Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts started a weekly meme about what people are reading and reviewing in children’s and young adult literature. It’s a great way to see what others are reading and to target my next reads from the growing pile waiting for me.
Last Week’s Reading Adventures: The Highlights
I finished up reading Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath in its proper order (When I get excited about a book I have a tendency to start skipping around). I found it to be a fitting end for the trilogy that started with Leviathan. From airships to perspicacious critters, this alternate history has an engaging world filled with historical figures such as William Randolph Hearst and Pancho Villa. While the politics and the airships are fascinating, it is Alek and Deryn that hooked me in. For a ‘useless prince’ and a middie, they are very real.
I was able to finally delve into Jefferon’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I loved the history in this book. As I read, I couldn’t help but picture Poplar Forest and Monticello, which I both visited about two years ago. I also couldn’t help but wonder what they really looked like in Jefferson’s times (given all the reconstruction that has had to be done with Poplar Forest). Jefferson’s Sons is told by three narrators, two of which are widely believed to be Thomas Jefferson’s Sons by Sally Hemings. Beverley starts the book. Narration is passed then to his younger brother Maddy (named for James Madison). The book ends with the point of view of Peter Fossett, another slave boy living on the little mountain. I’m still mulling over where this book best fits. While the narrators are all relatively young when presenting their point of view, the book feels more like a young adult book in that I think prior knowledge of the time period would be useful for readers. The book wrestles a lot with identity and what was all involved in the Hemings’s children who were allowed to leave Monticello. Years ago I read Ann Rinaldi’s Wolf by the Ears, which was a historical fiction book about Harriet Hemings. Interesting to see how knowledge has changed in the intervening years.
I’m hoping to review one of these two books this week.
This Week’s Reading Adventures
: Last night I started Lisa McMann’s The Unwanteds and am thus far fascinated. At age 13, children are sorted into three groups: the Wanteds, the Necessary and the Unwanteds in an event called The Purge. (This immediately put me in mind of the Giver). Alex knows he is Unwanted before his name is read and has known it for several years. His identical twin, on the other hand, is Wanted. The Unwanteds are all sent off to Death Camp, though what they encounter beyond the gates is far different than what they expected. Instead of death, the Unwanteds discover a place of creativity, emotion and magic.
I’m hoping to also read the Flint Heart and the Aviary this week.