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E4 U1 El Búho en Mi


Margaret Mazick Hohenstein. Me nombrado por mi abuela paterno pero me llama Maggie y se llama Marge. Nacio en filadelfia de Joe Hohenstein y Brandice Mazick a 15 de Abril 1997. Tengo 7 gatos y 2 perros desde era un bebé. Attende 3 escuelas en toda mi vida y me gusta escuela mucho.

Yo soy un persona ni alta ni baja. Tengo pelo y ojos marron, igual a mi padre. Neccesito las gafas pero llevo contactos porque me gusto estos mas. Me gusta llevo un poco maquillaje y llevo mucho el tiempo. Porque me llevo un collar de Harry Potter puede ver me gusta Harry Potter mucho. Me llevo la ropa un poco simplicil mucho el tiempo porque me gusta mas. No obstante me llevo los v100estidos a veces y me gusta estos muchos. Se puede ver me tropienza a veces porque tengo los cardenales. Igual a es posible ver me gusta los libros mucho porque me siempre tengo un en mi bolsillo. Cuando en mi casa me gusta lleva los pantalones y camisas muy largo porque me gusta mucha pero no me gusta llevo fui de la casa porque esas ropas es un poco fea. En general yo soy un person normal cuando vee a me. 

En cuanto mis relaciones académicas, mis profesores y yo nos llevamos bien. Me da risa el Señor Baird porque el es muy gracioso. La Srta. Pahomv me cae bien pero no es muy especial. A veces me molesta el señor Sherif porque el es muy permisivo y me gustan los profesores mas autoritario. Me entiende la señorita Echols porque se caen cuando yo era una freshman y hablamos mucha. La señora Rami me cae bien porque ella era simpática y cariñosa. La Señora Rami gusta En total mis profesores y yo nos llevamos bien. 

Me da risa mi mejor amiga, Lisa. A veces me está enojada o triste y me da risa ella. Ella y yo tenemos humor igual. Ella es muy graciosa y intelligente pero ella es introvertida. Lisa es un mejor amiga muy bien.

Me entiende mi hermana. Sin embargo mi hermana se gusta estar sola y me gusta el otro personas mucha del tiempo. Me dan risa mis padres y me inspira mis abuelos. Cuando yo voy a la casa de mis abuelos me siempre feliz. Mi abuela y yo gustamos hablar y ella tiene mucha preguntas. Igual a me caen bien todos mis primos. Mi primo Riley es muy graciosa pero ella también nerviosa. Ella tiene 16 años igual a mi. Nosotros hablamos mucho cuando está juntos. 

Me gusta escribir y soy inteligente. Me gusta trabajar. A veces yo soy madura pero no es todo el tiempo, con mis amigos nunca estoy tímido pero cuando las personas no se yo soy un poco tímida. Yo soy una persona introvertida y extrovertida. A veces me gusta las otras personas mucha y aveces me gusta nadie. Cuando me gusta nadie me leo o escribo. Valgo mucha las palabras y en el futuro, quisiera estar una persona que escribo libros. Ahora me escribo tres novelas pero soló gusto dos. Me molesta mucha cuando puedo escuchar un persona comida. Mis compañeros dicen que yo es cariñosa pero solamente cariñosa a veces. No obstante yo soy simpática y graciosa. Pero a veces mis amigos dicen que mis chistes es horible pero me gusta mucho. Me dan risa todos de mis amigos y mi familia. Tengo mucho miedo de las peliculas horror pero me gusta las peliculas comedias. Sin embargo no me gusto veer muchas peliculas porque me siempre quiero hacer algo. Cuando me está muy aburrida me gusta fui al parque y veo los personas. No veo un persona mucho solamente veo los personas en general; es muy interesante porque los personas muy interesante mucho veces. 

Mi máscara es de búho. Está dos razons para porque me eligo este máscara. El primero razon es búho son muy intelectuales y yo soy intelligente. El segundo razon es de búhos son el animales favoritas de mi abuela materna y mi. 

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A Lesson Before Dying Raekwon Smith

“A Lesson Before Dying” is a very heartwarming story. It touches you in the essence that you feel like you’re there the whole time with the characters. It keeps you interested throughout and makes you want to keep reading. This book is a best seller for a reason.

The author of the book Ernest J. Gaines is an award winning author. Born and raised on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. He used his growing up as a premise and setting for a lot of his works in the future. He grew up the oldest of 12 children, raised by their aunt who was crippled. He was born after slavery had ended but he grew up on an old plantation and was impoverished.

He got his basic education at a plantation church, which in the book “A Lesson Before Dying”, the main character taught reading, writing and arithmetic at an old church for a few months out of the year. He later went to a catholic school to continue learning due to his previous school only going up to Eighth grade at the time. At age fifteen he moved to Vallejo, California to rejoin his parents who had moved during The second World War. At age 17 he wrote his first novel while babysitting his little brother. He sent it to a New York publisher who later rejected. Gaines burned the manuscript but later rewrote it, which became his 1st published novel, Catherine Carmier.

In 1956 he published his 1st short story titled “Turtles”. In 1957 he earned his degree in literature from SFSU. After he served two years in the army he then attended Stanford University on a two year writing fellowship. Since 1984, Gaines has spent one half of the year in San Francisco and the half in Lafayette leading a creative writing workshop in autumn at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Gaines currently lives at the old plantation he grew up on with his wife and had the church he grew up in moved there.

Now in the book A lesson before dying, it is set in the 1940’s and a guy named Jefferson gets into a car with these two cars he knew while walking down the street. The guys decide they’re going go to the liquor store and the driver says that the old man that owns the store is going to let them pay him back because they have no money. When they proceed to the store they pick up a bottle and tell the man they have no money but they’ll pay him back. The old man says either you have money or you leave so the driver goes behind the counter and does something to the old man but the man grabs a gun and starts shooting and the other guy begins shooting. After it finishes, everyone is dead but Jefferson, who stands there in shock hears the old man calling him but Jefferson stands still.

The old man finally dies and Jefferson grabs a bottle of whiskey and begins drinking to calm his nerves. He finally realizes what happens and looks at the register and takes the cash since he figured no one would know. He grabs the whiskey and leaves as two white men walk in the shop. Now he is on trial and the public defender tries to free him but belittles him in the process calling him a little boy and nothing but a hog who is incapable of the planning a murder and robbery. The jury doesn’t move because it’s the 1940’s and during that time, two men word against one black man’s doesn’t help.

So he gets charged with a crime he didn’t commit and is sentenced to the chair. Jefferson’s god mom said she wants him to die a man, not a hog and asks her friends nephew who is a school teacher to help him become a man before dying. Hence the title “A Lesson Before Dying.” This story keeps you hooked and you may become attached to some of the characters, especially Jefferson. If you like books like “The Heart Of A Woman” by Maya Angelou then you will enjoy a book like “A Lesson Before Dying”.

This book uses very strong language and controversial language you may not feel comfortable with but that’s one of the things that makes this book so good. The structure of the book and the way it flows is very well done. Going into the book I expected to be entertained and enjoy the book based directly off the title of the book and because I heard the movie was good. All in all, this book met and exceeded my expectations and I have to say this is now one of my all time favorite books.

Author: Ernest J. Gaines

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

Publication Date: 1993

Pages: 256

Genre: Fiction

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The Stand: The Complete And Uncut Edition

The uncut version of Stephen King’s “The Stand” has 1,153 pages and a quite honest preface. A commitment, but one entirely worth the read.  King’s writing style takes all arduousness out reading such a lengthy novel. The original version of what is considered King’s best and most notorious work was published in 1978. This version was released in 1990 In one overarching story split into three sections, the fantasy/horror/apocalypse/action/adventure novel is probably one of the longest and best books you could have under your belt. The entire story is split into three segments: “Captain Trips”, “On the Border” and finally, “The Stand”.

