Monday, October 24, 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue

Our new OWHS Book Club is reading Room. It was on my summer reading list and I never got to it....finally I finished this heartbreaking, but hopeful book.
I couldn't help but make comparisons between my 7 year-old son and the narrator, 5 year-old Jack. Jack has been born in Room and has never left it. Ma was kidnapped 7 years ago by a sexual predator. Both she and Jack have been held in Room. Can you imagine never leaving a Room for 7 years? It is the only world Jack knows.
Ma is determined to escape and with Jack's help it does happen. Read the book to understand the transition that Jack and Ma need to make back to the outside world. Book Club will be discussing this book on Monday, October 31. Meetings will be held before school, during lunch hour and after school. It really is one of those books that you want to talk over with a friend.

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo

The author examines the plight of the illegal immigrant. She has firsthand knowledge of the challenges that immigrants face -- her mother and father came to the United States from Colombia and Germany.
Nora's father left behind family in Mexico years ago. He has always sent money to support Nora, mom and grandma. Suddenly though, letters stop arriving. The bank doesn't receive any more deposits. Nora and her mom risk their lives in a desperate trip across the border. Once they arrive in Texas they begin looking for dad.
Living in Wisconsin I don't give much thought to the challenges that face illegal immigrants. If I lived in Texas or Arizona I would pay much more attention to the topic. Nora experiences things no teenager should have to.....imagine being in a country without much money, nowhere to live and a language you don't understand. Nora has the strength to survive.....but how many more "Nora's" are out there?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Parrotfish are a unique fish. Almost all species start as females and then change to males. In the book Parrotfish, Angela feels as though she is a boy. Ever since she was young she has been a tomboy. Now that she is 17 she honestly feels as though she was born the wrong gender.
Angela is transgendered. I never really understood the conflicted feelings of a person with these circumstances. The book raises a good question, "What happens when we don't fit into a "neat" predetermined category?
Angela asks her family and classmates to call her "Grady". She starts dressing in a masculine fashion.....and it is tough. Grady has to deal with bullies and humiliation. Read the book and understand what it means to be transgendered.