Monday 12 May 2014

Touching Spirit Bear Novel Study + YCJA

Hey! Today I am posting for school about the Youth Criminal Justice Act as a part of the class's Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen novel study. I am going to be exploring some aspects of the YCJA in relation to Touching Spirit Bear. Enjoy! :)

After severely injuring classmate Peter Driscal, the main character Cole is sent to a detention centre. From there, his parole officer, Garvey, introduces him to the concept of Circle Justice as an alternative to going to court and potentially facing jail time. Instead, Cole partakes in a Justice Circle involving many members who voice their opinions on the decision to be made on Cole's future.

If I were a part of Cole's Justice Circle, there would be several types of information I would consider that would help me to make decisions. I would consider Cole's circumstance, such as his background and personal life, his prior offences, the seriousness of the crime he committed, and also his attitude toward the crime and potential crimes in the future. Taken together, these things would help me to determine the type of punishment that would be most beneficial to Cole and the rest of society, including Peter.

Cole is obviously a very troubled youth. His life hasn't exactly been all sunshine and roses, and so he takes out his anger on other people. His father is abusive towards Cole and his mother never stepped in to defend him, mostly because she was drinking too much alcohol. To understand Cole, you must realize that, because of the abusive relationship between himself and his father, he doesn't know any different. He's grown up with the idea that hurting someone as a release of your anger is acceptable, which is obviously not the case. Furthermore, Cole is very alone and independent and has been throughout his life, as he has mentioned several times in the novel. He feels as if no one cares about him, and so he thinks he can do whatever he wants because no one will care about the consequences. He also feels the need to prove himself to everyone that he is above them because he doesn't feel like anyone cares.

If I were in Cole's Justice Circle, I would consider all this information. I would recognize that Cole has the ability to change, but circumstances have not allowed him to control his anger and learn what is acceptable. That being said, I would also not want Cole in the public until someone who understands has the chance to ensure he has positively changed. My decision would be to keep Cole in the detention centre and have people who have been in the same position as him and gotten over it speak to him. After that, I would vote to send him to the island to learn some important things about himself, but also to isolate him from the public while he heals. Personally, I would not vote to send him to island again because he did not prove the first time that he could handle it. I would look for another way to help him heal, like having people who understand interact with him as I said before.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading. :)

Thursday 6 March 2014

GINS Task #8: Word Art

Hey! (: Today for our Global Issues Novel Study, we were assigned with the task of creating a piece of word art. We chose a quote from our novel (mine is War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay) and used computer software or pen and paper to form it into a powerful visual. The quote is meant to express the most important issues and themes that are occurring throughout the novel. I created my quote with Adobe Illustrator, hope you like it. (:

"Can a good boy be turned into a killer more easily than one who was not a good boy in the first place? I think of how the words of God were so misused by Kony and his commanders. I now believe that if you tell a lie, feed it, nurture it, and help it to grow, it will be believed. It will grow powerful despite being rotten at the core."

The first reason I chose this quote is because the main issue throughout the whole novel is discussed, examined, and analyzed in this quote. The underlying message in this quote is asking: who's fault is it if we are forced into thinking bad things are the right thing to do, and we carry them out? Is the person committing the actions responsible, or the one who persuaded them into that way of thinking? Is that human's soul truly evil, or truly good, based on which way they were influenced? These questions are all pondered and addressed in the novel and are a huge part of the overall story. Second, it connects to worldview :p. "View of human nature" is clearly explored in this quote so that's another connection that can be made. Finally, this quote just really stays with me and makes me think, therefore giving it some personal connection.

