Saturday, January 14, 2012
Stargirl and Watsons
I am going to do two mini-reviews.
Sixteen-year-old high school student Leo Borlock knows how to fit in at Mica High School. He plays the game like everyone else but is more enthralled than most when a new girl comes to school. Stargirl Caraway is her name, or at least the name she is using for now. And after 15 years of homeschooling, she is decidedly different from even the oddest high school students at Mica High. First there's her unusual name, one in a long line of odd names that she has chosen to go by, ignoring her given name of Susan. Then there's the way she looks, shunning makeup and wearing long granny dresses. But all of that is small potatoes when compared to her behavior, which is as weird and bizarre as any of the students at Mica High have ever seen.
This is a great story. I read it years ago and each time I read, I still love it.
There are some awesome themes and concepts in this book. The first being how different Stargirl is from everybody else, and when she does conform to fit high school, it shows how unhappy she is. Ultimately - it lets people know to be who you are not who "others" want you to be. Something else I loved in this book was Leo's part. He's a teenager who really cares for Stargirl and really just wants everyone to get along. But he does learn that it can't always be that way. And he does understand how precious she is.
A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up.
This is a laugh out loud book. The POV is from an 8 year old and he is so funny. I am not kidding, I LOL, all the time. My students do. Other adults do. Need a happy read? Pick it up.
Second - the story takes place during the Civil Rights movement and in Flint, Michigan, it doesn't effect the Watson's as much. But they travel to see Grandma Sands and find out how dangerous the time period is. So as funny as it is, it is just as moving. Another high recommended book.