Reading, Teaching, Learning

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Slice of Life Challenge Post - Day 31 - Love Letter to my Parents

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books. 

 
Sorry so long - I haven't posted a #IMWAYR for two weeks, and I had a lot to say about each book!It's also the last day of the March SOLSC.  What a journey it has been!  My slice is at the end.
 
 
PICTURE BOOK
 
Baseball Is . . .
 
 
 
 
 
      Today is the Reds' opening day!  Take me out to the ball game! I'm not even a baseball fan, and I loved this book. With beautiful imagery and vivid sensory details, this book takes you inside the experience of baseball with joy and excitement. With tributes to baseball greats, the atmosphere of the ball park, and baseball's rituals, Borden creates a love letter to the great American game. The illustrations are beautiful, the word choice and design perfect. This book will be loved in my classroom. I can't wait to read it to them today! (I wonder if a few will be missing since the weather is supposed to be great.) 
 
     A little fun fact - we came home from our vacation Sunday, after connecting through the Miami International Airport.  Unfortunately, our luggage did not follow us.  While we were waiting in line to report the missing luggage, Ed spotted Dave Concepcion, who also lost his luggage.  Ed was a HUGE Reds fan when they were The Big Red Machine.  He's told me stories of when he was 10 years old, listening to the games on a transistor radio in his bed when he wasn't allowed to stay up to watch them.  He had all the Reds' baseball cards, Concepcion's being one of them.  I wanted him to go up and introduce himself, but he wouldn't - he didn't want to bother him.  He did talk to his driver, however, who told Ed he was in town to throw the first pitch.  Louise is a Cincinnatian and a friend, and she loves baseball.  It certainly comes through in this beautiful love letter to the great American pastime.
 
YOUNG ADULT
 
Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1)
 
 
 
 
I loved everything about this book - the narrator of the audio, D.J.'s sarcasm and wit, the farm stories, the unconventional girl character who plays football and bales hay, Brian, and I could go on and on. I laughed out loud, felt for D.J. as she comes to grips with her size, farm chores, and family, and the romance between she and Brian. I will definitely continue with the series!
 
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
 
 

 
    I don't know where to start with all the responses I have to this book. I wanted to cry all the way through it. Leo is a heart-breaking character. This is an important book - timely, empathetic, a call to action. I don't want to see myself in the antagonists - Linda, even the AP English teacher. However, I wonder if we all abandon our children and students sometimes. Are we self-absorbed, busy, in denial of the pain around us? Thank God for the Walts and Herr Silvermans of the world. They paid attention. They listened. Spent time with Leo. They didn't ignore the warning signs. I think this would be a great book club book for jr. high and high school faculty members. Take some lessons from Herr Silverman - greet each student by name every day. Listen to everyone's perspective. Pay attention to things that might not be quite right. Make yourself available. Value every student. Even the unusual ones. Especially the unusual ones. You never know what might be happening in a child's head. Who you might save. What violence you might prevent. And remember birthdays. 
 
ADULT
 
The Invention of Wings 
 
 
2014-book, adult-fiction, african-american, empathy, historical-fiction, slavery, women

 

 
    This was an incredible story of two powerful sisters, Sarah and Nina, and two unlikely friends, Sarah and Hetty (Handful). Sarah was born into the privilege and wealth of Charleston, SC in the early 19th century, but was struck at an early age by the injustice and cruelty of slavery. When she saw a slave savagely beaten, she lost her voice, causing her to be plagued by a stutter throughout much of her life. Handful was given to her as a house slave when she turned 11, and she wanted to refuse her, but she was not able to stand up to the system at that time. The two forged an uneasy, unequal, but strong bond. Nina was born into the family late, and Sarah asked to be her godmother. They were inseparable. Through both Sarah's and Handful's points of view, we hear both of their struggles to be free of the societal prisons that held them both - Handful's body and Sarah's mind. Handful's mother, Mauma, was a trouble-maker, dreamer, and story-teller. She wanted Handful to be free more than anything. Sarah promised Mauma she would free her someday. She tried to teach her to read, only to get them both severely punished. When Sarah grew up, she left the plantation and tried to forge her own way in the North. She found her calling in the abolitionist movement and even became a Quaker. Nina eventually joined her in her efforts, the two of them becoming famous and notorious speakers and writers against slavery and for women's rights. Based on real life women, Sarah and Nina endured brutal backlash, severe societal punishment, and separation from family and community. However, they pushed on and made a difference. The ending made me want to stand up and cheer. I became so attached to all the women in this story.. Favorite lines and passages:
- "Mauma had sewed where she came from, who she was, what she loved, the things she'd suffered, and the things she hoped. She'd found a way to tell it."
- "My granny-mauma told her, 'See, that's what birds do, they stop flying and hunting food and swoop down to tend their dead. They march round it and cry. They do this so everything know: once this bird lived and not it's gone.'" (This was significant later when there was a slave hanging, and no one was allowed to attend and mourn - even animals know it's right to have a funeral.)
- "I hadn't really expected Lucretia to respond, but after a moment, she spoke, 'God fills us with all sorts of yearnings that go against the grain of the world - but the fact those yearnings often come to nothing, well, I doubt that's God's doing.' She cut her eyes at me and smiled, 'I think we know that's men's doing.'"
- Sue Monk Kidd in the Author's Note: "I want the reader to feel as if he or she has participated in the interior lives of the characters and felt something of their yearnings, sufferings, joys, and braveries. Empathy - taking another's experience and making it one's own - is one of the most mysterious and noble transactions a human can have. It's the real power of fiction."


