#BIT15Reads: Dataclysm by Christian Rudder

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)Dataclysm: Who We Are by Christian Rudder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can already think of 12 people in my school who should read this book. That hasn’t happened to me since Danah Boyd‘s It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.  I will pass this on to the math teachers, the social science teachers and the teachers in charge of character education in our building. If you read no other popular non-fiction this year, choose Dataclysm. It’s not just filled with brave and insightful explanations of data, both in a physical sense and in the sense of what’s absent, it is a visual feast of well-formed graphs that are very accessible to the reader.

I will also recommend it to the students in my building who have questions about love, sex, race, identity and data. This is a very important book right here and right now.

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Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rachel Hartman takes us further down the rabbit hole in Shadow Scale as the political game between humans, dragons and the world in between. Our deeply mysterious protagonist, Seraphina, gets caught up in the brewing wars and must learn to master her own telepathic powers in order to travel the kingdom and bring together all the other half-dragons. She begins with our beloved Abdo, whose childish behaviour acts as a foil to Seraphina’s more subdued and refined actions. Hartman’s mythology in the kingdom of Gorred becomes more integral to the plot and the reader has to really keep track of many characters as Seraphina quests for answers. The last third of the book is a deeply personal battle that Seraphina must fight within herself and it was my favourite part of the book. Dragon lovers around the world are calling out for more Rachel Hartman and Shadow Scale trip doesn’t disappoint. As a second novel in the series though, it relies heavily on the more accessible first book Seraphina and will require a patient reader to remember the more complicated aspects of characters and Gorred history. There are students in my secondary school library who were willing to mudwrestle to take this book home for the summer.

I enjoyed the Audible.com version of this book.  It is really important to have the continuity of Mandy Williams’ voice to enhance my experience of Seraphina’s first person narration.  It was just excellent.

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The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War, #3)The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I used my first free credit at audible.com to download the audiobook of The Lady of the Rivers. I absolutely love the myths of the French royal families who descended from merpeople and the story of Melusina is evident throughout this book. The audiobook was well-performed and I really enjoyed this book overall. It’s a different feel from The Tudor series, but once again, Philippa Gregory doesn’t disappoint. One of the strangest side effects of reading this book, is that it affected my gardening….the main character, Jacquetta, gardens according to astronomy….then later this year I found out about biodynamic agriculture…suddenly I’m much more concerned what phase the moon is when I’m planting.

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The Witch’s Boy by Michael Gruber (audiobook)

Book title: The Witch’s Boy (audiobook)

Author: Michael Gruber

Bibliographic entry Gruber, M., & O’Hare, D. P. (2005). The witch’s boy. New York: Harper Children’s Audio.
Description Long long ago a boy named Lump is born to a witch.  The prejudice he experiences his whole life, because of his facial deformity and strange behaviour, turn him into an angry young man.  His envy drives him to violence and he loses what he loves most.
Reaction  A fantastic tale that weaves pieces of well-known fairytales together while following the journey of the unknown character, Lump.  The themes and topics are universally human and this book would appeal to any fantasy lover.  Denis O’Hare, the performer on the audiobook, is a wizard as he vocally masters dozens of identities in the book.
Recommended age level  Junior/Intermediate/Senior
Subjects/themes  Identity quest, fantasy, prejudice
Curriculum connections  English: extend understanding of both simple and complex texts by making connections between the ideas in them and personal knowledge, experience, and insights; other texts; and the world around them
Awards 2006 Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award for Middle Grades/Young Adults
Miscellaneous  Michael Gruber blogs at http://michaelgruberbooks.blogspot.ca/