July 27, 2011


 By Ralph Helfer

Kristin: I loved this book from the very 1st chapter. I'm a huge animal lover and was so touched by this sweet and enduring relationship of this boy and his elephant. The trials these two faced were unbelievable, but their bond and their love for each other carried them through unimaginable hardships and tragedies.  I am a firm believer that animals have feelings and are capable of showing love and feeling emotions. I have always loved elephants....Dumbo was a childhood favorite of mine. Elephants are such fascinating and beautiful creatures-so huge, yet so gentle and loving. This true story really affirms that animals are amazing creatures-they may not be able to talk and express their selves in human ways but show their affection and intelligence in more subtle ways. So many parts of the books were so sad and devastating, but neither Modoc or Bram gave up hope which I think is am important lesson to learn in life. Bram had an interesting worldview-believed everything was connected in nature. While I don't believe in reincarnation I do think his positive outlook on life was something to take note of. I do believe everything happens for a reason-why they happen I don't always understand but I know that being positive and upbeat is the way to handle adversity and move on in our walks of life.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone(even if you aren't an animal lover)....it was more than a true story of someone's life and journey- it was truly a heartwarming love story.

Sonneri: The story of Modoc and Bram is unbelievable! They endure so much over the course of their lives that you almost don't believe it's real. Their connection with one another is incredibly heartwarming, and the experiences they share make for a beautiful story when told by the animal trainer that brought them back together after a sudden and unexpected separation. While I liked the book, but I did not like the author's writing style. The sentences were short and very non-descriptive. Some may like this writing style, but I wasn't a fan. It was the love between animal and human that redeemed this book in the end

Amy Marie: I finished this book last week and really liked it. It told probably one of the most amazing stories of any animal I have ever heard of. If any part of this book written is true, that alone in and of itself is an amazing story. However, I thought the writing was overly simple. I enjoyed the story but the narrating was hard to get past... it makes me sad because I think I would have read this book again if it was written differntly. All characters seemed to have the same personalities when they spoke and the author, in my opinion, tried too hard to make the personality by telling it instead of creating it. What I did enjoy reading was the bond between the boy and elephant. It is a bond I think we can all relate to with any animal you love in your life- even though this bond was tested and survived death quite a few times more then maybe most human-animal reationship. The bond was a nice reminder that there is a connection to anything in nature and that everything here on Earth are all under the same roof- we are all connected through a God that created us. 

July 5, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

Sonneri: I've never had any personal experience with someone with autism, but I've seen them portrayed in movies and on television. The little boy Christopher in this book is quirky, smart, and very passionate about the things that interest them. But he also seems to be very robotic and almost incapable of true emotion. This, however, couldn't be farther from the truth. The most interesting, and eye-opening part of the story to me was when Christopher describes having two "Black Days" in a row (a "Black Day" is what he considers a bad day - after seeing four yellow cars in a row on his way to school, yellow being his least favorite color)...
"The next day I saw 4 yellow cars in a row on the way to school, which made it a Black Day... And the next day, too, I saw 4 yellow cars in a row on the way to school, which made it another Black Day... But on the third day I kept my eyes closed all the way to school until we got off the bus because after I have had 2 Black Days in a row I'm allowed to do that."
His logic for a bad day may not make any sense to us, but how often do we allow ourselves to "close our eyes", simply to have a break from that which bothers us?

Amy: So I am a fan of love stories, always have been, always will be.  When we decided to read this book I was not that excited, but very curious.  I have been telling myself that I need to read other books and expand my reading material because there are so many good books out there.  So this book was a good start.  I actually really liked the book.  It was interesting and kept my attention.  I don't really work with children that much, I am a nurse and I work with adults.  Adults can communicate and tell you their needs without wondering what they really want.  But I realized that is exactly what this little boy did as well.  Autistic children are about as literal as they come.  It was so fascinating to see from his eyes, how the world works.  It was also very sad to see how hard it was for him to cope in dealing with change and new situations and it was interesting to see the dynamics of all the people in the book and how they all relate to the boy.  I am glad we read this book and have already passed it on to a friend!

Kristin: From the standpoint of a teacher I loved the book. I've worked with so many children that have so many different conditions ranging from ADD/ADHD to autism and processing disorders. It was very interesting to me to really get a feel for how these children feel and view their surrounding world. It was also sad to me to think that so many children that suffer from this live in a constant state of fear and anxiety. They feel like they are a prisoner in their own world. I thought it was very clever of the author to write it from the child's perspective-I don't think it would have had as big of an impact into the mind of an autistic person coming from the viewpoint of a "normal" person. It is amazing to me to see the level of "genius thinking" that these children are capable of-mind blowing!  I would recommend this book to anyone who works in the field of education or other fields that deal with children. Overall it was a fun quick read that I found to be interesting and worthwhile! 

Amy Marie: So at first I was not a fan of this book. Have you ever read The Catcher in the Rye? Well, I was told to read that book and didn't like it so much- yes it was cleverly written but there was nothing that really happened and that is how I kind of felt about this book at first.  This book is told from a 15-year old genius boy. So... there is a lot of talking that leads you nowhere. However, there was a story and a good one at that. It wasn't too hard to follow and I found it extremely interesting looking at a world through a little boy's perspective. It makes me think and realize that everyone has different perspectives and those perspectives are important to respect, no matter what the age. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a good story to read and a cleverly written novel.