Review: Hip Hop High School


Hip Hop High School

by: Alan Lawrence Sitomer

As with most books, I had a lot of hope for this one. I’d read his previous book. It was OK, and this title will certainly appeal to my students.  However, reading the book and taking in the cover’s back flap confirms my suspicions: it’s written by an educator who loves to teach. So, I’m wondering if students will like it, or smell a rat?

The book is supposed to be a sequel to The Hoopser however, the character from that book makes only brief appearances in this one. I don’t remember this character, Tee Ay (Theresa) in that book, or any other of the siblings. Theresa’s little brother definitely stands out in this book and will probably be the main character in Sitomer’s next novel.

This book follows Theresa through her high school years. She meets several challenging situations but often works through the problem in her own mind and leaves the reader with an nice moral lesson. The book is replete (Replete, that’s good word to know for the SAT and it means quite full of something.) with SAT definitions which can’t help but smack you in the face. The book mocks hip hop and uses it as a tool to sell books. Students who live on the fringes of urbania will read it and like it.

Now, I’ll place this book in my school library and see what my students say and I’ll get back with you on that!

Review: A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone:  Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

2007; Sarah Chrichton Books

This is a first person account of a childhood in Sierra Leone that is disrupted by violent civil war, not once, but twice.  Beah gives graphic descriptions of acts committed by child soldiers while we are observers to actions taken not for a cause, but for survival.  By changing individuals in the country, war changes the country itself.  Everything becomes a long way gone.  Beah uses touchstones such as rap music, storytelling and caring, well trained adults to keep himself sane and whole.  In telling this story, his innocence remains while we readers become quite aware of a darker side of humanity.

Vocabulary Competition: Boston; Detroit; NYC; Palm Beach County; Philadephia; Pittsburg; Sacramento and St. Louis

The National Vocabulary Championship (NVC) is an initiative sponsored by GSN, The Network for Games that uses competition and wordplay to engage and reward high school students, educators and parents, teaching them the value of a strong vocabulary. Created with educational partner The Princeton Review, the NVC is open to eligible high school students across the country. Students may enter the competition in one of two ways. Eligible students at participating schools in Boston, Detroit, New York City, Palm Beach County, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and St. Louis can take an in-school qualifying exam for a citywide championship that will be held in each of the above cities.

Grant for Outstand School Library Humanities Programming

The American Library Association Public Programs Office and the American Association of School Librarians Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming recognizes a school library that has conducted an exemplary program or program series in the humanities.
Maximum Award: $4000.
Eligibility: elementary or middle school (public or private) libraries, or any school library program that serves children in any combination of grades K-8, that have conducted a humanities program or program series during the previous school year.
Deadline: February 28, 2007.