Reading Reflections

1. Since we have read Flush, what are some other environmental concerns?


Have you heard about rising temperatures and water levels rising in the Arctic? Well, all these hazards boil down to one peril, ozone depletion. Ozone is a compound made of three oxygen atoms. It is blue in color and has a very strong smell. The ozone layer is a part of the atmosphere in the troposphere and stratosphere. It is a belt of gas that sits 9 to 18 miles above the earth’s surface. The ozone layer protects the earth from harmful sun rays called ultraviolet rays. It could harm the humans with skin cancer, eye diseases, and immunosuppression. A few ways to stop the ozone layer from depleting is to limit the amount of vehicular emissions, use eco-friendly household cleaning products, and to avoid using pesticides. Even if you do one small example stated above, you will make a huge difference. Did you know that one tiny atom of chlorine can destroy more than 100,000 atoms of ozone? Even though a full restoration seems impossible, if the world works together, we can stop the vital ozone layer from developing holes.
At first the ozone layer is intact, but then chlorine (CFC) is released, creating gaps in the layer. Soon, the ultraviolet rays are able to reach the surface, causing harm.
At first the ozone layer is intact, but then chlorine (CFC) is released, creating gaps in the layer. Soon, the ultraviolet rays are able to reach the surface, causing harm.


Chapter 1: A Long Walk to Water
HW: Name an example in which someone is rebelling (with fist or pen) from a newspaper and write a strong paragraph about it...

The widening epidemic of Ebola in West Africa looks worse with each passing day. The outbreaks in the hardest-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — have outstripped the ability of humanitarian groups and fragile government health systems to treat the sick and slow the spread.

A panicky effort to quarantine a large slum in Monrovia, Liberia, using troops to keep people penned in, proved a disastrous failure that probably made things worse. A shortage of protective clothing for health care workers treating sick patients in Sierra Leone led nurses to strike last week in a desperate effort to get more help. The virus has begun to spread to other countries where there is always a danger that it could ignite a new round of outbreaks.

In separate statements last week, officials of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the medical charity Doctors Without Borders warned that the outbreak is spreading out of control. W.H.O. leaders have said the outbreak in West Africa could be stopped in six to nine months, but only if a “massive” global response, which is nowhere in sight, is carried out.

The most shocking news of the week was how ill-prepared the W.H.O. was to organize an effective response. As Sheri Fink reported in The Times on Thursday, the agency had been weakened by harsh budget cuts in recent years and did not have the staff or ability to flood the Ebola zone. Its emergency response units have been slashed, veterans who led previous fights against Ebola have left, and scores of positions have been eliminated.

The agency argues rather unconvincingly that it is simply a technical organization that provides advice, and that governments have the primary responsibility to take care of their people. The problem is that the afflicted countries had very weak health care systems to begin with, and they have disintegrated under the pressure of finding and caring for Ebola victims. The United Nations should direct the W.H.O. to take charge where governments are weak.

In another worrisome development, the virus popped up in Nigeria, when a patient who had been infected in Liberia flew to Lagos, where he became ill and died. Health workers responded properly and began an intensive effort to track down every person he had contact with before he died. Unfortunately they missed one, who then carried the virus to another populous area nearly 400 miles away, where it killed a doctor and has put 200 people at risk. A case has also been confirmed in Senegal, brought in by a Guinean who traveled by land through the porous borders.

Hope that a vaccine or drug could come to the rescue looked dim after an emergency meeting of more than 150 experts convened by the W.H.O. last week. A consensus was reached to test two promising experimental vaccines and several drugs or therapies for patients who are already infected, but there is scant hope any will be available in large quantities any time soon. Some of those treatments require intravenous administration, continuous cold storage and facilities able to deliver care safely, all of which will be hard to achieve in the stricken countries.

