Whew! I needed a vacation from my vacation. Since last writing, my family went to Colorado for a vacation and our cousin's wedding. We slid into home the night before school started. Thank goodness my kids are well versed in the "drill" of our school routine and had backpacks packed before we left the state. While on vacation I finished a great book and returned home to start another. Both books are worth talking about.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is a fabulous book….I loved it even though from chapter one, I knew I would need a box of tissues to get through it. I laughed out loud many times as the story of a family was told through the eyes of the family dog from puppy hood to old age and "evolution". The story of the crows was so funny that I'll never be able to look at the birds in quite the same way again! Even though this is a fictional novel for adults, it would make a great YA book in a high school collection. My eleven year old read it ahead of me after our Nana suggested that she might like it. By the end of the book there were definitely some scenes that I thought were beyond her maturity level….but we talked about them and she doesn't appear to be warped or damaged by reading them. She's actually more mature than I'm ready for her to be anyway! Because of the aspect of race car driving and the dog narrator is male, this is a super book for teen boys. And, despite the need for a box of tissues, there is a very satisfying ending to the story that isn't cliché or predictable.
Nothing But the Truth by Avi is a book that my eldest brought home from her first day of 7th grade as a Language Arts assignment. It's an older book….published right around the time that I remember stories told by multiple points of view was a popular method of novel writing. The story does indeed present a middle school controversy surrounding the singing of the Star Spangle Banner through the viewpoints of students, teachers, administrators, parents and members of the press. The ending is purposely left open for the reader to decide what will happen…which is perfect for discussion of facts and opinions among middle school students. I was very glad to have read this novel. Avi is a major author in children's literature and I haven't read much from Avi yet. I will definitely read more.
Stein, G. The Art of Racing in the Rain (2009). Harper Paperbacks. New York
Avi. Nothing But the Truth (1993). Harper Collins Children's Books. New York