I like the fresh new paper of Rex Zero. I know it’s irrelevent but it is one of the pleasures of reading a new book, if there was a date stamp I’d bet I am the first to crack this book.
This book can be classified as historical fiction but feels more deliberately fun versus history. The layer of information for learning adds dimension to the story. I like the careful writing – descriptive, a little sarcastic. Once in a while the author gets a little heavy on the figures of speech but it wasn’t distracting in more than one or two places. I enjoyed the picture which formed in my mind of this boy and his family.
One of the parts I particularly enjoyed was of the boy using a paint-by-number kit. He reverses the colours to see how it will turn out. I had the Franz Marc “Blue Horse” come to mind. Perhaps because of the reference earlier in the work of a famous painting “Jesus or somebody all riddled with arrows”. It was fun to search the recesses of my brain for “St. Sebastian”. The author seems to have written for young people but without dumbing it down. I like the levels that it works on and the fact that as an older reader, there are little parts that a student might miss but that I can enjoy. It’s like Shrek or Veggie Tales, humour for adults and children.
This story blends mystery (Is there a panther loose in the park?) and history (cold war era) with a classic ‘new boy in town’ frame. It is an entertaining read and has some delightfully humorous moments. Thematic possibilities include Cold War, family, moving, Ottawa, summer time, change, ampathy, friendship, respect, old age, illness, compassion. Male main character, strong female characters as well, short chapters but not a short read. Most likely suit readers grade 5-8. Great read aloud potential.
Sequel to The Breadwinner.
Parvana, a thirteen year old girl, is left on her own following the death of her father. She travels, disguised as a boy, through rural Afghanistan in search of her mother and the rest of her family. On her travels, she finds an abandoned baby boy, a orphaned boy of similar age and a young girl. As an ad hoc family, they try to survive the turbulent and troubled times of the American bombing. Written in a simple and straightforward style, this story is an engaging and poignant one. It would make a terrific partner to Zlata’s Diary and the Diary of Anne Frank. It has thematic connections to current world events, refugee experience, war, death, children, survival, role of women, relationships.
Learn a little about Deborah Ellis.
This picture book is a fictionalized account of historical events in Canada from 19900- 1950. The Canadian government banned First Nations on the West Coast from holding ceremonial potlatches. Alfred Scow recalls events similar to the one’s depicted in this book from his own childhood. Alfred’s kinspeople hold a ceremonial potlatch in defiance of a Canadian law. One young boy sneaks out of bed to see the ceremony and dancing and catches his only glimpse of his father’s dancing.
The book is illustrated by Darlene Gait and incorporates designs from the traditional art of the area. A valuable piece of fiction for exploring systemic racism, Canadian history, Aboriginal experiences, culture, family, the role of ceremony.
This is a lovely picture book about a boy, Solomon, who loses his special friend, a maple tree in a heavy storm. His uncle helps him through his loss. A story about losses, recovery, set on the Canadian West Coast, depicting one of the First Nation’s traditions and people. The story is beautifully illustrated by Janet Wilson. The text is lyrical and evocative. The story couls be used at a variety of levels and for a wide range of curricular outcomes with ties to family, Aboriginal culture, mask making, loss, recovery, interdependence, communities, nature, childhood.
You can learn more about Andrea Spalding here.
I’m taking a course on Canadian and Aboriginal literature for children and young people this term. My professor and I are going to be using my blog as our key point of information transfer. I have been mulling over the appropriateness of this use of a blog – basic one to one communication. I could be doing my work via email but we are going to stick with the blogging piece of the program. I think it offers a couple of advantages. I can get the word out to the world at large about some wonderful books that I am reading and I can help my professor improve her comfort level with blogs, feed readers and RSS. She wants to go here and needs a good reason. I am hoping that some of my 25 or so regular readers will participate in the discussion at least intermittently but I’m not sure how many links I will have in my posts so it could be a bit of a battle to find an audience. Welcome one and all, let us know if you are listening.