Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (2012 in Great Britain, and 2013 in the US.)

This is a novel in verse about a girl new to England with her mother, from Poland. Kasienka (often known as Cassie in England) and her mother are there to look for their father and husband.  Kasienka's tata had left them and gone to England some years before.   Her mother is desperate to find him.   They take a small room in a boarding house, and Kasienka starts going to school.  The school head incorrectly assumes that Kasienka needs to being in a lower grade level because English is not her first language.   Kasienka eventually takes tests and blows them all away.  She is moved up to her proper age group.  She navigates the pitfalls and bullying from other girls as she discovers the new life her father is living, a relationship with a boy, and how well she can do on the school swim team.  

This is a good read for middle grade kids.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind by Valerie Hobbs

Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind by Valerie Hobbs

Minnie is a sixth grader who is relatively new to her school, as her family had to move to a small town for her mother's job, after her father lost his job as a lawyer due to being a whistle-blower.  Minnie is not quite sure what a whistle-blower is, and that is one of her many questions.  She is full of questions, and she loves her new language arts teacher, Ms. Marks, at school.  However, many of the parents are not quite so happy as Minnie is about this teacher, who encourages her students to think about all the many questions that are out there.

I am halfway through listening to this book on audio CD.  I love Minnie, but at the same time I am frustrated with her.  My sixth grade self understands her completely (she does not want to write anything in her journal that Ms. Marks might read that mean anything), and my adult self just wants her to write all she is thinking about already!  (I am upset with my sixth grade self for not writing all that much of interest or consequence in my sixth grade journal for English class.  Guess why?  Well, because my teacher might read what I wrote and then tell my parents!  That would be such an invasion of privacy!  I wish I had written more, now, but back then, it seemed impossibly difficult.)

I will return to this post and let you know what I think about the remainder of the book.