There were several intentional choices I made while creating this piece of art. I made certain words that I felt were important, such as believe, lie, powerful, and rotten, larger than the others because I felt that they were the words that really stand out in this quote. Throughout the quote, I also used several different fonts. I chose an un-distracting, basic font for the filler words so they did not detract from the message. For the word believe and believed, I chose a scrawled calligraphy because I felt like it was uneven and each letter was different, much like each of our own beliefs. Lie was put in a scratched out kind of font because we think of lies as covering the truth, like the scratches, and it also gave it a more sinister look. The middle section of the quote is in earthy green because it is using a plant analogy throughout that section, and I chose the cursive font because it looked floral. For the word powerful, I put it in a strong-looking in font and made the colour red to infer to the disastrous outcomes that can come with power, and if a lie grows powerful. Finally, I chose to make rotten in a messy writing with highlights of yellow/green because it made it look as if something was rotting.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Have a lovely day. 

Monday 3 March 2014

The First Annual Book Oscars (2013)

Since there is so much buzz about the 86th Annual Academy Awards, I decided I would create a post similar to it... in book form! This post was created a while ago, and also to celebrate the books I read last year (2013), so it will not include any books I've read in 2014. Anyways, welcome to the First Annual Book Oscars! (: The nominations are all books I have read in 2013, but do not have to be published in that year, only read within this year. Books I re-read this year (i.e. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Fairest, etc.) are NOT eligible. Without further ado... Here are the categories, nominees, and winners!

Best Character in a Leading Role (male) 
Dash from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Day from Legend & Prodigy by Marie Lu
Hugo from the Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Conner from Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Sean from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
And the Oscar goes to... CONNER in Unwind by Neil Shusterman!!!

Best Character in a Leading Role (female)
Risa from Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Cinder from Cinder by Marissa Meyer
June from Legend & Prodigy by Marie Lu
Kira from Partials by Dan Wells
Sybella from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
And the Oscar goes to... SYBELLA in Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers!!!

Best Character in a Supporting Role (male)
Langston from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Nick from Altered by Jennifer Rush
Samm from Partials by Dan Wells
Beast from Grave Mercy & Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
And the Oscar goes to... NICK in Altered by Jennifer Rush!!!

Best Character in a Supporting Role (female)
Minnie from The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Genya from Shadow and Bone & Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Christina from Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Great-Aunt Ida from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Nehemia from Throne and Glass & Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
And the Oscar goes to... MINNIE in The Help by Kathryn Stockett!!!

Best Middle Grade Book 
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
And the Oscar goes to... THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick!!!

Best Author's Idea (for the novel)
Ink by Amanda Sun
The Program by Suzanne Young
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Mind Games by Kiersten White
And the Oscar goes to... INK by Amanda Sun!!!

Best World-Building in a Fantasy or Science Fiction Novel
Partials by Dan Wells
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Legend & Prodigy by Marie Lu
Grave Mercy & Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
And the Oscar goes to... PARTIALS by Dan Wells!!!

Best Character Dynamic/Interaction
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Angelfall by Susan Ee
And the Oscar goes to... ANGELFALL by Susan Ee!!!

Best Ending
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green *cries*
And the Oscar goes to... THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER by Megan Shepherd!!

Best Cover
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Ink by Amanda Sun
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
And the Oscar goes to... SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo!!!

Best Graphics (for books with pictures of any sort)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
And the Oscar goes to... CHOPSTICKS by Jessica Anthony!!!

Best Book of 2013
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Legend by Marie Lu
Altered by Jennifer Rush
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
And the Oscar goes to.... SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo and THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett (c'mon, you know I can't pick one)!!!

And just for fun... *Please note that none of these are supposed to be offensive, and if you feel differently than I ( do that's fine! They are also not supposed to be jabs to the author, but rather just presenting some of my feelings, the same way as the good things. Some of the nominees and winners from these categories come from some of my favourite books!*

Most Annoying Male Character 
Thomas from The Maze Runner by James Dashner
James from Mind Games by Kiersten White
Haru from Partials by Dan Wells
Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard
Thomas from Legend & Prodigy by Marie Lu
And the Oscar goes to.... MORPHEUS in Splintered by A.G. Howard!!!

