This month we are doing Reading Along I-94 a totally new, different way! As I read Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, I dogeared pages with quotes that I really loved. (I know, I dogeared the pages – but it was an ARC and it felt good.) At the Anderson’s Breakfast, I gave Colby the book with a hand-written letter explaining that his challenge this month is to try and figure out which line or sentence or group of sentences on the page made me dogear the page. To follow along, read the book and see if there are any quotes that stick out to you. Here are the pages to look for quotes: 2, 77, 87, 145, 189, 206, 250, 253, 262. Of course, I think it would be great if you shared your own favorite quotes as we go along!
COLBY: p. 77 “That sounds funny but what I mean is that I am glad we tell each other the real whole truth, and I am glad we can change each other’s mind.”
JEN: Bravo again!!! You got it! Now you are two for two! I actually included the line before in my quote:
“Thank you for saying you might have thought me and Kiku were terrorists, too. That sounds funny but what I mean is that I am glad we tell each other the real whole truth, and I am glad we can change each other’s mind.” -Meena
This is actually something else amazing about writing to communicate. Since Meena and River have never met each other, there are so many barriers that are taken away. Their relationship isn’t barred by what they look like or how they talk or if they are shy or outspoken. I find myself in awe the more I examine how writing is so real and soul-bearing and powerful. They are able to be completely open with one another – how likely would you be to just tell someone you recently met that you had thought they were terrorists…I sure would never admit that to someone.
I’m reading Wonder by RJ Palacio right now. That is another book that talks about how people work through barriers to develop relationships. The main character, Auggie, looks so different physically and he has to deal with people who don’t accept because he is so different on the outside even though he’s just a regular kid on the inside. It’s amazing the relationships we can develop if we can see through to who a person is on the inside and not let anything else get in the way.
Colby: p. 87 Okay, I am pretty sure I know which quote you picked on page 87, but I’m not sure where you picked for the quote to start.
I have finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the third time. It taught me a lot, and I cried all over its pages because it was so real. When I returned the book to the library, I thought about how maybe someone else will cry over it, too. I like that library books have secret lives. All those hands that have held them. All those eyes that have read them.
JEN: I’ll give it to you! I started the quote a bit earlier:
“I still have not gotten The Outsiders from the library. All the copies are lost or missing. But I have put in a request for Old Yeller. I have finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the third time. It taught me a lot, and I cried all over its pages because it was so real. When I returned the book to the library, I thought about how maybe someone else will cry over it, too. I like that library books have secret lives. All those hands that have held them. All those eyes that have read them.” -Meena
I love that they talk about books with each other. I talk to lots of people about books, but it is such a great feeling when someone hears that I like a book and then they go and read it. It shows how much Meena values River’s friendship that she wants to read the books he loves. (Obviously, we all have different tastes in books so it’s okay to not want to read a book that someone else loves just because they love it, but it’s pretty cool that she’s willing to check out the books.)
I started the quote earlier than you guessed because I happen to love The Outsiders. It’s awesome that all the copies are lost or missing. It is such an amazing book that has stuck with me ever since I read it when I was in junior high. I haven’t read Older Yeller or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn but now I’m thinking I probably should.
Don’t you just love the idea of how a library book does have a secret life? What if a library book could talk? If it could tell the stories of the places it has visited or of the hands that have held it? That might be a great book idea actually…
Books are magic!
Colby: I have often thought about having my students write their name on the inside cover of classroom library books that they finish.
JEN: I have thought of that, too! Like a yearbook kind of, they can sign their names. I think that’s really cool. In elementary school we would have cards or little paper lists glued into a book and it was cool to see other people’s names who had read the book before me.
I think kids might also see it as a challenge to read books that not a lot of people have read. The legacy factor also comes into play. Kids love to know that they will always be our students, and having their names in the books they loved would help make them feel that way.
JEN: A legacy of readers. I love it. It would also be cool to be the first person to read a book and put his or her name in the book OR to pick up a book and see tons of people had read it and to know they would be part of that. AND it would let them know which kids had read the book. Sometimes, I finish a book and can’t wait to see how has read the book on GoodReads so I can talk to that person about the book. I definitely think your idea would help bring even more of a sense of community and belonging to a classroom. I think John uses QR codes in his library. Each book could even have a QR code that would link to a list of who had read the book and their rating. (I’m not even sure you can do this because I have never tried, but it seems like it should/would be possible.)
I love Same Sun Here because it celebrates connections with people through writing and books while also telling Meena and River’s story.
COLBY: I would love for my little kids to have something like Goodreads. Checking to see what friends on Goodreads rated books I love is one of my favorite things about finishing a book. I guess this kind of goes back to giving kids lots and lots of time to talk books with each other.