July 29th – Shooting the Moon and The Land of Stories:The Wishing Spell

July 29th – Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell and The Land of Stories:The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer


I love Half-Price books and their clearance basement. I tend to go down there and buy dollar YA books, and with the teacher discount it works out okay. In the summer, I try and read as many books as I can to see if I come across anything that will interest any of my students. I also am like a crow, and my eye catches any gold award sticker that I see on a book. This is how I found, Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Rourke. It had a Christopher Award, an award that I had never heard about before. From the Christopher Award website: 

First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards were established by Christopher founder Father James Keller to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Their goal is to encourage men, women and children to pursue excellence in creative arenas that have the potential to influence a mass audience positively. Award winners encourage audiences to see the better side of human nature and motivate artists and the general public to use their best instincts on behalf of others.

Well, I think this is a wonderful award! Shooting the Moon embraced this notion of positivity. It wasn’t preachy about the Vietnam War, but explained the war from many different view points. I liked it for also showing the viewpoint of The Colonel, whose job it was to send young men to a war that could not be won.The Colonel’s whole life was the military, and what happens when everything that you believed to be right was wrong? I also enjoyed Jamie learning to develop film, with the author explaining the technical side of photography. It is a wonderful snapshot of life during a difficult time in America.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer


A student and I went to Red Ballon Bookstore www.redballoonbookshop.com/ to meet Chris Colfer http://chris-colfer.com/. I have always admired him on Glee, and I was amazed to know he has written a series of books. Chris was so kind and gentle with my young student, and treated each one with such attention. It was a fun night of Chipotle and Chris Colfer. I am excited as to how my student likes the book, and if starting on #3 will be okay.

I started with #1from the library, The Wishing Spell, and was impressed with the premise so far. I like the beginning so far: main characters are twins –  a girl who is a book lover, the other a quick witted young boy who have fallen on hard times, an exotic grandmother, a magical book which the twins fall into an enchanted land. Chris Colfer has an ear for how children of that age speak, and their sense of humor. I love finding a series that enchants a young person’s imagination, as well as adults. Sometimes one needs to fall into a different world away from life’s chores and demands. 

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