Tag Archives: Monika Schröder

This week’s book talks

20 Nov

This week’s books started of sort of randomly, then ended with a theme.

Monday, I shared the book I wrote about on Sunday.

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We started our information writing unit this week and I shared this book because of its unique narrator: The Groove.

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Publisher’s Summary: Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross-to sing for his new label. Meanwhile, the country was on the brink of a cultural revolution, and one of the most powerful agents of change in the following decade would be this group of young black performers from urban Detroit. From Berry Gordy and his remarkable vision to the Civil Rights movement, from the behind-the-scenes musicians, choreographers, and song writers to the most famous recording artists of the century, Andrea Davis Pinkney takes readers on a Rhythm Ride through the story of Motown.

Wednesday, for no reason in particular, I chose three books to get me through the rest of the week. They all had a connection to games: chess, bridge, basketball

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Thank you

15 Nov

Hobbling around on crutches for a week, I have been humbled by all the kinds I’ve been shown. Every small act of kindness felt huge to me.

Thank you, Nina                                                                                                                                                          For wheeling me around school and making my tea.

Thank you Stoller colleagues                                                                                                                                   For sharing your wisdom and stories and for offering help.

Thank you, neighbor                                                                                                                                           For offering to carry my garbage bag to the can.

Thank you, Andrew & Sue                                                                                                                                    For talking Lucy for the all important evening poop walk.

Thank you kind people                                                                                                                                         For holding the door open for me. It was a small act for you, but tricky for me to do alone.

Thank you friends and family                                                                                                                                   For your calls and offers of help. I cherish every one, whether I took up your offer or not.

Thank you to Monika Schröder                                                                                                                          For giving me just the book I needed this week.

Thank you everyone                                                                                                                                           For you well wishes and encouragement. I appreciate every word.

Thank you to the ones I have forgotten to thank                                                                                    Forgive my imperfect memory.

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Grieving

13 Nov

It’s been a tough week.

Last Sunday I tore my meniscus.

Tuesday’s election results weren’t what I had hoped they’d be.

And Thursday the world learned that Leonard Cohen had passed.

I needed some bibliotherapy.

I found solace in Monika Schröder’s Be Light Like a Bird. 

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Publisher’s Summary:After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t seem to deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

This is a book that quotes Paul Valéry and Leonard Cohen!

The title comes from the Valéry quote meaning we need to determine our own future and fly like a bird, not let ourselves drift like a feather.

“One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather.” / ”Il faut être léger comme l’oiseau, et non comme la plume”

 Yes, this was just what I needed and it will be my book talk on Monday, and here’s why.

First of all, I loved Wren. Told in the first person from Wren’s point of view, her voice just sounds so authentic, I felt like I really knew this girl and would have been her friend when I was her age. I wasn’t one of the popular girls, either. I felt her pain and grief and wished someone would help her deal with her grief.

I loved her friendship with Theo. I love middle grade because the romance doesn’t get in the way of the real story. Their relationship unfolded in a way that felt realistic for middle school kids.

I loved the fact that she and Theo become teen activists. As this is our next writing unit, I am very excited to share this with my students.

I loved the realistic portrayal of  grief: Wren’s, her mother’s, Theo’s, and his dad’s. We see the range of ways people deal with bereavement. It is complicated, messy and uncomfortable, but it is real.

Yeah, the ending maybe wrapped up just a little too perfectly, but I needed that this week. If you are feeling some grief these days, you might benefit from reading this book, too.

You might also benefit from a little Leonard Cohen. Four lines of “Anthem” are quoted in Light Like a Bird”, but I thought you might like to hear all of it. 

 

 

 

 

 

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