Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 5: The Skin I'm In

I began reading The Skin I'm In today and could not stop!  This is an extremely easy read, but very intense.  I have read 20 of the 32 chapters and it touches on multiple subjects which young adults deal with.  No, not everyone is made fun of and bullied all of the time but it is very common for teenagers to be teased.  Maleeka is thirteen, in seventh grade and attends an inner city school.  Most of the kids in her school are black, but her skin is even darker than most of theirs.  One of the kids, John-John, who has skin as dark as hers gets jealous for some reason and begins making fun of her.  The joke never stops.  After her fathers dies, her mother tries to save money by sewing Maleeka's clothes for her; this also causes her to be the object of ridicule.  To slightly avoid persecution by her peers she becomes friends with the 'cool' girl, but it doesn't help much and she is miserable.  This book would be easy for teens to identify with; they could relate in many ways.  Also, the chapters are short and the print is large.  The book is not very long so it would be good for a student who does not really enjoy reading.  I love it so far though!  I have changed my mind for my project for class on Friday (9/24) though, and I haven't quite figured out what I want to do with this book, but I am definitely using it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week 4: To Kill a Mockingbird (5)

I have had the chance to read for several hours this week, and am nearly finished with To Kill a Mockingbird.  I am excited to see how the book ends!  At this point, I have read completely through the trial scene, and really like the way Lee set it up.  The trial scene, like the rest of the book, is presented to us (the readers) through the child-narrator's eyes.  I believe this is important because the reader sees all angles and sides of the trial.  The child is only eight or nine, and does not completely understand what is going on so, even though she is biased towards her father (and wants him to win) she tells everything she sees in the courtroom.  Also, because she is with her brother who is a few years older than her, but still very innocent, the reader is shown how a slightly older child would react to the situation, and believes the defendant will be proven innocent even though the odds are against him.  I also love that this book does such a great job of laying out exactly how things would have been in Alabama (and most of the South) at the time.  The author was extremely straight-forward and laid everything out for her readers to see.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 3: To Kill a Mockingbird (4)

I just finished Part One of To Kill a Mockingbird.  It was excellent!  The children, Scout and Jem, are continuing to grow in their understanding of the world, racism, and people in general.  Both children are dealing with their father being made fun of and chastised for defending a black man in court; they are learning to cope with the situations that come about and be "gentlemen."  Also, Jem has an encounter with an old lady who lives down the street and learns about dealing with people's negative remarks, and about suffering the consequences of negative actions.  It's very easy to relate to for the young adult reader; education in disguise!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week 3: To Kill a Mockingbird (3)

I am still reading To Kill a Mockingbird.   I was able to read for an hour and a half today and got through a few more chapters.  At this point I am really beginning to see the development of the characters, especially the narrator, Scout.  Scout is about seven at this point in the novel and has recently started second grade.  She hates going to school, but, without her realizing it, school is opening her up to an entire new world--the real world.  In the previous section Scout, her older brother Jem, and their friend Dill were attempting to get a man to come out of his house.  Through the grapevine of small town talk they have heard that this man is crazy and attempted to kill his father with scissors; they call him "Boo" Radley (his name is Arthur).  No matter what they try, though, they end up getting caught by an adult, usually Scout and Jem's father, Atticus.  The point of this brief summary is to explain something which, as it was meant to be, was ironic; however, it was also a let down of sorts for the children.  One night there is a fire at a house across the street from Scout and Jem's.  While everyone is outside and taking precautions to prevent the rest of the neighborhood from catching fire the kids are standing in front of the Radley home.  While standing there freezing, Scout gets a blanket put around her shoulders by "Boo" Radley, but does not realize it until they get home.  The children are devastated.  The book is full of little moments like these, however, that people of any age level could relate to.  It's wonderful!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week 2: To Kill a Mockingbird (2)

I cannot put this book down.  I only needed to read for another half hour but I can't stop!  This is one of those books which is easy to get into and follow along with.  I am to chapter seven and I can already identify with the characters.  Although my childhood was much different than theirs, my brothers, cousins and I had similar outings and similar feelings.  Also, I can feel what they are feeling.  One of the main characters, Jem, sneaks out at night and his sister, Scout, is very anxious and nervous waiting for him to get back.  I felt the same way.  I realized, after Jem made it home safely, that my heart was beating a little faster, and I was holding my breath!  Any book that can make you feel that type of emotion is a good book.  Laughing and crying with because of what happens in the plot line of a book is wonderful, but actually feeling what the characters feel... that is a well written book!  I am excited about following these characters throughout the rest of the novel and watching them progress.  This is a great book for high school students--they could easily identify with the characters.  I am not sure why I never read it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Week 2: To Kill a Mockingbird

I began reading To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee yesterday evening and have read for about an hour so far.  For some reason (I cannot remember why) I did not read this book in high school, but I love it!  I think it is very interesting that the story is told from a six year old child's point of view and that the same person is the narrator.  So far I am only about four chapters in, but think the book does a great job of expressing what life was like in Alabama during the time period in which the book is set.  The themes of the novel make it easy to relate to students in high school.  In just these few chapters the book has already addressed race (although we live in 21st century America, race is still a problem), and the struggles/challenges of people of varying socioeconomic status.  I am sure the book will deal with this even more as I read on.  Also, something I enjoy about this book, is flow.  It is easy to read and easy to follow.  There are words which could definitely be used as vocabulary but the dialogue also uses the dialect of children and people of the area.