Book Review by Beatriz (Wonder)

Wonder is a book that I especially enjoyed, because I have a child who is the same age, and it helped to me to understand certain issues, with this nice and emotional story.

The author has really gripped me because of the easy language, and humanitarian plot.

It is wonderful.

It tells the story of a boy that was born with a hard physical problem that makes him a special person in more ways that we can imagine. The author makes you love the character, and you can understand his relationship with all the people that are involved with him.

What I really loved about the story is how the author describes in a perfect way all the feelings of the characters, from every point of view, in order to thought-provoke the reader, who could understand the huge power of overcoming what you can have if you learn to love yourself.

I certainly would highly recommend reading this book to teenagers, because it is a way to set them in the society.

All in all it is a highly recommended book for adults, not only to parents, that could identify with the story, but also for any different more sensitive people.

Beatriz

Book Review by Mercè G. (Wonder)

I really enjoyed the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s interestly organized into different chapters for each character. It’s an emotional novel, even though it is a sad story, one of the strongest points is that it’s very humanitarian and some pages make you laugh out loud.

The plot is fascinating when we first meet the main character Auggie, who was born with his face deformed. The book is set in the current day and it tells the story of Auggie’s difficulties because he is different.

Over the course of the story we little by little find out that Auggie is intelligent, wonderful and a kind boy. What I really loved is how Auggie overcomes complicated situations.

I would strongly recommend this book to teenagers who enjoy make disgusting jokes to people that are a bit different.

All in all the book is emotional and compassionate and everyone should read it.

Book Review by Mercè (Wonder)

I enjoyed being able to reading this book a lot, and it was in English! It was the first time I finish a book written in a foreign Language in a few weeks.

It is easy to read, and I found it very orginal in its structure. The idea of writting  each chapter from the point of view of the different characters of the story makes it very funny. And one can imagine the universe aroung Auggie. I recommend it to everyone, but I think it is especially appropiate for the young readers.

The story of Auggie is very touching. As you go on with the book you discover how every character feels about him.

The plot tells the story of Auggie, a boy who has a deformity in his face which makes him different from de rest.

He starts going to school after being educated at home for years. How will the children in the school react? How will Auggie feel?

The way of writing every chapter from a different point of view on the same subject makes you identify with one character or another.

I recommend this book to young people, and teachers in order to work with in class, bullying and the different people you can meet an how to manage this.

Book Review by Silvia (Wonder)

Introduction
WONDER is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. It gripped me from the first page. The book tells the story of August, a special kid who was born different.

One of the strongest points of the book is the ability to express the feelings of the different characters. On the other hand, the story is as sad as humanitarian and it shows the best and the worst part of human beings. At the end, the book gave the readers a powerful and positive message.

Describe story, main characters
“I am not an ordinary boy”- August Pullman (our main character) said at the very beginning of the book. And actually, he’s not. The book is about him, his family and friends ant the story is set in USA, in a middle class family who have a daughter and son. Their lives got an unexpected change when August was born because he had several and important health problems and a not ordinary (and frightening) face.

For this reason, August didn’t go to school until 5th grade when August’s mom, Isabel, decides it was time for August to leave the security of home and to meet boys and girls and the real life.

It was not ever easy for August, his sister Mia, and the young girls and boys from the school, to have a boy like August as a classmate. But what I really love is the way almost everyone’s lifes got touched and the way everybody had an important lesson to learn about life, compassion and empathy.

Mia, August’s sister is such an intelligent and great little woman. Her life was really touched by the fact of being the sister of such a “special” and “unique” boy, and she developed several qualities that make her an extraordinary human being, even if it was painful and hard.

Student Book Club: Wonder

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Una de las actividades con la que nuestros alumnos disfrutan mucho es leyendo una novela en común con sus compañeros de clase. Cada semana, alumnos y profesor se marcan un objetivo (x número de páginas o capítulos) y, en la siguiente clase, dedican unos minutos a comentar qué ha sucedido, a valorar la lectura, resolver dudas de vocabulario, etc.

A continuación, os dejamos 4 reseñas de la novela ‘Wonder’. Resulta interesante leer cómo cada alumno aporta su toque y estilo en la escritura de sus Book Reviews.
¡Échales un vistazo!

Book Review by Beatriz
Wonder is a book that I especially enjoyed, because I have a child who is the same age, and it helped to me to understand certain issues, with this nice and emotional story.

