When reading children’s books, I never really even thought of the diversity of each book but now that I have read these two articles, I realize how important it is.
In Brian Pinkney’s “Here I am!” article, he brings up the differences in children’s books that use a white character or black character as their front cover illustration. Before reading this article I never really though much of it. I just picked up a book no matter what it looked like and began reading it. But now I understand how it makes children feel when they look at the cover of that book. I loved the point that Pinkney made when he was talking about “Where The Wild Things Are”. He said, “He was me, and I was him. I saw myself through his adventures, not through his skin color.” I completely agree that no matter what skin color or ethnicity, every kid should feel important when it comes to reading books.
In the article “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” I really loved how the author explained how literature and books are like mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors. In this article I found another point that surprised me because I really hadn’t thought of it before. So many books are “white-people based” (if that makes any sense) and so many ethnicities (Native American, African American, Asian, etc.) are learning to read but don’t have anything to compare themselves to or find themselves in a book.
When I become a teacher, I will read books from many different cultures so my students can understand how important each culture and ethnicity is in our world. Like the second article said, “Our classrooms need to be places where all children from all the cultures that make up the salad bowl of American Society can find their mirrors.”
This week I read the book How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr. I absolutely loved this book! The book is written from two different standpoints, Jill and Mandy. Jill is the eighteen year old daughter or Robin MacSweeney. Jill’s dad passed away ten months ago in a car accident and both Robin and Jill are having a hard time coping with their loss. Jill seems to have it a little worse because her and her father were so much a like and so close. One day Robin MacSweeney tells Jill she is going to adopt a baby. Jill is shocked and has so many thoughts running through her head. Was I not a good enough daughter for my mother? Does my mom want a redo and a second chance to raise a child? Jill doesn’t agree with her mother’s choices but really has no say in it. This is where Mandy comes into play. Mandy is a pregnant eighteen year old girl from Omaha, NE. She doesn’t know who her real father is and the closest thing she has to a father figure is the numerous boyfriends her mother has had in the past eighteen years. Her mother’s current boyfriend, Kent, seems to be the worst of them all and is a huge jerk. I won’t tell too much about Kent because you will learn more about him when you read the book!:) Mandy and Robin meet online and through email they talk about the adoption and Robin invites Mandy to live with them until the baby is born. Mandy doesn’t inform her mom or Kent where she is going and gets on a train to leave for Denver. There are many twists and turns that go on while Mandy is living with the MacSweeney’s. Different atmosphere, different food, different lifestyle but the biggest one is the doctor’s appointments. Mandy had never seen a doctor when she was living in Nebraska and it turns out that the baby, which is supposed to be a boy, is actually a little girl and is due in another 7 weeks, instead of 3 weeks like Mandy told Robin over email. This extra time waiting for the baby allows many things to happen with Mandy and the MacSweeney’s but I won’t spoil it!
Mandy wanted to give her baby up to a mother that will give her everything she deserves and because she wanted a better life for her baby than what she had but in the end, it is Mandy who is the one that needs a mother and a family to know she is loved and accepted. I am in love with this book and the emotion it brings when reading it! I know I say this about every book I read, but I DID NOT want to put this book down and wanted it to go on and on forever. I hope you all decide to read this book as well because you will not be disappointed:)
A couple weeks ago, I set a goal for myself to read 4 hours a week and get it done before friday night. Although I am reading 4 hours or more a week I am having trouble getting everything done before Friday night! It seems that 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough for me to get everything done that I want to get done. I still want to pursue this goal and keep working on it in the weeks to come until the semester is over. I also made the goal to switch from children’s picture books to young adult and middle school books every week. I have been reading a lot of young adult books lately and want to get back into reading children’s picture books. I think if I read too many long young adult books I will get burnt out and not want to read anymore so my goal for next week is to read 4 hours of short story books and picture books. I think if I stick to my goal of switching every week, I will be able to reach my goal of getting everything done before Friday night
This week I decided to read “Waiting for Normal” by Leslie Connor. When I started reading this I thought to myself, “Why can’t I just pick out a book that is happy and won’t make me cry?!” This book is written from the perspective of Addie, a young teenager from a broken family. Addie lost her father at a young age and so her mom, who she referred to as “Mommers”, married Dwight. The marriage started falling apart and Mommers developed problems of her own. She would leave days at a time and Addie would be left to take care of her two little sisters without any help. Dwight and her mom split up and Mommers keeps Addie while Brynna and Katie go to live with Dwight. Dwight buys Mommers and Addie a trailer while he and the “Littles” go off to another town so he can start making money to pay off some bills. Addie starts making friends at school and at the minimart across the street and it seems that everything is starting to look up again. But Mommers gets back into her original ways and Addie is left to take care of herself and be her own hero. Addie tells about the problems she deals with at school and talks about her friend, Soula, from the minimart and her fight with breast cancer. Even though this book had many ups and downs, the ending was a relief although I won’t tell you how it ends.:) This was such a great book filled with twists and turns and I didn’t want to ever put it down! I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
This week I chose to read a juvenile fiction book called Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper. This book is amazing! A little girl, Melody, is eleven years old and has cerebal palsey and has had it ever since she was little. She talks about her struggle with not being able to walk, or talk or doing anything else on her own. She has to be fed by her mom at every meal and is totally dependent on people to help her. Since she can’t talk, she uses a communication board to interact with people. Her neighbor, Mrs. V., has helped Melody and her family for years and helped Melody create the communication board but Melody soon realizes that she has too many thoughts in her head and the communication board isn’t cutting it. Melody finally gets a Medi-talker which is able to store so many different words and phrases which will help her communicate better with everyone around and opened so many doors and opportunities for her. At school, she is in room H-5 which is the special needs kid’s room. They are separated from the rest of the school but some days they are able to participate in the “interaction” classes which allows them to go to regular classes with the “normal” kids. Melody refers to them as the “normal” kids because she wants to be able to walk and talk like they do even though she is perfect the way she is, she just can’t see it yet. Something big happens when she goes to her interaction classes one day. I’m not going to spoil it for the rest of you because I want you to read the book yourself! In this book Melody thinks she is weird and tries so very hard to be like the other normal kids but at the end, she realizes that normal isn’t always that great. It’s a great book that will teach kids to love themselves no matter what. I would recommend this book to anyone but be prepared to shed a few tears!