Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cover Credit: Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis: The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

My Review: Forge was a really nice middle grade read. Curzon's POV (point of view) was interesting to read through, and I loved the historical accuracy (firecakes, hardships, etc.) about the Revolutionary War. The setting in Valley Forge was very enjoyable, as even in YA fiction, usually the 1849's are featured, and not much before then. Of the characters, I liked Eben's friendship with Curzon because of the bumps (or bump) they had along the way.  Isabel was a curiosity to me, mainly because I hadn't read Chains, so I didn't really understand her behavior at first. However, as time went on, I began to like her (though I still am glad Isabel's POV wasn't in this novel, as I liked Curzon's better). I think proper historical fiction isn't present in middle grade very much, so I was happy to see this one. There are only two complaints I had about this book. There is some minor use of language, though it wasn't really a big  problem overall. Also, it did get slightly boring in the middle, so I had to force myself to finish it. Overall, I give this novel 4 stars. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, after all.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Let's Talk About...The Little Prince!

Hi, y'all! In case you're unfamiliar with this type of posts, let me introduce them. Basically, I'll post questions about a book/series and my answers to them, then I'll invite you to answer them in the comments below or leave a link below to your own blog, where you can respond. Just please link back to this post when you do, and feel free to change up the questions.

So for today, Let's Talk About... The Little Prince!
Image Courtesy of Amazon
Ever since I've read this story, I've loved it. The simplicity of it all lets all readers relate, and makes it an all-ages story. It is really a twist between a fairy tale and a folktale, but a really touching combination of both. I encourage you to look intAntoine de Saint-Exupéry's work. For now, let's begin our discussion. 

If you could ask the author one question if he were alive, what would it be?
Did the sheep eat the flower? Did the Prince come back to Earth? (I know, that's two questions :))

Do you like the rose, in the end?
I suppose the rose was alright in the end, but I still don't know why the Prince liked her so much. She was quite conceited, but I supposed they the prince was tamed by her.

Should the Prince have stayed on Earth?
I wish the Prince could have remained, but the story would not be half as touching without his depart. I do wish there was a hint of him returning soon, though. 

What is your favorite part?
I have two favorite parts. The first is when the Prince raked out his volcanoes and tended to the baobabs. I don't know why, but the thought of doing those tasks everyday just gives me some comfort, to have some routine to the day. My second favorite part is when he describes his sunset watching, and that he once watched the sun set 44 times in a day. Though I know he was sad that time, that sadness was carried to the reader very well.

Do you own any items related to the book?
Unfortunately, I don't even own the book! I'm hoping to acquire some stationary, however. There are so many beautiful notebooks out there!

Have you read the sequel?
Not yet! I hope to get to it over the summer. 

What is your favorite planet, and who is your favorite person from all of them?
My favorite planet is the lamplighter's planet, because it seems to most useful and was quite funny in reality, but the king is my favorite because of how serious he thinks he is, when he really owns nothing.

In your opinion, what is the funniest part?
The funniest part to me was when the lamplighter said that every minute he had to turn the light on and off because his day was so short, and he could not get any rest! The way Saint-Exupéry words this part is hilarious!

Favorite quote?
Image result for the little prince quotes
Image Courtesy of Pinterest

So that's it for today! I hope you enjoyed this Let's Talk About..., and I hope to chat with you in the comments below! What do you think about The Little Prince?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How History Should Be Taught

 Many people I know don't like studying history in school, and they say that  it's their least favorite subject of them all. However, many parts of history are pretty interesting, like historical figures, women's rights movements, and how slavery impacted the country. Therefore, I'm lead to believe that perhaps it's not the subject itself that's boring, but that the way it's taught in school is (not to disrespect teachers/professors or anything, because I know they try their best). So if I had a history class, here's how I'd teach it.

Core material (65%): First, depending on the audience, I'd pick out some books, specifically historical fiction, to read in class. I think Laurie Anderson's Forge would be a great example if studying the Revolutionary War, even if it's for middle grade, because of the historical accuracy. The little things that were not correct for the time frame we could discuss in class, or the students could find those errors for extra credit. I'd also assign videos with action, but not too much of analyzing by modern-day historians, because the videos get a bit dull once that starts. In fact, I'd try to find YA historical fiction made into movies, because those would be amazing! Also, instead of in-class notes, I'd just have students jot things down from our discussions of the novels and videos that I'd talk about, but if that really wasn't enough, then maybe every Friday or so we'd take brief notes. 

