Maus Project

Maus 1:

Chapter 1 – This is a graphic memoir. A graphic memoir tells a person’s life through text and drawings. Why does Art Spiegelman use mice instead of people to portray the characters in the story? What do the mice represent?

Art Spiegelman uses mice to show how Germans and Polish people thought of Jewish people. The mice represent how Germans and Polish considered the Jewish as insignificant and dirty.

Chapter 2 – Why does Ms. Stefanska go to jail? What role did Anja play in Ms. Stefanska’s going to jail?

She goes to jail because the police find communist papers in her shop. The papers were given to her to hide by Anja, because the police suspected her of having communist papers.

Chapter 3 – What does Vladek mean on page 50, when he says, “Well at least I did something.” Do you believe that he is justified in feeling this way? Explain.

Vladek means that even if he got captured, he killed one German. This is justified because he did help his side even if it was very little.

Chapter 4 – Although Jews were allowed only limited rations under the Nazi occupation, Vladek manages to circumvent these restrictions for a while. What methods does he use to support himself and his family?

Vladek does business with Mr. Ilzecki, trades gold and jewelry, and sells items to small shops illegally.

Chapter 5 – How did Vladek care for Anja after the destruction of the Srodula ghetto? Contrast his behavior toward his first wife, during the worst years of the war, with the way he now treats Mala.

Vladek was always very kind to Anja, and he helped her to stay alive during the war. Now, Vladek is always fighting with Mala.

Chapter 6 – Why does Artie call his father a murderer? Is he justified? Who else has he called a murderer, and why?

Art calls his father a murderer because he burned Anja’s notebooks, which were a representation of Anja herself. He calls his mother a murderer in “Prisoner on the Hell Planet” because she “killed” him by killing herself.

Maus 2

Part 2 – Write an overall impression of what Vladek went through in Auschwitz and how it changed him. How has it affected Artie and Francoise?

In Auschwitz, there were very bed conditions, very little food, people were crowded together, and they had to do crazy exercises every day. The people were given very difficult jobs, and often punished for no reason. Everyone would steal from each other if they got the chance. This caused Vladek to save everything, take anything that is free, and collect everything he finds useful. Vladek never wants to buy anything if he can get it for free or do it himself. This bothers Art and Francoise, because he never wants them to use things he has to buy. It also causes them to have to live with Vladek after Mala leaves him.

Art’s Facebook Page:

Nadja’s Facebook Page:

“Maniac Magee” Book Review

Title: Maniac Magee

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Cost: $ 6.95 on

Star Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

Characters: Jeffrey “Maniac” Magee, Amanda Beale, Mars Bar Thompson, Hester Beale, Lester Beale, Mrs. Beale, Earl Grayson, John McNab, Russel McNab, Piper McNab.

Summary: Jeffrey Magee lost his parents to trolley accident when he was three, and lived with his aunt and uncle, who hated each other, for eight more years. Jeffrey, unable to stand living with his aunt and uncle anymore, runs away during a school play. After one year, he reaches the town of Two Mills, which is separated in to the East End (where the black people live) and the West End (where the white people live).

Not knowing about this separation, Jeffrey goes into the East End and runs into Amanda Beale, who is headed to school. He borrows a book from her and continues running through the town. While running, he catches a football heading towards football star “Hands” Down, angers a Little League baseball player by hitting home runs from his fastball, and saves a child that was thrown into Finsterwald’s backyard. This is how he earns the nickname of “Maniac”, and soon, everyone knows him. Mars Bar Thompson dislikes Jeffrey, and tries to take Amanda’s book from him, but Jeffrey is saved by Amanda, even though a page is ripped from her book. Amanda takes Jeffrey home where he keeps Hester and Lester – Amanda’s younger brother and sister – out of trouble and helps with chores. After some time, other East Enders decide that they do not want Maniac staying in the East End. Following Amanda’s idea, Maniac tries to gain their respect by untying Cobble’s Knot. Everyone cheers when he unties it, and they throw homemade confetti on him. Amanda finds out that the confetti is made from the pages of her favorite book, encyclopedia A. This causes Maniac to run away and he begins to live in the buffalo pen at the zoo.

