It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts
I continue to make my way through my boxes of summer books, enjoying each of them for different reasons, but these were my standout books of last week, books I know my sixth graders will love to read and talk about:
Ali Standish has created so many wonderful characters in her debut book, The Ethan I Was Before, beginning with Ethan himself. The “before” Ethan was a happy middle schooler whose life was all about the Red Sox, skate boarding, and hanging out with his best friend and partner in escapades, Kacey. Then there was a terrible accident involving Kacey, and Ethan’s parents decided to leave their lives in Boston and move to Florida to live with his ornery grandfather. This was supposed to be a new beginning for Ethan, but there is no getting way from his memories of Kacey for Ethan – or the guilt he feels for causing her accident. Lonely and sad, he meets Coralee, who seems to have sad secrets of her own. Finding an unexpected treasure leads them to adventures which help both of them discover what love, truth and friendship really mean.
I loved the compassion woven into each character in this book, and the way the adults step up to the needs of the children they are responsible for and do their best to be there for them. We need books with kind adults, especially these day.
Walking With Miss Millie is one of those lovely stories that unfolds gently and fills you with a quiet comfort. Eleven year old Alice is not happy about having to move to a little town in Georgia so that her mother can take care of her grandmother, who seems to be getting more forgetful by the day. Rainbow, Georgia seems backwards in every way compared to where she grew up in Ohio, especially when it comes to the issue of race – it’s the late 1960’s after all, and yet the people in this town seem not to be making much progress. Meeting Miss Lillie, her grandmother’s neighbor, and taking daily walks with her dog Clarence everyday, begins to open Alice’s eyes to many things: segregation, kindness, forgiveness, and sometimes having to accept that people are sometimes just who they are and not what you hope they can be. I love the sense of humor which Tamara Bundy weaves into the dialogue, too, which had me chuckling many times.