It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and Sheila at BookJourney
Andrea Davis Pinkney’s novel in verse The Red Pencil was one of my NCTE purchases, made on the last morning when there was just one copy left on the bookshelf – lucky me!
Twelve year old Amira greets her birthday with high excitement – she is finally old enough to take on responsibilities, and to even dream of school. But, in the villages of South Darfur where Amira lives,the odds are against girls like her ever achieving much beyond early marriage and lives of back breaking work. It is also a time of great political upheaval, when the government has sent out the Janjaweed to storm and burn down villages in an effort to maintain power.
When death and destruction come to Amira’s village, her life of pastoral peace and regularity is broken forever. What is left of Amira’s family makes the long and arduous trek to a refugee camp, where life takes on a nightmarish rhythm of deprivation and hopelessness. Still, Amira clings to her dream of learning to read and write, even if it means setting off in search of it all by herself.
This is such a lyrically told story; it’s a poignant window into the suffering and plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced from their homes in Darfur. But, it is also the story of refugees everywhere, ripped from their homes and lives due to events beyond their control, and caught in an endless cycle of uncertainty and want. I loved Shane Evans’ beautifully spare drawings – perfect for this story.
Tom Clohosy Cole’s Wall is a stunning picture book about the Berlin wall, which went up almost overnight and divided the city, as well as families, friends, parents and children. One little boy finds his father trapped on the other side, and is determined to find a way to cross. There is an unexpected ending to this deceptively simple story, the power of which lies in the way the text intersects with brilliant and striking illustrations.