My list of books this summer was very eclectic as a result of a new teaching assignment: English 8, English 9 and Social Studies 10 focusing on Canadian history. But fortunately this meant discovering some engaging reading material!
Sisters in the Wilderness – The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill by Charlotte Gray proved to be a most interesting books on Canadian history, while read as a fascinating biography on these two sisters. The day I finished the book, both sisters were mentioned in articles in the Globe & Mail – not bad for a couple of women who died over a hundred years ago. How Canada was ‘sold’ to potential immigrants makes for a fascinating back story.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green This is a book that I plan to use in my English classes. I think it would be a great book to link with Romeo and Juliet while looking at an inquiry project on “what makes a good relationship?”, or perhaps “Should you walk away from someone you love to protect them?” In reading this I also discovered John Green on twitter, and he makes some very interesting and informed comments on literature for young adults.
Esther – The Remarkable True Story of Esther Wheelwright by Julie Wheelwright brings a personal focus to Canadian history. Esther’s descendent, Julie Wheelwright, traces the life of her ancestor who was kidnapped as a young child from Maine, adopted by a native family, released to a French Jesuit and taken to live in Quebec where she became a Catholic and refused to return to her family. All of this before she was 18 years old!
While I remain hopeful, with only 7 days left before school starts, there are a few books that might remain on my shelf tempting me while I should be planning lessons…
Guys write for Guys Read, a collection edited by Jon Scieszka
If Walls Could Talk – An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley
But the ultimate reward from this summer is finding a book that my teenaged son would read and complete… After several false starts including The Diviners by Libby Bray and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams, it seemed that the densely worded books simply weren’t going to hold his attention long enough to complete the story. So I adopted a different approach, suggesting a shorter paperback novel that isn’t much heavier than his iphone. Upon finishing The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, my son said it was a “powerful story”. And that was enough to make me happy.