Projects/Finals (25%): For the two main finals, I'd split the class up into groups and they'd create a play based on the units, film it, and play it in front of the class. I'd give at least two weeks to work on it, of course. It would be an enjoyable twist on models, etc. 

Homework (10%): Homework would only be assigned once a week. I'd give a vocabulary sheet, and the students would write a short story using all of the words and the setting we were discussing. As long as it was accurate, they wouldn't need to worry. In addition, they could continue their story each week, nearly making it a novel by the end of the unit :).

So that's how I'd try to spruce up history classes. How would you teach history if you got the chance? 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Let's Talk About...Harry Potter

Hi, y'all! This is the first post in the series I'm hoping to evolve to match many different books. Basically, I'll post questions about a book/series and my answers to them, then I'll invite you to answer them in the comments below or leave a link below to your own blog, where you can respond. Just please link back to this post when you do.

So, to begin, Let's Talk About... Harry Potter! Please note, there are spoilers ahead!
Image result for harry potter
Credit: Wikipedia

What is your Hogwarts house?
Ravenclaw! Go Eagles!

What is your reaction to Snape's actions?
I was mainly surprised the first time I read about them (because that was the one part no one spoiled for me). And Snape automatically was redeemed in my mind for his courage (I suppose I am a forgiving person :)). 

Which shop in Hogsmeade is your favorite?
Honeydukes sounds the best (anything with magic and candy is great). 

If you could as J.K. Rowling one question, what would it be?
Will you sign my book? (LOL). Being serious though, I'd ask her what her wand is made of.

Do you own any book-related items from the series?
I have nice Gryffindor magnetic bookmarks that my friend got me from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I even got the Ravenclaw ones later on. I also have a pretty Hogwarts notebook and quill pen, as shown here:

Fred or George?
I always imagined Fred as the funnier one. I can't believe he died at the end  :(!

What is your reaction to The Cursed Child?
I've always wanted a play version of the stories, but I did loathe Albus, and some characters' personalities changed dramatically. However, it was pretty interesting for a play, and the plot twist at the end was quite unique. You can check out my review here.

Other than Harry's point of view, whose POV would you like the book to be from?
I'd love to experience the stories from Hermione's point of view. I can just imagine her saying, "And today I only got 112 on the exam, when I swapped unicorn's hair with troll's beard and could have gotten an 114 percent!". Or maybe Ron's POV would be fun, because of his constant thought of lunch, and the fact that he's the best friend of a hero.

If you could experience all of the events of one book in real life, which book would you choose?
I'd love to experience the Sorcerer's Stone, because I'm not very brave and the events in that book are not as dangerous as the others. Also, I'd love to experience their classes, and being a first year would be a good introduction to Hogwarts so I wouldn't be overwhelmed.

Favorite characters?
Hermione is my favorite. It's hard not to like someone who's so smart (I am a Ravenclaw, y'all). Second would be Luna, because she's so carefree. 

Favorite Quote?

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light" -Dumbledore

So that's the first Let's Talk About... post. I hope to do many more in the future. What other books would you like to talk about? And don't forget to leave your responses below!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Readathon Updates

 I did a post a few weeks ago that I'd be participating in a Readathon on campus, where you get sponsors, read books, and then take online quizzes on a program and get earn points (the thicker the book, the more points are usually provided).  It's been going great so far, and I wanted to give you all an update of how I'm doing. 

So far, I have:

Around 150 Points
More than 15 books taken
And an average of about 93% correct

Unfortunately, I have many quizzes I am ready to take, but I don't always get time to do them. However, I hope I can still reach my goal of 250-300 points :). 

So what do you guys think? Can I reach my goal? Comment below!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Polymer Clay Tiger+ Save the Tigers

Today I have a bit of an abstract tiger charm I made using polymer clay. I know it's not close to perfect, but I like it because it's whimsical and its fur on the side of its head looks pretty realistic. I am also majorly proud about the nose area, which doesn't show up that much in the photo, but it makes the tiger look 3D up close. The stripes are really random, and I just kind of winged it, but also tried to match the design I used from the Youtube tutorial I found, which I linked to here. The tutorial actually made it very large because it was a wall hanging, whereas mine was about 2 inches long in comparison. So I hope you like the tiger, and I recommend checking out the video I found for lots of details (it's actually a series of 11 videos, so I just linked to the overview of the project). 

