Book Reviews


Book Review Main Page
Book Review 1: Autobiography (This Page)
Book Review 2: History
Book Review 3: Short Stories
Book Review 4: Historical Fiction
Book Review 6: Poetry
Book Review 7: Drama
Book Review 8: Science Fiction


Book Review 1: Autobiography

Brian K.Class 8-350
My Everest Story
Mark Pfetzer and Jack Galvin
Penguin Group

Ashley S.  8-350
“Rescue Pilot: Cheating the Sea”
Jerry Grayson
Published by Adlard Coles Nautical Bloomsbury, Copyright © Jerry Grayson 2015

Justin S  8-350
Finding Gobi
Dion Leonard
Harper Collins © 2017 Dion Leonard

Sukaina S.  8-350
“The Battle for Room 314”
Ed Boland
Grand Central Publishing, Copyright © Edward Boland 2016

      Someone named Mark has a passion for climbing mountains, and eventually becomes the youngest person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. This was not achieved just by wanting to climb it. Mark Pfetzer worked very hard to reach this goal, and he has done what few people will ever do in their lifetime. He is supported by a teacher, his parents, and other friendly climbers along the way in this amazing journey. In this book, you will read about Mark’s life and adventures first hand, in Mark’s point of view! The story will tell the most important parts of his life which leads to the man he is now today!
 The genre is an autobiography, and Mark Pfetzer tells the story of his life in his point of view, with the help of Jack Galvin. The people who played key roles in the most in the story are his supportive parents, Geoff Tabin, his aunt’s music teacher Francis Madeira, and Thor, his guardian for most of his climbs. The setting takes a lot of spaces that were important in Mark’s life, and the time period is 1992 to 1996. Some supportive details are about how he first got started and how he was interested with endurance sports. The central idea was that he worked very hard to achieve his goal, and his purpose was to tell his unique story to others and maybe even get the opportunity to inspire others.
 I loved how interesting the book was, and I couldn’t help imagining what it would be like to face the same experiences Mark has faced as a climber! He gives a lot of details, while still keeping the reader entertained with jokes he had at those times or a funny experience. He also makes the story relatable, telling us his dumb mistakes and common life struggles, making it seem that he is not as different from the rest of us, and how he just enjoys climbing in general and that being the youngest to summit Everest was never his primary goal. If you love first person point of view and adventure, this is the perfect book for you! I would still recommend this book to anyone, since it was so good!


Jerry Grayson was the youngest Search and Rescue pilot (SAR) at just the age of 17. According to Bloomsbury Publishing, “Jerry Grayson is an ordinary man who chose an extraordinary career.” In just a couple of years, he was the most decorated peacetime naval pilot in history at just age 25. For most of his book, Grayson talks about all of his adventures as a SAR pilot. From saving people from sinking ships to saving people from submarines, Grayson has lived his life in excitement and adventure. Grayson put his life at risk everyday just to save others. His finest hour came during the 1979 Fastnet Yacht Race where he had to push the limits of the helicopter and put his own life on the line.
The genre of this book is an autobiography discussing the life of SAR pilot, Jerry Grayson and is told in first person by Grayson. The people in this book are Jerry Grayson, his parents, Dick Harvey (coastguard officer), Dave ‘Wally’ Wallace, Detlef Wodak (crewmen), Queen Elizabeth, Leading Aircrewmen Steve Branley, ‘Smiler’ Grinney, ‘Wings’ (in charge of all flying activities and Officer in Charge of the Royal Navy), and many more. He was born in an ancient southern English castle town of Arundel and most of his stories and adventures take place in the UK. The main topics of the book were the many different life saving missions Jerry went on, his finest hour (the 1979 Fastnet Yacht Race), and all of the people that helped him to be the pilot he was. The author most likely wrote this book to teach people to always be courageous and to have confidence that you can accomplish anything because that’s exactly how he lived his life. He also probably wrote the book to share his stories as an SAR pilot and to share his experience.
Overall, I found Jerry Grayson’s autobiography very interesting and I felt excited reading it. The way he used his humor and emotions, he displayed his heroism in a way I couldn’t stop reading. He packed it full of action and even some sadness. Also, he told his stories like a grandpa telling stories to little kids, I felt like he was talking right to me. He didn’t use a lot of formal language, which made me feel more comfortable. I also enjoy hearing from the person themselves and their point of view and experience. If you like action and stories about heroism, then you’ll definitely love this book. I know my brothers would love this book because they love action and hearing it from the person who experienced it all. Altogether, this book was a great source of entertainment and taught me and other readers to have confidence and to always try your best to help others in need.   



What if a run took you across the 155-mile-wide Gobi Desert and less than 1/5 of the way through the run, you find your soul mate.  Now, let’s make this even more improbable; your soul mate runs on 4 legs for another 77 miles trailing by your side.  So, you make it your mission to get this soul mate back home to Scotland, even if that means spending 3 months in Hong Kong, spending thousands of dollars, running around all of China to find him, and of course smuggling it into a hotel.  Oh, and did I mention that there are even dog-nappers.  Well this is the exact thing that happened to Dion Leonard when he was running an Ultra Marathon in the Gobi Dessert.  He found a stray dog lost in the dessert and made it his job to get him home.   Throughout the run Dion explains why he runs and how it helps him deal with his childhood and family issues and prove he is the most competitive Australian in all of running. 
Finding Gobi is a nonfiction autobiography, told by Dion Leonard about Dion Leonard.  Throughout the story you learn about Dion, Gobi, Garry (Dion’s step-father with an interesting past), Lucja (Dions Wife), Richard (Dion’s friend), Kiki (a member of Gobi’s search party), and so many more.  The story takes place during Dion’s childhood in Australia, then during the run in the Gobi Desert, and while Gobi is waiting to enter England in Hong Kong.  Additionally, a small portion of the flashbacks take place in Scotland and other small towns across the world.  The story takes you through the life of Dion Leonard and more importantly his life with Gobi.  It revolves around him finding Gobi and trying to get him through the laws that both England and China have in place to regulate dogs entering or leaving.  But the story also focuses on how Dion learns that life isn’t all about winning and how he handles his rough childhood.  I feel as though Dion Leonard wrote the book to educate people on some of the morals he’s learned throughout his life.  Some of these morals are winning isn’t the only goal, and family is the most important thing of all.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  The actual writing by Dion Leonard is great and it really makes it feel like you’re running alongside him and Gobi.  It is both a fun and sometimes humorous piece but also one that focuses in on self-reflection and change.  It also acts as a form of outreach calling for social change in the way dogs are treated in China.  I can go on and on all day about how good this book is but for brevity I must stop.  So, if you like dogs, running, a feel-good story, or are looking for a way to change yourself from what you once were Finding Gobi is the book for you.







This book depicts the life of Ed Boland, specifically his transition from raising money for nonprofit organizations to teaching in the slums of New York. He starts off working by believing that everything is going well in the school system, but soon comes to the realization that the quality of the school system does not matter when there are outside factors that hold more weight. The conditions of the household and upbringing have a major impact on the lives of students. He goes on a journey of self-discovery and connection with the very students he teaches. What he finds, is quite remarkable.
This book is an autobiography, narrated in first person by Ed Boland. The main people mentioned in this book are Ed, his boyfriend Sam, his family, his numerous students, and his colleagues. The events of this book take place in New York in the 21st Century. This book details Boland’s attempt to teach students who come from bad backgrounds. For example, he taught Chantay, a girl who, along with her almost nonexistent clothing, was one of the main antagonists of the book, as she was a nightmare for every teacher. The central idea is that where, who and how you live have a major impact on your life. I believe that Ed Boland wrote this book to document his journey and hope that those who read it will create a better environment for their children.
This book was quite an eye-opener for someone who experiences the school system. It was very descriptive and touching and I was able to sympathize with Ed Boland even though I had not experienced what he was going through. I enjoyed the light humor, and it was quite a rollercoaster. I started off not knowing if I would enjoy this book, but I ended up thoroughly loving it. Although it was quite vulgar, it depicted school without sugarcoating it, unlike most books. I would recommend this book to an older audience, mainly because the language would better suit those of older age and the message is aimed at the older generation. If you liked the movie “Stand and Deliver”, you will definitely like this book. All in all, it is a down to earth novel, and truly describes school perfectly