Dismiss completely every notion that King only writes graphic, gory horror. ‘The Stand’ delivers on several different genres, from action to love, from religion to human nature. This is a story that will make you cogitate on many grim ideas, one of the most essential being the capacity man has to change (or end) the world. It raises questions of what magnitudes of suffering people are capable of subjecting each other to. Along with one ultimate question that’s even asked at the end of the story, and that reading the book may not even answer for you: Do people ever learn anything?

This version of the book also contains two additions to the story, an opening and a closing: “The Circle Opens” and “The Circle Closes”, with one at the beginning of the story and the other at the end, respectively.

In this uncut version, the story opens with a section named, “The Circle Opens”, in which the outbreak of the deadly virus ‘Captain Trips’ is explained. One slip up in a lockdown operation on a military base heralds the violent, tragic collapse of all human civilization. A fast-acting, deadly strain of the flu created by the United States specifically for the purpose of biological warfare is accidentally released within an isolated laboratory. After an emergency lockdown is operated, Charles Campion uses his one-second window to slip through a gate, unknowingly sealing the world’s fate. King describes with great detail the lives of this vast array of characters before getting to the gritty stuff, and once you get to that gritty area, you’ll know you’ll there. The  ‘Captain Trips’ segment of the book mainly serves to set things up for the second two. We see what our main characters want in life, what they’ve done in the past. We see their pain, their happiness, jealousy, anger and fear. We understand why they do what they do later on in the story.

This is ultimately a tale of the battle between the forces of good and evil. The opposite sides try to bring in as many people as they possibly can, because post-apocalypse, you can either join up with one side or the other or get caught in the cross-fire. In one corner, there’s Randall Flagg. Flagg is known by many names in the story, but his most accurate alias is the “Dark Man”. Or maybe “The Devil’s Imp”. He embodies all the evil in the world and the bringing of the end of mankind is music to his ears. He draws power from the extensive suffering of others and his appearance is the first official supernatural occurrence in the story. King writes Flagg’s introduction with sickening scrupulousness and gives only the clearest image of what he is and why he’s here.

On the good side, we have Abigail Freemantle, more warmly known as just “Mother Abigail”. She’s a 108 year-old woman who lives a solitary, quiet life on a quaint farm left behind by her late father. A quiet life that suddenly drops on her shoulder a burden that only a woman with a faith as strong as hers could bear.

This book tells its story sometimes in the third-person narrative, sometimes in first-person narrative. King employs many different forms of storytelling. The book often switches between settings: in one chapter, you might read of the trials and tribulations of the physically handicapped Nick and his friend Tom, and in another, you’ll be following the story of former aspiring singer Larry Underwood and his companion Rita. There are very many characters and scads of subplots which are all very gripping. In addition to the main characters and the various quandaries that plague them (no pun intended), there are several individual vignettes of characters only mentioned once in the entire story. By fitting in these littles tales of accident and tragedy, King shows that not everything goes as planned, even when people are freed from the regular difficulties of everyday life after the virus is spread. Whether it be the plague or a crazed person who’s been off their leash since society’s disintegration, a person’s fate will always find them; a concept that’s portrayed magnificently throughout the story. These smaller stories only briefly take you away from the main plot, and it’s always intriguing what deadly snafus unsuspecting survivors will get themselves into.

Readers of science fiction and fantasy will fall in love with this book in no time. As will readers of a vast multitude of other genres. But one thing you must know before buying this book is that it dwells heavily in the realm of fantastical adventure and supernatural phenomena. I read this novel expecting something completely different than what I saw. It exceeded my expectations and there was never a boring moment. Sometimes it moves very fast, sometimes medium. This book widened my reading scope to other books King’s written, like ‘Cell’, ‘Cujo’ and ‘It’. All very good books. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something insightful, dark and thought-provoking. ‘The Stand’ is a must-read.

‘The Stand: The Complete And Uncut Edition’

Stephen King

Penguin group (USA) Incorporated

May 28th, 1991


Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror / Action Adventure  

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Who will be the Judge of your future?

Our idea for our Philadelphia election campaign was to create an image that spoke to younger generations of the city in order to get them to vote. The elements that we incorporated were keeping the writing on our image for a billboard minimal.  We have created a twitter to help inform younger people about the election in a way that is familiar to them; social media. The reason we chose a photo of the city/students is because they are not biased photographs, but they are relatable to for anybody who lives in Philadelphia.

Twitter info: Jeff & Anthony
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Descubren más de 400 especies en el Amazonas

Michelle Friedman 

Señorita Manuel

Quarter 1

Descubren más de 400 especies en el Amazonas

Ante todo, yo quiero enseñarles algunos palabras nuevos que yo aprendí. La palabra primera está “descubrir”. Este palabra está muy importante para este articulo; en Ingles, descubrir significa “discover”. El artículo está sobre la increíble selva amazónica. La selva amazónica está el “Amazon Rainforest” en inglés. Estos son todos de los palabras nuevas que yo aprendí después de leyendo el artículo “Descubren más de 400 especies en el Amazonas”.

De los cuatro cientos cuarenta y uno especias que cientificos descubren, todos los animales están muy interesantes. Están doscientos cincuenta y ocho verduras, ochenta y cuatro peces, cincuenta y ocho anfibios, veinte y dos reptiles, diez y ocho aves, y un mamífero. Los científicos descubren las especias durante cuatro años- 2010, 2011, 2012, y 2013. Muchos de los especies nueves viven solo en la selva amazónica. Hoy, el el Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF) dice que las especies que viven solo en la selva amazónica necesitan va a protedidar.

Yo pienso que animales en la selva amazónica estan muy importantes para personas y para el mundo. Los verduras y peces estan importantes también. Hay muchas animals estan moriendos. Animales como el oso polar. El oso polar vives en el polo norte.

Word Count: 209

"Latino News and Opinion." Descubren Más De 400 Especies En El Amazonas - . N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.
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Perks of Being a Wallflower

​Life is always throwing curve balls at you and as a teenager its hard to dodge them. In Stephen Chbosky’s book “The perks of being a wallflower” the author is continually throwing curve balls. His characters are always facing obstacles. Chbosky also was the screen writer of the screen play of “the perks of being a wallflower”. Thats not all, he also wrote the screen play for the 2005 film Rent and was co-creator, executive producer, and writer of the CBS television series Jericho, which began airing in 2006. “The perks of being a wallflower” was published on February 1st, 1999. The book is a young adult fiction book. The book is about coming of age and what its like to be a teenager in high school. 

This book is set up in a very creative but simple way.It is letters that he is writing anonymously.This is a great way to set up a book for teens because it is like a diary entry. As teens the best and most secretive things come out in secret journals. In the letters they talk about school, girl advice he was giving, love and drugs everything that a teen would want in a book.He always made sure that he ended his letters “Love Charlie”.

The language in the book was like a teenagers. He would throw in some quotations of words that he learned from reading his book Bill (his teacher) gave to him.The language in the book really made you imagine what was going on, like there was this time they drove through a tunnel and you could just imagine the lights from the tiles of the tunnel,the hair blowing through your hair, and the song blasting. all while standing in the trunk of a truck.

The title of the book fits right in with the plot.Its about a boy named Charlie, who lives in  in a Pittsburgh suburb.He is bullied in school and doesn’t fit in any where,until he meets Sam and Patrick. Sam and Patrick are brother and sister and also seniors, Charlie us just a freshman. They take Charlie under their wing and they show him the way of the world, but not before Charlie had to experience being alone. They show him all of life's adventures. 

