Each week I end my Monday post with the books I plan to read. I really do plan to read them but some how I go off to check what others are reading and then I am lost in a sea of books. So many good titles. So much to read. Last week I said I would read
- The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate (Book 2)
- The Friendship Riddle by Blakemore (Author of The Water Castle which I wrote about last week – here)
I am about 1/2 way through Calpurnia Tate and enjoying it as much as the first one. I have been bringing my library copy of Friendship Riddle every where I go with the idea of reading it but…
I am also following Debra Wiles blog. Her last post sent me off on a re read! I am lost in Each Little Bird that Sings! I reviewed it here – last October.
Debra is documenting her summer writing at deborah wiles: field notes . She had 48 days open and at home to work on her writing projects. A wonderful stretch of time but as we all know life can get in the way. But that is another story for another post or you can read her blog.
Debra’s day 34 post talked about the struggles of writing and how writing also helps us learn and recover from life’s ups and downs. She shares how family and friends have gather around to help her understand, learn and push her forward. For her some of this learning came through in her 2005 book Each Little Bird that Sings.
And so I returned to re read it not for story but as a mentor text for me as a writer. I am reading with questions like
- How does she build her characters?
- How do we know and understand the setting? We know we are in the south. Why?
- What are key words or phrases that help us understand her characters
- Where is the turn in the story? that moment we hold our breath and wonder
(Oh, but I also am reading for story but there is no way you can not with her stories!)
This is just a great book to use as a mentor text – both for yourself as a writer but also to share with students. Read it once just for story just to enjoy the language, the laughs and the sorrows. Then come back and read bits and pieces to help students see the authors craft. Share with them the paragraphs that show setting or the pages where we really understand this family as they work through loss of loved ones.
Comfort, whose family runs the town funeral home, writes “Life Notices” – instead of Death Notices – a great idea for students to write about their families. What would you say about yourself or others in a “Life Notice”?
There are clear and simple sentences that would be great to use as a story starter for yourself or students. What story would you write if you began with the sentence ” I come from a family with a lot of dead people” ? This is Debra’s beginning sentence.
So although this post is more about writing it is also about reading. Since for me one always leads to the other. I hope it does for you as well.
Now I am off to finish my re read and to really finish Calpurnia Tate and begin The Friendship Riddle.