I liked this mentor text from, who'd have guessed, Mario Cuomo for a number of reasons. First, he has some strong writing moves that all teachers whoI liked this mentor text from, who'd have guessed, Mario Cuomo for a number of reasons. First, he has some strong writing moves that all teachers who teach personal narratives like to show budding writers. Similes, onomatopoeia, explode the moment, repetition and a life lesson are hidden in this memoir. But I also liked The Blue Spruce for some weak word choices. And that's because kids will clearly see how and why we use "million dollar words." Patricia Polacco Mario Cuomo is not. Still, this is a quiet book with lots of teaching meat to it. ...more
Reminiscent of Smile, El Deafo is the true story of one hearing-impaired girl's struggle for self-acceptance in a hearing world. Readers will giggle aReminiscent of Smile, El Deafo is the true story of one hearing-impaired girl's struggle for self-acceptance in a hearing world. Readers will giggle at El Deafo's superhuman ability to hear her teacher from as far away as the (ahem) the ladies room and root for CeCe as she finds her voice in a world who wants to drown her own out, no matter their well meaning ways. El Deafo will be a quiet reminder (no pun intended) to readers young and old that people are people. I can think of no greater way to grow empathy.
I especially appreciated the seventies references sprinkled throughout since I'm of CeCe's generation, but wonder if the 'Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific' shampoo reference or the John Boy part might be mussed by its target audience. Regardless, they made me smile when they did appear. I mean, who DOESN'T love Captain and Tennille, or the smell of a freshly mimeographed paper? And lest we forget, once upon a time teachers smoked in the teacher's lounge and would be gone for extended amounts of time from class with never a worry about culpability. Ah. The Seventies.
Told through little vignettes with an authentic voice, this is one young man's journey into discovering what Christ's plan is for us-if only we are stTold through little vignettes with an authentic voice, this is one young man's journey into discovering what Christ's plan is for us-if only we are still enough to listen.
Dripping in gorgeous prose, this novel-in-verse tells of Woodson's life and follows her upbringing from Ohio, to North Carolina, to NYC. Her "How To LDripping in gorgeous prose, this novel-in-verse tells of Woodson's life and follows her upbringing from Ohio, to North Carolina, to NYC. Her "How To Listen" haikus are models to burgeoning young writers. "A Girl Named Jack" will be read this week to my class as we discuss where we come from as writers in preparation for our own personal narratives; already, her newly published book a mentor to newly minted writers with fresh composition books in their hands.
Beautiful, empowering, and easily one of only two middle grade books I can qualify as Newbery contenders this year, Brown Girl Dreaming will leave you both breathless and banging your head demanding to know why you cannot be as adept at the English language as she is.
Jacqueline Woodson graciously agreed to skype with my students in December after they read Brown Girl Dreaming.I am eternally gratefully and I.cannot.wait.
The loss of a child is no less than losing a piece of yourself. Forever. It's simply not the natural order of things. Burying a child means that yourThe loss of a child is no less than losing a piece of yourself. Forever. It's simply not the natural order of things. Burying a child means that your life is forever colored. You view things through two lenses: before the loss and after the loss. And you never take for granted that having a child means that you will never say goodbye forever to another one. You live holding your breath every time your teenager goes out and doesn't answer calls or texts. Your heart skips a beat when your tween is not where he says he would be when you pick him up from school. The shadow of grief and the whisper of loss surround your every move. I know. I, too, am a reluctant card carrying member of this unwitting club.
Having lived through this horror myself, I was intrigued by the blurb of Ailsa Fabian's book and immediately began reading it. I was touched by a young mother's heart growing exponentially as her first born began to envelope every waking moment of her life. Her honesty (or ignorance) about desiring to go back to the work that gratified her almost immediately after beginning her family gave way to a quiet acquiescence of her role in the family. Our roles in life, as most mothers in the 1960's (and some would argue even now) discovered, have a season. Fabian gave way to the motherhood season of her life with gusto and loved first her daughter, and then her son with gusto.
The pages are ripe with memories of vacations and a quiet, almost easy life in comparison to today's standards full of extra hands on deck to assist with the child rearing. Her writing is not easy to follow, and the book took longer to unfold because of it. Yet in the pages, one could sense the absolute love for a child long ago lost. My one grievance was the abrupt way in which the book ended. I thought perhaps I had skipped a chapter or missed the epilogue. Alas, there was not one mention of young Sarah's illness, her mother's fear and ultimate grief, or of the family's workings after such a tragic loss. And while I enjoyed reading her memories of the idyllic childhood that she provided for her daughter, that was the ultimate reason why I placed her book ahead of all the others in the first place.
It must be mentioned that A Shining Space is being published at the author's ripe age of 93. A mother's heart never mends.
Beautifully illustrated, simply told, a tale that reminds us all that acceptance of all and self-control are values to be upheld despite how challengiBeautifully illustrated, simply told, a tale that reminds us all that acceptance of all and self-control are values to be upheld despite how challenging it might be to live them day to day. Highly recommended....more
I enjoyed the conversational tone of Julia Sweeney's memoir. Assuming a "girlfriend-like" voice kept the flow moving and easy to read. Memoir is a parI enjoyed the conversational tone of Julia Sweeney's memoir. Assuming a "girlfriend-like" voice kept the flow moving and easy to read. Memoir is a particular favorite of mine, and this one didn't disappoint. At times funny, at times poignant, I walked away from IF It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother with a deeper appreciation for life...and isn't that the point of a well-written memoir?
In particular, I admired how Julia decided to adopt a child as a single woman after being unable to bear one of her own. I found her strong and witty (duh, she IS a comedian). I loved the relationships she formed with her brothers and friends that made her daughter, Mulan, have an instant family. What bothered me, and what ultimately kept me from giving this one more stars, are seemingly insignificant to most readers. The overuse of "You see," in the text (I found myself actually looking for it and stopped counting after seven) and the sometimes preachy tone she takes on certain topics. It was ironic that she admonished private schools and prided herself on sending her daughter to a public school, when that public school has a whopping price per head. As a teacher, I could appreciate her convictions about education inequalities in America, but certainly did not see herself as the picture perfect public school parent...not when her daughter attends a public school that mirrors a private school one....more
This beautiful tribute to a mother's love for not only her family, but for her community as well, takes the reader on a journey. While on the road, yoThis beautiful tribute to a mother's love for not only her family, but for her community as well, takes the reader on a journey. While on the road, you'll find a mother's devotion to her son no matter his own life's path, a woman's undying faith for her God, and her devotion to her career and passion for helping those who cannot help themselves. As you travel, you'll hear from one of the most readerly people (and an editor, to boot) about some of the best books as if he is in the room with you booktalking them personally. In the end, The End of Your Life Book Club is about life, how to live it--well, and how to depart this earth leaving it a little better than when you found it. Gorgeously written, I only pray that my boys regard me in the same fashion as Will Schwalbe does his own mother. HIGHLY recommended.
With tears streaming down my cheeks, I closed the book and exclaimed, "That was such a sad book." Immediately, I found myself surrounded by my three boys, each one wanting to know more about it. My eight year old began rifling through the pages, my middle son ribbing me for being such a crybaby, and my oldest son coming quickly to my defense telling him to "lay off." He gets it, you see. He and I share our own book club of sorts-trading titles back and forth, him telling me about the latest "hilarious but slightly inappropriate" book (his current one being ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL), or him asking me, "Whatcha readin'?" My next book to be read, after much urging from my oldest son? The Walking Dead...Lord help me....more