Module 5: Ender’s Game

12 07 2010

Book Cover

Summary: At some point in Earth’s future aliens that resemble giant bugs, a.k.a. Buggers, have attacked Earth twice and Earth is in fear of a third attack to finish humans off. Though he is only six military commanders believe that  Ender Wiggins is the answer to Earth’s survival and the destruction of the Buggers. For five years he is trained and tested to see if he has what it takes to command the fleets of starships. Ender must prove that he has what it takes to survive his constant hardships and save the earth.

Citation: Card, Orson Scott. (1991) Ender’s Game. New York: Tor.

My Impressions: I had no trouble breezing through this book, but I might have breezed a little too quickly because I definitely missed some key points in the scientific explanations. Despite that I was able to understand the book. Although I enjoy and read quite a bit of fantasy, I don’t often read science fiction so I don’t have a lot to compare Ender’s Game with, but I thought the book was interesting and different. At the same time it was a little unnerving to see how Ender’s freedom and childhood is stripped from him and how he is a pawn, albeit an important pawn, but a pawn nonetheless. While the book was definitely good, I was a little depressed by the end because I didn’t feel like Ender ever truly found happiness. However, I know that Ender’s Game is the beginning of a series so perhaps in one of the later books he truly finds happiness.

Reviews:

“Card has taken the venerable conceits of a superman and an interstellar war against aliens, and, with superb characterization, pacing, and language, has combined them into a seamless story of compelling power.” –Roland Green, Booklist Online review

“Now, in this novel, Card fulfills his early promise…and more.”–Ben Bova

Library Use Suggestion: In the book Colonel Graff suggests that the perpetuation of the war between the buggers and humans is because there is no way for the two species to communicate. This could open a conversation about communication barriers and how to breach them. How deaf people communicate with people who don’t know sign language and how people who speak different languages communicate could be discussed.

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Module 3: A Wrinkle in Time

27 06 2010

Book Cover

Summary: Meg Murray just doesn’t seem to be like everyone else. With her fly-away hair, glasses and braces she knows she is far from beautiful. She can’t seem to control her emotions, she doesn’t do well in school, and she hates that everyone thinks her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is dumb. On top of that her father she hasn’t seen or heard from her father in over a year, and the whole town thinks he ran off with another woman. But one night three strange women take Meg, Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a wild journey across space and time in an effort to find Meg and Charles Wallace’s father who has been trapped on another planet. The three children will have to fight for their lives and their identities on a journey full of danger and adventure.

Citation: L’Engle, Madeleine. (2007) A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Square Fish.

My Impressions: I really enjoyed this book, it was a quick, easy read. I think children will be able to identify with Meg as the awkward girl who just doesn’t fit in and isn’t quite like everyone else. At the same time there’s a great sense of adventure that will also appeal to children. The science fiction aspect of the book might turn some children off reading it, but if they give it a chance I think it’s on that can appeal to most children. I was a little surprised by the Christian references in the book particularly the parts that quoted entire Bible verses, although they were not cited so only someone  familiar with the particular verses would notice.

Reviews:

“Here is a confusion of science, philosophy, satire, religion, literary allusions, and quotations that will no doubt have many critics. I found it fascinating. To children who read and reread C. S. Lewis’ fairy tales I think it will be absorbing. It makes unusual demands on the imagination and consequently gives great rewards.” –Horn Book review excerpt

“With this award-winning story, Madeline L’Engle has captivated millions of readers throughout the world. Her universal themes of courage, perseverance, and love are interwoven with imagination and suspense. A Wrinkle in Time, published in 1962, won the distinguished Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 1963.” –bn.com review excerpt

Library Use Suggestions: This book could be used to talk about how differences can be a good thing. If it were not for Meg’s differences she would have not been able to make it off Camazotz and avoid giving in to IT.