Friday, November 17, 2017

Hideout by Watt Key: Book Review

Author: Watt Key
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2017
Ages: 12 up, Young Adult
Pages: 311

When Sam moves to Pascagoula, Mississippi, his parents buy him a small boat on his twelfth birthday to explore nearby 
King’s Bayou, a marshy delta that runs deep into the wilderness. For most boys, having your own boat would feel like a dream come true, and Sam might have agreed, had it not been for the day he was beaten up at school as the new kid in town. Now that summer is here, escaping the humiliation of that awful day is all he can think about. It doesn't matter that another boy, Grover, his only friend at the moment, also had been beaten up. Sam is certain of one thing. He feels like “a loser,” and being around Grover only reminds him of that fact. 

Sam explores King’s Bayou in his new boat alone, mulling over all that happened. Ignoring his Chief of Police dad’s warning not to go too far and to avoid certain areas, Sam meets a boy his age named Davey, who has been hiding out in a shack and living in despicable conditions. Davey claims to be waiting for his father and brother to arrive. Sam secretly helps Davey survive, bringing him food and supplies over the next few days, but as the friendship grows, a mystery unfolds. Sam begins to suspect a terrible crime has been committed by Davey's family. Faced with helping his new friend without betraying him, he wrestles with telling someone. Grover? His Chief of Police father? Dad won't be happy he traveled so far into the delta, but as events become life threatening, Sam is forced to act. 

A good book for middle grade and younger teen boys, on the level of Gary Paulsen's books. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Africa Mercy - Quick Update: One Nurse's Story

My friend Marilyn is in Africa serving as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. She emails me and I share her words with you. For those of you who know nothing of  Marilyn's story, the Africa Mercy is a hospital ship that travels the African coast with a crew of nurses and doctors. They come from all over to give of their time as volunteers. 

"Quick Update"

I meant to attach this picture to the last email. I think it
interesting how they cope with rain while riding a motorcycle. There
are only two people on this bike, but I've seen up to four on a single
bike. I have yet to see a helmet in use. I do wonder what the casualty
rate is... An amusing side note...each morning we count the hearses
lined up in front of the hospital where our eye clinic is
it like lawyers chasing ambulances at home?

Yesterday was our first day of surgery, so today was our first day of
post-op appointments. Nine patients had surgery (10 were scheduled, but
one got too afraid). They all had at least some improvement in vision,
but often, the day after surgery, there is still enough edema to blur
their vision. Most will experience even more improvement over the next
couple of weeks.

Today we scheduled one 18-year old for surgery with general anesthesia
(instead of the usual local block) because he is severely mentally
handicapped and engages in self-mutilation for stimulation. Our hope is
that if he can see, maybe his world will expand and he won't have to
live in the isolation that he currently experiences.

If you are interested, my workmate Amber writes a really interesting
blog, complete with pictures. You can check it out at: She even has a video of our day crew singing
at the end of a work day. Too bad that I'm technologically
challenged...but Amber's blog will give you a fuller taste of our life
here, if you are interested. The other two pictures I've attached to
this email are of Amber and me at work, scheduling patients for surgery.

Until next time,


Update - Interview at Jennifer Macaire's Blog

Hi all. The weather is rather nice today in central Washington state. The sky is blue and the wind mercilessly calm. Boy do we ever get our share of wind here. Winter is when all attempts at bright green go dormant in the desert. One blink of neglect....the sage brush returns and Russian thistle takes over, which I've dubbed the cockroach of weeds. It's a constant battle, but I'm still smiling, especially today...
      An interview of me at Jennifer Macaire's new blog was posted this week and I hope you'll take a look. Please, if you have time, give a look. VIRTUAL HUGS to all who do! Who knows? You may learn something new about me, and Jennifer too.

       Jennifer is an awesome Evernight Teen author, and Book 1 of her new Alexander series was recently published with Accent Press/Simon and Schuster. She also has a fascinating background as a fashion model.  

"I'm still hanging in there. Are you??"


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