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I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! My last three reads, reviewed in the order in which I read them, are here for your reading pleasure.
Though I’m not a huge nonfiction fan, the audiobook version of this Malcolm Gladwell synopsis made a great backdrop for spring cleaning. The subject at hand is success and the outliers affecting potential advancement. Gladwell asserts success has more to do with opportunity and privilege than actual intelligence or talent. He stresses the importance of a strong work ethic, whether practicing music for hours or getting up before dawn to work in the rice paddies, but also mentions the merits and privilege associated with money and skin color. From a teaching standpoint, it’s a good reminder of how we should emphasize the importance of work ethic to students. (Click image above to purchase on Amazon).
The House on Mango Street
I would honestly love to write the Appalachian version of this young adult novella set in Chicago. I have wanted to read this for a long time, and I honestly feel I should read it again to absorb all the cultural/life implications. Sandra Cisneros gives us a series of seemingly unrelated narrative vignettes, but they describe the coming of age of Esperanza Cordero. There are profound moments of quality reflected here: “She had been dying such a long time, we forgot” and “I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out.”
I’m glad I read the actual text and saw the words in print. Definitely an amazing middle school classroom read, even if one uses only excerpts for short story format. (Click image to purchase on Amazon).
13 Reasons Why
No, I have not watched the Netflix series. Having just begun the audio book version with two narrators, I am 8% in and already captivated. Yes, there’s a suicide, but plot twist: Hannah Baker has left a series 13 of tapes to be passed among her peers, aptly titled, “13 Reasons Why.” The recipients of the tapes must listen to her story, as they are mentioned somewhere within as contributors to her decision to end her life. Clay Jensen, our first recipient and main narrator, is also to be our guide through said tapes. Will report back here as soon as I finish.
I just finished the book. I have all the emotions right now. As a middle school teacher, this was such an important read. Being able to recognize the signs of suicidal ideation is crucial to my job, and Hannah Baker’s narrative crystallizes them in a way I’ve never experienced in fiction. And, Clay? I honestly just feel so badly for him. I know my students would empathize with this character, but due to the heaviness of the story I wouldn’t use this as a classroom read prior to 8th grade. Everyone who works with teens should read this book…it’s currently only $4.65 on Amazon. Click the image to purchase!