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:
A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier is about the Spanish Influenza plague of 1918. I think the choice of Portland, Oregon as the setting is an interesting one, as it shows how many people believed the plague would never spread to where they live–and still it did. Cleo Berry, is a plucky teen who escapes the confines of her school, volunteers for the Red Cross, meets and loses a best friend and falls in love. A privileged youth, Cleo’s world is changed when she sees the suffering of others, as we would expect, and in helping others, she grows as a young adult, also as we would expect. I’m finding myself wishing for a bit more character development at the beginning of the novel–we know that Cleo is rich and well taken care of; however, I think her growth would seem greater had readers known her better at the start. Still, it is a solid historical fiction offering for junior high and high school readers.
As I have been a librarian for 20 years there are some books I know I have read, but I can’t remember very much about them. There are also books I assume I must have read along the way somewhere because they are award-winners, have appeared on best books list, etc. And so, I really thought I had already read Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer, since it earned the Newbery Honor designation in 2001. When I picked it up last week to consider booktalking it to students in preparation for Joan Bauer’s visit to our school, I thought maybe I hadn’t. So I took it home to read it (again?), and then I knew there’s no way I had read it before–I would not have forgotten such a powerfully beautiful book about family. In fact, I don’t even want to tell you all too much about it because there is so much joy in seeing Hope’s story unfold that I would love for readers to experience it for themselves–if they haven’t already….