Monday, February 11, 2013
It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
teachmentortexts.com, a website that links many bloggers and lets us all share what we have read over the week. I appreciate our hosts, Jen and Kellee for all of their recommendations and this great Monday tradition!
Nothing like a snowstorm to encourage some good reading and I enjoyed several books during the time that we were all housebound. I had two favorites.
Navigating Early is one of my new favorite all-time reads and I don't think I can recommend it highly enough. My only hesitation is that, like Clare Vanderpool's first book, Moon Over Manifest, Navigating Early is complex and contains parallel stories. Most elementary students will need some support to really understand and appreciate this great book so it would be a wonderful read aloud for upper elementary students.
Set during the 1940's, this book has messages of friendship, loyalty, empathy, and perseverance, while complex characters emerge throughout the main characters' quests and offer lessons of connectedness. Early, one of the main characters, is odd (probably autistic by today's standards) but shows Jack that things aren't always how they seem and that sometimes answers exist in places where you don't expect them.
I read this book in a day and I miss Jack and Early. I have returned to the pages to mark places where Clare Vanderpool writes so beautifully that I want to share it with other teachers and students. I'm not sure that I've read a better mentor text for meaningfully appealing to the senses or having characters develop quickly and authentically.
Because I am working on a globally oriented curriculum, I have been reading fiction and non-fiction books that teach about various countries and continents. Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai is a beautifully written historical fiction book about an Afghani family's escape from their country and immigration to California during the weeks leading up to and just after 9/11 and I think that it would be a great book to include within a unit about Afghanistan and Pakistan. N.H. Senzai weaves in important geographical information and facts about the Taliban throughout this book, as well as messages of empathy, kindness, loyalty, responsibility and perseverance. My daughters laughed at me as I finished this book since tears were streaming down my face; they are lined up to read it (and we have ANOTHER snow day tomorrow) and I can't wait to talk about it with them.
Laugh With the Moon was a recommendation from Melanie Swider and she reviewed it here on our blog. This is a book that I am excited to match with the Social Studies unit about Africa. If anyone has more historical fiction or non-fiction recommendations that would support our unit that have to do with China, Central America, Africa or the Middle East, I would welcome ideas!
I have some professional books and twitterchats to catch up with tomorrow, as well as a few other books that I brought home from the library. I'm looking forward to school on Tuesday, though, I have to say! Please, no more snow!