Charlie wrote anonymous letters. They all where based on his life adventures. Writing was his outlet because his parents where always worried about their son who plays football for Penn State and their daughter who is a straight A student. Charlie is a freshman scared of whats ahead of him in high school and Sam and patrick where not the only two people that he made friends with he was friends with his teacher Bill. Bill would give Charlie extra work because he was a special boy.Charlie also has a very interesting relationship with his Aunt Helen. Charlie has a disorder where he see’s things, like his aunt.Sam and Patrick have a lot in common with Charlie, which he eventually realizes.

Sam is a very delightful girl who is best friends with her brother. She loves to take adventures and she loves just enjoying the small things in life.She is one of those girls that likes to explore and expose her self to older music. She is old fashioned. she wears mainly dresses and head bands. Sam was taken advantage of when she was younger by the men in her life. But she managed to overcome it. She is very smart,determined, and exquisite.

Patrick is a very interesting character.He is gay and open about it with his friends but the big secret is who he is dating.Patrick is a boy who does what he wants and doesn’t care what people think about him. He is a boy that just lives life as if no one is watching. Even if there where people there he would want them to see how much fun letting go is like.He dresses very classy. He drives so he’s always off on an adventure with his sister/best friend. In the book there isn’t much about Patrick and Sam’s parents.Sam and Patrick are step brother and sisters.They do not have the same mom and dad, their parents re-married each other.  

I feel as though  this book is very memorable because it is something that every teenager has to go through in high school.I feel as though In this book, Charlie has made some bad choices but at the end of the day he learned from it and got advice that helped.Many teens and adults could learn from this book. Adults could finally get the concept of what is going through their children minds when this happens. This book will not only open you up to a new way of thinking but it gives you the thrill of seeing how people just like you handle their problems. What I did learn from this book, was that the wallflower stands back and sees everyone else’s problems, and doesn’t recognize his own. By becoming friends with people just like himself, Charlie was able to deal with his own issues and not rely on his notebook anymore.


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Aaron Tang

Reflection #8

Ms. Manuel

Ayer, un hombre fue muerto en Rio Piedras en Reading, Pennsylvania. El murió en son las once y veinte. Martiz y  Edwin también estaban heridos. Vasquez Quitcon con récord delictivo en Puerto Rico y de Reading donde las policías investigan el asesinato. Vazquez tiene récord en cinco de Junio de dos mil trece. Policías van a investigar la persona. Son las tres y treinta, un hombre encontrado baleado. Ellos se encontraron 17 casquillos calibre .40. Son las cinco por la mañana, un diferente hombre fue encontrado baleado.

Yo pienso, las personas no deben tener pistolas porque ellos van a disparar la familia y chicos. La comunidad es segura por mucho personas. Yo pienso las políticas deben caminar en la comunidad y hablan personas en la casa por asesinato. Yo sabo personas van a morir porque nosotros son humanos. A veces, es malo cuando personas matan.  Mi padre tiene un amigo y él murió cuatro años pasado. Su amigo bebió. Luego, él caminé y hablé estúpido a personas. Los personas estaban locos y mi padre de amigo murió porque ellos cortan su cuerpo. No me gusta personas deber muchos porque es peligroso. Mi padre fue a su funeral.

"Hombre Acribillado Anoche En Río Piedras Era Buscado Por Asesinato." El Nuevo Dia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. <>.
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Turmiso en China

Aaron Tang

Reflection # 7 

Ms. Manuel 

Hay los turismos en China. Una mujer de nombre Lin Xi no visita su país porque hay los días festivos quien cuatro mil personas van a el parque natural de Jiuzhaigou. El parque es por turismos van a China. En la plaza de Tiananmen, cien mil personas fueron la ceremonia y después la ceremonia, hay muchos tonelados de basura. Administración de China dijo hay mucho gente viene cada año. Cada año, el número de turismos, ellos van a ir popular países. Chinos gastan mucho dinero en ceremonias tener divertido. En Europa, Alemán visita diferente países.

Yo tengo familia en Alemania y ellos visitan en California. Ellos tengo mucho dinero porque sus dinero es más. Ellos les gusta Estados Unidos porque ellos quieran visitar la familia. Mi Alemania familia visita América casa dos o tres años en el verano. Yo quiero visitar Alemán porque me gusta visitar diferente países y aprendo cultural.  Yo fui China cuando tenía tres años. Mi madre y yo visitamos mi familia y celebramos una fiesta. China siempre divertidos fiestas y yo quiero visitar mi familia en el verano. Nuevo Chino año es popular en China y tiene muchos tradición comida. Yo estoy feliz quien yo tengo familia en diferente países.     


"China Descubre El Turismo De Masas." EL PAÍS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. <>.
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Looking for Alaska Review

“I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.” 

- John Green, Looking for Alaska 

Looking for Alaska by John Green is amazing written novel for young adults. It incorporates love and tragedy a combination that draws the reader in. It starts with a young boy  in his teenage years looking for something new and getting away from the life he's so used to. Looking for a great perhaps, and in looking for all of that he meets new friends and a girl that changes his life. Miles Halter enters a new environment where he's nicknamed Pudge because of his contradicting tall and skinny structure. Through out the book they face many challenges, The Eagle, their World Religions teacher, studying for finals, how to spend the holidays, and even pulling off the biggest prank of the year. They’re friendships still remain even when another team player is no longer in the game. They fight and argue, they make up, but most importantly they play video games with the sound off. No matter how bad things get they pull through. Looking for Alaska presents a group a friends that shows solidarity in their best and worst times. It gives an outlook on friendship and the value of life and the people you care about. Looking for Alaska captures a lot of feelings. It doesn’t leave out any real life details. You really get to grow attached to each of the characters as they reveal more about themselves. They each have little details that stand out, The Colonel’s love for his mother, Alaska’s fear of going home, and Pudge’s obsession of famous last words, and more of those little details become more aware to you as you read. Pudge’s struggle, Alaska’s struggle, and The Colonel’s struggle. All of their characters have something they struggle with individually and as a unit. As John Green’s first novel its also the best. “Will we ever escape this labyrinth of suffering?” was a question that come up that caught my attention, because it can mean something different to everyone. This book will affects each person that reads it differently, and how they connect to the story and each character. Pudge, The Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska will always share memories and experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 



She’s everything that makes my world stop

My heart skip a beat

My fingertips turn to ice

Alaska’s touch is as cold as the words that roll off her tongue

She tastes like cigarettes and liquor 

I long for that taste again

I’m hungry for a women I’ll never taste again



I’m in love with him 

And even though you’ll never hear me say it

I’m in love with you too

I’m so many things

But not enough of the right ones

I hate to kill you with my serpent's tongue 

But I’ve been hiding in the grass so long 

I forgot what I’ve become

Alaska: He knows so many last words but he will never know mine

Pudge: I know so many last words but I will never know hers

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English Q1 Benchmark

To Kill a Mockingbird

I have never been to Alabama before, but in Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird he makes me feel as though I’m reliving a part of life that I never got to experience. In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee decides to bring back the big thrilling situations into teen novels writing fiction based books. The story sets place in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, which is going through a small crisis. Scout Finch, the narrator and main character narrates many of the adventures that him and his friends in 1935. As the group of kids go on adventures throughout the neighborhood they start to become mischievous.

The authors purpose of writing this suspense filled novel was to get across to the audience of middle school aged kids and teenagers about a story that evolves around kids the same age as themselves. Throughout the text the author uses many examples of propaganda and symbolism to give predicaments of what will happen next in the story. Boo Radley and Scout Finch was the authors goto person to show that the story reveals a more deep meaning background.

