Monday, November 30, 2009

a little book chat, plus some extra noodling

I'm still a little fuzzy from our long holiday weekend. We really like to follow a consistent path; Ramona, Brian and I. Being away from home for all those days really threw us for a loop.
Ramona had so much fun, more fun than I thought a 7 month old baby really could be expected to have. She totally got the idea of it being a holiday and she really lived it up. She is going to LOVE Christmas. Ramona was so wild by Saturday night that I had to finally give in and let her sleep with us.
My house feels like a disaster, my blog neglected, bills unpaid......on and on it goes. Glad to be home and glad to begin the process of putting it all back together again.

So, for the sake of normalcy and coming back to daily life, I'm going to do my (new) Monday night routine of chatting about the books.

I want to talk about Pam Munoz Ryan. She is my new favorite author. I have written about Paint the Wind several times. A few weeks ago I read Becoming Naomi Leon. I don't think it is as epic as Paint the Wind. (After Ryan wrote that one she probably sat back and thought "Well....that's the best I can do.") I bet a lot of my students would relate to Naomi's story. She's a young girl, living a perfectly fine life with her great grandmother and little brother in a close knit trailer park. Everything is going great until her train wreck mother comes into the picture and starts messing things up. Many of Ryan's protagonists are Latinas and in the story Naomi travels to Mexico to escape her mother. While there, she gains a new confidence from reconnecting with her family and learning the honored family tradition of carving.

On a side note, every book I have read by Pam Munoz Ryan gives a little shout-out to breastfeeding, which just delights me. It's unheard of to mention something like that in a book for 4th and 5th grade students. I like to think there is no such thing as "girl books" or "boy books", but who am I kidding, Ryan's books are meant for young girls to enjoy. I think it's sweet and appropriate how Ryan will put a mother nursing her baby in the story as scenery. No big woop, just a mama and a baby. She describes this just as lyrically as she does a tipped over pot, tortillas cooking on a grill or a wild desert flower.

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