Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving Reads

I read several books over the Thanksgiving break, but I want to tell you about one in particular. After learning that Rita Williams-Garcia won the National Book Award

was a finalist for the National Book Award (Young People's Literature) for Jumped, I realized that I had missed this book. Ooops. I started reading it around 9 AM two Saturdays ago, while I was waiting for a plane. All the magazines and other books I had brought for my trip were quickly forgotten as I was absorbed with this tale of three girls heading toward an (ultimately) vicious fight: the bully, her unsuspecting (and how) victim, and the bystander who has to chose whether or not to warn the victim.

The only time I stopped reading this book was when I snapped into my seat belt and paid attention to the flight attendant's safety instructions (I've heard it umpteenth times, but I feel rude not paying attention, and I'd rather get it into my head rather than act like I'm too cool for school). Voicing believable teen characters is a gift; it's not an easy task by any means. Williams-Garcia does this beautifully.

This would be an outstanding book discussion with a teen group, particularly with reluctant readers (the book is 169 pages, but the length of the physical book is shorter than most books). Who would they identify with the most? Discussing Trina, the oblivious bouncy girl who unknowingly skips to her fate, would definitely be a high point. Why is she always so bouncy and constantly doing her "famous Trina shake?" Does it seem like she has many close friends? What would they do if they were in Leticia's shoes? And so on.

Truly well-deserved, in my opinion, and I can't wait to read her upcoming book. Very excited.


Tricia said...

Hi Jennifer,
This is the one NBA finalist I still haven't read. I guess I need to read it. However, the winner for young people's literature this year was Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose.

Jennifer Schultz said...

D'oh! And I posted on my Twitter account about Hoose's book. Thank you, Tricia. And I think Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice is remarkable.