Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: Hurricane Mia by Donna Marie Seim

Synopsis:

Mia's entire summer is ruined! First, she learns that her mom is sick. Then, she and her younger brother Jack are whisked away to their grandparents' home on a remote island in the Caribbean. Mia is furious until she meets Neisha, an island girl, who tells her about "the tea that cures everything." Will Mia be able to find the tea? Will it cure her mom? And will it prove to be her plane ticket back home? Join Mia on an incredible adventure, where she sails the high seas, meets wild donkeys, explores uninhabited islands, and searches for a magical tea.

The Elliott Review:
 
This middle-grade book is a fun read. The simple plot is easy to follow for students who may be struggling readers, yet it also has a richness of description about it that makes reading interesting at the same time. Students will appreciate Mia's approach to everything - the typical tween attitude, and her adventures in the Caribbean may cause them to want to experience and/or learn more about Caribbean culture.

The text of the book has great potential for use by teachers. The descriptions are perfect to adapt as a mentor texts for just about anything, especially the concept of showing things happening in writing instead of telling about them. Also, the description provides a way to show students how to add details to their own writing.

The messages in the book also could provide some meaningful discussion in the classroom or at home. The idea of accepting everyone is ingrained throughout, with Mia's younger brother Jack being able to contribute much to their adventures despite the fact he is a stereotypical "nerd" who is teased at school. Mia and Jack also learn more about Caribbean culture that is so different from their own as they befriend Neisha. Another discussion point is that of dealing with hard times. Mia's mother has leukemia, and Mia is truly afraid for her. Neisha's family situation is less than perfect, but she learns to adapt to it.

There is also a section at the back of the book that can help readers to learn more about Caribbean culture and expand their knowledge through having fun. 
A huge thanks to Skye at Peapod Press for providing this book for a fair review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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