Name: Ryan S.
Title: I Will Always Write Back
Authors: Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch
Copyright: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright Date: 2015

Aminah K.
By Zayn Malik
Delacorte Press
Text copyright 2016 by Zayn Malik

Jelani B. Class 8-350
Title: I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
Author: Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick
Publisher and Copyright: Scholastic Inc., Copyright by Salarzai Limited

Rachel D.    8-350
To Catch a Cat
Heather Green
Penguin Random House    Copyright 2008 by Heather Green

            The adventure, I Will Always Write Back, by Alifirenka, Ganda and Welch showcase a real-life pen pal relationship and how a school project leads to a lifelong friendship.  After just a few letters, Caitlin and Martin desired to continue to learn about each other and build on their friendship.  The book’s descriptive details allow you to feel the craving that each person has towards the other.  Caitlyn lives a middle-class lifestyle in Hatfield, Pennsylvania and Martin lives a poor lifestyle in Mutare, Zimbabwe.  Caitlin and Martin overcame a monumental feat of keeping a 7000-mile apart relationship going by neither giving up on each other.
I Will Always Write Back, is an autobiography told in first person by Caitlin and Martin.  The two most important characters are Martin and Caitlin because they are the pen pals that tell the story.  The story takes place between 1997 and 2003 in Hatfield, Pennsylvania and Mutare, Zimbabwe.  The main points of the story are when Caitlin expressed why she chose to write a letter to a student in Zimbabwe, Martin receiving Caitlin’s first letter, Caitlin sending Martin money for school and to help pay for his house, Martin getting invited to a private school, Martin coming to America, and finally Caitlin and Martin meeting face to face for the first time.  The author’s purpose for writing I Will Always Write Back is, to express that anything is possible with the support of a friend.  Martin had very little but because Caitlin was in his life, he persevered through many tough times and is living his dream. 
I enjoyed reading this book.  While reading the book I created visual pictures in my mind that made me feel as if I was watching the events unfold.  I enjoyed reading both Caitlin and Martins’ perspectives on how their friendship developed what their friendship meant to each of them.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading stories of ever-lasting friendships or stories of the importance of having a supportive friend.  I think this book, would be a good book to recommend to my friend Olivia T. because her best friend moved to another state and she is afraid that they will no longer be friends.  I think this book will help her realize that with just a little be of effort they can remain best friends, through phone calls, letters, emails, texts, and visits.



Zayn Malik displays a long journey of his life after leaving boy band One Direction. After years of being with One Direction, ZAYN began his life as a solo artist with his album, Mind of Mine. He showed and told his life before and after 1D in the “scrapbook” of his life. The never-before released pictures, hundreds of colored photographs and Zayn's notes, drawings, song lyrics, and personal stories, this book catches Zany’s private moments and his feelings on fame, success, music, and life.
The genre of Zayn’s Autobiography is non-fiction. And it is in Zayn’s point of view. The people in this book are of course Zayn, Mike and Ant Hannides (aka MYKL), XYZ, and Malay. Each of them have an opinion on ZAYN and his music and it is displayed in the book. MYKL explains that they knew Zayn was a talented artist but they didn’t know he was very creative.  They said, “We knew he was a star, but didn’t realize that he was so… super talented.” XYZ’s Alex Oriet says that Zayn is completely different now that he is out of 1D. “He was honest and unaffected: I think he likes to take his time and he’s definitely one of those people who like to record with as few people around him as possible.” Malays opinion on Zayn is that he’s a true artist. “Zayn is a true artist. He’s got vision, and he’s pretty clear about what he wants to do. It also helps that he’s really creative – he’s always drawing, painting or writing stuff; he’s reading all the time, and it comes out in his lyrics.” The authors purpose is to show people that he’s not just ‘the guy who left One Direction’ and to show that he’s going to make it big.
What I liked about this autobiography is that Zayn added his own photographs and notes. Usually when reading an autobiography, it’s just about the person’s life and you have to make a picture. Zayn added his own. It’s kind of like a children’s book with illustrations just that these aren’t illustrations, they’re pictures that help you understand more. If you like music and want to learn about the music industry a little bit more, I recommend this book.






            Malala Yousafazai was born in 1997 to a Pashtun family in Swat Valley, Pakistan.  Malala valued education due to her father's dream of founding a school.  After the 9/11 attacks occurred, power would continually shift; as did the nation’s international reputation.  When Malala was ten years old the Taliban (an Islamic fundamentalist group) came to Swat Valley.  This group was led by a man named Fazlullah.  Soon strict rules were implemented such as no CDs, DVDs, and TVs in the home, women must remain in purdah and girls could not be educated.  Malala did not except this last rule. Malala and her father began to speak out publicly against the Taliban.  Soon Malala and her family left becoming IDPs (Internally displaced persons).  Once she and her family returned Malala gained more national and international fame for being an advocate for girls’ education. Then a tragedy occurred.  After this Malala became and International sensation, she used this fame to speak out on a large stage for girl's education.

            I am Malala is a Nonfiction Autobiography; this means Malala wrote this book about herself.  The story’s point of view is First person meaning the words I and me are used throughout the story.  The characters of the book are: Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafazai, Tor Pekai Yousafazai, Khushal Yousafazai, Malka e-Noor, Rohul Amin, Hidayatullah, Benazir Bhutto, General Pervez Musharraf, Safina, Raymond Davis, Malauna Fazlullah and multiple minor characters.  The setting of the story is Swat Valley, Pakistan; Birmingham, England; and Shangla, Pakistan.  The plot of the I am Malala is Malala's home is taken over by the Taliban and they enforce unfair rules. Malala speaks out against these rules then gets punished for doing so.  She recovers and continues to fight gaining more traction as she then becomes an International symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest Nobel prize winner ever. The theme of I am Malala is how heroes and role models, well known by millions can contribute to change or distract from it. The authors purpose in I am Malala is to show others that Malala went against the Taliban, to stand up for women's rights. People can look up to her strength, hope and bravery.

            The point I liked about the book was Malala's bravery.  She was able to go against the Taliban even though she was punished in a horrible way.  She is a great role model to follow and look up to.  If you are interested in stories of overcoming huge obstacles and you support women's rights, then this is the book for you.  If you’re interested in the life of people in Pakistan than this could also be the book for you.

            The book “To Catch a Cat” follows journalist Heather Green as she settles down in Manhattan. Satisfied with her job and her small New York apartment, the only thing she is unsure about is her boyfriend, Matt. She is uncertain about the small town in New Jersey where he lives. This all changes one morning when Heather finds three stray kittens in his neighbor’s yard. She feels a strong bond with the kittens and an urge to rescue them. This introduces her into the world of cat rescue, where she finds herself caught in the middle of a hard decision she must make. This phenomenal book takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster as Heather tames, socializes, and falls in love with the three lovable cats.
The genre of this book was nonfiction, told in first person point of view by Heather Green. The characters in this book were Heather, her boyfriend Matt, the three kittens (Three, Two Spot, and Zero), and the workers at the animal adoption center. This book takes place in Manhattan in 2002, the year Heather found the kittens. It also takes place in Union City, New Jersey, a small town where Matt lives. The central idea of this book is that in life, the only thing that matters is love. The author elaborates on this idea and shows that looks, homes, and money don’t describe a person. All that truly counts is friends, family, and bonds. The author’s purpose in writing this book was to inform the reader on the world of cat rescue while explaining the importance of love, no matter if it’s a person or a kitten. Heather states in the book, “When I looked into Two’s eyes for the first time, I kind of had an epiphany. I knew I loved this cat and as soon as I looked at Matt, I didn’t care about the house he lived in, because I loved him too.”  Heather also tries to explain the world of cat rescue. Throughout the book she tries to delve into the reasons as to why she began rescuing animals. For instance, she states, “Every time I held their shaking bodies, I knew that they were scared, but I knew that they’d be so much happier with a real place to call home.”
I certainly liked this book. It had every aspect of a good story that I enjoy: self-discovery with a hint of mystery, and, of course, cats! It dove into the world of a journalist, uncertain about her boyfriend, who viewed life in a confusing way. By the end, she looked at life with fresh eyes and made important decisions that she knew were right. I would recommend this book to anyone who finds joy in animals. I would also recommend it to people who like the suspense and mystery in decision making. It also has a tint of romance in Heather and Matt’s relationship, for anyone who enjoys that. Overall, I recommend this to a wide variety of people, because “How to Catch a Cat” takes the reader on an exhilarating ride that’s hard to jump out of.





