Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author:  Stephanie Cowell
Claude and Camille:  A Novel of Monet
This beautiful, bittersweet love story shows the impovished life of Impressionist painter, Claude Monet and his wife Camille-Leonie Doncieux. He left his seaside home and moved to Paris to make his fortune. She left her affluent home to become his muse, his wife, and to follow his dream.  Wealth and fame alluded Monet for most of his adult life, but Camille endured the hardships and his bouts with depression as she loved him.  The story depicts the Impressionist Movement in its infancy. The rejection and ridicule artists had to endure to gain acceptance and recognition in the insular art world was difficult. Near the end of his life Monet obtained his dream but his muse was no more.

Fontamara

From Elaine Pasquali
author: Silone, Ignazio
Fontamara
This novel, set in a poverty-stricken village in southern Italy under Mussolini’s regime, is a classic study of the human condition.  The village is being legally robbed of a vital resource, water, that puts their already marginal exhistance at further jeapody.  This novel is both heart wrenching and earthly humorous. It’s meaning can be applied to any people, at any period of history, who are rendered powerless by their socio-economic-political environment.  Fontamara is truly a novel that transcends time.

The Blind Side

From Zachary, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Lewis, Michael
The Blind Side 
The book The Blind Side by Michael Lewis is a very good book. I recommend this book for kids nine and older. It is about a kid who is way overweight and homeless. Michael Oher has many problems
finding shelter, food, and much more.

Michael is one of thirteen kids. He does not know his father. His mother is addicted to crack and cannot care for him. Michael doesn’t have a home and finds shelter at some of his friends’ houses. One of his friends tried to get him into a Catholic school for the rich. The school did not want him but they accepted him because he was athletically gifted. Then a rich family took him in and his whole life changed. Michael played football throughout his high school and college years but still faced many problems.

The book The Blind Side is very interesting and has many twists and turns.
The book is also based on a real story. I would definitely recommend this
book to kids that are nine and up.

Shanghai Girls

From Shelley Lauer-Bader
author: See, Lisa
Shanghai Girls
This story of Shanghai during the Japanese invasion and immigration to the US has great period detail. May and Pearl escape China in 1937 and arrive in the United States, although not without great pain and suffering. They finally connect with the men they married through an arranged marriage. The Louie family could be the story of any family immigrating to the United States with the racism, poverty, family tension.

Especially pertinent is the focus on the “paper sons;” we would call them
illegal immigrants today.

Great for a book group discussion.