Scout Finch, the main character and narrator of events makes me feel as though I am experiencing the events with them. The characters evolved around him helps him get a point that the trials they go through makes her feel as though she is relating to me. This book is filled with many characters of different types of backgrounds. Go and read this book to learn the many untold stories and hidden secrets that this small town foreshadows. Characters like Boo Radley are a spark to why the story has suspense and unknown details. Many other characters like Atticus, Calpurnia, Jem, Dill, and more also play a big roll too.

One reason why someone should read this book is because it makes you want to come back and read more of the exclusive suspense of events. If you’re a person especially just like me who doesn’t really like to read a lot of books or doesn’t have the time this book will keep you in interest of finishing it. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel has multiple themes and life learned lessons that can be very useful to know about. 

This book effected me in a way that makes me want to read more genre relating books by Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird gave me the excitement that I never have had from reading books. I was inspired to read this book because growing up I knew many older kids in higher grades who were reading this book and saying how good it is, however it didn’t catch my attention until I read it many years later. You should check this book out near a local library and read it for yourself.

Lover’s Dictionary

Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is a good book to read if you’d like to enrich things in your love life. In David Levithan’s first adult novel he decides to add a little spice into his books in which this one is aimed towards all age categories. This book makes you feel all kinds of emotions after you’ve finished reading it. 211 pages of new vocabulary, meanings, and descriptions of identity of love. Levithan’s goal in this book was to write dictionary entries in which was from A through Z explaining the different meanings of relationships, ups and downs, couple issues, and other things involved with love related topics. The author was inspired to write this book after he got an idea after a valentines day one year, then he decided to post his ideas of what love is on many levels and published Lover’s Dictionary sometime in the year of 2011.

After reading this book it made my mind expand to a different level that many people don’t know what to do in a relationship or reacting with ones they love until they read this book. 

Creative Response:

lov-ers {noun} \ˈlə-vərs\                                 

dic-tio-nary {noun} \ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē\      Lover’s Dictionary {noun}

: a very exciting and fulfilling book filled with tips and information on how to enrich your love life, which include dictionary entries on love, relationship tips, and more based related topics.

Book Information: 




Date of Publication

Number of Pages


To Kill A Mocking Bird 

Harper Lee

J.B. Lippincott  & Co. 

July 11th, 1960

296 (first edition, hardback)


Lovers Dictionary 

David Levithan

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

January 4th 2011

211 (hardcover)



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Trife life is of lavish Book review

Everyone has their own preference in books.  I myself like the books that i can relate and have a special connection with. I like the books where there is drama from beginning to end. “Trife life of lavish” by Deja King is a perfect example of that. This book is about a woman named Teresa who is running from her past and meets new friends along the way.  She was living with, and dating the love of her life. He was a man whore, he literally slept with everything that walked. She put up with it for two reasons, she was in love, and he took care of her and her daughter Genevieve. One day she walked on him having sex with an unknown woman. She rages with frustration and curses him and the woman out. Her and the man gets into a heated argument that leads the man hitting teresa. After she recovers, she picks up a lamp and hits him in the head three times. He dies. She takes all the money she knows he has, and her things  and flees off.  With her on this crazy ride is her daughter that can’t let go of her mother’s past.

Deja King does an excellent job using dialogue and third person point of view to show how the mother and the daughter feel about the mother’s past.  From beginning to end this book will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

The style of writing she has makes you really want to open your eyes to the world, She writes about real life situations and altercations in a fiction state. She actually has a  whole series of books. They are called the King Productions. Books in her series are entitled, B*tch parts 1,2,3,4 and 5, Stackin Paper parts 1 and 2, Dirty little Secrets, Hooker to housewife, Superstar, Trife life to lavish parts 1 and 2, Ride wit me, and Princess paper. After reading Trife life to lavish part 1, I would definitely consider reading those other books. It’s something about Deja King that I can actually sit there and read her books and not want to stop.

The reason why I liked this book is because something similar happened to my mother. My biological father disrespected my mother sort of in the way Teresa’s husband did to her. Even though I was only two years old, I knew what was going on. My mother even tells me different scenarios of them getting into arguments and fights about the certain things. This book sparked my interest the most because as I was reading the back summary, I could make a personal connection with what the book was about. I love books like that. When you pull me in by telling me a summary of the book and in my mind I say, “Hey, something similar happened to me”, 99 percent of the time I’m going to read it.

Deja King was born in Toledo, Ohio but was raised in California, New Jersey, Maryland, and North California. She went to North California Central College and majored in Journalism. Her inspiration of writing was gained from her mother. She said that Deja had a special talent that she should embrace. Ever since then Deja has been righting books and climbing the charts as a best selling author. Her book “Trife life 2 Lavish” was released February 14th, 2009.

If I was a book critic I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a book with a lot of drama as soon as you jump into the book. This isn’t your ordinary book. This book has lots of drama, flashbacks, and jumps right into the plot almost instantly. And the language is so colorful. If you like confrontation this book is for you. Deja King’s use of dialogue in this story is very choosy. She gives you that mature audience language with a little bit of extra intellectual dialect to add on top of it. This book in my mind deserves a 8 out of 10. I could make a life connection, it used lots of dialogue, it had little bits and pieces of foreshadowing, figurative language, and suspense. The author also did an excellent job describing how each character was feeling at different points of the story. This book had you at the edge of your seats thinking and wondering what the characters are going to do next. So if you like a Action packed, drama, with lots of colorful dialect from a third person point of view, “Trife life 2 lavish” is the perfect book.

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Q1 BM - Haneef Nelson

Life In Prison by Stanley “Tookie” Williams, is very inspiring. This point of this book is to educate the youth of the reality of of prisons and what prison life is actually like. Mr.Williams was on death row when he wrote and published this book, he was on death row due to his gang involvement and four murders during two separate robberies. After writing this book and a few others and having a movie made about his life, Stanley was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his literature and his attempts to reach out to troubled youth. Which caused a controversy because people didn’t appreciate that a man on death row, that has done hundreds of horrible things in his life, is now trying to right his wrongs and is being praised for it.

The Bloods and Crips are the two most notorious and dangerous street gangs on the streets of California. Yet not everyone knows the beginnings of these two group nor their intentions. The Crips were Originated in Los Angeles California in 1971. The groups original purpose was to join together and fight against the neighborhood gangs that were bullying them. Self Defense was the motive, the motive was never to be the bully it was to fight against the bullies, although that’s what the group which became a gang evolved into. Stanley Williams is a cofounder of the notorious street gang. In the preface of this book he speaks on his lack of good influences growing up in a predominately African American neighborhood, all of the people he had to look up to were bad role models and were in jail. Those “role models” gave false depictions of jail on how it was fun and cool so that’s what a young Stanley and all of the other children wanted for their lives. So in this book he is attempting to give the youth what he was not given when he was their age. Each chapter of this book speaks on a different part of the Incarceration system, and how inhumane and dangerous jail really is.

After reading this book and viewing his other work I understand why he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, he’s done horrible things in his life, and he acknowledges it but what makes him special is, he wants better for everyone else. I love this book because it does not sugar coat anything, and it gives straight facts. Unlike television and movies which portray prison as dangerous but also as fun, as a place you can go lounge around and workout. Throughout this book he refers to the freedoms you have as a free man and where you’re living with your parents compared to living in jail. An example being the section about “Clothing, Telephone, and Mail”, he says “Our mail is read by guards… I can’t stand knowing that some stranger is reading every letter and looking at every photograph that comes in the mail before I do.” I believe the purpose of this book is to inform the world of the harsh conditions of jail but to tell and show youth headed there that it isn't where they want to be. People who would love this book are prison reformist. This book points most of the flaws in the prison system and how it is designed to keep the inmates coming back. In this book Mr. Williams basically says when you’re in prison you either workout, you read and learn, is crazy, or is apart of a gang. The only thing people have in jail to better themselves to try and prevent their re entry to jail after their release is to read books, and even books are limited in jail if you don’t have family members who care enough to buy them for you. Stanley “Tookie” Williams was executed on December 13th, 2005. The last day he spent alive he told Ms. Barbara Becnel about how he although he lived all those years in that concrete cell on death row, his work with the youth provided him with joy inside his heart.This book should be an inspiration to all youth to stay out of trouble.

