Yesterday one of my favorite blogs, Mrs. Yingling Reads, led me to another great site, Teach Mentor Texts, which was hosting a meme through which bloggers could link to their posts about what they had read in the past week and planned to read in the coming week, focusing on children's and young adult books. This was an intriguing idea to me and I wanted to try it, even though it is now Tuesday.
For Monday Story Time at school I wanted to read about Johnny Appleseed and we had two books in our collection. One was Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet's 1939 poem Johnny Appleseed, with illustrations by S.D. Schindler. I liked the simple text -- "Of Johnathan Chapman two things are known, the he loved apples and he walked alone" -- but felt it was a bit too sparse for my little ones to understand fully. What would they make of phrases like "he walked alone"? A bit more was needed.
So I used Steven Kellogg's Johnny Appleseed to fill in the blanks, mostly using the richly detailed pictures as a springboard for adding needed description and explanations. The two books together made for an interesting and understandable story.
As for my own reading for my work as Middle School librarian, for the past few weeks I've been immersed in books based in dystopian societies, reading The Legend by Marie Lu, Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie, and Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. They were all great, but frustrating since they are all the first or second books in a series, so when you've finished them you don't know how the story ends. I hate that! Plus, these societies are pretty depressing.
So I decided I needed to read a "stand alone" book in a totally different setting, and chose Walter Dean Myers' Harlem Summer, which is turning out to be pretty good. It's set in the Harlem Renaissance, and all sorts of artistic and literary figures keep popping up in the story, which is about a teenager who gets a job in The Crisis (NAACP newspaper) and also gets mixed up in a bootlegging heist. I can't wait to see how he gets out of the mess he's in.