Feathers and ferris wheels

25 Jul

Unknown

I always like to support local authors and I recently discovered a new one, Robin Herrera, who has published her first book, Hope is a Ferris Wheel. 

The main character, Star, is a quirky kid. She has recently moved to California from Oregon, lives in a trailer park and has layered blue hair that her classmates call a mullet. To make friends she starts a club. It starts as a Trailer Park Club, but turns into an Emily Dickinson club. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this books at first. Star is an odd duck and her life situation is a little depressing. Thank goodness the book is about HOPE because I don;t think I could have finished to without hope. Hope in a happy ending, ope that Star will make friends. One of the real strengths of the book is Star’s relationship with her older sister Winter. Winter has her own set of issues, but she is so supportive of Star I could almost get weepy talking about it.

 The book talks about some tough family issues, so I’m not sure if I would recommend it as a read aloud. There are tough issues, but Star is in 5th grade, making it a tough sell to older kids and a bit mature for some upper elementary readers. However, I believe there are a lot of ways it could be used to encourage kids to write, especially if someone were to read it during a poetry unit. There is the obvious inspiration of Emily Dickinson and specifically her “Hope is the thing with feathers” poem, which really get the club rolling. I had the idea that it would be fun to run an after school  poetry club for kids. Or maybe for teachers. We could all use a little more poetry in our lives.

Hope” is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

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