Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

During March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted at Today, I am doubling up, and linking this post to It's Monday! What Are you Reading, hosted at Check out either of these sites for what other people are writing and reading!

I am thinking about and working on a new curriculum for our sixth-grade that has to do with specific regions of the world. As we try to decide on regions, I have been looking for titles that we can integrate meaningfully into lessons. Facing the Lion by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is a memoir/autobiography of an African man and the nomadic childhood that he had as a Maasai on the African Savanna. We can all learn a lot about the lifestyles, customs, challenges, and joys of Kenyans from reading this book, although I would not recommend it for children younger than fifth or sixth grade and then, be prepared to explain about circumcision.

I also re-read Iqbal by Francisco D'Edamo, the story of a Pakistani boy who was sold into slavery and inspired many children, including the narrator, to question and challenge their existences as child slaves. Iqbal's story inspired Craig Kielberger to found, an organization that grown over the last fifteen years and has the motto, "children helping children." Again, I'm not sure that Iqbal would be appropriate for children younger than sixth-grade, but I think that it has the potential to inspire older students to act on the injustices that exist in the world for children.

Professionally, I read Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter which is a parable about the change process. In this book, penguins are personified and are facing a challenge in that they have to re-locate or find themselves without an iceberg. Each penguin represents a prototype of a person responding to change. The writing is simple, but the message is complex, and it's a great book for getting people to think about what sort of penguin they are!

Happy reading,


  1. These all sound like amazing books. Another good book for thinking about child slavery is Sold by Patricia McCormick. It is probably too mature for 6th graders because it deals with girls being sold into sex slavery, but it is another perspective. I will definitely be looking for all of the books you mentioned. I think the penguin book sounds like a great way to be able to have a less threatening conversation about personalities and change.

  2. I use Iqbal in a multi-curricular unit we do on social issues - child labor is one of the topics we cover, and this is a mmarvelous resource. I need to look into Facing the Lion, it sounds really interesting.

  3. Iqbal sounds really interesting. Might have to order that Thanks for your reviews!

  4. Great books, Melanie. I'm not familiar with Facing The Lion, so will make note of it. Have you also considered LInda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water?. It's brief enough that it might be a good read aloud during the unit, too. Your unit sounds very cool. I've found the National Geographic lessons to be a great resource, too.

  5. I'm not familiar with most of these...I think I've seen Iqbal before but haven't read it. I think I heard about it after I read Sold and was making connections with it. Looks like some heavy reads but also good ones!