It’s Monday, and here’s what I’m reading: October 1, 2012

Monday YA Round Up
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts
Non-Fiction Monday is hosted by Shelf – Employed 
 
 
I have heard so much about this book, that I was beyond happy to find a copy of it in my town’s library:
 
 
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, and is the true story of William’s amazing achievement – figuring out how to build a windmill in his drought ravaged village in Malawi, Africa.  Using old science text books  he found at his library (a gift from an American NGO) and teaching himself English so that he could decipher them, William is able to build a functioning windmill that brings electricity, water and hope to his desperate village.  Elizabeth Zunon’s stunning, collage-filled illustrations are a vivid background to this inspiring story of empowerment and determination. 
I can see using this book as a mentor text for a biography genre mini lesson – it would work so well!
Here is William, now a student at Dartmouth college, presenting at a  TED conference:
 
 
 
 I also finished Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi:

 
 
 
This wonderful story of two cousins, one who has grown up in America with her Japanese father and American mother, and the other who arrives from Japan with his parents and grandfather to begin a new life in the same town.  Skye and Hiroshi must get to know each other, help each other make adjustments, and form a bond with their grandfather who has brought long a beautiful kite, and is determined to have both his grandchildren fly it together.  This gentle, good humored story is one I am sure my sixth graders will love. 
 
 
Finally, I read In the Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas and joyously illustrated by Floyd Cooper.  The true story of the author’s journey from Oklahoma to California in 1948, where her family was set to make their new home, is lyrically told.
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Take, for instance this passage
 
And so we ride into early afternoon
past quick and slow stepping lizards
basking hood-eyed
on dazzling rocks
 
We ride into late afternoon
past a snake whose body is a pen
writing calligraphy
on the paper-dry earth
 
 
Just lovely!  I can see using the text to teach the use of rich details and specific words in writing workshop, apart from just sharing a great story to be savored and enjoyed. 

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6 thoughts on “It’s Monday, and here’s what I’m reading: October 1, 2012

  1. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – wow – such an amazing story. I love the video. If such a crudely made windmill can change a whole community, imagine what else is possible. Very inspiring. I do a monthly storytime for adults with special needs. They will enjoy this story and video. Thanks.

  2. I've been wanting to read the full memoir version of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind for a while now. I didn't realize there was a picture book. I definitely need to check that out!

  3. Hi there Tara, I love how you have interwoven the picture book biography with the TED conference video clip – brilliant! I have yet to find this title in our libraries, and I shall try to look for it. I first heard about Flying the Dragon through Erik from ThisKidReviewsBooks – and I've been really intrigued. I hope we have that here. 🙂

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