My summer break officially started last Friday! I'll be heading into the library today anyway, because my office and the library shelves are nowhere near August-ready.
I am diving into my summer reading pile. This weekend, I read a Bluebonnet nominee, A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord. Our district will be hosting Ralph Fletcher this coming year, so I brought a few of his books home as well, and read A Writing Kind of Day: Poems for Young Poets.
I was worried about A Handful of Stars; there's a saying that if the dog is on the cover of a book, it's probably going to die. Thankfully, there is no doggy demise in this story! Lily is the owner of Lucky, a labrador who is going blind. She wants to provide him with the surgery to cure his blindness, and is saving money by painting Mason bee houses and selling them in her grandparent's general store. During the blueberry harvest season, she meets Salma, a migrant worker who saves Lucky from running away through the blueberry fields by enticing him with her lunch. Lily and Salma become good friends who support each other's efforts--Lily's campaign to save Lucky's sight, and Salma's dreams of a life beyond the fields of produce.
A Handful of Stars covers so many topics: motherless daughters, parenting by grandparents, love of pets, cross-cultural friendship, changing relationships with childhood friends as puberty sets in, the life of migrant workers, prejudice, generosity, the value of art. I learned about Mason bees and blueberries. I will remember to be thankful for the workers who harvest the food I eat!
The poems in A Writing Kind of Day are written from a child's perspective. Everything is fair game for a poem--the weather, siblings, teachers, the squished squirrel in the road. These are not frivolous, fun poems, though. I heard the pangs of first love, the struggle to pen a writer's truth, the joy of finding poems in everyday details, the timelessness of poetry, the realization that a parent can be the most important connection in life. I would pair this book with Shel Silverstein's poetry and discuss the feelings that are provoked by the very different styles.
So what's up next? I received my pre-order of The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner, and two professional books--DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts; and Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani. I've also got the Bluebonnet Nominee list to work my way through; four down, sixteen to go!
It's Monday! What are you reading?