Elena Reads: Book reviews, author interviews and more
Elena, a 7th-grade student who live in Farmington Hills, has been publishing her blog since she was 9 years old.
“I had always loved to read, and I’d devour the books on my teacher’s bookshelf. But I realized one thing stayed constant in all of the books I read in her classroom: all of the main characters were white,” Elena says. “Growing up with two parents who also loved to read, my bookshelves were packed with diversity. … I thought if I shared my thoughts on the diverse books I read, others could come to my blog and read books that showed a variety of people through the pages.”
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Articles and reviews from ElenaReads.com
While some kids are collecting stamps or rocks, young Jerome loves to collect words. Words like hope, wonder, and torrential. When he hears one he likes, he’ll write it down and paste it into one of his many scrapbooks. He soon learns he can string those words together and make poems or songs. But maybe the best way to use words is to share them with the world. Full review
It’s a peek into her life as a 13-year-old in 1963. The year George Wallace, a pro-segregation governor, demanded “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. The year of the March on Washington and the year Black children were attacked by dogs and sprayed with water because they were protesting for their rights. The year of her first kiss. 1963 was a turning point in American history, and reading Sharon Robinson’s unique perspective about the Civil Rights era was enjoyable. Full Review
With President’s Day approaching, many are finding ways to celebrate; whether it be informing themselves on our presidents, going to famous presidential landmarks (unfortunately not this year because of COVID), or simply just giving themselves a much needed break because of the national holiday. Being a bookaholic, I am planning to celebrate this patriotic day by reading books about some of America’s many POTUSes. Full review
I had never even heard of the Harlem Renaissance until reading One Last Word by Nikki Grimes. It was an era where Black artists shined. Poets like Paul Laurence Dunbar, singers like Josephine Baker, and artists like William Johnson; all lit their talent in this age.
This book highlights Harlem Renaissance poetry in a form called Golden Shovel. Basically, you take lines or stanzas from a published poem and write an original poem, putting a word from the first poem as a last word in each line in your poem. Full review
Girl’s Bill Of Rights by Amy B. Mucha is a sweet book with an empowering message that will inspire all girls to be themselves and not let anyone stop them. The book is exactly what the title proclaims it to be: a girl’s bill of rights. In kid-friendly terms, accompanied by whimsical illustrations, each page gives a phrase on why girl’s matter. One page explains that girl’s have the right to think for themselves and and make decisions for themselves. Another page explains girls have the right to feel however they want, and they have the right to laugh and cry. This book is perfect for Women’s History Month because it really takes into consideration the history of women in the past and now. Full review
It’s never been hard for me to ask a question, but Nisha from The Night Diary saw the world much differently. Reading this book really felt like I was stepping into someone else’s shoes… and traveling to 1947.
Author Veera Hiranandani creates a moving, unique tale about figuring out who you are.
“Who is Malala?” asked a man working for the Taliban set out to kill a 15-year-old girl seen as a threat for standing up for what she believed in. Little did he know, Malala would survive his gunshot and become an icon for peace. She would become the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, and help tell the world that anyone can help change it.
“I Am Malala,” co-authored by the person who experienced it all, is a touching memoir that lends hope to those who need it. This book gives you a feeling that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Katie Eichbrecht, or “Ms. E” to the students who walk into the Forest Elementary library, has been a media center aide since 2014. Although she started her career six years ago, her love for reading has never faded. “I love to read because I can’t wait to see what each book has to tell me,” she explained.
I can agree – opening a book is like unlocking a door that can lead you anywhere.
I have known Katie Eichbrecht for a very long time; it was probably she who helped spike my love of reading when I was really young, something she says is vital for elementary-age reading.
This book lover talks about the best and worst parts of her job, the graphic novel controversy, and more.
When I started my blog at age 9, a lot of people thought it was a big deal. I remember some saying how impressed they were that I was reviewing books. That’s how I felt reading Teen Trailblazers: 30 Fearless Girls Who Changed The World Before They Were 20. I was in awe of these role models who didn’t let their age get in the way of making their mark on the world.
Guest Blog: My Younger Brother Loved FPS’ One School One Book
Note from Elena Reads: My brother, who is a third-grader, would sometimes rather answer trivia questions, ride his bike, or play video games instead of read, but recently he read a book that really sparked his interest. He loved that the book was funny and a bit of a mystery. Everett’s excited to read the next book in the series! Here’s his review:
By Everett, age 8
Dragons in a Bag is about how Jax had to get dragons to another dimension but along the way there is trouble! This is the book we had to read for One School One Book, everybody in the district had to read it. My family read one chapter a day and really liked it.
The main characters were Jax and Ma.
Jax’s Mama had to send him to a witch named Ma and they went to the land of dinosaurs.
I liked that the main characters were Black like me.
Book Lover: FPS Literacy Coordinator Working To Diversify Classroom Bookshelves
Christina Fifeld has spent her whole life in Farmington Public Schools. From kindergarten through 12th grade, she attended schools in the district. Then, she started teaching at Wood Creek and Warner Middle School, working alongside her former teachers!
Now, she’s the district’s Secondary Literacy Coordinator. She works with middle and high school teachers with reading and writing, and helps find resources and books for classrooms.
Obviously, Fifeld is passionate about books and learning. Read about how COVID impacted the school libraries, what motivated her to become a literacy coordinator, and more.