This book is nonfiction and was first published in 1998 by Morrow Junior Books a division of William Morrow and Company, INC., New York and then was again published in the United States in 2001 by SeaStar Books. This book is a fairly quick read it contains 80 pages of the horrors of what awaits inside prison walls.

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Q1 BM - Brian Birkmire

The Mark of Athena is an outstanding book in the successful continuation of the Heros of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan. It is number three in the series that has grasped the attention of young readers for years now. The series is attached to Riordan’s first five part series he created, Percy Jackson And The Olympians, which flourishingly won multiple book awards. Riordan began writing as a young adult, writing short stories as well as writing for his high school newspaper. He made the attempt to publish some of his short stories but came out unsuccessful. His daughter, Haley, who was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia always showed fascination in Greek Mythology, it was a topic she could pay attention to. Haley asked of her father to create bedtime stories to tell her each night that included Greek Mythology within them. Riordan said, “I had taught Greek myths for many years at the middle school level, so I was glad to comply.” When Riordan created a new story, using the attributes of his oldest son Patrick, he was able to create the character Percy Jackson, the demigod with ADHD and dyslexia.

The story he told his daughter, about a boy named Percy who was falsely accused of stealing the almighty Zeus’s thunderbolt and required to redeem himself, took three days to tell her. Afterwards, Haley told Riordan that he should create a book from the story, and so he did. Today that book is well known as Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lightning Thief. "Making Percy ADHD and dyslexic was my way of honoring the potential of all the kids I've known who have those's not a bad thing to be different. Sometimes, it's the mark of being very, very talented. That's what Percy discovers about himself in The Lightning Thief."  

The Mark of Athena, although somewhat written for the young adult group, is another perfect example of a book I just can’t stop reading. The feeling the author gives through the whole book is incredible. It’s that “on the edge of your seat” feeling, the one that makes your adrenaline pump through every vein in your body, excreting excitement with every turn of the page. When opened to the first page, you find yourself aboard the Argo II, a hand built ship from a demigod named Leo, where Annabeth, who is Percy’s girlfriend and bestfriend, are on route to the Roman Camp to be reunited with Percy. Long story short, Greeks and Romans don’t get along well. Greek Gods at times, change into their Roman form, and during each form they had children. These children were called demigods, each possessing a certain power from their God parent.

Annabeth, who is accompanied by Leo Valdez and Jason Grace, finally arrive in the Roman camp. Military personnel at the camp of course do their duty and take no risk at what or who is aboard that ship. Percy, who was head praetor at the camp although he is Greek, came outside to the ship along with the head of camp, Reyna. The Argo II landed and off stepped Annabeth. When the Romans realized Percy knew Annabeth everyone stepped away while she ran and tackled her loving boyfriend. Later, after much talk between both camps, there was a compromise that although the camps don’t get along, they must fight together to stop the Earth goddess Gaea who was planning to destroy Olympus. Although there was friendship and trust being created, something goes terribly wrong at the camp, that destroys that trust in an instant. Now, escaping from the camp were seven demigods, both of Greek and Roman, destined to fulfill the prophecy they were told at camp. They don’t know what lies in store for them, they must make their way to Ancient Rome to stop Gaea and her children of Giants by following “The Mark of Athena.”

If you are into Greek mythology, this book as well as the entire series Rick Riordan has created, would be a thrilling read for yourself. Although, it can be said the books are an easier read for someone not of a young age, the book creates a massive amount of imagery for the reader. When I read the Heros of Olympus series, there is something about the way Riordan writes that helps me, and I’m positive other readers as well, create the world in our heads as we would see what’s happening. Riordan doesn’t describe the setting of each scene with much detail, just enough for the reader to create an imagination to turn into a reality of what they’d think was there. I enjoy his style of writing as well. With each new book to the series it only continues to amplify the outstanding work he has already created, giving him more kudos per page.

This book is a wonderful read for the young age and a perfect pick for anyone interested in Adventure. Riordan’s most famous character, the audacious Percy Jackson, is the ideal idol for most kids. When you think about him in depth, you see a trustworthy, protective, and insightful hero, who overcomes any obstacle thrown at him. In conclusion, the book The Mark of Athena can be placed in the same loved category all of Riordan’s book have been placed, creating a wonderful world full of imagination and learning for young readers everywhere.

The Mark of Athena by: Rick Riordan. Published: October 2nd 2012. 574 pages. (Fantasy/Young adult literature/Greek mythology/Romance novel)

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Hunted Book review By: Jordyn Randall

Benchmark on book Review: 


You would think having telepathy would be great, but what if it put your life in danger?

“Hunted” by Cheryl Rainfield, is a thriller suspense book intended for a teen audience. The book is about a teenage girl named Caitlyn who is  telepathic and lives in a world where having any paranormal powers is illegal. Caitlyn is on the run with her mom away from the government troopers,who are people without paranormal powers who are called normals,they enslave, torture and kill Paranormals. Caitlyn and her mom stop in a city to settle for a while. Her mom finds a job and she attends a regular high school to blend in with the normals. She became friends with two normals named Rachel and Alex. She begins to  fall for Alex. Caitlyn is very scared to become closer to him because of how dangerous it would be if he turned her in. She begins to realize that  there are Paranormals that want to destroy all the Normals, the exact same way the Normals are trying to destroy all the Paranormals. Caitlyn has to decide if she wants to stay in hiding to protect her mom and herself, or take a stand to try and save the world.

The author of “Hunted”, Cheryl Rainfield is a canadian author who has written many books like “Scars” and “Stained”. Cheryl Rainfield has been abused, raped, bullied, tortured, has had her life threatened repeatedly, and has been mistreated because she is queer. “I’ve seen what people are like when they let hate twist them. And I know what it’s like to be in so much pain and feel so alone in that pain that I want to die. I want to lessen that pain for others if I can. And I want to increase compassion. I think the best way of doing this is through books.” Cheryl says that books help us get inside another person’s soul, thoughts and emotions and helps us understand another person and we begin to have more empathy and kindness not just for ourselves but for others also.  We begin to realize their’s more to why a person acts the way they do. 

To write Hunted she thought back on to some of her abuse experiences. Just like the main character Caitlyn, Cheryl knows what it’s like to have her life threatened, to be tortured, and having to decide whether to hide her true self or to be herself even if it means putting herself in danger. Cheryl says a lot of people can relate this book because many people struggle to be who they are because they are scared society will not accept them. Cheryl also had a strong love for fantasy, and she read a lot of books growing up. Fantasy helped her escape from the real world. Cheryl wished that she had telepathic so she could know what her abusers were going to do to her before they did them. Another thing that inspired hunted is the cruelty in the world with sexism, racism and homophobia. Cheryl tried to put a correlation of those types of things in all her books. 

I like Hunted because it was based in another world with different ruled and laws but still somehow related to the real world. It makes me mad and sad that people feel that they have to hide themselves to protect themselves because they’re scared of what people would think of them or what they would do to them. The same way Caitlyn has to hide herself from the Paratroopers. The book made me think about how cruel people in the world are. I agree with Cheryl and Caitlyn, I just want their to be more kindness in the world, so people can understand peoples situations. 


Rainfield, Cheryl. "Cheryl Rainfield: Teen Fiction Author, Reviewer, and Book-a-Holic."Cheryl Rainfield: Teen Fiction Author, Reviewer, and Book-a-Holic. Cheryl Rainfield, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013.

