Thank you to Sheila, Jen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting the #IMWAYR meme.
What an amazing week of reading I had! I read some pretty special books last week and I am excited to share them with you... and my students.
One of my favorite books last year was Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers, so I was pretty thrilled to discover that she has another book newly available in the United States. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms tells the story of Wilhelmina (or Will) who is shocked when she must leave her idyllic childhood home on a farm in Zimbabwe and attend boarding school in England after the death of her beloved father. The contrast between the beauty and freedom of the farm and the stifling, oppressive atmosphere of a British boarding school is marked, and Will suffers tremendously. Rundell’s descriptions of life on a farm in Africa are beautiful, as is her portrayal of the loneliness that comes with the move. What I love about Rundell is her gift with words which makes her prose read like poetry.
Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington caught me by surprise. I read it immediately after Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, so I was expecting to feel a bit of a let down after reading such an extraordinary book. Happily, that did not happen! Mysti is in seventh grade and she’s been ditched by her best friend and unintentionally abandoned by her dad (who’s in the hospital). Her mom has severe agoraphobia, leaving Mysti to try and figure out how to keep their household functioning. This all sounds dire, but this book is FUNNY and sweet and Mysti speaks with one of the most genuine and honest voices that I’ve come across lately in children's literature.
Finally, so many people have already reviewed brown girl dreaming that I really feel there is nothing I can add. It is a stunning memoir and although it is a "children's book," I appreciated it tremendously as both a book to share with my students and as one that is moving as an adult reader. It is marvelous and if you haven't read it yet, you should.
May you read words that move you in the week ahead! ♥