Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Books Read

The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going
Eve's mother was the one that told the stories, but Eve's mother is dead. When her father buys a farm, Eve doesn't want to go. Neither does she want to give up the last piece of clothing that her mother bought her, even though it is too small. The trees of the orchard do not bear fruit, and Eve and her father arrive just as a funeral takes place. The boy she sees playing on gravestones seems to be a ghost. Eve has been bequeathed a seed. How did that happen? Does her mother who told stories about Eve's Garden have anything to do with this? She plants the seed, and only she and the ghost can see the tree that grows from the center of the orchard. Of course she must climb the tree. I am not usually enamored of Biblical metaphor, but I really liked this story that brought archetypal themes of grief and regrowth to a child's world. This might be just the story for a grieving child.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
My favorite book blogger doesn't like this character. I cringed at the meanness of most teens, and admired the tenacity of flower-child Stargirl, and of course the hint of Buddhist thought, even if pop Buddhism, gave me more reason to like it. Mostly I liked her as the girl I wish I could have been.

This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
I was very enthusiastic about this book until I read the jacket cover. If at first you think these are poems written by a 6th grade class, inspired by the famous poem of apology by William Carlos Williams, you will love this book. When you find out they're not really, it's still a good book, but not quite as amazing. You can just imagine the two boys whispering, "I'll write a poem on dodgeball if you do." You'll wonder a little more if a girl could really apologize to her teacher over making fun of her dress*, or if a boy would really understand that he picks on a girl because he likes her. Not only poems, it is a vignette, a peek into the lives of 6th graders.

*You smiled
but your smile looked like a frozen pond
People were high-fiving me on the way
Down to lunch, but I felt like a traitor.

Teacher responds:
Just these few warm words
and spring sunlight fills the room;
my dress turns to sky

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