Editor’s Note: We welcome our newest, and perhaps youngest columnist, Josh Stiefel, to the Jewish Link. As you will learn, Josh loves to read and talk about books, and we bet you will love to read and enjoy right along with him. We invite you to share your thoughts about Josh’s Reviews by emailing [email protected]
by James Patterson (Little Brown, 2012)
The book “I Funny” by James Patterson is the story of a boy named Jamie Grimm. Jamie, who is in Long Beach Middle School, is a comedian who enjoys making other people laugh. Jamie’s Uncle Frankie encourages Jamie to enter a comedy contest. Jamie, however, is in a wheelchair because of a car crash in which he was the sole survivor. Because of the car crash, Jamie lives with his cousins whom he calls the Smileys because they never smile. I highly recommend this book because it is a funny story about an extraordinary boy who despite his troubles still finds a way to fit in and make other people laugh.
by Blue Balliett (Scholastic 2005)
The book “Chasing Vermeer” is the story of two kids, Calder Pillay and Petra Andalee, who try to find a stolen painting. Throughout the book, different events that seem completely unrelated come together. For example, could a seemingly innocent old woman named Mrs. Sharpe be connected to the crime? Could two main characters such as Calder, who is very organized, and Petra, who is extremely disorganized, ever become friends? I love this book and highly recommend it because it is an excellently written mystery where everyone is a suspect.
by Cassie Beasley (Dial Books, 2015)
The book “Circus Mirandus” is about a boy named Micah Tuttle. Micah’s grandfather Ephraim, who took care of him, is dying of lung disease so Micah has to live with his horrible great-aunt Gertrudis. Micah was told by his grandfather to find the Lightbender, a magician who works at the magical Circus Mirandus, in the hope that he can save Grandpa Ephraim. Circus Mirandus is a circus that only kids can see. I think you should read this book because it is the story of a boy who believes in himself and tries to help others and who does not give up even when it seems that all hope is lost.
by R.J. Palacio (Random House, 2012)
The book “Wonder” is the story of a boy named August Pullman who was born with severe facial deformities. Auggie, who has never gone to school before, is starting his first year in fifth grade at Beecher Prep Elementary. Auggie, as you can imagine, has trouble fitting in due to his unusual appearance. Throughout the book, Auggie has to overcome many obstacles with his family and classmates. The author writes the story from the perspectives of other characters including Auggie’s sister and his new friends. To me, this story represents the strength of friendship and how family is always there for you. I think that the moral of the story is especially important because when you are a kid Auggie’s age, it can sometimes be hard to fit in but you should never give up and continue to be yourself.
By Josh Stiefel
Josh’s Book Reviews is a monthly column that offers recommended reading for kids ages 9-99. Josh Stiefel is a fourth grader at Yeshivat Noam. He has been known to devour books. He also likes meatballs.