Every Monday bloggers all over the web participate in an effort to share books we have read and what we are excited about digging into. Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee & Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting us all!
What I Read this Week:
(Antheneum/Richard Jackson Books, September 2013)
Winner of the Caldecott Medal and recipient of a Sibert Honor Medal, this book is a work of art. Floca relays the history of the transcontinental railroad. The illustrations of trains and well-known sites and landmarks are striking. The deliberate choices about font/text style and word choice communicate the feel of riding the rails. The end pages are gorgeous. There is not a bit of unused space in Floca's masterpiece! There is so much to take in on the pages of this text; readers will be captivated.
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013)
This picture book is a beautiful look at the story of families of the Great Migration who wanted a better life. By tracing an old rope and the ways it was used by women of three generations (skipping rope, tying luggage to a car, hanging as a line for drying diapers) Woodson highlights the choices and decisions made, steeped in hope for the future. Be sure not to skip the author's note either. Woodson connects the story to stories from her own family, making the history of the book more tangible for readers.
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2013)
I am so glad this title appeared on the new Maine Student Book Award list. It had caught my attention when it was first published, but fell to the wayside as my TBR list grew steadily. The MSBA list brought it back to my consciousness, and now I'm aware of how "on to it" I was in the first place.
Ratchet/Rachel is a character you root for. Homeschooled and the daughter of an environmentally-oriented mechanic, readers quickly discover Ratchet's self-perception is impacted by her longing for friends and a wish to know more about her mom (who died when she was young). The whole book is Ratchet's journal, or her Language Arts work, where she has a wide variety of writing assignments to accomplish ranging from poetry (cinquain, list, sonnet) to essay (persuasive, narrative) to freewriting. Cavanaugh weaves Ratchet's story and her strong emotions throughout the ever-changing writing form in a way that will draw admiration from other writers. This is a great story of acceptance and finding value in self and unique circumstances.
(HarperCollins, September 2013)
When a John and Marta unexpectedly find a young boy on their porch, their world becomes changed in ways they cannot anticipate. The older couple takes in and cares for this mysterious boy who does not speak. John and Marta come to love and appreciate the boy for who he IS--unusual, artistic, and musical--all the while worrying about when/if he might be reclaimed. The capacity to love that John and Marta discover lead them to bring many more children into their home.
Sharon Creech is masterful at writing books that reach deep into readers' hearts, grab hold, and sit for a good long while. The Boy on the Porch is in keeping with her other works. The writing is accessible, but the characters and story are charged with emotional conflict that will engulf readers, inviting them into the story, until suddenly they are invested without realization.
What I am Currently Reading:
What Readers Really Do, by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton
What I am Reading Next:
Read, Write, Teach, by Linda Rief
The Joy of Planning, by Franki Sibberson
The Ghost of Tupelo Landing, by Sheila Turnage