It’s the kind of book you read in one sitting. A page turner. So many life lessons told in carefully chosen, impactful words.
Nikki Grimes wrote this novel in tanka poems. (A tanka poem follows the syllable pattern of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7) Garvey struggles to fit into the mold his father wants for him, that of an athlete. Instead Garvey has a passion for space, chess, and chorus. Garvey also struggles with his weight and constant belittling by classmates. He finds companionship with Joe and Emmanuel and learns more about himself through them.
It doesn’t matter
how wide I am when I sing.
Like Goldilocks, I
have finally found what fits:
my high tenor is just right.
by Nikki Grimes
It doesn't matter
where I go, or what I do
words bubble in me.
Whether in notebook or screen
telling stories is just right.
It’s one of the first things I do in the morning–check my sleep score. Often I use it to predict my day. Anything 80 or above, and it’s going to be a great day. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the world. The 70s are just fair. I don’t get too worked up over a 72, but I don’t have that spring in my step that an 85 would give me. Only once have I achieved a 90. It was like scoring a perfect 10 on the balance beam. I questioned what happened in my body to receive such an outstanding score.
I find the detailed information that makes up my sleep score fascinating…deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, oxygenation levels, restlessness. It makes me curious to learn more about my sleep. Maybe I should read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker or The Promise of Sleep by William C. Dement.
Packing for Spring Break, I was chatting with my friend about the expected weather and what clothes I planned to take. Then she stopped the conversation and said, “But let’s talk about what books you are taking.” She knows me well. I spend more time gathering my reading material than my outfits for a trip. Here’s the low down on what I’m taking this year.
The Vanishing Half—I’m over half way done with this book, so I will finish it before I move on to any other books. I’m definitely at the point where I don’t want to put it down. Stella and Desiree are black (light skinned) twins. They leave their town as teenagers and head to New Orleans. While there, Stella is able to pass as white. She ends up leaving New Orleans (without notice) for Boston with a white man. Desiree spends the rest of her life looking for Stella. Things start to get interesting when Desiree’s daughter and Stella’s daughter meet in Los Angeles.
The Four Winds—This is my next book club book. Our book club started in 2015, and our first book was Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. We eagerly read The Great Alone in 2017, and couldn’t wait for The Four Winds to come out this year. I’ve saved the book for this trip, so I could give it my undivided-attention.
Why We Get Fat and What to do About It—Ever since hearing Gretchen Rubin talk about this book and interview this author, I knew I needed to read it. I want to make some changes with what I eat, and I know after I know the facts and science, I will be convinced to make a change.
When Stars are Scattered—This graphic novel has been on my to read list for many months. I’ve heard such great things about it. It may be out 4th quarter 4th-6th book club choice.
Garvey’s Choice— I’m reading this to help our 5th grade teacher prepare for a novel study for this quarter. It is a novel in verse, so I should be able to read it quickly.
Conscious Discipline—I’m reading this professional book with a group of colleagues. We have our final book study meeting upon return from break. I will read it a few sections at a time. It’s very dense with lots of great classroom application.
Not sure I can get all of these done, but I’m excited to try. I’m hoping to have several hours each day over break to read!
“I want to stay until I finish the book,” my daughter pressed, “I’ve only got 30 more pages.” My heart beamed at that moment. The feeling of not being able to put a book down had escaped my daughter in her teen years. Assignments, readings for school, social media, and Netflix all compete for her time.
In spite of her lack of pleasure reading, I have continued to buy her books for every occasion: Christmas, birthdays, trips, just because. But, they have sat on her shelf waiting to be picked up or started and set to the side when something more pressing came up.
This past summer we took a day trip to a neighboring town for lunch, shopping, and a stop at a sunflower field. While there, we visited a small bookshop called Wild Geese Bookshop. When Gretchen found two books she was interested in, of course we bought them. I have never been able to say no to any book purchase. It was one of these books that she could not put down this week. Choice. It is so important in the life of a reader. No matter how many books I gifted her that I thought she would like, her personal interest is what was important. I would never have chosen this book for her.
Now she is at that point, “What will I read next?” “I don’t have another book with me.” She is hooked again. Her university has suspended all in person classes for the semester. She has another week before her online classes start up. Just enough time without assignments to get drawn into another book, or two, or three.
First, we made the batter with flour, water, and salt. Then we took the almost limp dandelions, dipped them into the mixture, and dropped them into the sizzling pan. “You have to try one first,” I demanded with a slight grin. On our latest trip to the library, it was Kea’s idea to check out the recipe book on backyard foraging that contained the steps for dandelion fritters. She took a nibble. “Not horrible,” she replied. I took a small taste. Definitely not as bad as I expected. I guess anything with fried batter tastes okay.
Kea and I spent a lot of Saturdays and summer days at the public library. It was within walking distance, so it was accessible to two preteen girls with time on their hands. Our first stop in the library was usually to the magazine loft. Teen, Sassy, and Seventeen were some of our favorites. We read the articles, looked a fashion trends, but what really drew us in were the question and answer sections. We learned a lot about life in those magazines.
Then we would head to the young adult section to find the next stack of books to devour. Anything and everything by Judy Bloom or V.C. Andrews. Sometimes we would scour the shelves for other interesting books, insert recipe book for dandelion fritters. I look back and think of how I loved those trips to the library. Two best friends hanging out with books. My love for libraries started at a young age, and they are still one of my favorite places to be.