Now to move on to the modern connection of it all. Tigers as a whole are endangered, but many species are extinct, like the Bali and Javan tigers. Tigers are one of the most beautiful animals, so let's all help them recover slowly from their state. We obviously can't do anything about the extinct tigers, but we can help the endangered ones. Click here to symbolically adopt a tiger from the World Wildlife Federation, or here to find ways to help WWF save the earth even more. Let's all pitch in to save the earth!

                                                                                                  Thanks for reading,
Not a Prima Donna Girl

Friday, May 12, 2017

Graphic Novels Part Two

Here's Part Two of some of my favorite graphic novels that I hope you'll enjoy. (I had to split these posts up because of formatting issues). 

5. Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola

7. El Deafo by Cece Bell
8. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L'Engle , illustrated by Hope Larson
9. Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
I didn't actually get to finish this one, but I was really close to done. It was pretty good :).
10. Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

So, how many of these graphic novels have you read? How many of these would you like to read? And what are your favorite graphic novels?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Graphic Novels Part One

I bet you didn't know that today is International Graphic Novel Day! Probably because it's actually not International Graphic Novel Day, but as of this moment, it totally is. So let's hear it for some of my favorite graphic novels.

1. Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

2. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm

3. Frazzled by Booki Vivat

4. The Adventures of Tintin by Herge

5. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

So, these are half of my favorites, and the others (numbers 6 through 10) are coming soon (I had to split up this post because of formatting issues). What are your favorite graphic novels? Have you read any of the ones up here?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Candy Food Groups

If there's one thing almost everyone is a fan of, it's got to be candy. Unless you're someone who despises sugar, this post is for you. Today, we sink back, relax, and take time to enjoy our favorite treats... all while making them sound healthy. There are 5 major food groups: fruits, grains, dairy, proteins, and vegetables, and now you can see which candies fit each category.

1. Fruits
This, by far, is the easiest category, because there are so many fruit flavored candies. There's Hi-Chew, Smarties, Airheads, Jolly Ranchers, Sourpatch, FunDip, LaffyTaffy, and just plain gum! Skittles, anyone?
Related image
Image Courtesy of Walmart

2. Grains
The grains group needs some form of bread. What about KitKat, Twix, Snickers, and Crunch, which all have wafers? 
Image result for kit kat
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
3. Dairy
If you want a dairy delight, look no further. What about MilkyWay? Or Malted Milk Balls? Oh yeah, and another easy solution would be to get some Ghirardelli milk chocolate.
Image result for malted milk balls
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
4. Proteins
Swedish fish, Cadbury Chocolate Eggs, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and even chocolate covered almonds provide great protein... at least their names do.
Image result for swedish fish
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
5. Vegetables
Last but not least, we have our vegetables. Don't worry, this veggie candy is totally delicious. Just try some Candy Corn. You can even make it a cob, which I'd recommend doing on April Fool's Day ;).
Image result for candies that look like vegetables
Image Courtesy of Instructables
Well, I hope you enjoyed this post. Don't spend all of your time eating candies from these food groups, though. There's still the candies from the dessert group to look for :). 

And now, go eat your real dinner.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

General Updates

 It's growing really hot now that summer's right around the corner. The humidity will be unbearable then, but at least there's no school, so that's a little sacrifice. 
 Other than the heat, here are some books that I've finished reading (or re-reading):

  • Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (you should all know this one ;) )
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (I didn't have time to finish the french version, but the English one was really, really good)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I also got a new Kindle, the paperwhite one. I'm usually not one to read e-books, but it looks really fun, so I think I'll enjoy it! :)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Heather Vogel Frederick's Giveaway for Yours Truly

 Have any of you read Yours Truly yet? I recently reviewed it here. Now, Heather is hosting a giveaway on her blog,, where you get the chance to receive a copy of the book. All you need to do is share your favorite maple memory. Ready to enter maple fever?

Image courtesy of Amazon
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