"Cheryl Rainfield." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. 

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Bossypants Review

In Bossypants by Tina Fey, you will find very intriguing stories. Stories from how she has a scar on her face, how much she loves and hates her job, and even stories about drunk babies! This book is not a classical romantic novel, or an all jokes book. This book is full of personal events that just make the moment funny. This book indeed is an autobiography. Everything happening in the book is about Tina Fey or related to to her in some way. If you want to know about how someone worked their way up a later, read about someone’s personal life and think hey, I am not the only person going through this, some sketches about Sarah Palin or just get a good(GREAT) laugh then this is the book for you!

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey also known as Tina Fey, was born on May 18, 1970. She is from a town right outside of Philadelphia named Upper Darby. The entire book is about personal to not so personal events in Tina’s life. She explains her childhood, her teenage years and her adulthood to a certain extent. In Bossypants, Tina Explains her childhood. She was very intrigued in the theatre. Everything she did revolved around the theatre. That influenced her life greatly because as a teenager, she work at theater as a cashier. She would like to see everyone perform and one day she performed too. She knew that is what she enjoyed doing. As she grew up that was her support. While going to school, She had a job at a YMCA to be able to pay off classes for theatre. By working and dedicating her life to her job and family, she has received many achievements and is where she is today. Throughout the book, she displays how she worked hard to get what she wanted. By being very detailed when talking about how she went from point a to b and so on, she gives the reader the opportunity to experience what she went through in some form.

This book takes you to a very similar place that Forever by Judy Blume takes you. They are both completely different genres and both have a different purpose too, but they both have one goal; to work for what they want. “Forever” was about a girl who went to a party and  fell deeply in love with a guy she met. The feeling was mutual and were going out for a while. At first everyone was happy for them, but then as time went by, they thought that if they gave each other some time, they would be able to experience new things and would be able to work through anything and everything. The only thing different between Forever and Bossypants is that the main character in Forever gave up her love because she realized that in the time she spent alone without him, that she was not truly in love with him she was just used to having him. Tina Fey was not like this. When she worked for something she workers through it all. In her book, she explains how some nights she had to stay up to finish a sketch for Saturday Night Live. (If you saw some episodes before the 2008 election and a few months later, then probably one of her sketches were in the story and you got a good laugh out of it.) Tina Fey, was the person who impersonated Sarah Palin. Although she got a lot of negative criticism for impersonating Sarah Palin, she kept moving forward and kept making new sketches.

Also, this book gives a very insightful view on what she did at work. She loved her sketches the most. With that being said, if you are really into acting, you should read this book as well. The introduction to this book was strong as well as the other parts of the book.The only downside to the book is the ending. The books ending could have been stronger. It just seems that everything was rushed. Thats like baking a cake. If the most delicious condiments are added to the cake, then a great cake is expected. But if you put it in the oven and leave it for 20 minutes because you are trying to work fast than 35 to bring the cake to perfection, then the cake will not be as good. Or maybe if you add lemon frosting to a chocolate cake. Lemon cake is good but when you mix it with chocolate it isn’t the best cake at least that is in my case. If Tina Fey added more details to the ending like she did to the rest of the book, then the book would of been better. More of a cliffhanger would of been better as well. Maybe when she hits 70, she could’ve written another book and her cliffhanger would of been the completed version of the book.  This book ending was not what I expected. Everything was tied together too quick. More details should have been including. Regardless of the ending, this book is one of the best books  I have personally read.

The life of the actress, script writer and charming Tina Fey is really down to earth and hilarious. Bossypants reflets that all. It lets the reader know that sometimes in life, many lemons will be tossed at you. And you either take the hits negatively or make lemonade.

Bossypants-Tina Fey-April 5,2011-277 pages- Autobiography

Citations for iMovie and Book Review:

Bossypants. 2011. Photograph. N.p.

"Tina Fey." N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.

Fey, Tina. Bossypants. New York: Little, Brown and, 2011. Print.

SNL. N.d. Photograph. N.p.

Blume, Judy. Forever ...: A Novel. Scarsdale, NY: Bradbury, 1975. Print.

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Ben Carson: Gifted Hands

Ben Carson: Gifted Hands

The complete autobiography of the famed African American Neurosurgeon. This is his tale of grit and hard work in a time where the odds were in the complete opposite of his favor.

Spanning the from the late 1950’s up to the late 2000’s, Gifted hands covers more than 55 years of Dr. Carson’s life. At a young age, Carson’s mother and father split after the revelation of his father’s second family. Carson’s mother battled with a lack of education, mental disorders, and finance as she struggled to raise her two sons in the city of Detroit at the peak of the civil rights movement. Although today we know Dr. Carson as one of the most talented surgeons in America, he was consistently the bottom of his class throughout his elementary years of schooling. His mother, working under successful caucasian families, drew inspiration from her employers on values to instill within her own children. By the time Carson graduated from the eighth grade, he was the top of his class. Of course, his successes at his all white school were not met with approval from his peers. On top of racial discrimination, Carson struggled with a severe anger management problem. However, he didn’t let these obstacles hinder him. He continued to excel through high school, reaching achievements high enough to earn him acceptance to Yale University. There, Carson met his wife, Candy. Drawing from the values of hard work, integrity, and his strong belief in god Dr. carson has achieved many successes in his career.

This is an autobiography, allowing the reader to feel more of an intimate relationship with the author. Along with relaying the events of his life, Carson also gives us insights on his thoughts throughout each event. Considering the level of education and knowledge Dr. Carson possesses, the book reads very much at a basic level. The book has a very relaxed and informal tone, almost as if you are sitting in your quaint living room having a conversation with a man probably miles away from your home. By doing this, you can vividly see the way the Dr. Carson matures as he ages.  

Whether you believe the book was written well or not,  it has a certain value to society’s youth. Not just African American youth, but to any young person who aspires to do anything great in his or her lifetime. Observing the way that Dr. Carson overcame adversity, not through natural talent, but pure grit and hard work is one of the biggest inspirations a child can receive. It reinforces the hackneyed message that we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it. I believe that actually seeing this played out is extremely valuable.

Gifted Hands
By: Ben Carson
Published: Review and Herald 1990
This is a photo biography of Ben Carson's life. The music playing in the background is Fur Elise written by Beethoven which represents Dr. Carson's fondness of classical music.
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Q1 Benchmark: Book Review for The Martian Chronicles

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Above is my alternate cover to the novel The Martian Chronicles. I decided to do it from the point of view of the Americans before they're even able to travel to Mars, when it's just an idea that some can't even fathom, and when it's finally a dream that's able to come true, the sky becomes a little brighter. 

Jaime Christmas

D Band 

Book Review 

Ray Bradbury’s novel The Martian Chronicles was inspired by some of his favorite writers, including L. Frank Baum, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. As he was growing up he spent 3 days a week for 10 years in libraries, investing his time there immensely because he didn’t have the funds to attend college, for he was growing up during the time of the Great Depression. Being a fan of magicians and adventure as a child, sheds light on his style and genre of writing, which he described as “not science fiction, but a piece of fantasy, the depiction of something unreal”. Other pieces of work by Ray Bradbury include, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Dark Carnival, a series of short stories. He later went on to win the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. 

