The Book Reviews – Website

January 1, 2011

The Moves Make the Man

The Moves Make the Man


Author: Bruce Brooks


Page Length: 252  


Reading Level: 8


Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Jerome Foxworthy, an intelligent African American, spots Bix Rivers playing baseball one year prior to the composing of the story of Bix.  Bix catches his attention because Jerome has never seen anyone who has mastered the skill and art of baseball like Bix.

Jerome is the only black student attending the junior high school in his neighborhood.  Jerome’s first love is basketball and he goes to try-outs for the school team, but is not allowed to play because of his color. After Jerome’s mother is in an accident, Jerome decides to enroll in a home economics class so that he can cook for his brothers while his mother heals.  He discovers he is not the only male member of the class, Bix Rivers; the talented baseball player also belongs to the class.  The boys immediately bond and Jerome teaches Bix to play basketball in the evenings. 

As the boy’s relationship grows, Jerome learns that Bix cannot tolerate any form of lying, or “his definition” for lying. This intolerance for non-truths has caused significant repercussions in Bix’s life which Jerome tries to understand.

REVIEW: This is a well-written book that has great character development and descriptive writing.  The description of the game of basketball (p. 59), the reference of “white man’s disease” (p. 95), and Bix’s view of friendship (p.159) are examples of Brook’s excellent writing skills.  The bond of friendship between Bix and Jerome is one that young men can relate to, in that; males accept each other just as they are.  The boy’s both have family issues that are also common to the young teen-age male.  In addition, racial issues are a sub-plot that Jerome must deal with throughout the story. 

I think both boys and girls would enjoy this book because of the drama and conflict the characters encounter as they move through their first year of junior high   

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Character, Conflict, Setting, Theme and Point of View

RELATED BOOKS: Slam, Learning the Game, The Boy Who Saved Baseball, Hardball


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner


December 19, 2010

Just Another Hero

Just Another Hero by Sharon M. Draper: Book Cover

Just Another Hero


Author: Sharon M. Draper


Page Length: 280


Reading Level: 4.3


Genre: Fiction


Career Connection: Teacher, police officer, fast food/retail sales


PLOT SUMMARY: A senior year filled with drama is what the small group of friends of Douglass High encounter after they cope with Josh’s death from a hazing accident and the birth of his baby by November.


Arielle, who has struggled with peer relations, since the hazing event, finds a way to mend the fences with Kofi and the rest of the group, but she is living with her third stepfather who is extremely strict and controlling with she and her mother. She not only has lost her real dad but her sister has been placed in an institution. Her mother is bound within the wants and needs of her stepfather. No wonder she has a problem with day to day coping skills.


Kofi continues to feel pain from his broken arm that was injured in the hazing event and realizes he is addicted to pain killers. He qualifies for admission into Massachusetts Institute of Technology but sees his parents squandering away their money. What does he do to help his family and himself?


November has returned to school after the birth of her baby, but finds she has many responsibilities that make school issues take a backseat.


While each member of the group try to find coping skills for their various needs, someone is stealing money and personal property at school.


Meanwhile, Crazy Jack suffers a mental breakdown and brings an assault rifle to school. The discovery of the thief and Jack holding student’s hostage, takes a toll on the main characters as they try to determine what makes a real hero.


REVIEW: This is the final book of the trilogy of the student’s of Douglass High that Sharon Draper has developed. The book is written in third person narrative between Kofi and Arielle as the plot centers primarily on their life issues. Students who have read the previous books, The Battle of Jericho and November Blues will enjoy this final chapter of Arielle, Kofi, November, and Jericho as they answer the question, “What Makes a Real Hero?”


AREAS FOR TEACHING: Characters, Cause/Effect, Sequence of Events, Theme


TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: None that is not age appropriate


RELATED BOOKS: The Battle of Jericho, November Blues




REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

November 3, 2008


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Author: Norah McClintock

Page Length: 100

Reading Level: 4

Genre: Fiction, Mystery     

PLOT SUMMARY: David and his mother are awakened in the night by Detective Antonelli to learn that Phil, David’s stepfather has been killed.  David becomes a prime suspect with a weak alibi.  Cameras videoed him within a block of the scene of the accident minutes before the murder took place.  His mother finds his dead brother’s picture that Phil always carried in David’s jean pocket.  Even she begins to suspect David of the killing.  David faces the choice of telling the truth or lying to protect his mom’s feelings.

REVIEW: This is a fast, easy to read mystery that kept my attention throughout the book.  The reluctant reader would get a great introduction to mystery and suspense novels by reading this book.

AREAS OF TEACHING: Conflict, Sequence of Events, Foreshadowing, and Character

RELATED BOOKS: Bang, Over the Edge, Snitch

RELATED WEBSITES:…/TeachersGuides/Orca Soundings/TellTG.pdf

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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