Bunnybean’s #CBR5 Review 10: Chrissa by Mary Casanova

Unknown-3I read Chrissa, a book based on the 2009 American Girl doll of the year. It is about a girl named Chrissa and how she stood up to a group of mean bullies at her new school.

She’s the new girl, first of all, which must be so hard. Some mean girls named Tara (the head of the group), Jadyn (who follows along with everything and is sassy), and Sonali (who hates to be mean or hurt anyone but she is Tara’s best friend) gang up on Chrissa for no reason. Chrissa hates her new school. The only good thing she likes about it is that she made a new friend, Gwen, who Tara says is also a loser and they could both create their own little goofy club.

To make matters worse, Tara CUTS Gwen’s hair when Gwen closes her eyes. Then she lied that Chrissa was the one who gave such a terrible trim to Gwen’s bangs. Gwen didn’t even talk to Chrissa anymore, she was so angry! Until Chrissa finally told her parents everything, and her parents talk to the principal and teachers at the school, getting the mean girls in a bit of trouble. Sonali even quits being friends with the “mean bees”, and became friends with Chrissa and Gwen!

I liked Sonali, because she did what her heart told her to, Gwen because she was a good friend, and Chrissa because was strong and was a great main character. I watched the movie and I’m going to read the second book soon.

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.

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ElCicco #CBR5 Review #15: The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova

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This youth lit novel’s topic is Norwegian resistance in World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Marit, a 10-year-old in 1940 when the Germans begin bombing Norway. Marit’s parents send her and her younger brother Lars to mom’s hometown to be cared for by relatives while mom and dad join the resistance. Aunt Ingeborg is a school teacher and Bestefar (grandfather) is a fisherman.

Marit’s relationship with her grandfather is strained. She feels that he has always preferred Lars and she is also angry that Bestefar seems to simply go along with the Nazis rather than resist like her parents. The author provides plenty of historical detail for young readers as the relationship between Marit and Bestefar develops. Readers will learn of the Nazis’ initial attempts to win over Norwegians as “fellow aryans”, and, failing at that, the use of intimidation and arrest to keep them in line. Norwegians had to give their blankets, food, even radios to the occupiers. Teachers and ministers were forced to teach Nazi propaganda. When they refused, churches closed and one out of every ten school teachers were rounded up and sent off to camps. Wearing traditional Norwegian garb was also construed as an act of resistance and subject to punishment.

The author presents great detail about Norway, its people, their resistance to the Nazis and the price they paid. The action takes place over several years and shows Marit maturing and taking bold action on behalf of the resistance and ultimately learning the truth about her grandfather. A decent novel for kids to learn a little about World War II and the resistance.