Ms. Russell



  • ELA, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 8th periods
  • Lunch, 4th period
  • ELA Planning, 6th period
  • Team Conference Time, 7th period

Tutorial times:

  • Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 7:45-8:15

Remind 101

(ELA, 1st, 2nd, and 8th per.)

  • enter 81010 and text the message @201819rus

(TAG ELA, 3rd and 5th per.)

  • enter 81010 and text the message @201819russ


Full-Text Reviews

Booklist (November 1, 2003 (Vol. 100, No. 5))

Gr. 4-7. This moving docu-novel, translated from the Italian, adds a new dimension to the recent biographies of Iqbal Masih, the brave young activist who brought global attention to the appalling facts of contemporary child labor. Told from the fictionalized viewpoint of Fatimah, a young Pakistani girl who toils alongside Iqbal in a carpet workshop and is inspired by him to rise up, the personal story is a close-up view of the power of Iqbal's cause and the anguish of his death. The harsh facts will rivet readers. Fatimah tells what it's like to be rented as a child to a cruel master, her small fingers valued for their flexibility in weaving. Foreign clients come to buy the carpets and barely notice her. Iqbal's artistry thrills the master, until Iqbal cuts his carpet, runs away, and shows Fatimah--and the world--the necessity of rebellion. D'Adamo frames the story with an introduction about child workers now and a terse epilogue about Iqbal's murder ("He was about thirteen"). The writing is simple yet eloquent.

Horn Book Guide starred (Spring 2004)

The virtually enslaved children toiling in Hussain Khan's carpet factory allow themselves to hope when a new child laborer arrives: he plans to liberate them all. This is a fictionalized account of a period in the life of Iqbal Masih, murdered by the Pakistani "carpet mafia" in 1995, when he was thirteen. An abundance of dialogue, well-observed details, and nimble characterizations make the children's solidarity wonderfully particular.

Horn Book Magazine (November/December, 2003)

"There was a precise rule among us: Never talk about the future." The virtually enslaved children toiling for Hussain Khan in his carpet factory revise this thinking when a new child laborer named Iqbal arrives: he plans to liberate them all, a feat that he finally achieves with the help of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front of Pakistan. While pursuing freedom, he inspires his peers to join the cause: the kids create a diversion so that he can escape, and, perhaps even more subversively, one of the laborers teaches her friends to read. Set in Lahore, the novel is a fictionalized account of a period in the life of Iqbal Masih, 1994 winner of the Reebok Youth in Action Award, who was murdered by the Pakistani "carpet mafia" in 1995, when he was thirteen. Although it's disappointing that narrator Fatima remains one-dimensional -- she is basically a means of disseminating information about Iqbal -- the novel is improbably light on its feet thanks to an abundance of dialogue, well-observed details, and nimble characterizations that make the children's solidarity seem wonderfully particular.

Kirkus Reviews starred (November 1, 2003)

This profoundly moving story is all the more impressive because of its basis in fact. Although the story is fictionalized, its most harrowing aspects are true: "Today, more than two hundred million children between the ages of five and seventeen are 'economically active' in the world." Iqbal Masih, a real boy, was murdered at age 13. His killers have never been found, but it's believed that a cartel of ruthless people overseeing the carpet industry, the "Carpet Mafia," killed him. The carpet business in Pakistan is the backdrop for the story of a young Pakistani girl in indentured servitude to a factory owner, who also "owned" the bonds of 14 children, indentured by their own families for sorely needed money. Fatima's first-person narrative grips from the beginning and inspires with every increment of pride and resistance the defiant Iqbal instills in his fellow workers. Although he was murdered for his efforts, Iqbal's life was not in vain; the accounts here of children who were liberated through his and activist adults' efforts will move readers for years to come. (Fiction. 10-14)

Publishers Weekly (July 18, 2005)

A bonded servant in a Pakistani carpet factory narrates this novel inspired by the life and work of Masih. In a starred review, PW said it "packs an emotional punch. An eye-opening, genuinely touching novel." Ages 8-12. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly (November 10, 2003)

D'Adamo's brief book, his first published in the U.S., packs an emotional punch in a novel also inspired by the life and work of Masih. Narrator Fatima is a bonded servant in a carpet factory in Pakistan, where she and a dozen or so other children work from dawn until dusk with little food or water, handweaving carpets that make their "owner," Hussain Khan, wealthy. Into their factory steps young Iqbal. A stunning act of bravery nearly kills him but also plants a seed of rebellion in his fellow workers; another turn of events exposes just how corrupt and deeply ingrained the country's system is. D'Adamo's prose is straightforward, almost reportorial, but the author also carefully chooses hauntingly poetic images that reflect the children's plight: an open window too high for the children to view, and later, when hope begins to bloom, a kite. D'Adamo pays fitting respect to Iqbal's name and bravery with this eye-opening, genuinely touching novel. Ages 8-12. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal (November 1, 2003)