   I certainly think Kidd accomplished this goal!


PROFESSIONAL
 
Celebrating Writers: From Possibilities to Publication
 

 
    "Every person has a story worth telling. These stories are worthy because they foster connections, creating empathy for others, and give us a stronger understanding of ourselves. " Ruth Ayres and Christi Overman have written a wonderful and practical book about celebrating writers in your classroom. Ruth is all about celebrating - I, along with many others, have joined her weekly Celebration Link Up every week because it is a place where we can all read about the positives that are going on in our lives and classrooms. It's changed the way I think about my weeks - I'm always looking for something to celebrate. She and Overman tell us to do that for our students. Celebrate the process and not just the product, be specific in our responses to their writing, and become writers ourselves, sharing our struggles and successes. I was thrilled to meet Ruth at a Choice Literacy dinner because she is an inspiration. You will want to have this book on hand!

CURRENTLY READING and LISTENING TO
 
Grasshopper Jungle Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking: A 14 Day Mystery
 
My family loves to read, too!
 
Katie (18 yrs. old)
          She loved this!   So she's reading this:
Firefly Lane Fly Away
 
Libby (21 yrs. old) - She's a Spanish minor, so she likes to challenge herself to read novels in Spanish:
 
Front Cover
 
Ed
 
The King's Deception (Cotton Malone, #8)
 
Mom
 
Orange Is the New Black
 
Dad
 
Guns in Sage Valley: A Western Duo
 
What are YOU reading this week?
 
     Speaking of my family, this is my last SOLSC March post.  I don't think I'm quite done writing about memories -  I still have Tuesdays for that, but I want to sum up the March experience.  Because I've been writing about memories, I've journeyed through my childhood again, looking at things close up, thinking about what they've meant to me.  What I've discovered was that these mini-memoirs were love letters to my family.  My mom and dad blessed me with a unique and wonderful life.  The things I learned while living on Brewer Road about love, happiness, responsibility, play, and work have made me who I am.  I am grateful for the nurturing and teaching, fun and chores, pets and hobbies, sports and 4-H, reading and writing...everything.  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me that I was capable of doing anything I wanted.  That I was brave, strong, and valued.  You kindled the sparks of faith, family, friendships, and lifelong learning so I could worship a mighty God,  marry someone I knew would be a life partner and best friend, raise children who are a blessing and a promise,  enjoy friends who have enriched my life, and choose a career that has become my passion.  I love you.
 
 




     Thank you, SOLSC team, for all the work you did to put this challenge together, comment on our writing, and encourage us to keep going.  Thank you, slicers, for all your creativity and dedication.  It has been a rewarding journey!

30 comments:

  1. Glad to see you back posting. I especially miss your professional recommendations. I must seek out Leonard, I think. It's something we all need to do, as teachers, maybe.

    Here's my It's Monday!

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    1. I hate missing #IMWAYR, so I was glad to be able to post again this week. Yes, I would agree that all teachers should read Leonard Peacock!

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  2. Well, it would make sense that you were writing memoirs, wouldn't it? After all, "You don't have to be a celebrity" to write your life story... Thanks for all your posts! Your blog is so great!

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    1. Thanks, Kelsey! I love that you're embarking on the blogging adventure, too. You're going to love it!

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  3. The Invention of Wings- looking forward to reading soon, thanks for the reminder. :)

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  4. You've managed some wonderful reading, Holly! The Invention of Wings was a particular favorite - I teach that era in history, and I know that I will be bringing into my classroom the things I learned through reading the book.
    And - thank you for sharing your memories and your photographs with us. I so looked forward to "visiting" you every day and learning something new about the remarkable people and events in your life. Always such a treat!

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    1. Thank you, Tara, for all your support during SOLSC! The Invention of Wings would be a great social studies text!

