10 of 31 Slicing And Time to Share What I've Been Reading (aside from blogs)!
Happy Reading everyone! Day Ten of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing TeachersTweet at #SOL14
And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. Great books shared!
Tweet! at #IMWAYR
Finished FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell that met two challenges on the sidebar this week. Week by week this year, I hope I can find time to read all that are on the list in a page posted above. Go to Carrie Gelson's post here to discover what it's all about and who's participating (tweet at #MustReadin2014), or go to Gathering Books with Myra, Fats & Iphigene to see their CORL challenge!
I fought my way through this book, consistently wondering, about where and who and why. It took me a few weeks to finish, just busy with other things, but I looked forward to reading pages at the end of every single day. After liking Eleanor & Park so much, I wasn’t sure that Rainbow Rowell could write another with characters so fascinating and loveable. She did. It really is a book for older adolescents because even as old as I am, the college girl still in me was so touched by the connections I made with the characters’ thoughts, relationships, and their earnest struggle to make things right. While the reader might think that these are characters who are a little bit quirky, I think that they were just honest with their needs and wants, and didn’t hide behind what’s deemed as “cool”, like those who resist anyone seeing who they really are.
Cather, the main character, writes fan fiction in response to a very popular book that sounds a lot like Harry Potter. Cather and her twin sister Wren have loved the series since junior high. The chapters begin with excerpts from both the “real” book and Cather’s writing. The plot twists with a manic but loving father, a mother who abandoned them when they were eight, a wonderful young man named Levi and a seemingly disastrous roommate named Reagan. It is a family story, and a story of survival along with a very sweet romance. I enjoyed it very much.
I'm also participating in a third challenge, one that encourages everyone to read more books from Latino authors or with a Latino theme. You can click on the link at the right to find out more, and some great books reviewed there too! Here's one book sure to inspire!
Living in a remote area of Colombia, Luis Soriana spent a lot of time reading, so much that his wife began to worry about the amount of room his book collection was using. They didn’t have a large home. So Luis got the idea to begin traveling to even more remote areas to give the books to those without. He used two burros to carry as many as possible, beginning with a collection of 70 in 2000. When the book was published, Jeannette Winter writes that this collection has grown to over 4,800 books, mostly through donations. She quotes Soriana: People around here love stories. I’m trying to keep that spirit alive in my own way.” It’s an inspiration to hear what one person with a good idea can do, and Jeannette Winter tells the story in her own special way, with a few good words, and beautifully illustrated pages.
We’ve all been waiting for spring, and this is the perfect picture book to welcome it and to learn about robins’ lives. It does follow a robin family all year round, but shows the habits of building a nest, laying those beautiful eggs, hatching and raising their young. Each beautifully-colored double-page spread has only one word that helps to tell the story. This is a debut book by Jorey Hurley and could be called a “round-robin” tale!
Sometimes younger children want to know about Hitler and the Nazis, the Holocaust, and it’s not an easy story to tell. D. Kelley Steele has written one young girl, Margot’s true story of her experience in Germany with a Jewish father and a Christian mother. The story is brief, focuses on the easy beginning time of being introduced to this man named Hitler in school, and being taught to salute him-hence the title. There are serious moments in the book, and then there are frightening ones like the relating of the father being taken away and questioned again and again. And there are sad ones. The illustrations are beautiful paintings, seem larger than life, to tell this “large” story. It would be an introduction that is helpful to younger students in learning about this terrible time in history.
If I taught high school, I would share this book, and certainly it would begin some serious conversations. It is riveting, but harsh in the telling of a boy who rejects everyone in order to go his own way. I’d love to discuss it with someone, because the message is support for those who don’t follow expected paths, the questions asked like “why don’t you?” or “I wish you would…”, and we usually celebrate those who go their own way and are successful. The illustrations show only angry pushy adults who are demanding and critical. Is that how we seem to some young teens? The boy, Thomas, seems shut down, and refusing to entertain anything that society offers. Perhaps that’s what makes a good book; it makes me uncomfortable and thoughtful about the book.
Next: I received a copy of Stay Where You Are And Then Leave, John Boyne's latest book which comes out the end of the month. He is the author of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas. This new book is also about war, this time World War I, and thus far it's started well. I want to say I'm still reading Jeannine Atkins' Views From The Window Seat: Thoughts On Writing And Life, a book of essays. I read a little at a time, and love every word.