Module 13: Naruto v. 1 by Masashi Kishimoto

51wkLM2ZS4L__SL500_AA300_Title: Naruto v. 1

Author: Masashi Kishimoto

Publisher: Viz Media

Published Date: 2003


Naruto believes he can be the greatest ninja in his village. It’s too bad that he can’t even pass his ninja apprentice test to actually become a ninja. After finally passing his test, he gets tested himself. Will he become a master ninja?

APA Reference:

Kishimoto, M. (2003). Naruto v. 1. Viz Media.


I had a hard time reading right to left and following the pictures at first. Once I got used to it, the story went by quickly and I caught on to how addictive this type of story can be. I don’t know about reading all 50 some odd books in the series, but I might give it a try.

Professional Review:

Naruto is young orphan who has grown up in the ninja village Konohagakure in Naruto, Volume 1. Despised and ridiculed all his young life, he has become the consummate prankster and hasn’t managed to pass the final exam at the Ninja Academy for several years. Then one ninja master, Misaki, encourages Naruto to steal a scroll containing many of the village’s long-held secret techniques, and in the ensuing chaos, Naruto learns the truth about himself. When he was an infant, the village fought a nine-tailed fox demon. The Lord Hokage defeated it and trapped it in Naruto’s young body and then died. Misaki tries to incite Naruto to seek vengeance for what was done to him, but the boy wants only to be the best shinobi (ninja leader) the village has ever seen. Now his training begins in earnest, as Naruto finds a few friends and tries to gain the respect of others–but he can’t stop playing pranks!
Masashi Kishimoto’s anime series Naruto is extremely popular in Japan, and fansubs (subtitled anime done by fans in the U.S. and allowed by the Japanese distributors) of the episodes appear online mere days after the original broadcast in Japan. The manga retains all of the humor, including some raunchy moments. Despite the fact that nothing crucial really shows, there is some partial nudity (Naruto’s “Ninja Centerfold” technique) and some literal bathroom humor. This series might not be suitable for school libraries, but public libraries should be able to place it in their young adult collections. Viz appropriately rates it for teens aged thirteen and up. Naruto is an underdog hero who appeals to teens, and there’s plenty of martial arts action to keep readers turning the pages. The story will turn a little darker further into the series, but according to my fansub-watching son, it will remain at the PG-13 level.

Kat, K. (2004). Let’s hear it for the guys. Voice of Youth Advocates, 27(2), 118-119.

Library Use:

Different kinds of media is important to art. That goes the same way with books and their readers. Those that can’t seem to sit for long periods of time and stare at endless pages of words will love this type reading. It’s quick, quirky and a blast to read. Showing readers that there are other options will give them a better chance of finding something they may like.


Module 12: Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown

odd-boy-out-300x285Title: Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

Author: Don Brown

Illustrator: Don Brown

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Published Date: 2004


Albert Einstein was gifted from the very start. He was more than anyone knew how to handle. He was bored with normal school classes and his teachers thought he was dumb. Little did they know, he was more than they could ever imagine. A genius.

APA Reference:

Brown, D. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.


I can’t believe I didn’t know Einstein was German. Being German, I feel I should have know this. I now have an excuse for being lazy when not wanting to do homework, etc. I bored with these mundane tasks…give me more! Ha! I wish, but I did learn a lot about Einstein!!

Professional Review:

Brown maintains a delicate tension between his accessible presentation (a straightforward text and uncluttered illustrations) and his extraordinary subject (the legendary twentieth-century physicist whose complex ideas revolutionized science and daily life). For someone whose name is synonymous with genius, Albert Einstein’s early years were far from auspicious. Brown carefully and effectively summarizes events, choosing telling details to paint a portrait of an introspective child who struggles in school and whose frustrated teachers wonder if Albert is “dull-witted.” In the somber watercolor and ink illustrations, young Albert’s physical separation from other figures emphasizes his psychological disconnection from the goings on around him (as do his almost-always-closed eyes). Brown introduces Einstein’s famous theories with a light touch, keeping the focus on the boy/young man. The book’s message about different ways of and approaches to learning is clear and will surely be appreciated by the intended audience. An author’s note debunks a few myths surrounding the man and his work, and a short bibliography rounds out this inspired picture-book biography.

Flynn, K. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. Horn Book Magazine, 80(5), 604-605.

Library Use:

There are stereotypes and preconceived notions about certain types of people. Einstein takes a couple of those and shows that it matters more about the person and that stereotype. Just because you don’t do well in school doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. You may not be challenged enough. Learning about past geniuses will make us more accepting of modern day smarty-pants’!

Module 11: How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg

How-They-Croaked-Bragg-Georgia-9780802798176Title: How They Croaked: The Awful Ends to the Awfully Famous

Author: Georgia Bragg

Illustrator: Kevin O’Malley

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.

Published Date: 2011



Ever wonder how your favorite celeb from the past died? Well, here is your answer. And it’s not pretty, but it is pretty entertaining!

APA Reference:

Bragg, G. (2011). How they croaked: The awful ends to the awfully famous. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.


I thought this was going to be gross, but I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. The author is sassy and fun and makes festering sores and blisters fun to read about. Nice.

Professional Review:

Gr 5-9–King Tut died of malaria; Edgar Allan Poe is suspected to have had rabies. Beethoven and Galileo both met their ends due to lead poisoning. Fifteen other historical figures, including world leaders, writers, and scientists, were felled by things as mundane as pneumonia and as unpredictable as angry mobs. Each entry provides the circumstances of the person’s death and gives context to those circumstances, from discussions of the political climate to medical practices of the time. Chapters are separated by a spread of brief facts related to the individual, the demise, or the era. Lively, full-page caricatures set in decorative frames appear throughout, along with spot illustrations. Back matter includes a lengthy list of sources. The sometimes-snarky writing gives the material a casual, conversational tone that will appeal to many readers. The title alone provides an easy booktalk; expect this one to be passed around and pored over.

Danner, B. (2011). How they croaked: The awful ends to the awfully famous. School Library Journal, 57(4), 189-190.

Library Use:

Medicine has come a far way. This book tells us just how far. A good discussion about medicine, death and disease can come from reading this book.

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