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:
Noelle Stevenson’s Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max continues the story of campers at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types. This time our heroines battle river monsters and dinosaurs and have a run-in with Artemis and Apollo. Same adventure, same fun, same great comic for all, but especially of interest to girls–and a perfect fit for my middle schools. This book counts for my Panels Challenge 2016–a feminist comic.
I had so many requests for All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely at one of middle schools that I bought two copies for each school and have had a hard time finding one on the shelf to read myself. In a story ripped from today’s headlines, an African-American teen named Rashad goes into a convenience store to buy a bag of chips and a pack of gum and winds up being a victim of police brutality. Rashad tells most his story from his hospital bed during the week after the encounter. Quinn, a white teen, witnesses Rashad’s beating, but it is at the hands of his father figure and best friend’s brother, police office Paul Galluzzo. When video footage is released to the media, Rashad’s story goes viral, and students and community members become divided. Reynolds and Kiely do an excellent job of showing how the truth gets buried under conjecture, prejudices, and loyalties. Rashad struggles when even some friends and family members assume at first that there must have been something he could have done to prevent or change what happened to him. Quinn struggles with the decision to speak up about what he saw and whether to attend a nonviolent protest, because he will be seen as a traitor by long-time family friends. This is definitely a book that will prompt deep thought and discussion. I have heard wonderful reviews from my middle school students, including my son who is not typically a reader of realistic fiction. Librarians and teachers should note that expletives are used throughout, prompting me to put a “T for Teen” label on the book (my way of recommending it for 8th graders, although I do not restrict checkout). However, I did not hesitate to include it in my collection.
Speaking of nonviolent protests, I also read March Book One this week. In this graphic memoir, Congressman John Lewis, along with Andrew Aydin and John Powell, recount Lewis’ growing up and involvement in the civil rights movement. In this first book, the focus is on Lewis’ childhood, education, and participation in lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville. Emphasis is placed on the young people’s training in the procedures of conducting such a protest and the principles of nonviolence. The story will eventually include the March on Washington. Powell’s black-and-white images are powerful and compelling. This work is a great way to get graphic novel readers’ attention to important historical events. This book counts for my Panels Challenge 2016–a black-and-white comic.
Currently Reading/Listening To:
I saved Daniel Kraus’ 656-page epic for Spring Break 🙂