What am I reading???

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Mary Ann at Great Kid Books

 We are about to embark on a whole new genre study in Writing Workshop for the very first time, and here are two books I will be sharing with my kids as mentor texts:

Tony O’Brien is an award winning photojournalist, Mike Sullivan is a film maker – together they traveled to Afghanistan to interview and photograph children. “We had come to Afghanistan,” writes O’Brien, “to talk with children.”  The children speak of their war ravaged lives and their still-hoped-for dreams with directness and simplicity, and the  photographs which accompany each story are stunning. Each child, between the ages of eight and fifteen, gaze directly at the camera and the reader – their expressions are mischievous, weary, forlorn and resolute.  I found myself looking at each photograph for long periods of time, trying to piece together a hopeful story for each of these children so far away in a land that sometimes seems to offer them so little hope.  Their own words, of course, are powerful to read:
Rohul Ali, 14, works in a Kabul Bakery:
“If I met children from another country I would ask what they study in school, and what they want for the future. Children in America have the same ideas as me, because we are children, we are as brothers.
Faridah, 16, works in her family’s rug-weaving shop:
” I want to discover new things, to know what no one else does. Then I could teach. I am accustomed to wartime; that’s all I know.”

Kamilad, 14, lives in Bamian:
“We walk two hours each way to school. I want to be a midwife. it is very necessary, many women die in childbirth. For my own children I want education most of all.”

Bibi Aisha, 11:
” I would love to believe in a magic carpet – I would use it to fly home from school. It takes me one hour to walk, I could fly there in five minutes.”

As the flap copy for this unique book says: “If the stories that come out of Afghanistan are ever to contain hope for the future, then the young people in these pages are that hope.”  This is now a  meaningful new book for my classroom’s non-fiction collection – I know it will fascinate and move my students.

“Yellowstone National Park’s majestic geological wonders and remarkable wildlife draw millions of visitors each year. But there was a time when the natural system was out of balance because one key piece of the puzzle had been eliminated – the wolf.”  The story of why the wolves were removed in the first place, and the resulting disappearance of badgers, birds and certain species of trees from Yellowstone between 1926 and 1995, is nothing short of remarkable.  It really is a story of what happens when man interferes with nature’s balance.  With the re-introduction of wolves, Yellowstone seems to be returning to the way it was when first discovered – let us hope we have found a more sustainable way to enjoy the great beauty of this National Park.

The wild life photographs are remarkable – there are wide angle shots to give the reader a sense of the majestic expanse of the park, and close ups for revealing views of baby elk, owls and badgers.  Patent’s text is engaging and informative, and I think my kids will fascinated to learn  how fragile nature’s balance really is.


8 thoughts on “What am I reading???

  1. The books look as if they will be memorable for your lessons, Tara. I have so many thoughts for the people of Afghanistan and their needs, but especially the children. This book seems to give such a poignant look at others' lives for your own students. And, I took my students to Yellowstone a few years after the wolf introduction. There is much controversy about it, as you probably know. It will be a book that introduces much to discuss. Thanks for sharing about them.

  2. Tara, you are right, this lovely picture book totally ties in with my poem. I so love their desire to learn and their willingness to sacrifice for it. Thank you.

  3. Hi Tara: The wolves in Yellowstone book looks really interesting – I work with some of the scientists studying wolves on Isle Royale National Park – the longest running ecological study of its type… Happy Reading, Ruby

  4. Thanks for introducing the Afghan Dreams. What a book to spark discussion with children. I do not always think children realize how similar they are to others around the world.

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