Shanelle S.  8-350
Title- Assata Shakur
Author- Forewords by Angela Davis and Lennox Hinds

Shawn N. 8-350
My Inventions
Nikola Tesla
Martino Fine Books; 48498th edition (June 15, 2011)

Luis M 8-227
Title: You Gotta Have Balls
Author: Brandon Steiner
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.    Copyright: 2012

Alain P.   8 - 350
Title - “You’re Better Than Me”
Author - Bonnie McFarlane
Cover photo by Bonnie McFarlane
HarperCollins Publishers, Copyright by Bonnie McFarlane
February 23, 2016

For this book review I read about “Assata Shakur”, this book was about how she was the most wanted person in America at that time. Every person involved with the FBI or the government disliked Assata Shakur. What made her be the most wanted person, is that she was involved with a crime which made her an accomplice. She was shunted between while waiting for trial, not only for murder, but for armed robbery, kidnap and attempted murder of two ambushed police officers. After all of the crimes she had done it made her end up on the most wanted list and she was the first women to be wanted by the FBI. During the crime she serve injuries and after they were recovered she was put into jail. Moreover, this is when things became crazy. After a few years in prison she escaped and went to Cuba. She was still the most wanted woman fugitive.
         The genre of the book is an Autobiography, Non-fiction. The point of view of the book is first person (Assata Shakur). There is only one important person that is Assata Shakur. Setting of the book is mostly prison and Cuba. The plot of the story of her being the most wanted fugitive, her life being in prison and, Cuba. So, the central idea of the story is about Assata Shakur life story and what she went through.
          Overall, this book was very interesting and descriptive. So, I recommend you fellow people to read this book, it will open your minds to a lot of things and you will have a lot of questions to ask yourself. It was just crazy to her someone’s story and what they went through being as a criminal. I truly do recommend you to read this book you will a lot of stuff that goes on in life that you will probably never knew.





This book is about the life of Nikola Tesla, and his inventions. He talks about his early life and his talents. Also, the book introduces how he created the Tesla Coil and other things.
This book is an autobiography. Nikola Tesla, the author, is telling the story in first person point of view. The people in the story are Nikola Tesla, his mother and father, his school teachers, and his professors. This story takes place in Tesla’s early life, his teenage years, and his later life, as well as some places where he studied abroad, such as Paris (although the book doesn’t mention the years, or the specific locations, such as the city), and he lived in many places such as Colorado Springs, Budapest, Prague, Karlovac, Lower Manhattan, and other places. The central idea/author’s purpose is to convey Tesla’s early life and the things he created with his talents.
I liked this book because it is very interesting that Tesla could imagine his inventions in his mind and that he could also modify his designs without having to touch a thing. I would recommend this book to people who are aspiring to be technicians, engineers, and anyone who enjoys telautomatics (the art of movement).





The book, You Gottta Have Balls, is about a man named Brandon Steiner. This book teaches you about his life and how he came from nothing to owning a sports memborilla franchise.
The genre of the book is nonfiction. It is an autobiography. Brandon Steiner is telling his life story. He is the main character of this story even though he mentions some family members.   Brandon Steiner is the person that is important to this story since it is about him. The story takes place in New York City from the 1950s to the present date. The overall theme is to never give up in life and to keep trying even when you don’t succeed.
I liked this book because I learned that Brandon Steiner had to face a lot of challenges in his life but he still became successful. He was a poor man from Brooklyn and became a millionaire.  He taught me that hard work pays off. This is why I like this book and you should read it too. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to succeed in life and to any sports fan. It’s a great story.






Bonnie McFarlane is a Canadian-American comedian and writer. She wrote her autobiography ‘’You’re Better Than Me’’, co-hosts her podcast My Wife Hates Me with her husband/comedian Rich Vos and appeared on the second season of the TV reality show Last Comic Standing. In her autobiography, which she published in 2016, she states how she was born, how she lived in her house, how she was bullied at school, how she got an abortion, how she became addicted to writing jokes and making comedy, and how, like everyone else should, embraced her crazy, wacky, personality and used it for her own good.

            The genre of Bonnie’s book is an autobiography. She talks about her new experiences in first person like how she annoyed everyone around her with her jokes and asking them if they thought it was funny. She states, “He didn’t like that my priorities were shifting away from him. He didn’t like hearing, ‘Is this funny?’ fifty times a day.” In Bonnie’s story, she has a lot of characters, first, her mom, her dad, her siblings, her first boyfriend Justin, (it’s not his real name but that’s what she calls him), David Letterman, her other boyfriend, Mark, her manager, Janeane Garofalo, Rich Vos, her friend Lynn, and much more. She also had a cat that she found near her house but had to be put down due to a neurological disease. Bonnie’s book starts off in Canada where she was born and then she travels to New York and then to California where she stays now. All this through the late 1980’s and 2000’s. The author’s purpose of writing and showing her autobiography was to display her experiences to the world, starting from about when she was in school to when she became a comedian and traveled the world. She revealed how she was really poor when she was younger and how she hated this guy, Rich Vos, and then married him. Bonnie’s autobiography is a great book about finding your voice and embracing your inner crazy-person.
Overall, I found Bonnie McFarlane’s autobiography, ‘’You’re Better Than Me”, very comedic and entertaining. As well as being a good comedian, Bonnie had the ability to turn her comedic thoughts into a funny book, with a laugh at every page. As an example of her jocosity, she states, “When I first got into this biz called show, I decided I was going to change my name, make it more Hollywood. And you know how you do that? You take your middle name and the first street that you ever lived on. So, when I first started, I actually went by Sue Rural Route 2.” The first time I read this, (Yes, I read it twice), I laughed and thought that she should put it in her stand ups. But then I watched her stand ups on YouTube and I didn’t see that joke spoken at all which means she thinks up of original jokes for her book and for her stand ups so I adore that. If you’re a “wannabe” comedian or just really love stand ups and watching comedians then this is the perfect book for you. It goes into full detail on how she first became a comedian and how she got her manager for comedy. This could be helpful to that type of person because it could show them how to be a comedian or if they just want to have a laugh. In conclusion, this was Bonnie McFarlane’s book review.






Thomas K. 8-350
Author-Austin Andrews and Austin Andrews Jr.
Copyright date-2008

Name and class: Jenna E. 8-350
Title: The Autobiography of Malcom X
Author:Malcom X and Alex Haley
Copyright date:1964

Syeda J 8-350
Book Title: “The Glass Castle”
Book Author: Jeannette Walls
Publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons
Copyright date: 2005

Kasey G. 8-350   
Title:  “The Warrior’s Heart”
Author:  Eric Greitens
Illustrator:  Emma D. Dryden
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Copyright: Eric Greitens
October 15, 2017

In the book Pow-152 many sad and brutal descriptions happen. In the beginning of the book Andy Andrews worked on a navy ship, until Japanese soldiers captured the whole ship. He spent over two years in camps with many men. He was moved twice to two different locations. He worked hard labor days with little to no food and water. He states many ways they smuggled newspapers and food for the POWs (prisoners of war). They sometimes got caught and received brutal beatings. When the war was over Andy Andrews was transported to Guam. While he was in Guam the US Naval Hospital inspected every Pow that survived. Andy Andrews was one of the lucky POW to survive.
The genre of this book was a non-fiction autobiography. The book is told in first person central. The main character is Andy himself and other characters are Japanese soldiers and other POWs. The setting took place in Osaka and Tsuruga during World War II. The central idea is to show how the prisoners were treated and Andy Andrew’s time as a prisoner. The plot is Andy Andrews time as a prisoner.
This book is great I would recommend anyone to read it. Not only is the book very interesting it also gives a lot of information about the prisoners. The description of every little thing almost makes you feel like your one of the prisoners. When the author describes the beatings of the prisoners you feel it and have a vivid image almost like you are there. This book is a very reliable source since a prisoner himself writes it. This book is very interesting and describes every little thing such as how they smuggled food into the camp. Overall this book is a one of a kind and is fantastic.



