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Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Reviewed by Nathan A., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

Can you think of an environment where you're traveling from foster parent to foster parent and none of them like you? Where you always run away from them only to be found by the authorities again? No friends, no fun, and a feeling that you'll never be happy again? Well, that's the life of Hollis Woods, the main character in the amazing and action-packed book Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. This is a book about a girl who has no family and everyone hates her. They think she's a mountain of trouble. But she meets one of the only foster parents she'll ever like and want to stay with. I'm absolutely positive that Pictures of Hollis Woods will make you feel happier than you've ever been in your life!

In Pictures of Hollis Woods, Hollis meets Josie Cahill, an older artist who is great with foster kids. So the authorities think they should put Hollis there. As it turns out, she likes Josie. Josie is the only person who's been nice to her since the Regan family. Hollis felt like she'd never ever be this happy again in her life. Josie, it seems, likes her too and takes care of her, but the Social Services don't want Hollis to live with Josie. If they move her, Josie will be living alone (except for her cat Henry) and they will move Josie away as well. Her cousin Beatrice went to California to have a fun vacation, so Hollis has no help from anyone else. So in the winter, as it gets closer to Christmas and school is out, Hollis takes Josie and Henry to the Regan’0s summer house, the one she used to live in.

As Josie starts to get older, she starts to forget things. She's clueless why they moved to the Regan's house and doesn't understand that the Social Services are on the hunt for them. Hollis is doing her best to look out for her and Josie, and just have a wonderful Christmas that she has ever had before. Hollis wishes that she could go back in time and redo the wrong things she did so that she didn't have to mess up the Regan family like she thinks she did. She just wants to be happy again and have some people who truly love her. What can she do, besides just go through the motions?

Pictures of Hollis Woods was a fantastic book that was emotional in many ways. I was wondering what would happen next at the end of each chapter, trying to predict what would happen next. It felt like I was on a roller coaster falling off a cliff. Pictures of Hollis Woods is a depressing tale of a girl who was all alone until a foster parent named Josie came into her life. I wonder how someone would feel if they had the life of Hollis Woods. It's unimaginable how a twelve-year-old girl could be so alone!

If I could go back in time and read Pictures of Hollis Woods again, I would. It's that great. It made me feel so grateful for having the family and friends that I have right now. I don't think I could have cried, but it was still sad, but all stories have a great ending, don't they? I thought it would be boring at first, but it turned out to be more action-packed than I thought. Who could imagine someone who has no friends, no family, and everyone hates that person? The joy of reading Pictures of Hollis Woods was unbelieveable. I couldn't stop reading it until it was done! Patricia Reilly Giff has created an unforgettable book to read!
I would probably recommend Pictures of Hollis Woods for someone who likes to read books about family and about people who are troublemakers, who mess up everything they do. But I really think Pictures of Hollis Woods could be for anyone looking for a good book. So consider the possibility and have a great time reading!

AARP Tax Help Is Here

Volunteers from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide are returning to the Library to help prepare income taxes for seniors.

Appointments are on Thursday mornings, starting on February 6 and running through April 10, 2014.

To make your appointment, call 847-455-6016 ext. 2 or come to the Info Desk.

New Museum Added to Museum Adventure Pass Program

A new year brings a new museum, the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, to our Museum Adventure Pass Program. People of all ages enjoy this exceptional museum dedicated to sharing with others the beauty of gemstones and promoting the study of earth science. The museum is located in Elmhurst, and it houses a large collection of Chinese jade and other hard-stone carvings. Other displays include animal dioramas, mineral specimens, gemstones and geologic phenomena. Learn more about the museum on their website.

View information about our Museum Adventure Pass Program, which offers Franklin Park Library card holders discounted admission and other offers to a variety of attractions in the Chicagoland area.

Good Books to Read During January

Every day, librarians here at the Franklin Park Library and nationwide evaluate book reviews and select soon-to-be-published titles for our collections. Our expertise is now harnessed into LibraryReads, a monthly list of the top ten books librarians across the country love. View the January 2014 LibraryReads List, and then take a look at previous lists for more good books to read.

Free copies of the January 2014 list are also available at the Info Desk. If you see a title on the LibraryReads list that we don't own yet, please let us know.

Change in Collections Policy

As part of our library card holder agreement, you agree to be responsible for returning materials on time. The Library offers several opportunities for you to return materials that have been checked out past their due dates. In addition to email and text message reminders (if you have provided us with your email address and/or signed up for text message notifications), the Library sends you three overdue notices. Ten days after the final overdue notice is sent, if the materials still have not been returned, the matter is turned over to a collection agency. Due to rising costs, beginning January 1, 2014, if you are sent to the collection agency more than once within a twelve-month period, the collection agency fee will be added to your bill.

Returns Reminder

We ask that you not attach or insert cash into items that you are returning through the bookdrop.

In order for your account to be properly credited for a payment of fines or other fees, all payments should be made in person at the Circulation Desk. Thank you!

DVD Theft Hits the Library

Have you noticed that movies you've been looking for have been missing from the shelves? Have you been told they were "missing" or "lost" by a librarian?

