Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Memory of Things vs. Hour of the Bees

We enjoyed the A Time for Bees - but consensus was that we didn't think it will really capture a lot of our students. The pacing was a little slow; we found ourselves having to reread to catch up once it was put down. This book asks a lot of adolescent readers - while Spanish is a common language in the US, Canadian readers are less likely to have very much experience reading/ recognizing Spanish words in fiction text and will not have the background knowledge in the Spanish culture . I think many students would gloss over this unfamiliar vocabulary, and as a result miss a lot of the character development in the novel. I think many students would even put it down/ abandon A Time for Bees because they aren't really connecting with the characters or what's happening in the story. 

We are voting for the Memory of Things.  Although this was a dark moment that has forever changed our lives across the Western World, the author did a wonderful job of weaving the horror and terror of what happened with the human connection.  We feel this book makes an accurate depiction of mood and setting of 9/11, while exploring the lives of intriguing characters. This is a subject and time that many of the students we teach are not familiar with as they were not old enough to remember, if not born, to know the significance of it. The impact and tragedy of the events demands attention and must be taught in schools. This book is an excellent insight and gateway for teachers to discuss many social issues.
The duel narrative kept the read interesting and relevant. It allows critical thinking and opportunities for class discussion and is as much a coming of age as loss of innocence in the face of terror.   
The ending of the story is bittersweet but effective.  Although it wasn't a lot of history 911, students will be more engaged with this story than a Time for Bees.  

Ellerslie Readers
Lisa, Brianne, Mike, Kathleen

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