He is there discovered by Earl Grayson, who takes him home. Maniac teaches Grayson how to read and Grayson tells Maniac stories of when he played baseball. They spend a lot of time together, but Grayson dies five days after Christmas. Maniac runs away, and decides to sleep until he dies. Fortunately, he encounters Piper and Russel McNab, John McNab’s younger brothers, who are running away to Mexico. Maniac takes them back to their house and bribes them with pizza, so he ends up living with them. When challenged to a race by Mars Bar, Maniac easily wins, and uses this advantage to bring Mars Bar to a party at the McNabs’ house. Maniac is kicked out of the house and goes back to living in the buffalo pen in the zoo. He wakes up every morning when Two Mills is still asleep and runs for miles. Soon, Mars Bar joins him on these morning runs, and they run side by side without saying a word. On one of these such mornings, Piper McNab runs up to them, frantically calling them to rescue Russel, who is stuck on the trolley tracks where Maniac’s parents died. Maniac is paralyzed by fear and walks away, but Mars Bar rescues Russel, and becomes Russel’s hero. After Maniac hides put in the buffalo pen, Mars Bar leads Amanda to him, and she takes him to her home, which is now Maniac’s home as well.

Opinion: This was a very interesting book and I learned a lot from it.

Fact: This novel explains how life was like in racist, segregated cities.

“The Secret Garden” Book Report

The novel “The Secret Garden” was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The main characters are Mary, Martha, Dickon, Colin, Mr. Craven, Ben Weatherstaff, and the robin. The beginning of the novel takes place in India, but most of it takes place in the Misselthwaite Manor and in the secret garden.

“The Secret Garden” begins with an outbreak of fatal cholera in the area where Mary lives in India. Her parents die of cholera, and Mary is taken to England to live with her gloomy hunchback uncle, Archibald Craven, in the Misselthwaite Manor. There, she meets Martha, a maid that takes care of her. Mary begins as a disrespectful, spoiled, and weak child. Later on, with the air of the moor and by exercising with a jump rope Martha’s mother sent her, Mary becomes stronger.

While walking in the gardens, Mary meets a gardener named Ben Weatherstaff, whose only friend is a robin. She learns about a garden that has been locked for ten years, and the key buried. It was locked after Mr. Craven’s wife died. The robin shows Mary where the key is hidden, and after searching for days, she finds the door. Mary secretly spends time in the garden, digging and weeding. Mary meets Dickon, Martha’s brother, who seems to be an animal charmer. All animals love him and hide nothing from him. Mary shows him the secret garden, and Dickon brings her some gardening tools and they plant flowers and tend to the garden.

There are cries in the hallway, and Mary asks Martha about them. Martha denies that there is someone crying even after Mary has heard it three times, so Mary decides to see for herself. In the middle of the night, she wanders through the hallways until she finds the source. It is Mr. Craven’s son, Colin. Nobody told Mary about Colin because he disliked being looked at. Colin has been told, and believes, that he will die, and that he will be a hunchback if he ever lives to grow. Colin hates almost everything, and will not leave his room. He cannot even walk.

Mary befriends Colin and tells him about the garden, and he decides to go there. Colin, Mary, and Dickon go to the garden alone every day, and Colin gets stronger. He stops having tantrums, and eventually is able to walk. The secret garden convinces Colin that he will live, and he will not be a hunchback. All of this is kept a secret from everyone but the children and Ben Weatherstaff.

The novel ends with Mr. Craven coming home and walking out to the garden to find Colin running around. The two walk back to the manor together, both walking, surprising all the people there.

“Seeker” Book Review

“Seeker” was rated 4 out of 5 stars. This novel was published by Ember, written by Arwen Elys Dayton, and costs $9.99 on Amazon for a new paperback of the novel.

