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Ball Charter School

2530 Ash Street
Springfield, IL 62703

What did you READ this summer?

August 18, 2016

When the school year starts, sometimes it's difficult to get kiddos back into reading. Because despite our best intentions and efforts, "summer slide" is a real problem. To get our students excited about reading again for the school year, I like to share a list of all the books I read over the summer. (Think of it as a sort of "conversation starter" for literacy).
I have always had an interest in reading about slavery, early 20th century struggles of African Americans, and on into the civil rights era. This summer I read 3 titles in this genre:

Good Fortune by Noni Carter-
"Ayanna Bahati lives in a small African village when she is brutally kidnapped, along with her brother, and forced onto a slave ship to America. As Ayanna, renamed Anna, rises from the cotton fields to the master’s house, she finds the familial love she’s been yearning for in elderly Mary and Mary’s son Daniel”but she is also faced with more threats to her survival. Risking everything to escape the plantation, Anna manages to make it north and to freedom, eventually settling in the free black community of Hudson, Ohio, and educating herself to become a teacher." *Google Books

Zora and Me- Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
"A fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston's childhood with her best friend Carrie, in Eatonville, Florida, as they learn about life, death, and the differences between truth, lies, and pretending. Includes an annotated bibliography of the works of Zora Neale Hurston, a short biography of the author, and information about Eatonville, Florida." * Google Books

Stella by Starlight- Sharon Draper
"Stella lives in the segregated South”in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community”her world”is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.: *Google Books

I was also able to get in a few other genres!

Echo- Pam Munoz Ryan
"Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, this impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck." *Google Books

A House of Tailors- Patricial Reilly Giff
"When 13-year-old Dina leaves her small town in Germany to join her uncle’s family in Brooklyn, she turns her back on sewing. Never again! But looking for a job leads her right back to the sewing machine. Why did she ever leave home? Here she is, still with a needle and thread”and homesick to boot."
* Google Books

And just for fun....a few classics!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- J.K. Rowling (read with CCC summer camp)
Pie - Sarah Weeks
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler