|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:
- Afghan Dreams: Young Voices of Afghanistan, by Tony O’Brien and Scott Sullivan
- When The Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone , written by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, with photographs by Dan and Cassie Hartman
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.
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.