“Seeker” begins with Quin, Shinobu, and John training to become Seekers. They have a final practice fight with their trainers, Briac (Quin’s father) and Alistair (Shinobu’s father). However, Briac uses a disruptor, a weapon that shoots balls of electricity at the target, in the fight. John is terrified of the disruptor, and is frozen in place whenever it comes near him. After the fight, Quin and Shinobu have completed their training and will become Seekers. However, Briac decides that because of John’s weakness against the disruptor, he will not become a Seeker, and will be sent back to his grandfather.

Quin and Shinobu have been raised to become Seekers. They have been told many times that Seekers protect the weak and the wronged, but the night they become Seekers, they find out that Seekers just kill to follow some one’s orders or because they are a danger to the Seeker. Seekers use a stone knife called an athame and a similarly shaped stone tool called the lightning rod.

John’s mother was killed, and his athame was stolen. John goes to Briac to train because Briac has his athame, and John wants to get it back. He will do whatever it takes. There are many fights. Alistair is killed and Quin temporarily loses her memory. At the end, John has Shinobu’s family’s athame and the lightning rod, and Quin and Shinobu must get it back.

“Seeker” is a very good book. However, the part when Quin loses her memories and her and Shinobu’s lives change completely for 18 months, confused me a bit.

Book Review – The Subtle Knife

The Subtle Knife is the sequel to The Golden Compass, and this is one of the best series I have read. The Subtle Knife begins where The Golden Compass left off; when Lyra goes into a window to a new world. There, she meets Will, a boy who has no dæmon, but whose dæmon seems to be inside him, unlike Lyra’s Pantalaimon.

Will is trying to find his father, who disappeared on a mission to the arctic, and help his mother, who sees things nobody else sees and is being pursued by men who want to take information about Will’s father from her. Lyra asks the alethiometer about Will, but all that it says is that Will is a murderer. This causes Lyra to trust him.

Together, they find out more information about Will’s father and Dust. A man named Sir Charles, who is actually from Lyra’s world, tries to help Mrs. Coulter take the alethiometer from Lyra. Lyra and Will get it back using the subtle knife. Will becomes the holder of the subtle knife when he fights a young man who stole the subtle knife to stay safe from Specters, creatures invisible to children who eat adult’s souls, and lost the two fingers on his left hand opposite the thumb. Losing these fingers is the mark of the bearer. The subtle knife can cut anything, including windows to other worlds. Will can now open windows to any world using the subtle knife.

They find that Lord Asriel is summoning an army of all kinds of creatures from different worlds, and building a fortress. At the end of the book, Lyra is captured by Mrs. Coulter and, with the help of two angels, Will must find her and they must escape.

In the upcoming war, what side will they fight on?

How do you make decisions?

Decisions are very important in everyone’s lives. Everyone makes decisions, whether we want to or not. Almost everything we do requires a decision, such as choosing clothes, food, and what to do. We choose whether to do homework or leave it for a later time, or whether to get your sleep or stay up late.

I make decisions by thinking about what the options are and what will happen if I choose either one. I think about how it will affect me and the people around me.

The Future!

Dear young Mika,

You recently moved into a small house and immediately adopted all the cats in Petsmart. –A this is elizbatea annd i k iadf ille=iterarte (This is Elizabeth I am Illiterate (not really))– Sorry, my very crazy family just came out of nowhere and started typing. You still have the same family (not related by blood) and your favorite author has still not finished writing Lockkeepers. They have finished many other books, though. Vik is still the smartest, and she is always at school or studying. Shalala has started drawing and animating for a living. Hannan is in vet school, and is who you trust with being the vet for your many cats. Sebastian is basically the same, just older. And Honey continues to be the best cat in the world. He is much older, but he is still crazy and never fails to make you laugh.

Now for some advice. Always put family first and school right after. STOP WORKING SO SLOWLY. Procrastinating and working slowly will only make life harder. Help your family whenever they need you and everything will be fine.

Good luck in life.

Your 23 year old self.