Most Annoying Female Character
Felicia from Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Caelena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Tess from Legend & Prodigy by Marie Lu
Katie from Ink by Amanda Sun
Clary from City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
And the Oscar goes to.... CAELENA in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas!!

Underdeveloped World
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Prophecy by Ellen Oh
Shards & Ashes by Various Authors (all stories as a whole)
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Mind Games by Kiersten White (this may seem out of place, but I honestly still don't understand what half of her situation was because it was very underdeveloped)
And the Oscar goes to... PROPHECY by Ellen Oh!!!

Worst Cover
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
Gone by Michael Grant
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (my copy)
And the Oscar goes to... GONE by Michael Grant!!!

Least Favourite Book of 2013
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Prophecy by Ellen Oh
Gone by Michael Grant
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
And the Oscar goes to... MIND GAMES by Kiersten White!!

There you have it; the winners of my 2013 Book Oscars. I hope you enjoyed this post. I would absolutely love if you participated - You can use my categories, make up your own, or use a bit of each. You don't have to do as many as I did if you don't want to, either. If you do participate, please leave a comment right on this page with the link to your post. I'd really like to see everyone else's nominees and winners! That's it for now. Have a lovely day. (:

Wednesday 19 February 2014

GINS Task #7: Empathy Free Write

Hey! Today's post is again a part of the GINS (Global Issues Novel Study) that I have been participating in for school. To find more information on this, click the initial post I have linked to above. This post was a free write exploring empathy through the main character's mind. I have written a piece from the perspective of Jacob in my novel, War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. Enjoy! (:

  "Terror pulsed through me. Gunshots rang through the air, vibrating through my body as I felt my arms being tugged roughly behind me. Screams and shouts added to the cacophony, drowning out the beating of my frantic heart. I tried to find Tony in the crowd, but he was no where to be seen. The cold butt of a gun in the small of my back prompted me forward. 
    "Move," the holder of the gun told me in a rough voice. I didn't dare disobey. 
    Many of my classmates and myself were being guided in a scraggly line out of the school and onto the grass. Our shoes and any extra clothing was taken from us, so by a few hours, my feet were aching and drenched in blood. There were many rules, the biggest being never talk, and never stop. 
    We walked for days. I no longer knew if we were in Uganda or not. I thought about my father, and the maid, back home, waiting for my return. Surely the news of Kony's kidnap on our school would've reached them by now. I tried to remember the last words I had said to my father, but I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure of much anymore, just the deep anger and uncertainty and the terrible loneliness that had taken root in the pit of my stomach. 
    So much had changed in a short few days. A few days ago, I never would've imagined that I, with an important father such as mine that attended a prestigious school, would be kidnapped and forced to fight for the Lord's Resistance Army. Never would I have thought that such terrible acts would be committed by human beings, just the same as me. 
    Never would I have thought I might never return home."

Hope you enjoyed! Have a lovely day.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Shatter Me Read-a-Long

Hello! How was your weekend? Mine was far too short. Anyways, today I am posting to say that Brianna and I are going to be doing a read-a-long with each other once a month! Yay! Last month we read Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. This month, it's Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi! We are both super excited for this read. And I adore the cover. I will be reading this while away for the Family Day weekend but the drive is long so I figure I will get some reading in! Here's our schedule!

February 13: page 112 / Chapter 18
February 14: page 225 / Chapter 33
February 16: page 338 / The End

We will also be doing a joint post about our thoughts at the end of the month. Have a lovely long weekend!

Check out Brianna's blog, For the Love of Books, at Seriously, go. 

Saturday 1 February 2014

January Wrap-Up and February TBR + Epic Recs

Hey! I apologize in advance for not posting those Burn for Burn posts with Brianna... the plans kinda fell through, but we still had a great time reading the book and writing the one post we did do (check it out here). On with the wrap-up!

