I finished Wild Things by Clay Carmichael. It’s a stunning debut novel about 11 year old Zoe, who’s orphaned and sent to live with her uncle. She’s not big on trusting adults and neither is the feral cat she tries to befriend. Carmichael tells this story by alternating first person narrative and third person narrative of the cat. The language and characters transported me to the back woods setting of the story. Zoe and the cat are not the only wild things, other characters come into Zoe’s life and reappear. Learning to trust, redemption and the power of love are pretty powerful themes that don’t hit you over the head with a hammer. I can totally see why there was chatter about this book and awards. I suspect it might end up on reader choice nominations.
I am listening to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. This debut novel received the Newbery Honor Award and the audio is a delightful to listen to on my way to work.
Would my clientele read these books though? I would probably have to sell them on the idea. What I notice is that kids like to go for the comfortable, the easy. And by going to easier choices, they fail to build their reading stamina. It’s a reason that I am so thrilled to be working with fifth graders in a book club setting. The fifth graders have been meeting weekly, responding to blog entries. This week I have some of their responses to some of the reader choice nominations:
Candy Shop War
The Candy Shop War is an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery, fantasy and adventure. The book focuses on four kids Nate, Summer, Paul (nicknamed Pigeon) and Trevor. When the four kids start working for Mrs. White, the owner of a new candy shop in their town, she give them suspicious jobs and candy that makes some odd things happen…
This is a book that I had a very hard time putting down. I have heard that so many people liked it and that they couldn’t put it down either! You never know what’s going to happen next. It is amazing book to read at any time. I am sorry for other people who are in fifth grade book club because they don’t get to read it as their book until March.
If I were you I would definitely wouldn’t have trusted Ms.White either. Did you actually get to feel like what it would have been like to be doing what that candy can do? I think it would have been fun to have that type of candy here in real life. I wish that could happen where I’m going to live which is Kemmerer. I would think that would be totally awesome. I wish you were my best friend and could move with me because I don’t always make friends when I move. I’ve moved form Long Beach to Wheatland to Laramie to Hanna to Gold Bar to here and now to Kemmerer. I’ve gotten used to moving but this is the first place I have ever had a really good relationship with my friends. Even though I want to move back to Wyoming I don’t want to move either it’s really tough for me.
If I was a Jew I wouldn’t think that I would survive from the hunger. From the not being treated well and from the having to hide at night from the Nazis taking the kids away from their parent. I wouldn’t think that I would survive from that kind of stuff. One question I have for you is how were you so brave??? How did you stay for a long time with eating only bread almost everyday? Another question I have was how were you able to stay in that cellar with not very much food, having to babysit your little cousin and not having any sunshine or light around you. I think I wouldn’t have survived without any light and without any games to play with and without any visitors visiting you! I was amazed how when you were in the cellar the Nazis came and found you and didn’t really do anything they just kind of kicked you, screamed and then left because they were losing the war. I think that you are really lucky how people saved you when they saw all the yellow stars. I hope you enjoy my letter!
The Candy Shop War sounds great! There is a title that I think will just GRAB my 3-5 graders.
I wanna read Wild Things! Must look for it…
Fifth grade book club is thrilling. My daughter just turned 21, but I can remember how much she liked hers, and I think it went beyond the book-themed refreshments. They liked the big arguments about how many stars it should get and then the librarian posted these so they were all kind of famous. At least they thought so. Mo, Shmoe, Flo, Jo, etc. — the names they gave themselves, with the source buried in history.
Enjoy your gang! (and yay for Calpurnia Tate).