I also read "Kizzy Ann Stamps" by Jeri Watts. It's a story about a girl named Kizzy Ann who is starting at a new school in 1963. It's the first time schools are integrating and Kizzy is in the first wave. It's not easy. Kizzy has a couple of big advantages. One is, she's really smart. Two, she has a strong, supportive, loving family who work hard on their family farm. Three, she finds a great dog she names Shag who takes her places she never thought she would be able to go. This would be great paired with other dog stories like "Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo or "Shiloh" by Phyllis Naylor. Or you could pair it with other civil rights era books like "Revolution" by Deborah Wiles or "Stella by Starlight" by Sharon Draper or "Lions of Little Rock" by Kristen Levine. It's a really great story and Kizzy is a character I was sorry to close the book on. She has a big heart and a strong spirit.
The last one this week is one I was so happy to see on the Sunshine State Young Reader list because it is so much fun. It's called "Fortunately, the Milk" by Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman tends to write super creepy scary books (like "The Graveyard" book which won the Newbery award a few years ago and STARTS with a family getting murdered, but the baby gets away and escapes to a graveyard where the ghosts bring him up). Anyway, "Fortunately, the Milk" is nothing like that and if you can possibly get your hands on the audiobook, I would highly recommend that because hearing Neil Gaiman read this is a real treat. It's about a family and the mom is going away to a conference. She has a list of things she is reminding the dad about, and the last thing is "We're almost out of milk". The kids and the dad get up the next morning and realize there is no milk for breakfast so the dad walks down to the corner shop to get some. He's gone a long time (according to the kids) and when he finally gets home, the kids ask where he's been and he tells them the story. It's not really a spoiler to tell you what happens in the first ten pages, so he tells the kids that several odd things happen. The first is that he's kidnapped by aliens (who want to re-decorate the planet), he falls through the space time continuum and lands near a pirate ship and is then rescued... I should stop, because the next part is so funny and so ridiculous that usually my students are laying on the floor in hysterical laughter. This would be a terrific mentor text for idea generation (because he goes in SO many different directions that any idea is fair game-the crazier the better).
Here's the book trailer:
And here's Neil Gaiman reading from "Fortunately the Milk".