Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 9/16/13

I am excited to be a part of the conversation at #IMWAYR! Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting this meme.

I didn't read anything this week that really blew me away, but I was beside myself with joy when I came home on Thursday and found Kate Dicamillo's new book, Flora and Ulysses in my mailbox.  I'm saving it for a quiet evening this week when I can read it all in one sitting!

I don't watch TV (except for the Red Sox) so I'm only vaguely aware of the Survivor phenomenon, thus I was fairly oblivious of Jeff Probst's first book in his new series, Stranded.  My expectations were low (unfair, perhaps), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Stranded is an exciting and fast-paced adventure/survival tale.  When four kids from a newly blended family go sailing with an uncle, they are most definitely not expecting to be shipwrecked and stranded on a Pacific atoll.  They have to use all their combined skills to survive and what makes this book a little more interesting is the family dynamics that emerge as the four kids cope with the crisis.  This is a first book in a series and the ending makes that very clear - it is a classic cliff hanger!

The Girl and the Seven Thieves
 by Olivia Snowe is a fractured fairy tale set in modern-day New York City. An entertaining and rather breezy retelling of Snow White, the reading level of this Stone Arch Book is low enough for middle grades, but still hip enough for upper grades. This would be a great addition to a unit on fairy tales and fractured fairy tales, as it is fun and accessible and kids would have a great time drawing parallels with the original Snow White.

It took me a few chapters to warm up to Whistle in the Dark by Susan Hill.  This historical fiction title tells the story of thirteen year old Clem who like his grandfather and father before him, must work in the coal mines to help support his family.  Clem is devastated to leave school and feels guilty that he resents his sister whose medical bills his work helps pay.  I think the reason that I didn't love reading this book, at least initially, is because Clem's life feels so oppressive - the mines are dark and brutal, his family is harsh and unsympathetic and his one and only friend is abused by her father.  After finishing it and reflecting, though, I appreciate all that I didn't actually enjoy while reading.  Clem's life is oppressive and Hill conveys this well.  While I think it will take a special middle grade reader to appreciate this story, it is a powerful one.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi there Laura, these three are unfamiliar titles to me - but they all look very interesting. The Girl and the seven thieves in particular caught my eye. Have a great reading week!