The Martian Chronicles was more than just a story of martians and space exploration but the analysis of man kind and human nature. The novel is set on Earth and Mars, starting in 1999 and ending in 2026. It begins with various expeditions to Mars, which all end in peculiar and mysterious ways. Soon after all of the expeditions prove to fail, people being migrating to Mars looking for work or a better life, because it’s almost like being “halfway to heaven”. They’ve learned that they can completely reconstruct their entire existence with a simple one way trip. As more people arrive on Mars and embark on colonizing different parts and turning it into essentially, a second Earth, Mars starts to lose its values that it once had when the original Martians inhabited the land. Ray Bradbury tackles the idea of mankind with such brutal honesty by showing how destructive humans can be when it comes to their personal comfort levels. He cleverly displays the act of the Earthlings going to these extreme lengths to move their entire lives millions of miles away to create exactly what was on their previous home. This makes you wonder why they would even leave in the first place. If they basically recreated what they already had, whats the point? Well, the two paragraph segment that separates the book in two sections, space expeditions and immigrators, explains it all. It states how everyone is leaving something behind on Earth and looking to replace with something grander on Mars. These men were experiencing what is known as “the Loneliness” which occurs when you finally realize that you’re most likely never to return what you no longer call home. Ray Bradbury makes this connection with his own life because, even he was born in a small town in Illinois. He goes on to discuss how even though the numbers of the men traveling grew, it was understandable for the first men to be traveling to slightly frightened because “There was comfort in numbers. But the first Lonely Ones had to stand by themselves...”. I had never experienced such vivid descriptive writing until I encountered this one chapter in this novel. Even though it was in the middle of the book, it tied together everything that had happened and everything that was to come. There are magnificent sections in the book where the writing certainly makes you question and really consider  who we are as a human race, but in spite these significant ideas there are a couple of gray areas where you wonder how it ties in. An example would be when they’re in America during June 2003, set in an incredibly racist town somewhere in the south. I was obviously confused why this town seemed so underdeveloped compared to the rest of America in 2003, and why a man who was an employer of a couple of young African American men could blatantly say the N word. Usually I would just pass it off to them being apart of their time, but that was just not the case here. I think because Ray Bradbury was writing this from his perspective during the 50’s that had some influence on his writing but it was kind of sad to see how he perceived our country would look in 50 years. There was absolutely no growth in his eyes, and that was slightly disappointing. 

Although there is a lot of adventure and excitement in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, it’s not the upbeat, one shot that some may be looking for. It’s a constant build throughout the entire novel. Every chapter is about a different person; it’s a different story from a different perspective following the same path, slowly completing the tale. I would recommend this book to people who are more focused on the actual people themselves. What their motives are and what influenced their personalities and decisions. This book would be great for anyone who’s looking at the more philosophical side of things, because when considering mankind as a whole, there’s a lot that has to be taken into consideration. 

All and all, The Martian Chronicles had everything I wanted in a book, and I would read it a thousand times over, but since I don’t have the time to do that, I’ll let my peers discover the secrets and fears that lie within this novel. 

Book Information: 

Title: The Martian Chronicles

Author: Ray Bradbury 

Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

 Date of Publication: May 1950

Number of Pages: 181

Genre: Science Fiction

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"I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" Book review

In this beautiful, spiritual, and poetic #1 bestseller Maya Angelou writes about her childhood and recalls many situations that happened within her black community that changed her perspectives on life. Throughout the book Maya speaks on the triumphs,losses, dignity and courage of the black community. “I know Why The Caged Bird Sings” is filled with many anecdotes that are almost like puzzle pieces that fit together so beautifully that you not only understand her life, you love her life and each and every word speaks to your soul. Maya Angelou is one of very few authors who can write a story so inspirational, powerful and compelling that you build a bond with each character. Allowing you to cry for their hardships and smile at their accomplishments. “I Know Why The Caged Birds Sings” is not only uplifting to the many people in the black community but also,  other communities of people who have had many losses and victories in their lives.

Maya Angelous was born on April 2, 1928 in St.Louis, Missouri and was raised in Stamps, Arkansas by her grandmother. As a child Maya loved poetry, reading books and even obtained a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco's Labor School. After giving birth to her first and only child, Guy Johnson, Maya began working as a waitress to support her new baby  However, Maya’s love for literature and civil rights changed her path in life and she became a poet,novelist, historian and civil rights activist. Maya has been married three times and won over four award including Presidential Medal of Freedom. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is not Maya’s only book. “And Still I Rise”, “Letter to My Daughter” and “Mom & Me & Mom” are just a pea size amount of all the books Maya has written.

“I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” opens with a three year old Maya and her four year old brother, Bailey moving to Arkansas with her grandmother whom she called momma. Maya lives with her grandmother for many years in a primarily black neighborhood. She grows up as a A student who loves reading. After many years of living in Arkansas with her grandmother something that seems normal but is actually a very life changing event happens. Bailey and Maya get a present from their parent who they originally thought were dead. Then one year later Maya’s dad shows up and decided that it is time for Bailey and Maya to live with their mom. Maya’s dad takes them to St.Louis where their mother, Vivian, lives. While there Maya meets her mothers boyfriend Mr.Freeman. Although Maya’s life with her mother was not perfect, she gets used to it but then the unimaginable happens. Mr.Freeman rapes Maya at the tender age of 8. This experience changed Maya in more ways than one and left behind scares that will never be healed. Through out the rest of the book you can see a difference in Maya after the rape.

For people who are sensitive to rape,murder and racism this book might not be the book for you. Maya Angelou goes into explicit details on her rape and how it affected her as a person. Also, there are stories of pretty graphic murders. However, if you can get pass the harshness of these topics, you will love the book. I would recommend  this book to anyone, of any age who loves reading poetry or enjoys reading books about the lives of people over fifty years ago. This book has historical and social value. “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” was published in 1969, there is 289 pages in the book and there was even a movie made about the book. However, the movie did not do very well because people felt that it could not deliver the same emotion that the book did. Overall, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” is a 10 out of  10 stars. The raw emotion in this book is overwhelming and the compelling stories are more  than  enough to swoop a person off their feet.


Maya Angelou’s  Life

For my Creative portion I wanted to make a collage showing different portions of Maya Angelou's life. My pictures on the neon green papers represent Maya’s life when she moved to Arkansas at three years old. Maya lived with her grandmother and her uncle in Stamps, Arkansas where her grandmother ran a store thats customers usually consisted of cotton pickers and lumber workers. At a young age Maya had the importance of education embed in her. Maya grew up loving to read, especially Shakespeare.In the green picture the pictures represent the racism that was present in Arkansas and they also represent her father who lived in California. When Maya was almost 8 years old her dad came and decided she should live with her mother. The orange picture represents Maya in St.Louis with her mother Vivian. Vivian had a boyfriend named Mr.Freeman. Mr.Freeman ended up raping Maya when she was only 8 years old and told her that if she were to tell anybody he would kill her and whomever she told. The darker orange pictures represent Maya being silent for many years. She wouldn’t talk to anybody but her brother and her family in St.Louis decided to send her back to her Grandmother where she meets Mrs.Summers. Mrs.Summers starts Maya’s love for poetry but also, more importantly, gets Maya to speak again. A few years later Maya moved back in with her mother and that summer Maya’s dad says he wants Maya to spend the Summer with him in California. In California with her dad Maya meets his girlfriend Dolores who has an immense hate for Maya. Maya and Dolores gets into a physical fight that results in Maya running away for a month where she stayed with homeless kids in a car lot. The pink paper represents Mayas life when she goes back to live with her mother and her mother's husband Cliedell after running away from her father. Maya thinks she is underdeveloped  after seeing many other females her age with more voluptuous bodies. She even believes that she is possibly a lesbian hermaphrodite. In order to lay her fears to rest Maya sleeps with an attractive boy in the neighborhood which end up in an unplanned pregnancy. Maya is able to hid her pregnancy for months but soon decides that because she is due very soon that she should tell her parents. They accept her situation and at the end of the book Maya gives birth to a healthy son named Guy.
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Q1 Benchmark - Review of Grow Up

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Above is a drawing I did of an alternative cover to Grow Up by Ben Brooks. In the bottom left corner, there's a cigarette giving off the smoke that spirals in the center. In the right bottom corner, there's a black book with lines of Ketamine, which is their choice of drug, forming the title. Inside of the spiral there is different important elements from the book, including Wu Tang, Crystal Castles, a dead cat, marijuana, cigarettes, beer, etc. 

