Our Next Good Read: Dancing in the Rain

Join us March 13 at Tractor Brewing (1800 4th Street NW) from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are reading Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph.

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Book Giveaway: Dancing in the Rain

Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway

We’re giving away a copy of Dancing in the Rain written by Lynn Joseph–our featured novel for March book group meeting!! Check out the following from Good Reads:

Twelve year-old Elizabeth is no normal girl. With an imagination that makes room for mermaids and magic in everyday life, she lives every moment to the fullest. Yet her joyful world crumbles around her when two planes bring down the Twin Towers and tear her family apart. Thousands of miles away, yet still touched by this tragedy, Elizabeth is swimming in a sea of loss. She finally finds hope when she meets her kindred spirit in 8 year-old Brandt and his 13 year-old brother, Jared.

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Vamos a Leer: Spring 2017 Featured Titles

2017-spring-vamos-a-leer-01

Hello, all!

As 2016 wrapped up, Katrina and I turned our attention to which YA titles we’d feature in 2017. To help figure out what would be the most useful and interesting, we reached out to our local book group (thanks to all of you for sharing your ideas!). In the process we heard a range of ideas, including reading authors who come directly from Latin America, exploring books that will appeal to younger readers (middle school, rather than advanced high school), and interspersing different formats (like graphic novels) into the list.

From all of that, and more, we came up with the following featured titles and are looking forward to reading them with you!

January 9th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver | Ages 14 and up | United States (Alabama) and Argentina

February 13th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos | Ages 14 and up | United States (Wisconsin and Puerto Rico)

March 13th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Dancing in the Rain  by Lynn Joseph | Ages 12 and up | United States (New York) and Dominican Republic

April 10th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
The Head of the Saint by Socorro Acioli and translated by Daniel Hahn| Ages 14 and up | Brazil

May 22nd | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan | Ages 12 and up | United States (Pennsylvania and California) and Germany

Best,
Keira

Book Review: The Color of My Words

The Color of My WordsThe Color of My Words
Written by Lynn Joseph
Published by Harper Collins,  2001
ISBN: 9780064472043
Age Level: 8 and up

Book Summary:

Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her — watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community — that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her — and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.

My Thoughts:

Each month as I sit down to write the review for our featured book, I find myself stuck. I’ve run out of different ways to say “I love this book.” I’m certainly not complaining. As educators, I think we’re quite lucky to have access to so much amazing literature that also provides a way for us to teach about Latin America. This month’s book was no different—I loved it. Oddly enough, I’ve found that the more I love a book, the harder it is for me to convey my thoughts and feelings in a review. I usually feel like I just can’t do the experience of reading it justice. But, here’s my attempt. If my words fall short in convincing you, I hope you’ll still give Joseph’s book a chance. It deserves it.

As a mix of both poetry and prose, The Color of My Words was the perfect follow-up to last month’s Caminar. Each chapter opens with a poem written by the protagonist, Ana Rosa. While it reads as a novel, each chapter functions as a vignette or short story told from Ana Rosa’s point of view, allowing the reader to experience some of the more significant events of Ana Rosa’s life the year she was 12. With openness and vulnerability Ana Rosa walks us through the year that would forever change her. This aspect of the book is reason enough to use it in the classroom. Part of what Ana Rosa learns in this year is the power of words, particularly her words. Ana Rosa finds her voice in her writing. The power of writing is something that I wish all students would learn. While we may not all be writers like Ana Rosa, our writing is still powerful. It’s a way to express and process one’s experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It’s important for our students to see that there’s more to writing than essays, reports, and extended response questions on standardized tests. While these are important skills that we often need at some point in our lives, the ability to process our experiences and how they have impacted us is equally essential. This is a novel that would pair really well with Linda Christensen’s “Where I’m From” poetry in which students reflect on the people and events that have most influenced the person they’ve become.

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¡Mira, Look! Featured Author: Lynn Joseph

Lynn JospehHello there readers! This month we are featuring author Lynn Joseph and her YA novel, The Color of My Words (ages 8 and up). The novel and its protagonist reflect the life and experiences of the author herself.

Born in Petit Valley, Trinidad, Joseph began her journey into creative writing with poetry at the age of eight. At nine her family moved to the United States, but Joseph would return to Trinidad each summer where she continued to write. She often refers to having felt as though she lived in two different worlds.

As a young adult, her poems and stories won contests and were published in literary magazines and newspapers, and she was editor of her high school and college newspapers. Joseph graduated from the University of Colorado and was hired to work at a prestigious publishing house. She went on to receive an advanced degree in law and eventually practiced at a top law firm.

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Our Next Good Read. . .The Color of My Words

Join us February 2nd at The Color of My WordsBookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are reading The Color of My Words (Ages 10 and up) by Lynn Joseph.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book: (from Goodreads)

Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her — watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community — that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her — and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.

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Book Giveaway!! The Color of My Words

Book-Giveaway-Seal_DraftWe’re giving away a copy of The Color of My Words (ages 8 and up) written by Lynn Josesph–our featured novel for February book group meeting!! Check out the following from Publishers Weekly:

In finely wrought chapters that at times read more like a collection of related short stories than a novel, Joseph (Jump Up Time) presents slices from the life of Ana Rosa just as she is about to turn 13. Through the heroine’s poetry and recollections, readers gain a rare intimate view of life in the Dominican Republic. Ana Rosa dreams of becoming a writer even though no one but the president writes books; she learns to dance the merengue by listening to the rhythms of her beloved ocean; and the love of her older brother, Guario, comforts her through many difficulties. The author’s portraits of Ana Rosa and her family are studies in spare language; the chapters often grow out of one central image–such as the gri gri tree where Ana Rosa keeps watch over her village and gets ideas for her writing–giving the novel the feel of an extended prose poem. The brevity of the chapters showcases Joseph’s gift for metaphoric language (e.g., her description of Ana Rosa’s first crush: “”My dark eyes trailed him like a line of hot soot wherever he went””)….it’s a testimony to the power of Joseph’s writing that the developments readers will empathize with most are those of greatest importance to her winning heroine.

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