Review: Fire from the Rock

“I have to suck up as much pride and dignity as I can while it’s there for me.” page 200

Fire from the Rock by Sharon Draper.
Speak, Penguin Group, New York, 2007.
YA historical fiction, 231 pages.
Lexile:  760L  .
AR Level:  5.0 (worth 9.0 points)  .

Sharon Draper detours from her usual realistic fiction for a historical novel set in 1957 during school integration at Little Rock.

Fire From the Rock cover resized

The novel opens with a bang as a white man’s vicious dog is turned loose on Sylvia’s 8-year old sister.  Several incidents throughout give a realistic portrayal of what it was like to live during that time period.  For example, although Sylvia takes great pride in her mother’s sewing ability, it’s also a practical necessity since she explains that at the time only white people were allowed to try on clothes in department stores or return them if they didn’t fit.  The nature of historical fiction also makes these glimpses more interesting and memorable to the reader than say, a textbook.  I think this book would work well in a high school history course.

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Review: Not Exactly the Same!

“Ling and Ting are twins. They are not exactly the same. Now when people see them, they know it too.” page 8

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin.
Little, Brown, and Co., Hachette Book Group, New York, 2010.
Early chapter book, 48 pages.
Lexile:  390L  .
AR Level:  1.8 (worth 0.5 points)  .

Six short stories from the life of Chinese-American twins Ling and Ting.

Ling Ting Not Exactly the Same cover resized

It’s extremely difficult to find suitable early chapter books at all, let alone diverse and culturally appropriate ones.  While the availability of novels and picture books are slowly improving, these essential early reader and early chapter book categories remain ridiculously white, able-bodied, etc.

I’ve written about a few we tried back when my last reader was transitioning, but got away from this series of reviews as he turned toward more complex books.  Now that my next child is ready to make this transition, I’m going to try a few new-to-us series (and hopefully complete reviews for the ones we bought last time around).

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