This autobiography is about an important figure, Malcom X. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He was raised in an unstable home with 7 siblings and had been an inspiration to African Americans. During the time of Malcolm X there had been discrimination towards the blacks and people who used to be former slaves. In Malcolm's early ages, he had made a lot of mistakes and landed himself in jail. As he was in jail, he became a Muslim and joined the Nation of Islam. After getting released he quickly became the first minister for the Nation of Islam and spoke upon fighting for Civil Rights.

   This book is a nonfiction autobiography about the black leader Malcolm X. It is told by Malcolm himself and finished by Alex Haley. The important characters are Malcolm and the people he interacted with. For instance, his mom, his sister, partner in crime, and Elijah Muhammad. His sister had provided him shelter in Boston. His partner in crime, West Indian Archie, had led Malcolm in robberies which was the cause of Malcolm getting arrested. While Elijah Muhammad had inspired him. These characters played an important role in Malcolm’s life. Every small thing that happened lead to another and shaped who Malcolm was. The story takes place in all the places Malcolm has been too. It took place in Omaha, Michigan, Boston and Detroit. From the time phrase of 1925-1965. The important details are when Malcolm converts to a Muslim and how it changed Malcom in a good way. The specifics are when he went to jail and what he did there. Furthermore, how he interacted with the whites. Also, that he was a black leader after he was imprisoned. The author’s purpose or the central idea was to inform readers about Malcolm X and the important event that happened in his life. He wanted to convey how people can change for the better like Malcolm did and how everyone has a good side inside of them.

     Hence, I would recommend the book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley to anyone who wants to read an inspirational book. To add on, this book is recommended to any gender but they should be 13 and older so it can be easier to comprehend and understand. This book shows how hard life used to be and how racism still occurred. This book can make you emotional. It almost feels like you're actually talking to Malcolm himself. He gives you a vivid image about his life like you were him. The tones differ by every scene on how Malcolm felt. All in all, I recommend this book to anyone who’s 13 and up who wants to read a motivational non- fiction autobiography.



Jeannette Walls didn’t grow up in the most ideal circumstances. Raised in poverty, her family moved around a lot. When the Walls’ family ran out of finances and had no place to go, they simply left town. When Rex’s (Jeanette’s father) alcoholism worsens, the family moves in with Rex’s mother, Erma. She tortures the children, committing unspeakable acts. After the years and years of torture, Jeanette and her 4 siblings attempt to break free, but their abusive and dysfunctional past never truly leaves them.
The book “The Glass Castle” is a nonfiction autobiography, told in Jeannette Walls’ point of view. The main characters include Jeanette herself, her father Rex, her mother Rose Mary, her sister Lori, her brother Brian, her other sister Maureen, and her grandmother Erma. This is the Walls’ family, although they barely seem like a family. Some other characters in the book include Dinita, Jeanette’s friend. The majority of the story takes place in Welch, West Virginia. The whole story is spanning between 1960 and 2005. The central idea of “The Glass Castle” is growing up is seeing how things really are, and accepting the unreality of childhood dreams and ideas. Details that support this include the idea of the glass castle itself. Jeanette and her father fantasize about this “dream house” for years, until Jeanette finally comes to the realization that it was simply an illusion based on her hopes for her father. The authors purpose of writing this story was to encourage people to follow their dreams, and to never let their past hold them back. A detail that supports this is how Jeanette moved to NYC and became a journalist even though she came from an abusive home.
I personally loved this book, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who dreams big. Walls’ grew up in terrible conditions, but still managed to find success in her life. Despite the fact that I dislike most nonfiction books, reading this autobiography felt more like reading a fairy tale. Walls’ writing pulled me into her life, and had a compelling touch that made me want to keep reading. I enjoyed the complex descriptions Jeanette gave when she discussed her thoughts during her childhood. It showed when reality started hitting Jeannette, but did so in such a way that seemed so vivid. Overall, “The Glass Castle” is a wonderfully written autobiography, full of dark and magical times.






“The Warrior’s Heart” is an autobiography about the early life of Eric Greitens as a Navy SEAL. The book describes how Eric overcame adversity in his Navy SEAL training. Following his intensive training, Mr. Greitens receives orders from his commander and proceeds to go to Afghanistan to fight in a war. He returns home from the war and reports back to the Navy SEAL base.

The genre of this book is an autobiography. The story is being told from first person point of view. The main characters are Eric Greitens, Earl, Greg Hall and Shifu. Earl made Eric box to get him physically into shape before joining the SEALs. Shifu helped Eric to become a martial arts fighter before joining the SEALs. Greg Hall inspired Eric to keep going during his SEAL training. Most of the story takes place at the Navy SEALs military base during 2000-2001. The book opens with Eric starting as a kid, thinking about getting good grades and going to good colleges. Nine years later, he flies to China for martial arts training from Shifu. Following, he takes a train to Zagreb and competitively fights kids age 10-13. He flies back to America and starts boxing lessons with Earl. Greitens then signs up for Navy SEALs and starts the intensive training. He is sent to Afghanistan to fight in a war that was started by the Taliban crashing two commercial airliners into the Twin Towers. After returning from Afghanistan, Eric is sent back to the base to train again. “The Warrior’s Heart” shows Eric Greitens’ life through his inner thoughts and outer problems.

I enjoyed how Eric describes his inner thoughts to tell his story. He uses descriptive language.  It pulls the reader in to keep turning the pages of this autobiography. If a reader likes descriptive language and vocabulary and tense moments, they will enjoy reading “The Warrior’s Heart.” This autobiography is also recommended reading for anyone who likes Navy SEALs, who desires to be in BUD/S or wishes to become part of the US military.









Sandaru E. 8-350
Title- Helen Keller- The Story of My Life
Author- Helen Keller
Publisher- CreateSpace Publishing
Copyright- 1903

Grace L. 8-350
Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting’ Merry Like Christmas
Maya Angelou
Copyright by Maya Angelou 1976

Gulshat M. 8-350
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
Maya Angelou
© 2009 Random House, Inc.

Emily A. 8-225
Book Title: “the long hard road out of hell”                                     
Book Author: Marilyn Manson with Neil Strauss

Helen Keller was unfortunately cursed with the loss of sight and hearing due to a severe illness, 19 months after her birth on June 27,1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, daughter to Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. Later on, Helen was introduced to a teacher known as Anne Sullivan who taught and encouraged Helen to start communicating starting with the word “water”. Keller explains in the book, “The Story of My Life”, the amount of difficulty it was to communicate with her loved ones and how she, an amazing, wonderful woman, overcame the many obstacles that stood in her way later on in life. She is an inspiration to many and has proven that nothing is impossible.

“The Story of My Life” is an autobiography written in first person, by the talented, Helen Keller. Keller mentioned many people such as her mother and father, her teacher, Anne Sullivan, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who she even dedicated the book to, and lastly Mr. Anagnos who sent Anne Sullivan to aid her. This story takes place in Alabama around the late 1800s. During the beginning of her story she describes her experience in her early life. Before long, Anne Sullivan, her teacher had guided her and made her finally understand the language that finally broke her free from seclusion. Later in life she braves through the rest of the difficulties while winning accomplishments simultaneously. Keller teaches a valuable lesson that one can overcome anything as long as they have the power of perseverance. This book was written to inform the experience that Helen Keller had lived with in an inconceivable way.

This book is an incredibly inspirational piece that I would recommend many to read. Keller had to persevere through many tough issues that had got in her way, inspiring that nothing is impossible. She depicted her life in a story that truly described her experience. Being both blind and deaf is a struggle that no one would ever want to experience, but Keller was chosen to face this. When she overcame this, she became an unforgettable idol to many people in the world. I would recommend this to someone who is going through a dark time, and is hopeless. Keller’s experience might motivate them, giving a bit of hope and help them get through the struggle. As Helen Keller once said, “What is very difficult at first, if we keep trying, gradually becomes easier”.

 Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting’ Merry Like Christmas tells the story of Maya Angelou’s journey through the first part of her life. When she lands a job at a record store, where she liked to spend her time, she meets a man. His name is Tosh, he’s a white man, and he enjoys being around Maya as much as she enjoys being around him. After a while of being friends, Tosh is eventually introduced at Maya’s son, Clyde, and becomes a “main fixture” in their lives. He proposes to Maya, she quits her job, and becomes her loving husband, and Clyde’s loving father. Months later, something in Tosh’s mind snaps, causing him to be tired of marriage. Once divorced, Maya goes back to living with her mother, and has no job to help her get back on her feet. All that she can really resort to is her talent of singing and dancing. Music has always been a major thing in her life, so she figured “Why not use it?”. When Maya got a new job to earn her money at a San Francisco bar, her talent catches the eyes of some soon-to-be friends, and it’s not long before she’s singing at a popular bar on the coast. She is soon asked to go to New York to join the cast of “Porgy and Bess”, which is about to start another tour. So, she leaves her son to sing, but eventually, her realization of her son being neglected dampens her entire experience. Once back home, she is able to rejoice with her son and make herself happy once again.

            This book is an autobiography, told from the author’s, Maya, point of view. The many people throughout this story are either close to Maya, or are blood relatives. They include her son, her, her best friend, ex-husband, mother, bosses and new friends that helped her get where she is at the end. The story was written circa 1976, but the event itself took place during the span of 7 years, from 1949 to 1955. The details that support the plot include when Maya gets a job at the record store. She then meets her husband, Tosh, there who eventually wants a divorce, leaving Maya and her son abandoned with nothing. To find work to be able to make money, Maya gets her job at the bar, dancing, where she meets new friends who help her get to New York, singing. Going to New York made her thing about how she left her son and neglected him so much, and that then led to the very end, where her and her son meet again and are together. The central idea of the autobiography was to show that, even in desperate times of need, you still have a chance to survive and make your way into a time where everything in life is good, and no help from anyone else is needed. Maya Angelou’s purpose in writing this was to, of course, show the central idea, but to also show how music helped her during this time of her life. Without her love of music, she might not have gotten that job at the record shop, and she wouldn’t have been able to sing in New York and other various places.

            In all honesty, I feel that Angelou is a fantastic writer, and I personally think that this was a great book. Being able to relate myself to the story really helped in enjoying it, because in a way, I was able to feel how she felt. What I liked most about it was the time that it was set in. At the time, a colored and a white being together was unusual, and mainly frowned upon. So, to be able to read how Maya was able to deal with this made her character seem strong and independent. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Angelou’s writing, or anyone who has used music to help them during a hard time in their life. Again, being able to relate to the author in some way made the entire story as a whole ten times better.




    “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is a story written by Maya Angelou about her coming of age in the South during the 1930’s. The book goes into the struggles she faced as young woman of color in the town of Stamps, Arkansas. She talks about how she was treated and how it affected her and her loved ones. Angelou wrote about her life and the torment she faced, not only from the racists but from the ones she loved most as well. She describes the aftermath of the torment and how it shaped her into the woman she became.

    This book is an autobiography written and told from the point of view of young Maya Angelou. Important people that were included in this book: Maya Angelou (main character), Bailey Johnson, Jr. (Maya’s older brother), Annie Henderson or Momma (Maya’s grandma), Vivian Baxter (Maya’s mother). The story takes place in Stamps, Arkansas, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, during the 1930s and 1940s. Young Maya moves to Stamps after her parents’ divorce. She lives with her grandmother and is bullied because of her skin color. After, things get bad in the south Maya goes back to living with her mom, where she is then raped by her mom’s boyfriend. This trauma causes Maya to think about her sexual identity. She realizes being loved does not mean she can be taken advantage of and get raped. The author’s purpose was to talk about the changes that affected her childhood.

    Overall, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is a great book because of its view on real life issues such as rape, racism, and bullying. Although, the book gets very descriptive, it shows that issues like this should not be ignored. I recommend this book to anyone that want to know more about the ugly things in life.

        “the long hard road out of hell” written by non-other than Marilyn Manson with the help of Neil Strauss takes the reader through an hysterical, appalling, heart moving, and to some a disturbing adventure following Marilyn Manson’s life from a rebellious teenager to the wild rock n’ roller he is today. Manson talks about growing up with his grandparents and the wild things he did with his friends and peers. The places and the people he hated. The beliefs he disagreed with and the rules he broke to be rebellious against those beliefs. But the greatest thing he talked about in this book was how he became the man he is today and no matter what anybody said to him, he became this man anyway.
This book is a Non-Fiction. It is told by Brian Hugh Warner AKA Marilyn Manson. Manson writes about himself, his parents, his grandparents, his teachers, his friends, the students in his schools, the girls he liked, his enemies, and many more. The story takes place in multiple locations and time periods. The story goes from his childhood years in his grandfather’s cellar to his teenage years in school to his adulthood years backstage at shows and all around the world. Marilyn Manson wrote this book giving his fans an insight on his life and how/why he is the man whom he is known for.
I loved this book! Marilyn Manson is one of my favorite music artists and his book made me love him even more. The book includes everything I love in a book. From parts that make me laugh to parts that make me cry. His personality shined through a lot in the book and that’s what made me obsess over it even more. I recommend this book to any fan of Marilyn Manson because the book just shows you how he became who he is today and the problems he faced before and after achieving this.




Christina A.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou
Random House Publishing; 2009

Connor M. 8-350
Mud, Sweat, and Tears
by Bear Grylls

Izza Q. 8-350
Title: “I am Malala”
Author: Malala Yousafzai
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company-Hatchet book group
Copyright date: October 2013

Luca B.,
99 Stories of The Game
Wayne Gretzky
G.P. Putnams Sons
Copyrighte 2016

 “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is about Maya Angelou’s childhood and what she learned about growing up as a black girl in the 1930’s. She mentioned both the heartbreaking and happy parts of her child and adolescent years in a collection of stories that show her experiences throughout her life. As a child, Maya Angelou had to overcome both racism and trauma because of the many horrible things that had happened to her, which helped her change as a person.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is an autobiography in the first-person point of view of Maya Angelou. There were many people that Maya Angelou mentioned in the book; this includes her grandmother “Momma”, her older brother Bailey whom she shared all of her secrets with, her mother and father, Mr. Freeman who is her mother’s boyfriend, and Mrs. Bertha Flowers who was a mentor for Maya. All of these people had a big influence on Maya Angelou’s life, but not all of these influences were good. The one thing these people all have in common is that they shaped Maya as a person and she learned everything about herself through experiences with them. The book takes place in the 1930’s- 1940’s and starts off in Stamps, Arkansas. Stamps was a quiet and pleasant town where she lived with Momma, Uncle Willie, and Bailey. She and Bailey then moved to St. Louis, Missouri to live with their mother and her boyfriend for a few years, but eventually moved back to Arkansas. During their high school years, Maya and Bailey went to live with her mother again, but in San Francisco. The book is separated into different stories that are in chronological order. Some of the main parts of this book are: her move to St. Louis, being sexually assaulted, coming back to her grandma in Arkansas, and moving to San Francisco to live with her mother again. Maya also lived with a group of homeless teens in a junkyard when she was older, and with this incident, she changed as a person and became a mature young woman. Right after Maya graduated high school, she gave birth to her son and gained a huge amount of confidence. Throughout the book, Maya gives hope to people with the same issues. She used the many memories she had as a way to show others that there is always hope and happiness, and that someone will always be there for you. She wanted readers to be able to relate to her, especially ones who are lost and scared.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was definitely amazing, poetic book that enlightened me on the troubles some people have as they get older. I loved that Maya had the courage to share her stories, which may have helped many people in need of comfort. One of my favorite parts of the book was when she described how terrible and disgusted she felt when she was sexually assaulted. She put so much emotion in her writing to the point where she was able to make her readers cry. Her descriptive language and poetic tone made it very depressing, especially because she was so young when this traumatizing experience happened. Overall, every page and chapter was filled with beautiful, artistic language which made every story she told emotional. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves symbolization, poetic writing, and touching stories. This book had everything added to it to make it the perfect book, from visualization all the way to comedic humor. Her stories are for people like me, who love reading life changing books, and stories that you learn a great amount from. Angelou had a spectacular way with words that could make anyone love reading.

