It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/22/15
On Saturday I book binged and finished three books in one day, a new personal record. With all that binging, I have many reviews to write. So here’s some of what I’ve been reading:
Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
Cam and his dad are broke. When Cam’s birthday rolls around, his dad decides to buy him a gift, but he can only afford cardboard. It just so happens that this cardboard is magical, but there are rules. And bad things happen when the rules aren’t followed…
When I picked up Cardboard, I didn’t realize Doug TenNapel also wrote Bad Island and Ghostopolis, both graphic novels I enjoyed. Fortunately, Cardboard did not disappoint. I think Doug’s books will really hook middle grades students, so I need to get more of them in my classroom library!
The Amazing “True” Story of a Teenage Single Mom by Katherine Arnoldi
The librarian at my public library decided to do a graphic novel display (yay!), and found this gem buried beneath years of new books. Published in 1998, it is the oldest graphic novel I’ve ever read.
And I loved it.
Katherine Arnoldi tells her story of being a teenage mother and the hopeless downs she faced for many years.
It may be a knee-jerk reaction to judge teenage mothers, but this book offers a different perspective and asks readers to not be so quick to make a judgment. I also loved that, in the end, Katherine met a woman who helped her achieve her dream of attending college. The book concludes by offering resources for people who want to go to college, but who may not know exactly how to go about doing so.
X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz
Donalyn Miller’s “The Best Books of 2015 So Far” inspired me to read almost every book on her list. Unfortunately, I wish X was a book I did not read.
As a fictional account of Malcom X’s early life, I don’t know what I expected the book to be. Yes, I learned about his early life, but now that I have I wish I didn’t. To say he was a thug is an understatement.
I began the book, put it aside, picked it back up again, put it aside, and finally forced myself to finish it because I was over halfway done.
I need to start listening to my “abandon this book” gut feeling.
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
Mark has cancer and decides to run away to climb to the top of Mount Rainier. Somehow this book is a cancer story that doesn’t focus on cancer, which I appreciated. But it just didn’t work for me.
The story begins as Mark leaves home. Because of this, I didn’t get time to empathize with Mark. I didn’t know him. I found the flashbacks to be only surface level, and I felt myself having little emotional connection to the story. Moreover, “the honest truth” central motif was unsatisfying and did not fit the character.
I think that Donalyn Miller and I are just not book soul twins. The Honest Truth was another book on her list that I did not like. However, I can see why middle grade students might enjoy the book.