Friday, December 4, 2015

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

Schlitz, L. A. (2007). Good masters, sweet ladies. Boston, MA: Candlewick Press.

In this book we meet many different characters from all walks of life. Each character has his or her own unique story to tell in the form of a monologue or a dialogue. They give us a glimpse into what life could be like in the 12th century and how difficult it was to live back then.

The myriad of characters presented in this book ranges from a lowly pilgrim on her way to a healing spring to a nobleman’s son fearing a boar hunt to a lord’s daughter that is confused by the common people’s hatred. The book includes monologues and dialogues that are meant to be performed for an audience. Some of the characters know each other and some do not, but they are all connected by a piece of land. Through the voices of these characters we are able to get a clear picture of how hard times were in medieval Europe.  There seems to be a great variety of characters that almost any reader can find one to connect with. This book will appeal to readers that enjoy seeing a situation from many points of view, and also like to see poetry and rhyme interspersed with historically factual information that adds to the quality of the work.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Creech, S. (2001). Love that dog. NY: HarperCollins.

Jack absolutely hates poetry. He doesn’t understand it and he really doesn’t care. He is completing his assignments merely to get his teacher off his back. Jack begins to write more about his beloved pet that he misses in the different kinds of poems he learns in class. As Jack begins to write more and more poetry, he discovers that he just might be good at it.

Love That Dog would appeal to most readers in my library. The word count is pretty low and the fact that it has something to do with dogs would make it high interest. I think this book would be ideal for reluctant readers. I would sell Love That Dog as a funny and sentimental story during my book talk. I would read the beginning of the book, which I think would hook most of the listeners. I would then ask them to write a poem about their pet.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Curtis, C. P. (1995). The Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963. NY: Delacorte.

The Watson family consists of Mom, Dad, Byron, Joetta, and Kenny. Byron has been acting up for a while now and Kenny’s parents decide to take him down to Alabama so he can spend the summer with his maternal grandmother. They are hoping she can straighten him out. They arrive in Birmingham in a very turbulent time. When an explosion rocks a local church, the Watson’s are forced to face a very real reality for African American’s living in the south in the 1960’s.

Watson, or Pointdexter, as his bullies like to call him, is a smart little boy with a wonderful family. He refers to his family as the “weird Watsons.” Kenny chronicles his adventures at school and at home throughout his fourth grade year. With his older brother acting foolish and getting in trouble, his parents have no choice but to ship him off to his maternal grandmother’s home. The weird Watsons decide to embark on a family vacation to Birmingham, Alabama during a very turbulent time in American history. Through Kenny’s eyes we are able to see the world of equal rights unfold before us. This book is for readers that are interested in equal rights historical time period, or is simply looking to connect with a relatable character and their journey growing up.