Mud, Sweat, and Tears is an autobiography by Bear Grylls all about his life. He starts off talking about his early life in Britain and how he was as a child. He describes the adventures he had while in school and moving on from it. Next, he explains how he got into exploring the world and all its wonders. Finally, he tells about his multiple trips around the world and how he survived the conditions of such areas.
The book is an autobiography about Bear Grylls. Bear Grylls tells the story as it is an autobiography. Animals like pigs and other wildlife are included in the story and family, friends and schoolmates are involved as well. It is set in a multitude of places all around the world but starts off in Britain. The purpose of writing this book would be to document his life story and how it felt during that time.
The book was very good and I enjoyed the general feel of the book. Anyone who would like a sort adventure book would very much enjoy this book. It shines in its descriptions of nature and the world around it. Which makes this book very good and I would recommend many people to read it.



Malala Yousafzai spoke out for the people of her town when the Taliban took control. She fought to keep education for women in her town and gave hope to her people. When she was shot in the head by the Taliban at the age of 15, she didn’t let it bring her down. The incident made her stronger. She recovered and became a worldwide symbol of peaceful protest. She became the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She stood up for the education of woman, while being a true hero and inspiration to all.

“I Am Malala” is an autobiography written in first person point of view by Malala herself. Throughout the book many people are introduced, some being very dear to Malala and some people who helped her-or harmed her- throughout her life. Malala is the main character in the story. She introduces her family which consists of: Hidayatullah (her father), Kushal (Malala’s little brother), Atal (Malala’s youngest brother), Madam Maryam (One of Malala’s teachers), Malak Bakht Baider (Vice President for the ANP), Fazlullah (the Taliban man who made it difficult for Malala’s family). The setting of the story takes place in Swat Valley in Pakistan, around the year 2012. Malala is very determined and doesn’t let anyone bring her down. Even when the Taliban said she couldn’t go to school, she fought for her rights. She faces many difficulties, such as getting shot in the head, but she still fought for her education. she was a motivation and inspiration to everyone around the world. While reading the book, I found the central idea to be that determination is the key to success and that you are what you stand for. The book shows you that you can get very far with working hard and being determined and to never give up on what you believe in.

I enjoyed reading this book because it was very inspirational. “I Am Malala” teaches us that if you are determined to make something happen, don’t let anyone bring you down. She teaches us that education is important and to be grateful for everything that we have. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in meaningful and inspirational books. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about other people’s lifestyles and hardships.


       Wayne Gretzky has always been my favorite hockey player of all time. He’s an extremely humble man and he plays hockey with so much passion and heart. Wayne Gretzky is also arguably the best hockey player ever. In this book he talks about the many hockey teams there have been, and how the NHL was created. He also talks about the adversaries he had growing up, and the determination it takes to make it to the top. This book taught me about the mindset and attitude you need to have to make it to the top and to work hard every opportunity you have because hockey’s a rough game and any game can be your last.
      This book is an autobiography about Wayne Gretzky and also written by Wayne Gretzky. The most important characters in this book are Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Gordie Howe, and many of the teams in the NHL. This book talks about the entire history of hockey so it starts in 1908. I think the author’s overall theme or lesson is teaching kids that you can be anything with the right mindset and the right amount of passion and determination. This book really helped teach me that if I want to make it far in Hockey I have to put in all the hard work and effort I can.

       What I mainly liked about the book is how Wayne Gretzky talked about the history of Hockey and the NHL. I really liked that he talked about it because I just thought the NHL started in 1909and consist of 25 teams, yet I later learned that the NHL had three different leagues that combined before it started. I also learned that the NHL started with six leagues and thirty-two payers, the NHL later grew to have 38 teams and over 567 players. I would recommend this book to my brother Jack because his favorite player is also Wayne Gretzky and he plays hockey too. I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs a book to teach them that hardworking and perseverance beats talent and laziness any day. 




Olivia S. 8-350
Believe the Victorious Story of Eric Legrand
Author: Eric Legrand
Harper Collins Publishers 2012 Copyright

Ariana S. 8-350
Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Publishing Company: Penguin Young Readers Group
Copyright Date: 2014

Gianna J . 8-227
Book title: “I am Malala “
Book author: Malala Yousafzai
Illustrator: Patricia McCormick

Jonathan B.    
8-350   ELA
Title: “Teen Angst? Naaah”
By Ned Vizzini
Published by Minneapolis, MN : Free Spirit Pub., 2000.
Copyright by Ned Vizzini

           Eric Legrand put heart, blood, sweat and tears into football.  His dream was to become a professional player, but those dreams hit a speed bump when he broke his c3 and c4 vertebrates.  He became paralyzed and couldn’t feel anything from his neck down.  When he was younger his passion was football and even through his four years of college, football was his life, so a big obstacle like paralysis couldn’t even stop him from achieving his goal.  He still believes that someday he will be able to walk again.

           The genre of this book is an autobiography, so, of course the book is written in first person point of view.  Eric Legrand is the main character, but his mom and sister are important parts of the story too.  His mom, he always mentions as his primary care taker and about how she was always there for him.  Eric’s sister, Nicole, helped him communicate to his friends and family when he was hurt, she always supported him in everything he did.  Eric played football in New Jersey, he grew up in Avenel, New Jersey, but went to college at Rutgers in New Brunswick.  When Eric was 5 he started playing football.  He was bigger than most of the kids his age.  His last year of football before high school, he was too big to play football, so he lost twenty pounds.  He had a huge work ethic, and wanted to play for his last year.  Eric played only 3 games on the varsity team in high school, when Rutgers offered him a full ride, so did many other schools, such as Notre Dame and Alabama.  He decided to go to Rutgers and become a Scarlet Knight.  In his junior year he collided helmet to helmet with Army’s kickoff returner.  He went into immediate surgery and later learned that he had a 0-5% chance of regaining full neurological function.  It took him a while to come to terms with these odds, but he decided he would try his hardest to beat them.  Now he preaches to believe in miracles and in yourself.  Also, to never give up, he still fights to walk again, and has seen a lot of improvement.  By writing this book he was trying to teach people to BELIEVE, and to never stop trying, put 100% into everything you do.

           This book was amazing.  I loved the emotion in it and it was such a heart- warming story.  It is so admirable to see a paralyzed man to not just give up, but to believe that one day he will walk again, is so inspirable.  I would recommend this book to people who like to sit around on the couch all day.  This book will show them that doing nothing all day won’t help you in life.  You must get up and be your best at everything you do.  When these people see how determined he is to beat the odds of never walking again and how hard he tries every time he touches the football they will never touch the couch again.  This story is so inspiring and it has made me BELIEVE.




           Brown Girl Dreaming is an autobiography about Jacqueline Woodson’s life growing up as a black child during The Civil Rights Movement childhood in Greenville, South Carolina. The book is a collection of poems telling the stories of her life. Each one is different. Throughout the book, Jacqueline faces the world of segregation in the south, at the time of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. etc. She loves the south and living with her grandparents, but her mom dreams about a place where “money falls from the sky”, New York, a place where most of the blacks in the south want to live because they would be equal to everybody else.  However, when she moves to New York, she realizes that it is not the dreamland she thought it would be, and she liked Greenville better. This is a heartwarming story of Jacqueline’s childhood, what inspired her to be a writer, and, what her family meant to her. Through a series of poems, she tells stories of her and her grandpa going to the candy store, her grandma only bringing her to places where they treated them like people, going to school in Brooklyn, and what she does to make a difference in the world.

