Tuesday, August 31, 2010
This has been a fabulous summer, an old-fashioned hot sweaty summer. I love the laid back feeling of summer. I can’t get enough of the outdoors – morning coffee and every possible meal on the deck; walks with my dog, Grace; visiting with friends and family; gardening, floating in the pool; and lazy lake afternoons. Often times with coffee in one hand, you will find me hunkered down in a comfy spot with my other hand clutching a good book.
My summer selections have left me with many fond memories and connections to my “teaching life”. In a bit, I will finish up a gem, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Like the other books and characters Creech has created, I have fallen in love with Sal who tells the story of her longing heart and the heartache of her best friend, Phoebe. During her journey with her grandparents she becomes even wiser as she shares her stories with them. “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins” is one of several messages that teach lessons to both the characters and readers of Walk Two Moons. As always, I will share my love of Sharon Creech and will surely recommend this book. I am not sure yet if it will be a class read aloud, but there are several passages that I will flag for mini-lessons.
Another book that left its mark on me long after I read the last page was Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham. Ludelphia a young quilter wise beyond her 10 years of life tells the story of her family’s joys and struggles living in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression. Quilting is deep in her bones, a source of nourishment, it’s therapy, and a way for Ludelphia to make sense of the world around her. Early in the book, Ludelphia flashes back to the accident that left her blind in one eye. “I may have only one eye that works, but I got to tell you it works real good.” “It’s like you was born to stitch,” Ludelphia’s mama tells her. I love the voice of Ludelphia and the voice she gives to other female characters in the book. Of course, as a quilter I also was drawn to the quotes about stitchin’. Ludelphia sees no need to sort fabric colors which seems to be a metaphor for life – “Seemed to me some of the best things just happened with no order to ‘em at all. But Mama, she believed in having a plan.” Ludelphia notices the world around her, a trait of great story tellers, writers, and quilters too. “…the clouds raced across the sky like they was in a contest with the river. They was in a hurry just like me.” As Ludelphia sets out on a journey to seek help for her ailing mother, having never left Gee’s Bend, she musters up the strength and bravery to fight for her family and her community. Thank you, Irene for a wonderful story and also for the give-away book, Three Rivers Rising (more on this book later.)
Summer’s winding down. I will savor the remaining days and reading that I can squeeze in, but am ready to get to know my new learners and savor good writing together!