It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5-5-14

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!

Monday has arrived again, and I find it much less painful after finishing up a fun and relaxing weekend! Saturday was stretching to reach 70 warm degrees, a perfect day for yard sale hopping with a friend.  However, once Sunday rolled in we found ourselves in an odd pattern of sun, rain and HAIL.  Come on Maine, give us some uninterrupted spring!

I hope you found yourself surrounded with many reasons to smile this past weekend, and that you could carry those smiles with you as you headed into work this morning.

Books I Read this Week:

January 1905 by Katharine Boling
Harcourt, 2004
Historical Fiction
170 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

The final reading/writing research project of my school year is designed around the students exploring the history of child labor in America.  We are mainly focusing on mill and mine workers, and will be using Lewis Hine's haunting photographs as deep sources of curiosity, inspiration and wonder.  When focusing on a whole class topic such as this, I like to tie our read aloud in.  This is the first year I have used January 1905 as a read aloud, and I'm happy to share my thoughts:

In this story readers follow twin sisters Pauline and Arlene through alternating narration over the course of a few days in their lives.  Pauline is a mill girl.  Arlene would have been a mill girl, but a foot deformity keeps her from being employed.  Arlene's role is to stay home to do the cooking and cleaning while her family is at work.  Each sister envies the others' lot, though Pauline seems to be much more resentful and full of hatred.

My students pointed out the lyrical sound of the text, and made me assure them on more than one occasion that it is not a poetic narrative!  I appreciate that they are listening to this story with their writer ears, commenting on the craft of the writing.
The mill scenes are not harsh, but I did do some censoring of this story as I read aloud.  The overseer of the factory supposedly touched Pauline inappropriately before the story begins, and I didn't see the need to go there.  I also skipped around some during the scenes where Arlene is assisting in a home birth.  None of these sections of the book would make me shy away from giving the text to a 4th grader, but when reading aloud I need to consider that not all my students are ready for those topics.

I'm Currently Reading:

Yes, I've been reading this book for a while now...but there is a reason for that:  It is too good to be rushed through.  Truly, the story and the writing are such that I want to spend as much time as possible with them.  I find myself reading a chapter and wanting to close the book to let it settle in.  This doesn't happen often with me, but it certainly does from time to time.  I will be posting as part of The Dyerville Tales blog tour tomorrow, so stop back for a guest post from M.P. Kozlowsky, as well as for a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

I'm Currently Listening to:

I love listening to audio books all year, but springtime in Maine means Friday afternoon commutes home get a whole lot longer.  And while our out of state visitors are very important to our economy, sometimes it helps to get lost in a story instead of lost in "Why is it taking me so long to get home?!"

On Deck:

Really, I plan on reading this soon!

Have a great reading week, and thanks for stopping by!


  1. I wonder how the audio of Snicker is like? Is it read with a southern accent? That's how I imagine it! Can't wait to read The Dyerville Tales!

  2. You have a very positive attitude about your commute! More listening time doesn't sound so bad! I just got Snicker in my Scholastic order so perhaps I might not be the absolute last person to read this book.

  3. I live an hour from work and love my audiobook time--except when I can't find something I want to listen to! I am investing in an Audible subscription in the fall, I think. I used to live in NH and loved going to Maine for weekends. So beautiful. I would always get a bit cranky about NH tourists in fall--when suddenly you couldn't get anywhere quickly!

  4. Hi there Nicole, good to know that Dyerville Tales is a novel that is to be relished. I am hoping to read Snicker of Magic within the week -can't wait. Here's sending you light and sunshine all the way from Singapore. :)


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