It’s Monday, and here’s what I’m reading: December 10th, 2012

Monday YA Round Up
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts

  Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012  
 The Kid Lit Challenge is hosted by Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Wrapped in Foil

First, three books which I re-read for our first round of book clubs:
There are so many wonderful new books being written for the YA crowd, that one loses track of treasures such as the ones above.  We launched book clubs with some new favorites…but I reached back for these and I’m so glad I did.  All three stories are rich with lessons, rich with real life experiences that my kids can relate to, and rich with imaginative leaps that transport them into the awesome world of the maybe.  Best of all, these are stories that make for rich discussions which I was so happy to be a part of last week.  Some of my class copies are getting rather tattered, but that happens with much loved books…it’s a good sign, right?!
The I picked up a different mirror : A History of Multicultural America for Young People by Ronald Takaki adapted by Rebecca Stefoff 
The publisher’s blurb reads:

A longtime professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, Ronald Takaki was recognized as one of the foremost scholars of American ethnic history and diversity. When the first edition of A Different Mirror was published in 1993, Publisher’s Weekly called it “a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies” and named it one of the ten best books of the year. Now Rebecca Stefoff, who adapted Howard Zinn’s best-selling A People’s History of the United States for younger readers, turns the updated 2008 edition of Takaki’s multicultural masterwork into A Different Mirror for Young People.
Drawing on Takaki’s vast array of primary sources, and staying true to his own words whenever possible, A Different Mirror for Young People brings ethnic history alive through the words of people, including teenagers, who recorded their experiences in letters, diaries, and poems. Like Zinn’s A People’s History, Takaki’s A Different Mirror for Young People offers a rich and rewarding “people’s view” perspective on the American story.

Spanning the vast time frame from the very beginnings of America to today, this is an important book for our kids to be exposed to in bits and pieces – woven into our historical fiction book clubs or social studies lessons.  There are first person accounts as well as informative narrative sections which tell the story of the immigrant groups who came to America in search of better lives.  Through these stories we learn of challenges overcome and new trails blazed, and how each group struggled through the process of assimilation.  I know that I will be sharing pertinent sections of this book when we launch our historical fiction book groups, when my students will research time periods and events for their book selections.  And, this is also a wonderful book to share with my students who are new to America – from Japan, India, Germany, England, Korea to name just a few.  

Finally, I read The Lonely Book, written by Kate Bernheimer and illustrated by Chris Sheban… because I had read so many wonderful reviews and knew I had to.

So, everyone was absolutely right about this charming story of a girl who discovers magic within the pages of a book, only to forget about it for a time and allow it to languish, lonely and forgotten…and almost abandoned, until she is reunited with its magic once again.  The evocative illustrations are just gorgeous, and I think even my sixth graders who lay claim to great sophistication these days, will love to hear this as a read aloud at the end of one of those crazy hectic, stressful middle school days.  I can just hear the “Awwwww’s” and see the wistful smiles….  

9 thoughts on “It’s Monday, and here’s what I’m reading: December 10th, 2012

  1. Oh, thank you for these! With my daughters as young teens and Henry almost there…I am always looking for great new suggestions. I will share this post with them! I also came to peek at your students' poems. Are you posting them here or somewhere else? Have a wonderful week!a.

  2. Oh dear Tara, I am so glad that you also enjoyed and loved The Lonely Book – I read and reviewed it for our books about books theme. Isn't it charming?I have to confess that while I used the film adaptation of The Bridge to Terabithia in my graduate class (good demonstration of overexcitabilities among talented children), I have yet to read the book. It's here in my bookshelves but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, perhaps for the Newbery challenge? I shall see how this one goes. Olive's Ocean was reviewed by Iphigene for the AWB Reading challenge, and she loved it. Firegirl also sounds like something I'd love! πŸ™‚ Thanks for putting this all together. Looks luscious!

  3. Thank you for the timely reminder that I have yet to read Olive's Ocean A book I really want to read. You are right – there are so many books that have been around for a while that need to be kept fresh for new readers just discovering them!

  4. Olive's Ocean and Firegirl continue to be popular choices with my 6th graders. I listened to the audio of Oilve's Ocean and I think some of the meaning was lost… but still a good read. πŸ™‚

  5. I don't know Firegirl, Tara, so thanks for the heads up on that one. I think The Lonely book is wonderful. Thanks for telling about the others too. Like Carrie, I still need to read Olive's Ocean. So much to do, so little time! Thanks Tara.

  6. Mondays area always a mixed blessing. I don't know Firegirl, or The Lonely Book or A Different Mirror. All three sound like books I need to find! Thanks much for the suggestions.

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