It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!
A busy last week left me little time to read, but I did mange to finish David Fleming’s marvelous book, The Saturday Boy. Here’s a bit of the jacket copy:
Eleven-year-old Derek Lamb likes superhero comic books, Saturday morning cartoons and Chocolate Ka-Blams but he’d gladly trade all of these things to have his father home. For as long as Derek can remember, his father has been in Afghanistan piloting Apache helicopters for the US Army. The letters they write each other are all they have to bridge the distance–ninety-one letters to date. But just when Derek’s best friend becomes his arch-nemesis, a time when Derek could use his father’s advice most, the letters stop. Derek’s whole life is on the brink of change and he doesn’t even know it.
Fleming has an ear for the way kids really talk and go about their lives – especially their school lives. Like Jordan Sonnenblick (another wonderful writer ), Fleming uses humor to access deep feelings of loss and confusion. Derek misses his father so much, and the fact that he is also target for the class bully only adds to his daily challenges. His mother seems to believe that he can make everything better at school by simply rising above the bully’s tactics, and appealing to that boy’s “better self”. Even his teacher seems unsympathetic and out to get him.
But, Derek has a wry wisdom, an awesome aunt who seems to “get” him, and his father’s love – even though its far way at first, and then, heartbreakingly, gone. Through it all, Derek learns that sometimes there really are no simple answers to the way life works out: you give it your best shot, you lean on the people you love, you find strength and support where you can – sometimes, in unexpected places (the teacher who seemed out to get you, for instance).
This was a lovely story – touching, hilarious at times, captivating. My sixth graders will love it.
And here’s what I’m in the midst of reading, too:
By the way, there is a Twitter chat (I think this is the term!) Monday evening for Falling in Love With Close Reading: 11/11 6PM ET. This will be my first of such chats, and I’m not sure how it’s all supposed to work…but I am looking forward to it!