Monday, March 17, 2014
It's Monday! Here's What I'm Reading:
I'm doubling up with a slice and an IMWAYR post. Join the slicers at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com and the Monday book sharers at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com. You will find amazing readers, writers, and thinkers through these incredible blogs.
I had some uninterrupted time and was able to read Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls cover to cover. I think that this was yet another title that I got through Tara Smith, who has become an important source for my reading life. Sam McQueen is the first person narrator and he tells us right up front on the first page that he has leukemia and he is going to die. The stories that he shares range from lists, to memoirs, to insights, to favorite moments, to awful, horrifically sad and painful events. As I write this last sentence, it occurs to me what an amazing mentor text this book would be if done as a read aloud during a personal narrative unit. I'm not sure, though, that anyone would want to start the year with the level of sadness that exists within these pages and personal narrative writing usually launches the year...
This book definitely engaged me, grabbed my by my hoodie's strings, actually, and didn't let go. I was also grateful for the beginning's list of facts that the narrator provided because they served as an important reminder for the inevitable ending. I admired many of the craft techniques that the author used--there were lists, sketches, footnotes, asides---incredibly creative ways that facts and information could be woven into a narrative story. In the afterward, the author even acknowledged the various contributors, including the people who had provided handwriting, drawings, and cartoons for the book. I wished that some of the characters had been a little more fleshed out. While there were some descriptions of most of them, I found myself beginning to develop theories about them, but not getting a lot of opportunities to substantiate my theories. Maybe it was because I read the book too fast, and maybe the strength of the book just needed to be Sam's account. If any of you read it, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this matter. I definitely recommend it, especially if you know of any children who are dealing with terminal illnesses.
Happy reading and slicing,