The author has really gripped me because of the easy language, and humanitarian plot. It is wonderful. Read more

Book Review by Silvia
WONDER is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. It gripped me from the first page. The book tells the story of August, a special kid who was born different.

One of the strongest points of the book is the ability to express the feelings of the different characters. On the other hand, the story is as sad as humanitarian and it shows the best and the worst part of human beings. At the end, the book gave the readers a powerful and positive message. Read more

Book Review by Mercè
I enjoyed being able to reading this book a lot, and it was in English! It was the first time I finish a book written in a foreign Language in a few weeks.

It is easy to read, and I found it very orginal in its structure. The idea of writting  each chapter from the point of view of the different characters of the story makes it very funny. And one can imagine the universe aroung Auggie. I recommend it to everyone, but I think it is especially appropiate for the young readers. Read more

Book Review by Mercè G.
I really enjoyed the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s interestly organized into different chapters for each character. It’s an emotional novel, even though it is a sad story, one of the strongest points is that it’s very humanitarian and some pages make you laugh out loud.

The plot is fascinating when we first meet the main character Auggie, who was born with his face deformed. The book is set in the current day and it tells the story of Auggie’s difficulties because he is different. Read more

The Girl on the Train: the bestseller everybody is speaking about! by Patricia

Do you like thrillers? If so, The Girl on the Train is the book for you!

Although it is not a page-turner from the beginning, it won’t be long before you are hooked!

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The Plot
The main character, Rachel, is a woman in a very hard situation due to her divorce. First thing in the morning every day, she takes the commuter train to London where she sees a neighbourhood with different houses and different neighbours. While she imagines that life is perfect there, she finds herself involved in a crime which she tries to solve.

Nothing is what it seems in the Girl on the Train …

Why is this book good for learning English?
As well as enjoying the novel, you learn a lot of phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions from the dialogues that allow you to speak much more like a native person.

The book is written in the first person and the chapters are quite short… things that make a book easy to follow.

And finally, once you have finished the novel, you can also watch the film to see how it compares!

Happy reading!

Thanks to our student Patricia for this great review!

The Best Guidebooks for Travelling Abroad

I love to travel, and for me there is nothing more exciting than buying a new travel book before a trip. I spend hours reading the book and learning all about the new place: it’s an excellent way to get really excited for a trip and familiarize yourself with somewhere new! The following are some of the best guidebooks (and corresponding websites) for travelling abroad.

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  • In print: Fodor’s is the largest publisher of English-language travel and guide books in the world. The company is over 80 years old and is known as one of the authorities on travel writing and tips. Fodor’s guide books are excellent because they also provide a history of the region, suggestions for ‘free and cheap’ activities, activities for kids, and information on sporting events.
  • Online: The Fodor’s website has extensive information on travels throughout the world and includes trip itinerary suggestions, hotel discounts, cruises, and a forum where travellers can ask questions. Check it out! http://www.fodors.com/

 

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  • In print: Rather than focusing on entire countries, Time Out guides are focused more on specific cities that you are traveling to. The guidebooks are great resources for the city’s nightlife, foods and drinks, and entertainment. They’re also compact and easy to carry.
  • Online: Time Out’s website provides great lists of ‘101 Things to Do’ in many cities as well as ‘weekend guides’ for short trips. Read these lists here: http://www.timeout.com/city-guides/

 

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  • In print: Fodor’s is the largest English-language publishing company, but Lonely Planet earns the title of the world’s largest travel and guidebook publisher. Local writers create the content for Lonely Planet’s guidebooks, which are not only very informational, but also very well written articles that read more like travel stories.
  • Online: The Lonely Planet website provides information for bookings (insurance, hotels, car rentals, etc.). It also allows you to search for travel ideas using interesting categories, such as ‘Adventure travel’ or ‘Explore every day.‘ Lonely Planet has teamed up with GoPro to produce incredible videos that highlight destinations. See the world from all angles (and even underwater!) on their website. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/video

Print

  • In print: Frommer’s began in the 1950’s when Arthur Frommer published “Europe on $5 a Day.” Since then, the company has continued to publish guidebooks that are based on budgeting. Travelers who need specific information on the prices of hotels, restaurants, and attractions will enjoy the detailed pricing included in Frommer’s guidebooks.
  • Online: The Frommer’s website is an impressive compilation of articles, a forum, videos, and travel news. http://www.frommers.com/

 

Have you used an exceptionally useful guidebook on your travels?