For now, the afflicted countries will have to rely on methods that have worked in curbing much smaller outbreaks in the past — like finding and isolating sick people quickly, providing supportive care like hydration to keep them alive while their bodies mount a defense, and tracing and isolating their contacts. But these nations will have to apply these tactics on an enormous scale that will require a large amount of help from global organizations and donors. Given the W.H.O.’s weaknesses, the White House ought to consider whether the United States should take the lead.

-The New York Times

This rebellion is urging the world to take immediate attention to the sudden epidemic in Africa, Ebola. The person(s) who wrote this editorial on The Wall Street is trying to open the US's eyes to this dangerous disease. A few ways the writer caught my attention is by stating examples of outbreaks like when the virus popped up in Nigeria and when there was a catastrophe in Sierra Leone. In my opinion, this was a dynamic way to present a problem that the writer thinks should be solved. After reading this editorial on The Wall Street Journal, I agreed with the author, which proves that he did a outstanding job.

A Long Walk to Water: Chapter 15
The orphaned boys of Sudan have come to be called "Lost Boys." This is a reference to the book Peter Pan. In Peter Pan the Lost Boys are a group of young orphans who join in Peter's adventures of fighting pirates and saving Indian princesses. Despite the fun and freedom they enjoy, the lost boys choose to leave Neverland at the end of the story and find families. Why is "Lost Boys" an appropriate name to give to boys like Salva?

I believe that the "Lost Boys" is an appropriate name for the boys and young men that came to America, for the young men and boys have high hopes of one day returning to their family. They will have fun with their temporary families, but will try to locate their family at the Sudanese War, for they have not seen their parent(s) and sibling(s) for almost 10 years, just like when the orphans in the book, Peter Pan, leave Neverland in hopes of finding a family that will care for them. Despite all of the riches and novelty they will see in the United States, reminiscence for their family and friends will control the young Sudanese, and they will request to go back to Africa. The name, "Lost Boys," is fitting to the boys from Sudan because it gives a direct similie to Peter Pan that everyone can understand.

R.J. Palacio's incident with the little girl with Treacher-Collins syndrome seven years ago is definitely what prompted her to write Wonder. When I tried to imagine standing in her shoes, it seemed impossible to do the right thing. There were three choices: to walk away, to look down, or to stare. Mrs. Palacio couldn't walk away because it would be impolite and rude to the little girl and her mom. She couldn't look down because of the fact that the human instinct is to look at unusual things, not ordinary things. If she stared, that would be extremely impolite and would make the girl uncomfortable. Mrs. Palacio didn't really know what to do. However, what really propelled Mrs. Palacio to write Wonder was the mother's response. She said, "Let's go," as if it was not the first time this had happened. On the way back, she thought about her error and realized that she had made a mistake. She wrote Wonder make the reader feel how it's like to be the one stared at.

If I were one of the kids that showed August around Beecher Prep, honestly, I would be a little scared. I mean, how would I possibly know that his facial order was not contagious? Of course, I wouldn't be as mean as Julian was in the story, but I also would not be as talkative as Charlotte. I would have, honestly, did the same as Jack. I would been calm, reserved, and diplomatic. To speak the truth, I would have done the same thing as the other children when meeting him: greet him with a shiny but false smile, and look down as soon as possible. In conclusion I would not have been any better than the children greeting August, if not even worse! :(

Olivia Pullman (aka Via) has had, in my opinion, a pretty rough life because of her brother, August. Now, I am not saying that it's August's fault that Via has had some struggles with her friends and family, but, sadly, in the real world, people tend to criticize people that are different. To tell the truth, I think that August is different. Her family is not typical because Mom and Dad have to take care of August, leaving Via by herself. Her school friends are scared of Via because of the following reason: her brother is deformed. With her school friends, she can deal with it, but her family is another story. She needs her family to help her in her life. Whether or not she can lead a normal life is entirely up to how she handles August.

