Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Adventures of Ai...

Today's post is in a different direction than normal.  I've done many app reviews or web-based technology reviews, but today's is a book review primarily.

I was contacted a few weeks ago to review Adventures of Ai written by New York Times best selling author, Craig Bouchard.  I'll be honest, I hadn't heard of him until I was contacted, but I was intrigued.  Reading + giving my opinion = good deal for me.

Here is the summary I was provided with:

"The story is a part non-fiction and part fiction fantasy targeted at girls and boys ages 9-12 for the pressures they will encounter as they grow up, and incorporates subjects like art, history, poetry, music and mathematics."

I thought, what the heck, sounds like a good book to me and it targets the age of students I teach.

Here is the book trailer that I was also sent:

The book sounded intriguing to me immediately.  I loved the idea of having my students interact with a text that incorporated art, history, poetry, music, and mathematics.

I've spent the last few days reading the book and it in fact incorporates all of these things, but not at a depth that I was hoping.  It did just enough to whet the appetite of students.

The story begins in modern day America with a father telling a bed time story to his daughters.  This is a special time for all involved and dad begins to share a story of his time in Japan as a trading room manager.  While there he meets 3 children from the Hara family - a famous family in Tokyo.  Their grandfather was the youngest House of Representative member at the end of World War II.  During his tenure as representative he worked hand in hand with Douglas MacArthur.

One of the children that the father meets is Yuri.  He immediately notices that she has extraordinary abilities unlike any 4 year old he has met.  She is agile, accurate in her throwing, and has speed that is normally in older children.  Through the story, the father meets with the grandfather and discovers where this amazing ability comes from.  The grandfather then proceeds to tell the story from the Renaissance time period of one of his ancestors with the same abilities.

The lessons that I noticed throughout the book were:

1.  "Don't worry about what you can't do, worry about what you can do."  I think many of us need to hear this more.  I would love my students to focus on what they are capable of first and then use that to learn what they can't.

2.  When approached with fear, intimidation, meanness, reach out in kindness.  At one point in the story, Ai is approached by a ferocious lion/wolf creature.  Instead of bowing in fear and stepping aside, she reaches out to let it sniff her hand in kindness first.

3.  "The one who smiles, speaks sweetly, and looks beautiful is not necessarily a friend.  From now on, I'll look to many unselfish actions as the test of a friendship. "  This was taken directly from the book and I love it!  Actions speak so much louder than words.

4. Sometimes, going backwards is the only way to move forward.  In a world where so many people expect perfection from themselves, this is a lesson to teach students.  It's okay to make mistakes or make wrong choices.  Learn from them and move forward.

In addition to the book, there is also a game that is available for Apple and Android devices.  If your students or children love Temple Run, they will love this game.  It has the same movement capability - finger swiping. Once you choose the country you will compete for and the character, you then run a race and collect jewels and treasure along the way.

My favorite thing about the game is as you earn points, you are also earning money for charity.  What a great cause.

I did find that it was better to play it on the iPad because of the screen size.

I'm giving away two copies of the ebook to lucky readers.

Hope you enjoy the book and the game!


Here are links to access the ebook and the game.


There is also a live stream that will go live today.  You can access it here.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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