April 3, 2008

15 Minutes by Steve Young

Casey, a seventh grader, finds himself continually late. If he could just be on time for things - classes, football practice, even breakfast, all would be well. While searching through his attic, Casey discovers an old watch that belonged to his grandfather. He puts it on, but like most of Grandpop's inventions, it doesn't seem to work right. When Casey discovers that he can't take the watch off, he reads Grandpop's journal and discovers that the watch is actually a time machine that can transport its wearer 15 minutes into the past. At first Casey is delighted, and uses the power of the watch to enhance his "coolness rating." However, he soon realizes that altering the past has serious implications. This humorus story combines science fiction, sports action, and laughs with a strong underlying message about personal responsibility and honesty. 
Reed Reads Score: 4

April 1, 2008

The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle

A biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, born in in Cuba in 1797 and told through poetry in the voices of Juan himself, his mother and father, and the family that has enslaved him. A powerful, moving story of a boy who is gifted with the power of verse, but who must face the cruelty, jealousy, and spitefulness of the women that keep him as a slave. Juan perseveres and maintains hope even when each moment of freedom is crushed by severe brutality. Vividly illustrated by Sean Qualls with black and white drawings.
Reed Reads Score: 4.5