           Brown Girl Dreaming is an Autobiography because it is written by Jacqueline Woodson, whose4 life it is telling about. The point of view is first person because she uses pronouns such as “I”, “we”, “us” and many others. Jacqueline is telling the story of her life.  There are many important people throughout the book. Jacqueline is an important person. It shows her thoughts and point of view on segregation, school, writing, and all of the people around her. The book revolves around Jacqueline. Another important person in the book, is Odella. Odella is Jacqueline’s older sister. She is brilliantly smart and loves to read. She is an important character because she was the one who taught Jacqueline about words and learning. She cheered Jacqueline up after the move to New York. Additionally, Hope is an important person. He is important because he is Jacqueline’s brother. He teaches her to love music and he was always there for her to support her in everything she did. Roman is important because he brings laughter and happiness to Jacqueline’s life as her baby brother. Mama taught Jacqueline to behave and have curtesy no matter what the challenge. She taught Jacqueline and her siblings how to be kind and to do the right thing no matter what. Uncle Robert (Mamas brother) was an important person in this book because he was someone who brought joy to Jacqueline and her siblings. He would bring records, candy and fun into the house. When he went to jail, he changed, and that impacted Jacqueline by showing her that jail was not a good place. It was depressing even to Uncle Robert. Grandpa Gunnar (daddy) was Mamas dad, Jacqueline’s grandfather. They all called him Daddy because he became a father-like figure to them after their mom and dad split up. Daddy was an important person in the book because he was a father to them. After Mama and Jack separated, Daddy was the leading male in their lives and he became a father to Jacqueline and her siblings. Grandma Georgiana (grandma) was mama’s mom. Grandma was important because she taught them their beliefs. They took after her in, being Jehovah’s Witnesses. She teaches them their ways of belief which makes her very important. She also comforts them and helps them when they need help. In the beginning, this story takes place in Columbus, Ohio in 1963 during the Civil Rights Movement. This was where Jacqueline was born. The setting later changes to Greenville, South Carolina when Jacqueline, Hope, Odella, and their mom move to live with her grandparents. The book ends with them in Brooklyn, New York when Jacqueline is ten years old. The book starts off with Jacqueline being born. She spends her first couple of years in Ohio, going to Greenville in the winter without her father. When her mother and father split up, she moved to Greenville to live with Grandma and Daddy. She learns to love the south. She loves spending her days with Grandma, Daddy, Odella, and Hope. Her mother visits her Aunt Kay who lives in New York and loves it. She then leaves to find them a house in New York. While Mama was gone, Grandma teaches them to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mama sends them letters, until one day the letter says that she found a home. Jacqueline also has a little brother named Roman. Jacqueline is both saddened and cheered up by this change. She doesn’t want to leave the south, but she is also excited to see the place where “money falls from the sky.” After she arrives in Brooklyn, New York, she hates it. She thinks it has too much concrete, not enough trees, and money does not fall from the skies. She missed everything about the south. Eventually, Mama got sick of their apartment and moves in with Aunt Kay. After Aunt Kay dies tragically, they have to move to another apartment yet again. She comes to term with Brooklyn because of school. She loved to learn in school. Although she was a slow reader, she always loved to tell stories, especially through her writing. Her teacher had told her that she had a special talent for writing, and she enjoyed that. Her best friend Maria was always there to help her in Brooklyn and they became forever friends. Every summer they go to Greenville. One summer, Roman couldn’t go because he was sick in the hospital. He ate paint off the walls resulting in too much lead in his blood. Roman gets better and learns to love the Greenville summers. Over the years, Daddy had been getting weaker from smoking. One spring, they go to Greenville to see Daddy die.  It was hard for Jacqueline because they were so close. The book ends with a poem about writing. How she would go on to experience many things in life and write them all down.  The central idea of this book is to show much love and pride in your family and to express yourself in your own way. Jacqueline’s way was to write. Odella’s way was through reading and academics. Hopes way was through chemistry and music. Each of her family members expressed themselves in many ways throughout the book and they all have pride in each other. The authors purpose was to explain the importance of family and expressing yourself. Throughout the book Jacqueline expresses how she expressed herself and why her family meant so much to her.

           I loved this book. I enjoyed reading it because it was heartfelt and emotional. It showed how much family means because her family helped her through all her challenges. It also showed how words mean so much. She loved writing and you got to hear why she loves it in her own words. You learned how writing helps people express themselves in many ways. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves emotion and family importance in a book. This book shows how much everything in life can mean to you. It shows how families pick each other up and help you through everything. The poems were so heartfelt and emotional. They flowed together very nicely. All in all, this book was an inspiring autobiography.



“I am Malala” is about a girl who stood up for her education and was shot by the Taliban. Her story starts with living in Pakistan in the modern times.

The genre of “ I am Malala “ is fiction (autobiography ) . The point of view would be the narrator. Important characters are Malala Yousafzai because the story is all about her, Fazlullah because he was a part of the Taliban who went wound destroying stuff. And lastly Hidayatullah because that’s Malala’s father and he supported her through everything. The setting takes place in Birmingham England and Pakistan. The time period was during 2012. An important plot point would be when Malala learns to appreciate her freedom and upbringing at a young age when she goes and visits her grandfather. The theme of this story is The Power of Education. Education determines the way Malala grows up and the more she learns the more mature and educated she is.

What I liked about the book was that she loves getting her education because it helps her become who she is and it is what her mind is always focused on. If you like modern stories that are also interesting then you will love this book.





In this story, Ned Vizzini writes about his high school years in Stuyvesant High School. It is actually a collection of essays that he wrote during those years. He talks about the people he met along the way, and the sacrifices he made to juggle his social life, grades, and sleep. He talks about pressures and hardships, but he also talks about his obsessions and his family, and his adventures that made high school years special.

This is a nonfiction autobiography written during Ned’s high school years. Ned is the narrator, and the main character. His family appears frequently and his friends such as Ike and Owen show up during his adventures. The book takes place mostly in Manhattan and in Stuyvesant high school during the 2000s and earlier. In the story he mentions studying for the SHSAT. He wanted to go to the best schools and brag about everything. He goes on vacation on cheap trips to underexplored places. He takes drugs and ingests alcohol for the first time and plays dominoes with new friends and gets a ticket for jumping his way past the New York subway system. He talks about things like getting a job for the first time and the hard work he went through for his first paycheck and getting his first girlfriend/taking her to prom. The message is that you only go through high school once, so don’t miss opportunities by going to music concerts, and especially don’t lay in bed thinking about it. You only live once so make your experiences count.

I liked this book for its comedy. Ned made the reader laugh in every situation, all the while staying completely real. I would recommend this book to people who want to relive high school in a funny way, and people who enjoy reading about dramas and events from someone else’s life.




Zahir J. 8-225
Brown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson

Jose M.       8-225         
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
E. Boyd Smith

Sift I. 8-227
Title: The Story of My Life
Author: Helen Keller
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
Copyright: September 19, 2016

Gerardo R. 8-350
Teen Angst? Naaah…
Ned Vizzini
Random House Children’s Books

The story Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is about a girl born into an African American family and tells her life as a kid. She wrote about her school days and her friends. She visited her grandmother’s house and she's been getting sicker and sicker. Later on, she wound up to become a successful writer.

The book is an Autobiography. The story is being told by Jacqueline Woodson, who is also the author. The Story’s Characters were Jaqueline, her brothers, sisters, her father Jack, her mother Mary Ann Irby. The characters are important because without them we wouldn’t and have background detail. The characters set up the main part of the story. For an example without the grandma we wouldn’t have Jackie go visit her. The story take place from Jackie’s childhood 1960’s to 1980’s. The story starts off at their own house and later on they go to
Jackie’s grandmother house and sometimes in school. I think the author's purpose of writing this book is to show you what she went through as a child and how it affected her. The central idea of Brown Girl Dreaming is Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood and what happened during it.

What I liked about this essay was that it was very descriptive and informative. She did a very good job on using many details to get her point across. I think that she could have made the pages a bit longer and have more writing on each page. I would recommend this book to my friend Jason. I think he would like this book because he doesn't have a great attention span. Every page is like a poem so he would probably enjoy it.



The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin mostly contains thoughts and ideas on Benjamin Franklin’s daily life as well as his time period and the popular or famous people. This autobiography doesn’t contain much, but what it does contain is a lot of heavy writing and a little broken English so it may be a bit difficult to understand from time to time.

The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a nonfiction book which is written in first person by Benjamin Franklin since it is an autobiography. Some of the main people in this autobiography include Mr. Andrew Hamilton who is a famous lawyer from Philadelphia, Mr. Noris who went to meet Indians with Benjamin Franklin and some of the less important individuals are Mr. Dunnham and Mr. Secretary peters. The story takes place in Philadelphia, Boston, as well as New York. The authors purpose in writing this may be to just let everyone know his name or just for the future to read it as his documentation. The central idea however is basically him traveling from place to place and talking about meeting the Indians and other people.

If I’m being honest I did not really like the book that much, One, it was really hard to follow it was almost all spoken in broken English and needed a little translating from my side, Two, it felt like it had a really long drag in it. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who disliked stories that drag on for a while or who have short attention spans. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind drags and is just there for the story and information itself.