PR Book Reviews:

Skeleton Key
by Anthony Horowitz
Warning: Do not read this review/book unless you have read the books that are prior to this.
Have you ever dreamed of going undercover on spy missions all over the world? Have you ever dreamed of stopping injustice in its tracks? If you have answered yes to these two questions, then this book is perfect for you. You can travel everywhere to stop evil from rising with the astounding British teen-spy Alex Rider. Skeleton Key is third book of ten. It is about Alex Rider going on a mission to Cayo Esquelato, Cuba, with two other CIA agents named Belinda Troy (female) and Glen Carver (male). They tell Alex thinks that the mission is a simple surveillance operation on a man named Alexei Sarov, who has a long history of suspicious activity. However, when they give him a game boy to entertain him on the plane, Alex finds out that the game boy is no ordinary game boy, and ultimately, Alex finds the true reason of the operation. What does the game boy conceal? What is the mission about? Will Alex and his accomplices from the CIA survive this treacherous mystery? Read Alex Rider: Skeleton Key to find out.

By Anthony Horowitz
Warning: Do not read this review/book unless you have read the books that are prior to this.
Can you imagine the pressure of being a traitor? Can you live with yourself, knowing that you have betrayed people that have cared for you? If you have, you would find yourself in his shoes. Who is this person? Alex Rider, teen super-spy, has just become a double agent. Formerly working for MI6, Alex learns the truth of his father's death, and out of uncontrollable rage, begins working for SCORPIA, which stands for sabotage, corruption, intelligence, and assassination. He is warmly welcomed by the leader of SCORPIA, Julia Rothman, and they immediately start teaching him. After his training was completed, they immediately put him in the assassination field. Julia Rothman tells him that he has one mission, which will prove that he is worthy and is not spying from MI6: Kill Mrs. Jones, who is the deputy head of MI6. Alex has much to ponder about during this treacherous mission. Which side will Alex betray: MI6 or SCORPIA? Will Alex kill Mrs. Jones? Was SCORPIA the right choice? What is SCORPIA's big followup after the chaos caused in MI6? Will Alex survive the consequences of going double? Read Alex Rider: Scorpia to find out.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
By Jeff Kinney
With the sun shining outside, it looks like a perfect summer for middle schooler Greg Heffley. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a storm comes in. Mom announces that they will go on a road trip. It starts off pretty fun, but Greg soon realizes the torture of driving for hours. The drive goes down several potholes as Greg gets bitten by the Heffleys' new pet pig. The drive then goes down more as a seagull attacks the car and the car has an accident. The drive then falls off a cliff when Greg's parents' cell phones and wallets are stolen. Will they make it back home? What will they do? Read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul to find out.

Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase
By Jonathan Stroud
The Problem. These two words describe one of the greatest horrors of London, even perhaps all of the world. What is this Problem with a capital p? This problem is ghosts haunting. They will not stop to kill an innocent person. However, the British have found the way out of this peril. DEPRAC, The Department of Psychic Research and Control, has created agencies to quell the supernatural power of ghosts and protect the people. Lucy Carlyle, a young teen, is an agent for the 16th agency in London, Lockwood Co. Her job-to quell all ghosts in London and end the Problem. Sadly, this was easier said than done. Lucy's first mission is a small house in London, which Lockwood accidentally burned down. In doing so, the agency incurred a 60,000 pound fine. (60,000 pounds nearly 100,000 U.S. dollars). Suddenly, out of the blue, John Fairfax of Fairfax Iron Company hires Lockwood Co. to quell the most haunted house in London, despite their big blemish on their history. Along with this big caprice, Fairfax comes up with the wildest rules ever. The first rule was to come in two days or never. However, even on an easy mission, it would take at least a week to prepare. The other rule was no Greek Fire could be used to harm ghosts. Fairfax claims that he doesn't want his house burned down. What is Mr. Fairfax hiding? Will Lockwood Co. be able to survive this dangerous house? Read Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase.

