After reading Kristin Ziemke’s blog post on “sneaky reading” before Winter Break, I have shifted my thinking about when and how I read. As I’ve transitioned back into work in 2016, I’ve committed to not losing the reading momentum I built up over the break by becoming a more sneaky reader.
This week I finished some fantastic YA and middle grade books:
Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars (2015) was a touching story of friendship and learning to see the world in new and unexpected ways. Lily’s blind dog Lucky leads her into a new friendship with Salma, a young girl from a family of migrant workers who are blueberries in her community. As their friendship blossoms, both girls confront challenges, particularly Lily as she changes her perspective. With unexpected events happening throughout a book that at first seemed predictable to me, I not only loved the story but also fell in love with Lord’s wisdom as she wrote, “To do huge things, you don’t have to be hugely brave. You only have to be a little braver than you are scared…”
Hate List (2009) by Jennifer Brown was one of those books I couldn’t put down. Valerie, a high school senior, is returning to school and trying to heal from her physical and emotional wounds after her boyfriend, Nick, instigated a school shooting the previous spring that killed six people, wounded countless others (including Valerie), and ended in his own suicide. Valerie is implicated in his crime because of her contributions to a Hate List of students who had bullied and tormented the couple. This book was all about Valerie’s journey to find healing and forgiveness from her peers, her family, and herself.
This week I also brought home the book Crankenstein by Samantha Berger to my 4-year-old son and he is obsessed with this book about a little boy who turns into a monster at every daily inconvenience–waking up, waiting in line, taking medicine, breaking a toy, and so on. We have cuddled and read and reread this book countless times over the past week, giggling with every “MEEEERRRRRRRH!” and analyzing with every read why this boy gets so angry. Great read for preschoolers!
The book on my nightstand today is Sharon Draper’s Stella by Starlight (2015). It’s an insightful view of segregation and the fear felt by families as African American men began registering to vote in the 1930s, all told through the eyes of a young girl. I love the character development and the mixture of innocence and maturity shown by Stella. I’m looking forward to finishing it!