It’s Monday! What are you reading? Adult fiction and …

imgres-1It is the beginning of a new year and I was reviewing my garden journal, looking at the snow outside my window. It did not take long for me to crave the color green and there I was re reading Kingsolver’s book The Prodigal Summer.

It’s green cover and it’s first sentences take us into the lush deep green of the forest – into the heart of nature. This seems to be my go to book at the start of each year. No, it is maybe not her best but there are new layers that show themselves to me each time I read it. A bit like a walk in the woods. It is the same woods but I see new things each time I take my walk.

If you have never read it – it is about family, generations of family, the good and the bad of families. It is about nature and the need to understand how the natural world works so that we can protect it and enjoy it but also live with and from it.  And it take place in the coming spring and into the heat of summer. A perfect read while sitting at a cold winter window.

The other reads that really belong in this children’s book review are:


  • P.S. Be Eleven 
  • Gone Crazy in Alabama

I really enjoyed Williams – Gracia’s first book One Crazy Summer but had not gotten around to the next two. I really want to have read Gone Crazy in Alabama before the awards next week but decided I couldn’t read it until I read book two – P.S. Be Eleven.  images

I just began reading this so all I can say is the characters are the same crazy young girls I loved in book one. The voice is spunky, fun and thoughtful all at once. What I love is these books give us a look into the girls day to day lives. It gives a peak into a historical time and race is a factor but it does not drive the story like a tale of the underground railroad or slavery does.

This is a story of girls growing up, of girls coming of age within their community and family. These stories were harder to find when I first began teaching. I could find the white girl stories for my students but nothing else. It is a delight to know I can find and share books with students of color – books that are easy to find and reflect the world they know.

Can’t wait for next Monday – Award time here we come!


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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7 Responses to It’s Monday! What are you reading? Adult fiction and …

  1. I loved both One Crazy Summer, and Gone Crazy in Alabama. For some reason I missed PS B 11. I read the first one, and ended up buying a lit circle set for the school. Then I saw the third was available as an audiobook from my local library. Now I want to go back and listen to the second, since Sisi A Johnson’s narration was so fabulous.

  2. Tara Smith says:

    I have copies of these Williams – Gracia’s books, and now I am ready to turn to them, thanks for your positive reviews!

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I love Barbara Kingsolver, but have not read that one, Joanne. Now you’ve made me want to very much. And I need to catch up with those girls in the two Williams-Garcia books, too. There are so many! Have a great reading week!

    • Joanne Toft says:

      It is a great one to read as spring approaches! Have you read Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior. It is similar in that there are the family issue and the natural world that intertwine to make a wonderful read.

  4. ejmam says:

    I will always remember One Crazy Summer, because I was born before it takes place and yet it won an historical fiction award. So I know that I am officially old. Also it was a good book 🙂

  5. Myra GB says:

    I definitely have to catch up on the Rita Williams-Garcia novels – there are now three of them, and I haven’t even read the first yet! 🙂 I loved Kingsolver’s Bean Trees.

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