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May 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Reid-Aloud Alert
In my classes at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, we discuss the “windows and mirrors” metaphors in literature. Mirrors are when readers see someone like themselves in the book. Windows are when we read about someone different from us—and not only the differences but also the similarities we share. Here are a few more titles to read aloud that will be a window to some, a mirror to others, and a joy to all.
Ahimsa. By Supriya Kelkar. 2017. Lee & Low/Tu, $18.95 (9781620143568). Gr. 4–7.The book opens with the line, “They wouldn’t hang a 10-year-old girl, thought Anjali.” The setting is 1942 India. Anjali and her friend Irfaan are vandalizing a British officer’s property. Their plan is to paint a large Q that stands for “Quit India.” Like many, Anjali wants the British to leave India. After the incident, Anjali learns the preaching of Gandhi’s nonviolent civil disobedience.10-Minute Selection: Share the second half of chapter 22, beginning with the sentence, “But her mother trusted in the freedom fight.” Six policemen surround Anjali and a few other people attending a meeting. They arrest Anjali’s mother “for instigating riots with your Untouchables.” Read the first sentence of chapter 23 to end the selection: “It turned out nothing was okay.”
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire. By Susan Tan. Illus. by Dana Wulfekotte. 2017. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (9781626725515). Gr. 3–5.Cilla is not excited about the arrival of her baby sister, whom she calls “The Blob.” She’s talented at making up stories and plans on being a best-selling author so that her family pays more attention to her than the baby.10-Minute Selection: Start reading a few pages into chapter 4, “Preschool Blues,” with the line, “Preschool is a fun place.” Cilla says her favorite foods are the snails she eats in Chinatown. Her classmates react poorly. She is embarrassed and later asks her father if they are Chinese. He responds that she’s half Chinese. Cilla worries that she’s not a “real” Chinese person.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. By Dusti Bowling. 2017. Sterling, $14.95 (9781454923459). Gr. 5–8.Thirteen-year-old Aven has “an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes malformation of the limbs.” She was born without arms, or as she puts it, she has a “lack of armage.” Her family moves to a new home in Arizona.10-Minute Selection: Read near the end of chapter six, beginning with the sentence, “My teachers had all been nice enough, but I didn’t want them giving me special treatment.” Aven is self-conscious. Three girls approach her in the lunchroom. They ask about her arms, worried if her genetic condition is contagious. Aven is sad they don’t want to know her as a person.
The Pants Project. By Cat Clarke. 2017. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, $16.99 (9781492638094). Gr. 4–6.Eleven-year-old Liv “seems like a girl, but on the inside, I’m a boy.” At his new school, Liv hides his true identity. He is particularly upset upon learning the school’s dress code, where all “girls must wear black, pleated, knee-length skirts.”10-Minute Selection: Read most of chapter 26, beginning with the sentence “‘It’s kind of tragic when you think about it,’ Jade said.” Mean-girl Jade makes biting remarks to a girl named Marion in the lunch line. Liv decides to sit at Marion’s table. Marion turns on him, saying “If you’re doing this for Jade’s benefit, I’d rather that you didn’t.” Liv eventually wins Marion’s friendship and even gets her to help with the petition to do away with the dress code.
Us, in Progress: Short Stories about Young Latinos. By Lulu Delacre. 2017. Harper, $16.99 (9780062392145). Gr. 5–7.These stories, inspired by real-life events, show that “Latinos are an integral part of the American fabric” and that they also “provide texture and richness to it.” At the same time, Latinos are “elusive in children’s books.”10-Minute Selection: Read the first story, titled “The Attack.” Emilio calls 911 when his brother Tony has an epileptic attack while cutting up a pineapple. The first officers on the scene see a young Latino man “lying on the floor with the knife in his hand.” They kick him so he’ll release the knife. Tony is charged with assaulting a law-enforcement officer. Afterward, Emilio feels guilty.
Rob Reid’s latest book is Reaching Reluctant Young Readers, published in spring 2017 by Rowman & Littlefield.
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