I had a varied reading week – two very different books:
Maribeth Boelts’ The PS Brothers is a hilarious read, and yet it is a story with tremendous heart. Russell and his best friend Shawn are tired of being at the bottom of the pecking order at their middle school…but they have a plan. Having a big, fierce looking dog, they think, one they could train to protect them, would guarantee safety and peace of mind…but they have no money. Russell has been living with his Uncle Cory ever since his father was jailed for robbery, and Uncle Cory barely scrapes by. Shawn’s father is disabled and his mother has a hard enough time juggling two jobs to keep a roof over their heads. So, neither boy has two spare cents with which to purchase a puppy, step one in their game plan. Not to be deterred, the boys come up with a Pooper Scooper business plan (hence the P.S. Bros.) which gets off to a great start until the boys make a discovery that puts their whole project into jeopardy.
There’s lots of fun to be had in reading this book, but underlying all the hilarity are some thoughtful lessons about honesty and what really makes up a “real family”. This would be a wonderful read aloud or book club book – lots to discuss!
Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You is an unusual and beautiful call to action for children who have grown up learning about his place in history and are searching for ways to live his words of compassion and justice. Each stanza opens with the words, “You can be a King”, followed by a form of action to speak out and stand up for what is right.
James Ransome’s evocative paintings weave scenes from Dr. King’s life with those of a classroom preparing to honor his legacy making the past, present, and future come together in a moving and powerful way. This would be a wonderful book for any classroom to share aloud and discuss; each of Carole Boston Weatherford’s stanzas would also be meaningful writing prompts for students to ponder over and write about.