     Grow Up

Who better to write about the youth than the youth themselves? Ben Brooks captured modern youth flawlessly in his 2011 novel Grow Up. This brutally honest novel stars Jasper Wolf - the 17 year old version of the author himself. While writing the novel, Brooks’ publisher tried to sway him from adding his own characteristics to his character. Brooks disagreed, and adding his own traits to a fictional character proved to be successful. In the end, it enabled the storyline to be more relatable than the majority of young adult literature out today.

Trying to convince everyone that his stepfather murdered his ex wife, passing school exams, and exempting himself from fatherhood are only some of the challenges Jasper faces in Grow Up. He and his friends just barely get by each day with the help of cheap alcohol and drugs, along with numerous tobacco breaks in between. Although you may not impregnate someone after a one night stand on ketamine, you will definitely find a way to relate to Jasper. Grow Up is written as if it were an insiders view into Jasper’s (Ben’s) mind, and you can’t help but fall in love with him as the book goes on. Jasper sees himself a perfectly fine and normal teenager, until he realizes that he isn’t who he thought he was. Dealing with his classmates suicide, his best friend’s relationship ending, and his unborn baby cause him to reconsider who he really is. Although some people may only see this book as nothing but sex and drugs, it does have a deeper meaning to it. It is about growing up, and the ups and downs that come with it. It’s written in a way that makes you rediscover yourself over and over again.

Brooks grew up in Gloucestershire, England and began writing at a very young age. Grow Up was his first mainstream novel, which was written when he was only 18 years old. His inspiration came from well known American writer Tao Lin, and Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. He mentions Murakami in his writing, saying “Murakami makes me feel safe and positive. I wish Murakami was my stepdad. Murakami would never murder my mum.” He incorporates both of their styles into his writing, which forms the unique inner monologue feel of Grow Up. Brooks is also the author of books such as Fences and the newly published Lolito, which is a spin off of the famous novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

One common comparison is between Grow Up and the British TV show Skins. Skins features a group of teenagers that are portrayed to be partying misfits, but are actually all fairly attractive and well off.  That same stereotype is often applied to Grow Up. People often feel as though he’s following in the same footsteps as many young authors - trying to be unique while still being a cliche. The rebel group of partying teens is long played out by now, but Grow Up has a certain touch to it that makes it feel as though it were the only (and most important) book of that matter.

Brook’s taste and style is somewhat concerning when first reading this novel. His use, or lack thereof, of consonants emphasizes every emotion individually along with the short, simple sentences that are used. Although his writing seems simple and amature, it contains a depth that unfolds throughout the reading. His comparisons are often questionable, such as when he describes his best friend Tenaya’s house. “It is huge and victorian, with ivy curling up the front  like a pedophile’s fingers.” These uncomfortable comparisons keep the story interesting, as if you never know what he’s going to say next.  His use of detail is often, keeping the story alive. It’s as if this were a true documented story rather than a work of fiction.

After reading this novel, I’m left with the feeling of wanting more. Although it would of been great to continue this story, it was perfect timing to end where it did. Grow Up should be a staple in every young person’s reading list. It was written about teenagers by a teenager, so it’s realisticness is unbeatable. It opens up new doors to what life could be like, and provides a sense of hope for even the worst situations. I would highly recommend this book for people who enjoy young adult literature, realistic fiction, or just gritty coming of age work. Brooks is still young, and I predict his work will be getting better with age.

Grow Up / Ben Brooks / Penguin Group / 2011 / 260 Pgs / Fiction

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The Thief Of Always Book Review

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Clive Barker, horror and fiction mastermind, tells a riveting journey that delves deep into the themes of utopia and mystery in the work of fiction “The Thief of Always”. Clive finds a unique balance between paradox and ordinary as 10 year old Harvey Swick lives out a wondrous life in his own utopia, called the Holiday House. However, sheer perfection has its low points, as for what Harvey will soon find out, utopia cannot truly exist, and behind all good, there is some bad. The Holiday House serves as a true test to Harvey’s wisdom and knowledge as he is subjected to the countless illusions that comprise this phenomenal tale.

The concept of the Holiday House seems very simple and direct: The house serves as a safe haven from all that isn’t what it shouldn’t be, offering homemade cookies made fresh from the oven, a couple nice children who serve as the ideal buddies, and endless activities and fun. The somewhat chilling effect that is given off by the story is the severity of the perfection occurring in this reality. For every day that passes by at the Holiday House, back in reality, an entire year passes. This goes hand in hand with the fact that for each day that passes at the house, all four seasons occur throughout each day. The Holiday House’s extremely deceiving facade is a perfect challenge for the mature and wise mind of Harvey Swick. The seemingly perfect environment, where every morning is Christmas, everything has purpose, and not a dull moment exists, was simply too perfect to trick Harvey. After consulting with a fellow resident around his age named Lulu, he realizes that she isn’t really happy, at all. He discovers that the owner of the house, Mr. Hood, is imprisoning the children with this false utopia. The fact that Harvey is so intelligent and can process such mature and adult-level thoughts makes the read very satisfying, as rarely do we see a ten year old doing the things Harvey did.

The recurring theme in this story is the comparison between what is real and what is illusion. These main topics incite deep thought and deeper meanings under the plot. The sense of otherworldliness within this seemingly ever so normal environment is a prime example of paradox and illusion. This characteristic of the book makes it only more alluring, as it becomes almost effortless to lose yourself in the realms and layers of the story. This strong trait that the book possesses makes it a fantastic read for the more mature audience. This asset brings along another powerful comparison to the novel, which is the comparison of audiences. The book remains simple enough for rather young individuals to thoroughly enjoy the plot, while the deeper meanings will satisfy the needs of the more mature, deep thinking reader.

Low points in this story are scarce. The only ones realistically fathomable are the writing tense (the story is written in third person, some people may much rather prefer first person), the fact that the book had no successor or series along with it, or, complimenting that flaw, that the book was just too short. However, it is still an impressive accomplishment to fit a story of such thought provoking themes into 225 rather small pages. The writing is superb and has a classic flow that allows the reader to forget their surroundings and find themselves immersed in the plot. Clive is a very naturally gifted writer; having been a writer since the 1980’s it’s an understatement to say he’s had some experience in the field. Being an adept horror writer, this novel is strongly influenced by that trait of Mr. Barker. The vibe that is given off throughout the story is a chilling, eerie vibe, and I believe that comes directly from the author’s past experiences in writing.

I would recommend this book to just about any reader who is looking for a great, well rounded story. The length is suitable for most audiences, and within this length are incredible new thoughts and ideas to be explored. Clive Barker has done a fantastic job weaving and intertwining realities in this book. The blend of what is real and what is illusion will captivate any reader, age seven or seventy, and leave them reflecting upon their own reality, what is real and what is not, and other philosophical theories. This thought provoking novel is a wonderful read, but beware, just like Harvey, you may lose track of time after entering the realms of the thief of always.

Title: The Thief Of Always

Author: Clive Barker

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: Nov. 18th, 1992

Number of pages: 225 (first edition), 240 (newer edition)

Genre: = Fiction

My creative piece is a drawing made by myself. When reading this book, I got a sense of trippyness, mystery and illusion. In this picture, I drew the house (one of the main subjects of the story), and incorporated many trippy images and designs. On the bottom in the pathway towards the house, I have a double headed creature. The top is a monster and the bottom is a perfect girl. I used this to show the comparison between the good and bad that comprises the Holiday House.
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