January Wrap-Up
 My vision for January was very ambitious, but I guess I never realized how busy I would end up being throughout this month. I didn't get through nearly as many of my top-priority books as I would've liked, but oh well. I did however have a chance to re-read four Harry Potter books, and every book I read/re-read this month was five stars but one. I am going to list each of the book along with a description of my thoughts in just three words and my rating.
  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling*: ***** (five stars) - Just so spectacular.
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K.Rowling*: ***** (five stars) - Snape, not okay.
  3. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian: ***** (five stars) - Entertainment + revenge.
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K.Rowling*: ***** (five stars) - I hate Umbridge.
  5. Winterling by Sarah Prineas: ** */* (two and a half stars) - Good idea, disappointing.
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling*: ***** (five stars) - Thrilling and hilarious. 

February TBR
My top-priority shelf idea is really working out for me, so I'm going to continue to use that. Now that's it's February though, it's time for me to redesign that shelf. Also, throughout the month I have the freedom to take books off that shelf that I have now read or that I don't intend to read soon anymore. However, I can't add any books to that shelf until the next month, so that I can see how much I condensed it. I love the look of this shelf for February - all these books sound fantastic!
Now onto Epic Recs! So I have some explaining to do. My epic rec for last month was Taken by Erin Bowman, however, halfway or so through the month I realized Taken would not be available to me this month. My back-up was The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. Now, the problem was that I really didn't want to read anything sad and apparently the ending is pretty heart-breaking, which was not what I needed, so I didn't read it right away. Once I was in an okay frame of mind again however, I chose to finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Winterling so that I wouldn't have three books on the go. Anyways, I am reading it right away so it pretty much counts as January. 

I actually have two books for Epic Recs this month. One of them is super short, and the other is a graphic novel, so Brianna and I figured together it would be one epic rec. These books are Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge. My epic rec for Brianna is Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I'm super excited!

What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments below, or link to your TBR so I can check it out. Have a lovely day!

Tuesday 21 January 2014

GINS Task #6: Global Charter

Today I have a post relating to my Global Issues Novel Study. As to explore further into our current study of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, along with a few others, we created a charter to apply to our entire globe. Because we all read different novels, we were all able to contribute our different ideas spurred by the issues happening in the country we were reading about. Below you can see our document that we came up with.

My novel, War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay, takes place in Uganda. Many of the laws in our charter were inspired by the situations that have occurred there. In the Canadian charter, we also have equality rights, which state that we are all equal. However, they say that we will not be discriminated based on age, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or mental/physical disability, but they don't mention discrimination based on sexuality. In Uganda, they passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act, and to prevent this type of behaviour, we included sexuality in our equality rights. Another specification we made that is not in the Canadian charter is the fact that you have the right to peacefully challenge the laws in the charter without being accused of treason, unlike that of the Ugandan constitution. Though we were inspired by several things in the Canadian charter, because we felt like they were fundamental rights that are critical to a fair and just country, we also added our own rights, particularly in the Government Obligation Rights. We created this section because we found that in many of the countries from our novels, the government was not upholding their end of the bargain. Even if certain laws are in place, the government does not always follow them. One major law we included in this section was the fact that the government cannot turn a blind eye to it's citizens, and also the fact that the government cannot use violence against the citizen's. We also included mandatory health care, because though that is usually a government choice, so many people in Uganda have died of AIDS that we thought it prudent to include it.

Along the way, my group and I had little to no disagreements. We all agreed on the rights that should be included, except for one misunderstanding. We were discussing collective rights, language education rights in particular, and we misinterpreted something Brianna said as to mean every country should have a school with every language someone's first language is. However, this was a miscommunication and in truth she meant a school in which a large group of people in the province, state, or region needed schooling in that language.

After doing this activity, I also consulted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a global document created by the UN. There were several things listed we had considered, but there were also some things I had never even thought about. For example, marriage. Below is the exact Article 16 from the Universal Declaration:  "(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at it's dissolution. 
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. 
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."

Thanks for reading this post! Have a lovely day.