Leave your suggestion in the comments!

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality
http://sedimentality.com/ 

Highlights of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival

Are you a movie buff?* If so, you might be excited for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival! The international film festival, which is currently taking place in the French Riviera, is known as the best place to learn about the most exciting new movies from around the world.

If you are not familiar with Cannes, check out our article about this international film festival and its history before learning about this year’s celebration.

*movie buff = a person who likes movies

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70th Anniversary
This year is the 70th anniversary of the festival. The Jury for the main competition includes American actors Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, and film directors Paolo Sorrentino (Italian), Maren Ade (German), Agnes Jaoui (French), and Park Chan-wook (South Korean). The Jury President is Spanish director and screenwriter Pedro Almodovar. The Jury will award films in many categories: check out our previous article for information regarding these main awards.

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Monica Belluci

A few other important names and faces of 2017 Cannes include Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who will be hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. The film Ismael’s Ghosts by Arnaud Desplechin was chosen as the film to open the festival and a beautiful photo of Italian actress Claudia Cardinale was chosen as the film’s official poster.

Golden Palm films
The most prestigious award for Cannes is the Golden Palm. The following films are competing for the award. Have you heard of any of them? Film lovers should check these works out: they are considered some of the best new movies of the year.

  • In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts) directed by Fatih Akin (Germany)
  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) directed by Noah Baumbach (USA)
  • Okja directed by Bong Joon-ho (South Korea and USA)
  • 120 Beats per Minute (120 battlements par minute) directed by Robin Campillo (France)
  • The Beguiled directed by Sofia Coppola (USA)
  • Rodin directed by Jacques Doillon (France, Belgium)
  • Happy End directed by Michael Haneke (France, Germany, Austria)
  • Wonderstruck directed by Todd Haynes (USA)
  • Redoubtable (Le Redoutable) directed by Michel Hazanavicius (France)
  • The Day After directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea)
  • Radiance directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan, France)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (Ireland, UK, USA)
  • A Gentle Creature directed by Sergei Loznitsa (Ukraine, France)
  • Jupiter’s Moon (Jupiter holdja) directed by Kornel Mundrczo (Hungary)
  • The Square directed by Ruben Ostlund (Sweden, Denmark, USA, France)
  • L’Amant Double directed by Francois Ozon (France)
  • You Were Never Really Here directed by Lynne Ramsay (UK, USA, France)
  • Good Time directed by Joshua and Ben Safdie (USA)
  • Loveless directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)

To learn more, visit the official Cannes Film Festival website.

Have you heard of any of these directors or movies? Do you think the jury and the films reflect the diversity of filmmaking? Give us your thoughts on the Ziggurat Facebook page!

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality
http://sedimentality.com/ 

Minientrada

Student’s Review: Mobile App (by Yolanda)

Hoy compartimos una recomendación de una de nuestras alumnas de nivel A2:

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“Although I started to study English a few years ago I felt I wasn’t progressing enough; I had problems with the listening and understanding when I spoke with other people.

So I downloaded an App called Tandem. Now I talk with people around the world every day. I write to the people and we arrange to chat. We do video calls. I have improved my listening and my vocabulary a lot and I have met a lot of interesting people.

I think this App is very good for learning and improving your language.

I recommend Tandem for learning and practicing English. It helps me a lot.”

Thanks Yolanda!

Keep calm and write in English

En noviembre os hablábamos de la importancia de crear un SMART Study Plan para tus clases. Y en este artículo, también os dábamos algunos consejos para ser un mejor escritor ‘5 Steps to becoming a better writer in your second language’.

keep-calm-and-write-in-englishOtra vía alternativa es escribir reseñas. Reseñas de cualquier cosa: libros, películas, series, restaurantes, apps, webs, viajes… y entregárselas a tu profesor para que las corrija y te de feedback. Escribir este tipo de textos, no sólo te permite dar tu opinión y compartirla, también te da la oportunidad de mejorar tus habilidades de escritura y ampliar vocabulario para luego aplicarlo en otro tipo de redactados como informes para el trabajo o emails.

Al final, ¡cualquier excusa es buena para practicar el writing! Si te animas a escribir alguna review, nos encantaría leerla y poderla compartir en el blog con otros alumnos de inglés. ¿Qué te parece?

Aquí te dejamos algunos ejemplos recientes para que busques inspiración y nos envíes tu review:

¿Te animas a enviarnos tu review? Thanks!