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  5. Oh, Leonard Peacock! So powerful and an excellent reminder to all of us who have contact with young people to stay tuned in. You are right that this would be an great book club selection. Have a great week! ~Megan
    http://wp.me/pzUn5-1Wz

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    1. "Tuned in" is the perfect way to put it!

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  6. Grasshopper Jungle is a book I have been wanting to read for some time. My book budget is shot right now and I have put in a request for purchase at the local library. Fingers crossed that I can find a coy at Texas Library Association Conference.

    Love your tribute to your family. I admire your gratitude. It is an important and often neglected quality in this world.

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    1. Beware when you start Grasshopper Jungle! It's creepy! I got it from the library, too. :-) Gratitude is the key to happiness! :-)

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  7. Holly,
    I'm so glad you made it home safely and whoa, what a lot of reading and writing you have done. This post is so full! I have signed up to get your posts by email. Now I'll be a more faithful reader. All of your book recommendations are great. And I love what you said about noticing every child. You just never know what is going on with them, so we should always greet them by name and with respect. Thanks for your memories. I look forward to continuing our connection.

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    1. Thanks so much for following, Margaret! I love that we've connected, and look forward to continuing it, too!

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  8. Once again, I love the idea of sharing memoirs as your SOLC. It has been great reading about your childhood, family and farm adventures! Thanks for taking us on your journey.

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    1. Thank you for coming along with me! I enjoyed your SOLSC posts, too!

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  9. I absolutely loved FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK. It was unforgettable and is always on my mind. I also enjoyed CELEBRATING WRITERS. I especially appreciated the list in the back of the book. Thank you for sharing these books with us. I hope you have a fantastic reading week!

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    1. I think Leonard with always stay in the back of my mind, too. Incredible story!

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  10. I'm reading Grasshopper Jungle this week too--so good so far. Leonard Peacock has been making the rounds in my Adolescent Lit class. So many students have read it that I might as well have had it on the syllabus. Very powerful story--a must-read for teachers. I loved the audio version of Dairy Queen--really well narrated. A good series that I enjoyed all the way through.

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  11. I wrote about Baseball Is... today too! I was so amazed by this book! So many opportunities with this book. I think I'm going to have to check out Ruth's book... it's been on the radar for too long now! Have a great week!

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  12. Forgive Me seems to be popping onto so many lists. I really need to check it out!

    I didn't get to comment on as many of your slices as I would have liked,but I loved the little peek into your past, especially the photos!

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  13. Dear Holly, I know we'll be seeing each other again through SOL & IMWAYR. I reviewed Ruth's book today too, such a marvelous read & inspiring! I'm very interested in others you shared, like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, & Grasshopper Jungle. I've seen the Sue Monk Kidd talked about too, will need to wait. Thanks also for sharing so many memories. Since we had similar growing up times, I loved hearing about them very much! See you tomorrow!

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  14. Your memories have made me think about writing some of mine too. Thanks for sharing yourself and your writing. :)

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  15. I cannot wait to read Baseball Is...!!! Looks so good.
    I need to get around to Grasshopper Jungle as it is the hot topic of the month, and I love Andrew Smith. Also looking forward to reading Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock--it is on my TBR.
    Happy reading this week! :)

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  16. Oh yes, Leonard Peacock What a book! I loved it. Powerful. Your comments bring back total memories.

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  17. Hi there Holly, looks like the Slice of Life Challenge this March was a huge success. Perhaps I'd join next year, we'll see. Great to hear how meaningful the journey has been for you.

    I really am intrigued by Leonard Peacock, just the book cover alone caught my eye. I would definitely be on the lookout for that one, and search for it in our library. I am also a fan of Raul Colon's artwork so will look for Baseball is... I already have a copy of Grasshopper Jungle for review, but am saving it for our science fiction reading theme sometime end of the year. :) I wish I could read in Spanish too! Love Paulo Coelho.

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  18. Great assortment of books! I love baseball and follow my Braves via my computer since Minnesota and Atlanta aren't very close to each other. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a story that still lives in my memory too. Come see my week here. Have a great week.

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  19. Shall look forward to your thoughts on Grasshopper Jungle, lovely array of books you got to treasure over a few weeks! :) I hope to read Invention of Wings soon, bought it a few months ago... Happy reading week to you.

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  20. The narrator of DAIRY QUEEN is so good! I'm glad you agree! That is definitely one of the most memorable audiobooks I've ever listened to. I can't wait to hear what you think about GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE. That book was a trip.

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  21. Holly, I always find myself nodding my head as I read your reviews. You shared some books this week that I absolutely loved (FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK), and you shared a book your daughter is reading that I have always wanted to read (FIREFLY LANE). The pictures made me smile. Thanks for this post. It made me happy. :) :)

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