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01 November 2011

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Books I had Strong Emotions About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly posting hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which you list your top 10 answering whatever question is posted for that week.

This week's question was "What are the Top 10 books you had strong emotions about?"

10.  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
(Dumbledore....need I say more?)
~As the novel begins, a "grim mood" has fallen over the country. The minions of Lord Voldemort (a.k.a. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) continue to grow as his evil spreads. The Ministry of Magic has stepped up security everywhere, and as Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts, he begins to see himself -- and everyone around him -- in a different, more discerning, light. With rumors swirling about Harry being the prophesied "Chosen One," he begins taking private lessons from Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
As Dumbledore prepares Harry for his destined clash with Voldemort by revealing jaw-dropping insights into the Dark Lord's past -- who his parents were, what happened after he left Hogwarts, and more -- Harry also struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry's life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes....

9.  Stone Fox by John Gardener
(I read this almost every year with my students.  And every year, I cry.)
~Ten-year-old Willy needs to win the big dogsled race in order to pay the back taxes on his grandfather's farm--but that means beating the huge Indian mountain man, Stone Fox. "Gardiner's description of the race and sudden climax (based on legend) is fast-paced and enveloping."

8.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
(I don't read this one out loud.  I can't.  I would be a blubbering mess.  Though props to my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. B who somehow did.)
~Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann -- a Boy and His Two Dogs...
A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that's only found...
An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.

7.  Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates by Jonah Winter
(I admire him so much, for his strength of character, his work ethic, and how much he cared about others.)
~On an island called Puerto Rico a boy named Roberto Clemente dreamed of nothing but winning at baseball.
With no money but plenty of determination Clemente practiced on muddy fields with a glove made from a coffee sack. Little League became minor league, which turned into winter league...and, finally, he made it to the major leagues! With lightning speed, towering home runs, and grand slams, Clemente introduced himself to America.

6.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
(I knew life on reservations were hard, but this really opened my eyes.)
~With his first foray into teen literature, acclaimed author Sherman Alexie packs a punch in this absorbing novel about a Native American boy searching for a brighter future. At once humorous and stirring, Alexie's novel follows Junior, a resident of the Spokane reservation who transfers out of the reservation's school -- and into a nearby rich, all-white farm school -- in order to nurture his desire to become a cartoonist. Junior encounters resistance there, a backlash at home, and numerous family problems -- all the while relaying his thoughts and feelings via amusing descriptions and drawings. Having already garnered a National Book Award for Young Adult Literature, this moving look at race and growing up is definitely one to pick up.

5.  Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
(don't read in public, unless you don't mind looking like a crazy person for laughing out loud)
~Hilarious new series from Queen of Teen – laugh your tights off at the (VERY) amateur dramatic antics of Talullah and her bonkers mates. Boys, snogging and bad acting guaranteed!
Picture the scene: Dother Hall performing arts college somewhere Up North, surrounded by rolling dales, bearded cheesemaking villagers (male and female) and wildlife of the squirrely-type. On the whole, it’s not quite the showbiz experience Tallulah was expecting… but once her mates turn up and they start their ‘FAME! I’m gonna liiiiive foreeeeeever, I’m gonna fill my tiiiiights’ summer course things are bound to perk up. Especially when the boys arrive. (When DO the boys arrive?) Six weeks of parent-free freedom. BOY freedom. Freedom of expression... cos it’s the THEATRE dahling, theatre!!

4.  Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
(I fell off the couch laughing)
~There are six things very wrong with my life:
1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.  
2. It is on my nose  
3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.  
4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.  
5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.  
6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.
In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"

3.  The Yellow Star:  The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy
(Even though there is no documentation that this is true, it still is very heartwarming.)
~Without the yellow star to point them out, the Jews looked like any other Danes. FOR CENTURIES, the Star of David was a symbol of Jewish pride. But during World War II, Nazis used the star to segregate and terrorize the Jewish people. Except in Denmark. When Nazi soldiers occupied his country, King Christian X of Denmark committed himself to keeping all Danes safe from harm. The bravery of the Danes and their king during that dangerous time has inspired many legends. The most enduring is the legend of the yellow star, which symbolizes the loyalty and fearless spirit of the king and his people. Award-winning author and storyteller Carmen Deedy has poignantly recreated this legend which is accompanied by Danish illustrator Henri Sorensen's arresting full-color portraits. The result is a powerful and dignified story of heroic justice, a story for all people and all times.
2.  Hitler Youth and They Called Themselves the KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
(wow.  just wow.)
~I begin with the young. We older ones are used up . . . But my magnificent youngsters! Look at these men and boys! What material! With them, I can create a new world. --Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg 1933 By the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, 3.5 million children belonged to the Hitler Youth. It would become the largest youth group in history. Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores how Hitler gained the loyalty, trust, and passion of so many of Germany's young people. Her research includes telling interviews with surviving Hitler Youth members
~"Boys, let us get up a club..."
With those words, six restless young men raided the linens at a friend’s mansion in 1866. They pulled white sheets over their heads, hopped on horses, and cavorted through the streets of Pulaski, Tennessee. Soon, the six friends named their club the Ku Klux Klan and began patterning their initiations after fraternity rites, with passwords and mysterious handshakes. All too quickly, this club would grow into the self-proclaimed “Invisible Empire,” with secret dens spread across the South. On their brutal raids, the nightriders would claim to be ghosts of Confederate soldiers and would use psychological and physical terror against former slaves who dared to vote, own land, attend school, or worship as they pleased.This is the story of how a secret terrorist group took root in America’s democracy. Filled with chilling and vivid personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and other primary sources, this is a book to read and remember.
1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(I sob cried for 10 minutes, then wanted to throw the book across the room)
~It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.
With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement


  1. I love The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian! It's one of my favorites. Sherman Alexie is amazing. Great pick!

  2. Thanks for visiting my Top Ten Tuesday. I've been wanting to read They Called Themselves the KKK, even though I don't read much non-fiction. Thanks for the reminder in this post! Also, I think Louise Rennison's writing is hilarious too. Great list!

  3. Great choices & Great blog!
    I'm now following you :)

    Here's mine:


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