read about. A very graphic and saddened book I would recommened this book only for higher grade high schoolers. I feel for a younger audience they would not be ready to learn of the harsh reality of how slaves were treated.

- SM

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

Summary: An African girl, Amari, is stripped away from her homeland and people. Her family is killed before her eyes and she is stuffed onto a boat where she is brought to the United States and sold to a South Carolina plantation as a slave. Amari is stripped of her birth name and given a new name, her slave name- Myna.

Amari struggles to adapt to life on the plantation, Derbyshire. Mr. Derby, the owner of the plantation, is cruel towards the slaves. His son Clay is abusive, using Tidbit (a child of slaves living on the plantation) as alligator bait and raping Amari continually throughout the book. Mrs. Derby is Mr. Derby's wife, and she is in love with another slave on the plantation, Noah. Amari befriends a white indentured servant on the plantation, Polly, even though Polly has her own hangups about Africans- saying that they should be thankful they don't have to look for jobs.

As the events of Derbyshire play out, Mrs. Derby gives birth to a baby- except it is not Mr. Derby's. This is evident by the color of the baby's skin, which resembles the dark complexion of Mrs. Derby's lover, Noah. Mr. Derby is away when Mrs. Derby gives birth, and with the help of the servants and slaves, they hide the baby away in the slave commons. Unfortunately, Mr. Derby's son Clay reveals the location of the baby, and Mr. Derby shoots Noah along with the infant in a fit of rage.

In the end, Amari, Polly, and Tidbit escape the plantation and head to a refuge in Florida. Mr. Derby and Clay are presumed dead, and they are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. This is only worsened when Amari finds out she is pregnant. However, she is optimistic about the future.

Personal Critique: This book was absolutely phenomenal. It was a bit of a hard read just because of the nature of the book, but it was, unfortunately, our country's reality for far too long. Amari is portrayed as a strong and intelligent girl with a will to overcome. She is a very good role model and I enjoyed reading things through her perspective. I think anybody of any age could pick up this book and enjoy it.

Age Recommendation: 13+