Today I am joining the roundup of kidlit books at Teach Mentor Texts. Click on over for more reviews.
I am the guest writer on Laura Shovan’s blog today, Author Amok. I wrote about Ellen Bass’s poem The Orange-and-White High-Heeled Shoes.
When Cynthia Lord offered an ARC of her latest novel A Handful of Stars on Facebook, I commented and was added to the list. A copy came this week, just in time for Spring Break reading.
I was immediately drawn in to this story when Lily chases her blind dog into a blueberry field. Lucky is stopped by a migrant girl, Salma Santiago, who becomes a new friend to Lily. Salma is artistic and wants to help Lily raise money for an operation for Lucky. She joins Lily in painting mason bee boxes. The two become fast friends.
Lily is a complex character. She lives with her French Canadian grandparents who own a general store. You get the sense that the family is still grieving the death of Lily’s mom even though Lily does not remember her. The dog Lucky is her connection to her mother. Lily is also dealing with the change in a childhood friendship. Salma brings hope to Lily. Salma opens up Lily’s mind about art, migrant workers, and friendship.
Cynthia Lord creates a story that not only touches; it also teaches. I learned a lot about blueberry harvesting in Maine (which is different from blueberries in Louisiana.) Through Pépère, Lily learns life lessons. I’ve been wanting to experiment with black-out poetry and Zentangle. I made a copy of a page in which Pépère speaks to Lily about how Lucky (dogs) can teach us. I highlighted words to create a poem and drew Zentangle designs to black out the words. Zentangle can be meditative. Kind of like doodling.
wants to see.
He seems happy to me.
We learn from dogs.
They don’t ask ‘why me?’
They find a new way to be happy.
Setting something free