Monday, March 24, 2014

Storytelling, Books, and stuff

This morning, Larry and I met to plan our storytelling workshop at the Bethlehem Area Public Library on Wednesday (March 26th) evening from 6 to 8 pm.  If you live anywhere near the library; if you are at least 12 years old and younger than 18; if you like to tell stories, contact the library and sign up.  OK?  It will be F-U-N! 

So, I DID read more books last week.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell.  Sophie and Charles find each other after a shipwreck.  She's a baby floating in a cello case.  He's a young man.  He decides to raise her as his own. He lets her wear trousers at a time when girls and women never wear trousers.  He uses toast as a bookmark!  She climbs trees and eats off the covers of large books.  Then a child welfare organization becomes "concerned".
Charles and Sophie flee to Paris in hopes of finding Sophie's family and they find a family of a totally different sort in the garrets and on the flat roofs of the most romantic city in the world.
 There is an airy quality to Sophie's pre-child welfare life and a fantastic feeling to her life in Paris.  And it makes a lovely, lyrical story.

Jessica Darling's IT List by Megan McCafferty.  Well, here is another engaging book about How to Be Popular in Middle School.  Jessica's big sister hands Jessica a card with just 4 rules on it.  The card is titled "Bethany Darling's IT List - the Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Perfection and Prettiness". 
Well, Bethany has been VERY popular and VERY pretty all through middle and high school so, of course, Jessica wants to follow these simple tips.  But her attempts to join the Cheer Squad and pick her first boyfriend end in a variety of humorous disasters.  Jessica has to find new friends and new interests in order to survive.  Readers my age will find the book comforting in its predictability.  Middle school readers will find Jessica's survival comforting.  Fun, light and sure to please readers in grades 5 and up.

And last but most definitely not LEAST....
 Seeing Red by Kathy Erskine.  Whoa!  The setting is the early '70s in Virginia.  Red Porter just lost his Dad and now may have to pick up and leave behind the family garage and everything he ever knew because his Mom wants to move back to Ohio.  In his attempt to make the family property unattractive to buyers, he gets involved with teenage racist thugs.  He finds out more than he ever wanted to know about his family's shady past.  One of his best friends outgrows him and the other has family crises that seem insurmountable.  He disappoints a lot of people and has to face his mistakes.  He grows up. 
This is a fast-moving book that treats some BIG issues with sensitivity and grace.  For kids in grades 6 and up.  Mature fifth graders may be able to handle it but there is a graphic description of the Emmett Till story that is very disturbing.

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