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Posts Tagged ‘A Handful of Stars’

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Last week I wrote a Slice of Life post about the injustice of reading levels and my dear student Emily. Cynthia Lord, author of A Handful of Stars, saw my post and commented that she wanted to send Emily a signed copy of her book. I was overjoyed, but I kept it a secret. The package arrived Friday with a few added trinkets Cynthia sent straight from her desk. She sent a small rock bearing the words “A little extra brave.” Cynthia wrote to me that she carried this rock around as she worked on the book. So personal. So special. She also added a little star hanging on a string to symbolize “star friends” like the characters in her book. Another personal touch.

I brought the care package with me to school on Monday. Emily is an early arriver. She was walking down the hall when I got there, so I took her aside to share the package with her. To say she was thrilled is almost an understatement. She just kept repeating, “I feel so special.”

I wasn’t quite sure how to share this with the class. I didn’t want any of them to feel jealous or left out. I talked to Emily about it. I told her my concerns and asked her to decide if she wanted to share or keep this to herself.

When her art teacher arrived, Emily took the package with her to show her. When she went to library, she took the book with her to show the librarian. Then we had read aloud time. Emily whispered to me that she wanted to share it with the class. I started off by explaining that Emily lost her mother last year. Then I explained how the character in A Handful of Stars also lost her mother. After I told the students about my blog post and tweet out to Cynthia Lord, Emily showed her prizes. No one spoke. No one was jealous or bitter. They were respectful and happy for Emily.

These gifts cannot replace such a huge loss, but I believe that Emily’s heart is full. She has a rock to carry with her every day that will give her strength and bravery and will always remind her that authors are heroes and that one day, she may be a hero, too.

A gift of love and bravery

A gift of love and bravery

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Join the IMWAYR meme.

Join the IMWAYR meme.

Today I am joining the roundup of kidlit books at Teach Mentor Texts. Click on over for more reviews.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

I am the guest writer on Laura Shovan’s blog today, Author Amok. I wrote about Ellen Bass’s poem The Orange-and-White High-Heeled Shoes.

handfulofstars

When Cynthia Lord offered an ARC of her latest novel A Handful of Stars on Facebook, I commented and was added to the list. A copy came this week, just in time for Spring Break reading.

I was immediately drawn in to this story when Lily chases her blind dog into a blueberry field. Lucky is stopped by a migrant girl, Salma Santiago, who becomes a new friend to Lily. Salma is artistic and wants to help Lily raise money for an operation for Lucky. She joins Lily in painting mason bee boxes. The two become fast friends.

Lily is a complex character. She lives with her French Canadian grandparents who own a general store. You get the sense that the family is still grieving the death of Lily’s mom even though Lily does not remember her. The dog Lucky is her connection to her mother. Lily is also dealing with the change in a childhood friendship. Salma brings hope to Lily. Salma opens up Lily’s mind about art, migrant workers, and friendship.

Cynthia Lord creates a story that not only touches; it also teaches. I learned a lot about blueberry harvesting in Maine (which is different from blueberries in Louisiana.) Through Pépère, Lily learns life lessons. I’ve been wanting to experiment with black-out poetry and Zentangle. I made a copy of a page in which Pépère speaks to Lily about how Lucky (dogs) can teach us. I highlighted words to create a poem and drew Zentangle designs to black out the words. Zentangle can be meditative. Kind of like doodling.

Lucky
wants to see.
He seems happy to me.
We learn from dogs.
They don’t ask ‘why me?’
They find a new way to be happy.

Setting something free
takes faith.

Handful of Stars Zentangle poem

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