The Week in Reading #imwayr 6/22/20

My reading totals are down this week, but packing was up, and since we have a move scheduled in less than three weeks, that’s probably a good thing!

Katherine Bomer’s The Journey Is Everything was a reread for me and welcome prep for thinking about how to incorporate essay more organically and less formulaically in my new classroom. I enjoyed reading Bomer’s analysis and response to the two essays that anchor the thinking in this book, Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Valadoras” and Dagoberto Gilb’s “Pride.” I enjoyed reading about her own writing process. And I took so many notes on her ideas for generating essay. Bomer herself writes like a dream, and she’s such a warm encourager of good teaching and good thinking. This is a book I wish I owned, but hopefully after three reads and copious notetaking, i will have what I need.

I love Victoria Jamieson’s new nonfiction graphic novel, When Stars Are Scattered, which tells the story of her co-author, Omar Mohamed, a Somali refugee who spent his childhood and teenage years with his brother in a refugee camp in Kenya before being selected for resettlement in the U.S. This is one of those feel like you’re there books, where you become so absorbed by the story that you kind of forget time is passing as you’re reading.

Toning the Sweep was Angela Johnson’s first young adult novel, and though it is narrated by fourteen-year-old Emily, but it doesn’t feel exactly like a young adult novel. It’s the story of three generations of women who have come together because Emily’s grandmother, Ola, will be moving to live with her daughter and granddaughter while she undergoes cancer treatment. It’s a super slim book (just 100 pages) and very light on plot (there’s some packing, conversations full of memories, and a goodbye party) but packs in significant reflection and atmosphere.

This week, I’ll be finished the new Murderbot novel by Martha Wells and hopefully making progress in a couple of professional development books. What will you be reading?






8 responses to “The Week in Reading #imwayr 6/22/20”

  1. Completely Full Bookshelf Avatar
    Completely Full Bookshelf

    I’m looking forward to reading When Stars Are Scattered, since so many people have enjoyed it! The Journey Is Everything sounds excellent—I often wondered myself what the point was of learning to write analysis essays of passages that countless other students and teachers had already analyzed! I’m also intrigued by Toning the Sweep. Thank you for the great post!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      When Stars Are Scattered is so good! Definitely worth getting. I think you will like it. And I hear you about students having to churn out papers analyzing texts that have been analyzed a million times before. As a student I never wanted to write those myself–and as a teacher, I sure don’t want to read them!!

  2. lindabaie Avatar

    Toning the Sweep sounds interesting. I will look for it! I loved When Stars Are Scattered, too. What a poignant story it is, just right to help readers understand the challenges and then the love people have for each other even in their dire circumstances. Thanks, Elisabeth for sharing Toning The Sweep! It sounds like Bomer’s book is a terrific one for teachers, too.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Toning the Sweep is such a quiet book, I do wonder what teen readers would make of it. I feel like it’s the kind of YA that was published much more in the early 90s and much less now!

  3. Michele Knott Avatar
    Michele Knott

    When Stars are Scattered is one I’m sad I read during quarantine because I feel like it’s a book that should be discussed as it is read. I can probably go back for some rereads and find more I want to learn.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Such great points, Michele. I can’t wait to be able to booktalk When Stars Are Scattered and get it in the hands of students! It definitely made me want to read and learn more about refugees.

  4. Shaye Miller Avatar

    I am so glad to hear you loved When Stars Are Scattered. That means we can still be friends! LOL Actually, I don’t know if I told you that I read it as an audiobook and I had no idea it was a graphic novel until I was almost finished with the listen. With all the sound effects and narration, it sounded just like a regular novel.

  5. Crystal Avatar

    I was also really impressed by the graphic novel. It was very compelling.

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