Yes, I am reading but missing writing last week. I thought things were to slow down at the end of May/school year/testing season and they have. But I slowed way down to walks, talking and gardening. Oh and reading about gardening.
The garden book of the week was The Backyard Parables: Lessons on Gardening and Life by Margaret Roach. It is a rambling chat about her garden and life. Not the best garden book I have read but fun on a cool raining day. I like her weekly blog much better – Way to Garden – way more practical and she calls in lots of experts to share what they know about specific issues or plants. Although I love just sinking into the stories she tells about her garden and the life struggles we gardeners all have. ( Yes, I am not chasing rabbits instead of inch worms!)
In the children’s department I was focused on books with wolves in the title. The first was Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk. It is not about wolves but about a small town family in 1943. We follow Annabelle as she deals with bullying, and tension left behind from two World Wars. Annabelle and her family live on a small farm with lots of woods around and a hollow where wolves were once trapped. A place of scary tales. Within these woods lives Toby a WWI vet who walks the woods carrying three rifles, talks to few and lives in an old smoke house. Most people see Toby as strange and scary but Annebelle knows another side of him.
When Annabelle and her brothers become the target of bullying by an older new girl in town Toby steps in to help only to find the tables turned on him. The town is all to ready to believe the new girl living with her grandparents before the strange man walking the woods.
This would be a great read aloud. There is tension, adventure, family values and history to talk about. I would put it on your list for a fall read. A great read for 4th through 8th grade (if you add the history discussion to scale up the interest level for the older students)
I am also reading The Summer of Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles. This one does have wolves in it. Our lead character, Nika and her brother have been orphaned. After several not so good foster homes they find themselves on a plane to northern Minnesota to spend the summer with an Uncle they do not know. This is a set up for a story all on its own but is not really the center of this tale. The story deals with the raising of a young wolf pup and what do you do once this pup has grown up around humans.
Carlson-Voiles does a wonderful job of teaching us about the needs of a young wolf while sharing the struggles that Nika has as she navigates a world of growing up without her mother or the people who she relied on.
I have not finished this book but again a good read aloud for 4 through 8th grade. So much to discuss about families, wild animals rights, choices we make. This is a fiction story with lots of actual facts about wolves.
This would be a great match with Julie and the Wolves and Hatch. One group of students could be reading Julie and the Wolves. Another reading Hatch and you could be reading The Summer of Wolves as a read aloud. What a fun unit that would be. So much rich teaching. A perfect jumping off place for non fiction research on animals, animal rights, living in the woods, and more.
I am off to finish The Summer of the Wolves.
Plus I am half way through
- Our Souls at Night: a Novel by Harut (adult read)
- The Great Good Summer by Scanlon ( middle grade fiction)
- The Blackthorn Key by Sands ( middle grade fiction)
- The BackYard Parables: Lessons on Gardening and Life by Margaret Roach (adult non fiction)
I know – focus would be a good idea. I will get them all read this week so I can let you know what I think about them next Monday.
Happy Summer Reading everyone!