The story "The Story of My Life" was mostly about Helen Keller recounts her early education with Anne Sullivan from the Perkins Institute for the Blind. An illness left Helen deaf and blind at eighteen months. She's unable to communicate until Anne Sullivan teaches her the Manuel alphabet.
   The genre of the story was non-fiction. This story was told in the first person point of view. The important characters were Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Kate Adams, and Martha Washington. Helen Keller is important because the story is told in her point of view. Anne Sullivan is important because she taught Helen how to communicate with her hands. Kate Adams is important because she is the mother of Helen Keller and tries her best to understand Helen. Martha Washington is important because in the early days of Helens illness they were good friends. Helen Keller's story begins in Tuscumbia, a small town in northern Alabama, in 1880. The important plot points in the story was Helens illness and struggles with her deafness and blindness. Another important plot point was when Helen got stuck in a tree during a storm and she gets an opportunity to speak in sign language. The theme of the story is lesson learned. The lesson that Helen Keller learned is that if you have an illness you still can accomplish in life. The author's purpose in this story is to inform us about how Helen Keller became strong even if she was blind and deaf.

   The part I liked about the book was that when Anne Sullivan helped Helen learn how to read and write because Anne Sullivan was blind too and she recovered and got her eyesight back. I recommend this book to anyone who likes autobiographies and memoirs. Memoir means a biography written from personal knowledge.




“Teen Angst? Naaah…” is a very interesting book. It describes the life of a middle and schooler and his mentality. Ned describes all the good and bad parts (in his opinion) of school. He also talks about his family (personal) life. “Teen Angst? Naaah…” is almost a perfect example of most teenage lives.
The book “Teen Angst? Naaah…” is an autobiography (nonfiction) of Ned Vizzini. Obviously, it is in the point of Ned. The main characters that are usually in the story are Ned Vizzini’s family (His mom, dad, and little brother) and Ned himself. The setting of book is New York, mostly Brooklyn and Manhattan. The central idea of the book was basically to show how life changes quickly and how it’s not always fair, the book was basically separated in two parts (one with good decisions and one with bad decisions).
Overall, I thought this was really good book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is in their teens or is about to be in their teens. It could give a whole new point of view to things. If I was to specifically recommend it to anyone it would be my little cousin (only one year younger). He is in his second year of middle school am this would be a good book to get him prepared for future years. He can learn a little about the stress of high school applications and how it feels to be in the eighth grade. I would also recommend this to anyone who wants a little laugh because Ned talks about his life with a little of a comedic twist in this book. Lastly this book would be great for teenagers because it shows them that they aren’t the only ones with problems and it might help with stress.





Yasmine T. 8-350
Title-Helen Keller- The Story Of My Life
Author-Helen Keller
Publisher- Createspace publishing
Copyright- 1903

Molly D
My Life In Dog Years
Gary Paulsen
Ruth Wright Paulsen
Delacorte Press
Copyright © 1998 by Gary Paulsen

Deanna N.
Class: 8-350
Title: My Family and Other Animals
Author: Gerald Durrell
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Copyright: Simon Nye



       Helen Keller was sadly affected with the loss of her hearing and sight at the age of 19 months to an illness, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was born on June 27, 1880, daughter to Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. Afterward, Helen discusses how her teacher, Anne Sullivan constantly taught her to start communicating and she begin with the word "water". In the book, "the story of my life", Helen Keller explained the amount of difficulty it was to express her feelings and communicate with her loved ones. Also, how she overcame many obstacles that stood in her way in her life, which caused her knowledge to continuously grow. Helen Keller's book is an inspiration to many and has proven that nothing can stand in your way, in life.
The story of my life is an autobiography told by the gifted Helen Keller, written in first person. An autobiography is a story about a person’s life, told by that person. In "The Story of My Life" many important characters were mentioned, such as, her teacher, Anne Sullivan, Mr. Anagos who sent Anne Sullivan to aid her and lastly Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who understood Helen and Helen even dedicated the book to him. This story takes place on the late 1800s in Alabama. During the opening of the autobiography she described her early life, experiences. Soon after that, her teacher Anne Sullivan guided her and gave her the satisfaction to finally understand the language that finally broke her free from feeling secluded. Later on, in her life, she braves through the rest of the difficulties thrown in her way while winning awards/accomplishment simultaneously. Helens Book teach a valuable lesson that one can achieve anything if you put your heart and mind to it. "The Story of my Life" was written to inform the readers about Helen Keller's experience she had to live with in an inconceivable way.
I would definitely recommend this book for many to read because it gives so much information about her life in just one book and it's amazing to know how she overcame her adversity with the tough issues that have got in her way, while she inspired that nothing is impossible. Being both deaf and blind is a situation no one can ever imagine how it feels, however Helen was chosen to be blind and deaf and her story really helped me to have some idea how these people may feel. When she overcame this, she became an idol to many. I would definitely recommend this book to someone that's going through a hard time and is hopeless. Helen Keller's experience may give people some hope and motivation to keep going. If you enjoy intriguing and inspiring books, then you should definitely read the story of my life.


"My Life in Dog Years" explores the life of author Gary Paulsen through the dogs he has had over his lifetime. Each dog holds its own significance and represents a time in his life. Paulsen features a few of his current thoughts about events in the book and tells what he would have done differently. Some of the dogs are heroes, some are good listeners, and a couple of them mostly just eat shoes. But Gary Paulsen loves them all.
"My Life in a dog Years" is an autobiography told in first person by the narrator and author, Gary Paulsen. Although Gary may be the only human character, there are many dogs in the story. Their names are, Cookie, Snowball, Ike, Dirk , Rex, Cesar, Fred, Quincy, Josh, and the pig named Pig. The story is spread throughout the lifetime of Gary Paulsen but he only delves into key aspects that were affected by his dog. Each of the nine chapters is a portrait of one dog that Paulsen has known. Some of them, like Snowball, Gary follows from cradle to grave; others, like Rex, he follows for a single day. The five sections here; exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, don't fit perfectly with the book's overall structure but with each individual chapters. Every chapter has actions that lead to the main event (climax), good or bad, and falling action that completes that dog's story. Gary Paulsen's purpose for writing this book was to entertain the reader as well as inform them about his many dogs and how they changed his life for the better.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves animals. It emphasizes the sweet nature of many dogs and their loyalty to their owner. I personally enjoyed this book because the way that these dogs impacted Gary was extremely touching. I also found the extreme situations the dogs helped Gary through inspiring.



“My Family and Other Animals” tells the story of the years that Gerald Durrell as a child lived on the Greek island of Corfu. It is filled with stories of his eccentric family and his experiences exploring Corfu. During their time on this island, the family makes many new friends and goes on several exciting journeys. In the book, Gerald pursues his love of natural history while also getting an education from several teachers and tutors.
This book is an autobiography. It is told in first person point of view by the author, Gerald Durrell. The most featured characters of this book are Gerald’s family and friends. Margo (Gerald’s sister), Leslie and Lawrence (Gerald’s brothers), and Louisa (his mother). These characters are important because without them, Gerald would have totally different experiences and opinions. In addition, Gerald’s friend Theodore is important because he helped educate Gerald about what he loves most: animals. Lastly, the family's close friend Spiro is important because he protects them throughout the whole story. The events in this book take place mostly on the island of Corfu during the 1930s. The book is an autobiographical account of five years in the childhood of naturalist Gerald Durrell, age 10 at the start of the saga. Gerald is the youngest in a family consisting of their widowed mother, the eldest son Larry, Leslie, and diet -obsessed sister Margo together with Roger the dog. They are protected by their close friend/ taxi driver, Spiro. This book is more than just a funny autobiography. It focuses on the bond between humans and animals. Gerald wanted to express his love towards all animals and show how fascinating wildlife is.
I loved 'My family and Other Animals'(1956) by Gerald Durrell from start to finish, thoroughly and in detail. Not only was it full of interesting facts about the animals he caught but also about the people in his life. Durrell included so many details and descriptions that i felt as though I were actually there. I would recommend this book and his other works because of the memories they'll leave with you after reading. I can almost guarantee you'll laugh at the outrageous
characters he meets, the wacky things his family does and be fascinated by the details of everyday life magnified to an extraordinary degree. You will definitely love this book if you liked “White Bim, Black Ear” by Gavriil Troyepolskey.