The Library has been suffering from a rash of DVD thefts recently, with many popular and new titles being stolen from the collection. We are addressing the issue, but ask for your continued vigilance and awareness of this problem. If you see anything suspicious happening in the Library when you visit, please make sure to let a librarian know immediately. Even with the security measures we've already taken, we cannot monitor every space in the Library all the time. We ask that you help protect the library materials your tax money goes to purchase and let us know if you see any instances of theft or attempted theft.

Warming Centers in Franklin Park

fireThis is directly from the Village of Franklin Park's website:

"The Village and Park District of Franklin Park have made the Community Center located at 9560 Franklin and the Center at North Park facility located at 10040 Addison available as warming centers for those residents that need shelter during the cold weather.

- The Park District's Community Center will open at 6 AM on Monday morning.

- The Franklin Park Police Station, located at 9451 Belmont Avenue will be open all night.

- Please check on elderly neighbors in your area.

To report an emergency, dial 911, for non-emergency requests, please call 847-678-2444."

For more info, visit www.villageoffranklinpark.com

The Truth About Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler


Reviewed by Deanna P., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School

I don't think I have ever felt so bad for a character in a book before. This is by far the best realistic fiction book I have ever read in my life. The book, The Truth About Truman School, is a book about middle school students Amr, Zebby, Lilly, Hayley, Trevor, and Brianna. Hayley and Brianna are the bullies to Lilly in this story. This book was as powerful as lightning.

Amr and Zebby make a Truth About Truman website. They set up this website so that anybody could post anything that was on their mind about Truman middle school. But, it gets a little out of control when a user by the name of milkandhoney starts posting untrue things about Lilly Clarke.

Milkandhoney starts posting things like "Who is the biggest poser at our school?" And "Lilly's Lesbian Diary". Now, Lilly was in the "popular" group until her "popular" friends saw the things about Lilly being lesbian and started believing it. So they kick her out of their group and now she has no other friends. Her boyfriend even broke up with her because he saw the untrue things about her on the website and also started believing it.

Lilly doesn't go to school because she doesn't want to deal with the bullying so she fakes being sick for about two to three days. But on the third day her mom gets kind of suspicious and makes her go to school. But Lilly thinks "Okay, she says I have to go to school, she never said I had to stay in school.” So her mom drops her off and as soon as her mom drives away from the school Lilly runs away. Lilly didn't come home from school that day so her mom started to get worried and called all of her what so called friends and they all say they don't know where she is and that they have no idea why Lilly stopped hanging out with them. Until Zebby, blurts it all out about the website and people posting untrue things. Once Lilly's mom gets off the phone with Zebby, she calls the police. This made me wonder if she was going to come home before the police came. There were four police cars in front of Lilly's house that night.

This book is a very suspenseful book. There are so many parts in this story that gets your heart beating. Once I started reading this book I didn't want to put it down. This book made me feel like I was actually there watching the whole thing and I'm pretty sure it will do the exact same thing to you.

Taking Sides by Gary Soto

Taking SidesReviewed by Osbaldo P., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

If you had to choose between two basketball teams to play for, one you used to compete for, another you currently play on, which side would you choose to honor? This is a question Lincoln, the main character, must answer before time is up. In Gary Soto's book Taking Sides Lincoln must decide between two schools. Which one is the school he truly feels like home in?

One school, Franklin, is where he grew up to become an amazing basketball player. Most of his friends are there, and he felt like a traitor when he left to attend Columbus Junior High, where he currently learns and plays basketball as an eighth grader. Columbus has what appears to be physically and mentally advanced students, as well as more wealth than other schools. Students take it easy, describing life in the school as a piece of cake. Meanwhile in Franklin, you can only hope you can avoid a fight there.

A few of the other characters help him out through the troubling times of moving to a new school. His best friend, Tony, attends Franklin. Roy, his mother's boyfriend ever since their parents were divorced, went to Franklin in 1970. A girl he likes, Monica, went to Franklin, but now attends Columbus Junior High, just like Lincoln. She used to play basketball for Franklin, but now doesn't play in a team at all. Meanwhile Columbus has James, a friend who plays basketball for Columbus. Finally, there is Coach Yesutis, the basketball coach for Columbus, who Lincoln described as “has "trouble inside his own head."

Reading through it helped me understand what Lincoln was going through. I can visualize taking his place and choosing a side, and how difficult it would be with people possessing a variety of personalities prompting me to make a difficult choice. My eyes were scanning through the pages, my fingers carefully flipping them, and my mind kept thinking,"What would I do in that situation?" I was magnetized to the book, and was also constantly reading while only guessing what would happen in the next chapter.

I was reading the chapters, knowing this could happen to anyone moving to a different school, knowing the book is not about basketball, but instead about making a choice, to decide on the option that comforts you more and keeps those you love in joy. You need to make the choice that does not break the friendships in your life nor the promises you make. That is what I learned when I finished reading the amazing, lesson packed pages of the book.
This is a book for anyone who loves realistic fiction and books about growing up. Taking Sides is a book for any age, any personality, and any sports-loving person. With the theme of not only sports, but about growing up, this could be one of the best books I have read this year.

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