It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
Last Week’s Books:
I re-read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park very early in the week in order to prepare for my Illinois Reading Council Conference presentation on Friday. It is one of the oldest titles on the list of possible nominees, so I felt the need to refresh it in my mind before booktalking it. In fact, what you see following is my booktalk, but in written form.
A Long Walk to Water is a dual narrative, with both narrators living in South Sudan, but during different time periods. Nya’s story takes place in 2008. She must walk a long way from her village twice a day to get water for her family. This takes up so much time that she is unable to attend school. Salva’s story is set during civil war in Sudan in 1985. One day at school, bullets start flying and his teacher tells all the students to run. Separated from his family, Salva latches on to various groups and makes it to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. When that camp closes, he leads other boys on a long trek to a new camp in Kenya. Eventually, Salva gets a sponsorship to the United States, and when he grows up, he starts a charity that digs wells in Sudan and it is he that brings water, and hope, to Nya’s village at the end of the book. Park based Salva’s story on Salva Dut, founder of the Water for Sudan charity. Teachers looking for extension activities can order a DVD of Salva speaking to children from the charity’s website for only $6. Another option is for students to participate in the H2O Project, which challenges people to drink nothing but water for two weeks and then donate the money that would have been spent on other beverages to a charity like Water for Sudan.
I have to admit that I had a lukewarm reaction to this book back when it was first published. The dual narrative just didn’t work for me. However, I have grown to appreciate the book more over time. This year Caudill nominee Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth opened my students’ eyes to the way some children must live in another part of the world–specifically kidnapped and trapped in a sweatshop in Mumbai, India. A Long Walk to Water will open their eyes to the fact that some children cannot attend school because they must help their families take care of meeting basic human needs–and that there are ways we can help.
What first attracted me to The Archived by Victoria Schwab is that there are librarians in it–I’m not gonna lie. I knew, of course, they would be a quite different type of librarian, just by reading the summary. This book sat on my TBR list for a while, though, until Maria and Kathy at Batty About Books decided to turn it into a read-along. I had fun posting and creating my own picture quote at first, but then other things happened (including the IRC Conference) and I kind of lost contact with the group. However, I did like reading the book more slowly than usual, as it gave me time to pause, think, and predict. I think that the nature of trying to cram so many great books into so little time makes me lose that deeper thinking at times. That doesn’t necessarily happen with the greatest of books, but it does happen with very good books that could seem even greater with deeper study.
Rather than give you the plot, which you could look up Goodreads or the Batty About Books’ Facebook page or even at Amazon, I will say that I liked the blurred lines between life and death that this book presented me. I like that Mackenzie was at times uber-confident and tough and at other times lost and heartbroken. I love the surprises that unfolded and how they impacted both later action and my understanding of previous events. And I really love that the sequel, The Unbound, is already out so I do not have to wait long to read it 🙂
This Week’s Book:
Since it is an e-galley, I didn’t realize it was 560 pages, but there are other reasons it is taking so long. More on that later. Maybe. If I can figure it all out.
I’d better make sure I read this one next, as it is my Random Read for March, and March seems to be slipping away….