Gr 4-7-Thirteen-year-old Iqbal Masih was murdered in his Pakistani village in April, 1995, a few months after he had received an international prize and traveled to Sweden and the United States, speaking about his six years as a bonded child in Lahore carpet factories. The murderers-perhaps part of the "Carpet Mafia"-have never been caught. In smoothly translated prose, D'Adamo retells the boy's story through the eyes of a fictional coworker. Also sold into servitude to pay her father's debt, Fatima worked in Hussain Khan's carpet factory for three years and had forgotten almost everything about her previous life. She had grown used to the long hours, the scanty rations, the heat, and the cramped quarters of a life spent tying carpet knots and sleeping beside her loom. She and the others in the workshop are stunned when Iqbal appears and tells them that their debts will never be paid. He tries to convince the children that their situations can change and he escapes to the market where he hooks up with members of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. Fatima doesn't come alive as a character in her own right, but the situation and setting are made clear in this novel. Readers cannot help but be moved by the plight of these youngsters. This thinly disguised biography makes little effort to go beyond the known facts of Iqbal's life. Nonetheless, his achievements were astounding, and this readable book will certainly add breadth to most collections.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

House Arrest

Full-Text Reviews

Booklist (September 1, 2015 (Vol. 112, No. 1))

Grades 5-8. Timothy’s 12-year-old life revolves around his baby brother Levi’s medical condition. Levi was born needing a “trach,” whereby a tube is placed in his neck to breathe, which makes his daily existence tenuous. Timothy’s world on Magnolia Circle in Texas is grounded by both his neighbor José as well as his earnest mother, who protects Timothy from having contact with his deserting father. Trying to help pay for medical expenses, Timothy brazenly steals a wallet that lands him on house arrest for one year. Along with his sentence comes juvenile probation officer James and the school guidance counselor, Mrs. B. Holt’s use of free-verse narrative, organized by seasons and weeks of the year, develops a pace for Timothy’s reluctance in writing his court-ordered journal entries. Timothy’s every action, while impulsive, centers on his deep brotherly love. Readers who empathize with Timothy’s determination regardless of consequence will appreciate Holt’s lessons of compassion and family above all.

Horn Book Guide (Fall 2016)

This moving novel in verse takes the form of a court-mandated journal written by Timothy, a young teen whose baby brother requires around-the-clock care. Tim has been sentenced to "house arrest" because he stole a wallet to help his overwhelmed mom. Through interactions with his family, his probation officer, his therapist, and his friend Josi, Tim narrates his struggles with a mix of humor and pathos.

Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2015)

A boy works desperately to keep his sick little brother safe.Twelve-year-old Timothy has a probation officer, a court-appointed psychologist, and a yearlong sentence of house arrest. He also has a 9-month-old brother who breathes through a trach tube that frequently clogs. Heavy oxygen tanks and a suction machine as loud as a jackhammer are their everyday equipment. Timothy's crime: charging $1,445 on a stolen credit card for a month of baby Levi's medicine, which his mother can't afford, especially since his father left. The text shows illness, poverty, and hunger to be awful but barely acknowledges the role of, for example, weak health insurance, odd considering the nature of Timothy's crime. The family has nursing help but not 24/7; the real house arrest in Timothy's life isn't a legal pronouncement, it's the need to keep Levi breathing. Sometimes Timothy's the only person home to do so. His court sentence requires keeping a journal; the premise that Holt's straightforward free-verse poems are Timothy's writing works well enough, though sometimes the verses read like immediate thoughts rather than post-event reflection. A sudden crisis at the climax forces Timothy into criminal action to save Levi's life, but literally saving his brother from death doesn't erase the whiff of textual indictment for lawbreaking. Even Mom equivocates, which readers may find grievously unjust. Easy to read and strong on sibling devotion, with frustratingly mixed messages about personal responsibility. (Verse fiction. 9-13)

Publishers Weekly (August 3, 2015)

Twelve-year-old Timothy is spending a year under house arrest after stealing a wallet to pay for medicine for his sick baby brother, Levi. To avoid juvie, he must reflect on what he did in a court-ordered journal, in addition to weekly visits with a probation officer and psychologist. Holt (Rhyme Schemer) establishes Timothy's voice via episodic free verse poems that showcase her finesse with the form, persuasively expressing his many emotions. For example, he's angry with his father for abandoning them ("I wish I could drive/ away, away, away./ But even if I could, I wouldn't./ Because there are people to take care of./ People you left behind"), worried about Levi's health, hopeful that he can help his mother and brother, and developing feelings for his best friend's older sister. Touches of humor lighten the mood, and Holt's firsthand knowledge of the subject (her own son had trachea problems, the acknowledgments reveal) adds depth to this poignant drama without overwhelming it. The focus remains on Timothy's journey to overcome his troubles, though if the ending is any indication, he has a ways to go. Ages 10-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal (July 1, 2015)

Gr 6-10-Timothy stole a wallet, and now he's an adjudicated delinquent. The only places he's allowed to go are to school and to appointments with his therapist and probation officer. Also, the judge gave him a journal-writing assignment. If Timothy shows signs of remorse and doesn't get into more trouble over the course of the next year, he may be able to avoid being sent to juvie. But Timothy didn't take the wallet for himself. His family is in dire financial straits ever since his father left and his younger brother was born with serious health issues. Now, with plenty of spare time on his hands, Timothy can fully explore his complicated feelings about his current family situation. He knows one thing, though: stealing the wallet may have been wrong, and he knows it didn't help, but if there's a way he can truly help his struggling family, he won't hesitate to act. This gripping novel in verse evokes a wide variety of emotional responses, as it is serious and funny, thrilling and touching, sweet and snarky. Timothy is an entirely believable kid, and his brother's health issues, as well as Timothy's reactions to them, are skillfully described. VERDICT This story will have plenty of appeal for reluctant and enthusiastic readers alike and will be a good fit for most library collections.-Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.