Lockwood and Co: The Whispering Skull
By Jonathan Stroud
I give you your heart's desire. These words are perhaps the most haunted words that London could experience. Who do these words come from? If you guessed a ghost, you are correct. Lockwood Co. was first hired by Mr. Saunders and Mr. Joplin of Sweet Dreams Excavation. They were asked to aid them on a coffin that seemed to contain a great deal of psychic radiance. Lockwood, Lucy, and George decide to take the case. While they were excavating the coffin, a man and a mirror were found. The mirror was not regular, however, it killed whoever looked in it. These words "I give you your heart's desire" explains the false wonders of the mirror. After Lockwood and his associates come back to their house, they receive a call from Mr. Saunders, telling them that the mirror was stolen. The next day, after coming home again, Lockwood opens the door, and a relic man (a man who sells dead people's objects) staggers inside with a dagger in his back. How are all of these events connecting? Will Lockwood, Lucy, and George be stumped on this one? Read Lockwood and Co: The Whispering Skull to find out.

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior
By Chris Bradford
Abandoned. Alone. These two words describe Jack Fletcher, an inexperienced 12 year old on the legendary island of Japan. With the rest of his crew on the ship that took him from England to Japan dead, Jack must learn how to fend for himself in a foreign country where all the people are odd. Jack's luck takes a turn as he is adopted by a samurai named Masamoto-sama. However, Masamoto's son, Yamato, hates Jack intensely for trying to take over his spot as the "perfect son". Even with Yamato's negative comments about Jack, Jack is able to become a true samurai. Masamoto sees this potential in Jack, and he immediately places Jack in the Niten-Ichi Ryu. At the Niten-Ichi-Ryu, he makes many friends. Sadly, along with companions came a few enemies. There was a racist boy named Kazuki in his classes that believed that only Japanese people deserve to be taught the arts of a samurai. Jack suffers the whole year from mental and physical bullying coming from Kazuki and his gang-mates. One time, Kazuki caught Jack and taunted Yamato, saying, "Is this gaijin [barbarian] your brother? Save him!" Yamato decided to leave Jack at the mercy of Kazuki. However, at that time, Masamoto came out of the building, and he creamed Kazuki. After that, Masamoto wheels up on Yamato and says, "Where is your dignity? You are no Masamoto." These harsh words took its toll on Yamato. The very next day, he ran away in shame of disgracing the family. Jack's next few days are pain-free, but he also feels like a part of him is missing after losing his only brother. A few weeks later, Masamoto-sama says that he would like to test the strength of the school. He announces that he would like to have a Taryu-Jiai [ contest between schools ] with another school called the the Yagyu-Ryu. At this contest, there is a test of wrestling, sword-fighting, and archery. The three participants from the Niten-Ichi-Ryu are Jack, Akiko, and Saburo. However, Jack is startled by the other team's players. They were Moriko, Goru, and Yamato. Jack was very confused. Why was Yamato on the other team? However, the procession could not be stopped with this question. In the first round, the Niten-Ichi Ryu wins, barely. Sadly, in the next round, Yagyu Ryu destroys Niten-Ichi Ryu. It all comes to the final round. The first battle, Akiko versus Moriko, ended in a win for the Niten-Ichi Ryu. However, in the second round, Saburo versus Goru, saburo completely fails and makes it one to one. The final round, Jack versus Yamato, the battle of brothers, decides the winner. In a neck and neck battle, Jack drives the sword at Yamato's neck. However, Jack stops himself because he was his brother. The match ended in a deadlocked tie. The final round, overtime, was a game of absolute courage. The rules were the following: climb up a steep, slick cliff, run inside a cave of wild beasts, and bring back the sword of Jade. Jack and Yamato both make it up the hill, but Yamato slips and falls down the waterfall. Jack drops the Jade sword, and plunges into the water with him. With this act of kindness, Yamato's heart became one with Jack and all ended happily ever after, or did it?