Project Read Your Classroom Shelves #2

I love this idea I’m doing of reading all my books from my classroom library. I’m having such fun reading YA novels again! In the past two weeks, I’ve read 3 of them and have already started on another one!

The Black Book of Secrets by F.E. Higgins

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I’m not sure what to think about this book. The premise is interesting. Set in an unknown European, probably English, Industrial or near pre-Industrial time. The author gives a pretense of finding documents and excerpts of an autobiography or memoir of Ludlow, the protagonist. The plot is about a young boy named Ludlow who runs away from his terrible life in the City and becomes an apprentice to a pawnbroker who arrived in a small town dominated by a selfish, conniving man. However, the pawnbroker is unlike others–he pawns secrets and writes them in the black book. 
I really did like the idea of the story, however, I thought the breaks and time lapses were a little weird. Also, because of the author’s pretense of finding documents, some chapters are Ludlow’s point of view, some are omniscient, some are the townspeople giving up their secrets. I wish the pawnbroker’s background and personality was deepened a bit more. I also didn’t like how the climax happened 2/3rds of the way through the book and had a ton of falling action and resolution. It went quite fast and not in a lot of detail–almost like the author was setting up for a sequel, but there is no sequel. 
But, if students like Industrial-era books, mystery, and a little of the occult (there is a secret group, but no bad occult stuff), then they’d love this book. There were many dog-earred pages that weren’t there when I first got the book, so I know students have read it through before.
Alibi Junior High by Greg Logstead

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This is definitely a boy book! Easiest way to describe it to all you mid-twenty to thirty year olds–it’s as if Agent Cody Banks had to fall off the grid and hide out for a bit as a normal kid. Yep, you heard me. And guess what, the protagonist’s name is Cody! All this life, he has traveled with his CIA agent father, helping him in his missions–he knows numerous languages, is a genius, can take apart and put together weapons, and is a black belt. However, he and his dad were attacked in a bombing, so his dad sends him to a backtown in New England with his aunt to be safe. But, for all the missions Cody had been on and all the bad guys he’s brought to justice, Junior High seems to be the most impossible mission ever. Thankfully, his next door neighbor’s older brother came home from Special Ops in the Middle East and is a kindred spirit to Cody as he deals with bullying, unfair teachers, and his first crush.
The main reason I didn’t like this book was the unavailability of the protagonist. That’s the reason I didn’t even really like Agent Cody Banks or Spy Kids…it’s ridiculous. But, I did like how it showed how tough junior high can be–I taught junior high for three years, so I know. I also really like the character of Andy, the Special Ops who lot his arm in a bombing. He was the most believable. But, I know junior high boys will eat this book up!
Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

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I saw parts of this movie when I was a kid, as well as reading part of the book, but when I picked it up, I couldn’t remember barely any of it. So, I was excited to read this classic all the way through. Omri (what an interesting name) received a plastic Indian for his birthday from his friend, a cupboard from his brothers, and an heirloom key to open it. He placed the Indian in the cupboard, because why not, and the next thing he knows, the Indian has come to life! After getting to know the Indian and helping him survive in his room, his friend wants to turn a cowboy toy to real life…of course, you know how’d that would go. Also, they decide to take them to school, and well, conflict happens, temptation happens, the key is lot, etc. 
This is an awesome book! Omri grows up a lot in this book–he comes to understand the importance of human life and their own life (like their family, personality, culture). It’s an easy read, even if the author (who wrote the book in 1980) wrote it like an author from the late 19th century. I know there are sequels, and I want to read them, but I’m a little nervous because I don’t want to be disappointed since the first one was so good!
Which one would you want to go read?
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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.


  1. I didn't know either! I think I'm going to have to read it. I remember I liked the movie as a kid, but I don't remember hardly any of it. 😛

  2. I read a lot more in middle and high school as well….but now that i'm not working anymore, I'm trying to find the time to read a lot again.

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