Two teachers who share the passion of literacy, teaching, and life-long learning
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,
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Thanks for the recommendation! To what age group would you use this as a read aloud? And read alone?ReplyDelete
Sorry, Cindy, I should have said. It's an upper elementary read aloud. Fourth to fifth grade, even up to sixth, I'd say.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
This sounds interesting, but my pet peeve of the week is that so few characters SURVIVE in middle grade literature. Usually it's a high casualty rate among parents. I don't know that students want to read about death quite as much as authors seem to like to write about it!ReplyDelete
Thank you for the book recommendation. And I want to say--how fortunate it is that you were able to see Jaana yesterday!ReplyDelete
It sounds like a book to have on hand, Melanie, but I'm not sure I would read it if not needed. What a tough subject to address. I read the further reviews on Goodreads & will look for it. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Good to learn about this book, thank you! Hope you have a wonderful reading week...ReplyDelete
I actually grew to love this book, Melanie, The relationship between the two boys was fascinating...and moving. It's not a book for every child, but those from my class who have read it have taken away so much from the experience.ReplyDelete
Ok, this sounds like my kind of book. I actually have a post in process about my reader identity and this book fits right in with it. (I will share it with you when I finally post it!) Our library has it and I will be going up tonight to get it! Thanks for sharing it!ReplyDelete
I own this book and just moved it over to my must read and soon pile - I think I read about this first on another blog and now hearing how much you enjoyed it, I really have to begin this title. Thanks for the recommendation.ReplyDelete
Hi there Melanie, this sounds like a really important novel. We had a "loss and coming of age" reading theme previously, and I have a feeling that this one would have fit right in quite nicely. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the book. :)ReplyDelete