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url 2018-09-21 17:35
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review 2018-09-12 23:21
Superbly written novel based on the tragic true story of young Italian painter Artemesia Gentileschi
Blood Water Paint - Joy McCullough

My newly-formed little book club said they wanted a book possibly with poetry or essays, so this was one of my selections. I knew Joy McCullough’s book came with glowing reviews and it had been on my TBR for a while, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I was about to read.

‘Blood Water Paint’, based on the true but heartbreaking story of the iconic young Italian painter Artemesia Gentileschi, literally took my breath away. 


Reading a novel based in verse (with some portions written in regular prose) with historical facts at its core, was quite new to me, and thank goodness for those mental (natural) breaks that came with the way it’s written, because it was one of the most astounding accounts of rape and incest I have ever read. This may well be based in Rome in 1610 and written in a way that doesn’t reveal certain details of such events as a reader may be used to reading, but I would still put up a big, red flag for a trigger warning. I had to put down the book for a breather about halfway through because of the tragic events unfolding within the pages. It is brutal, heart-breaking, and so emotional.


Artemesia was such a talented artist, but she and other women - within the book, we also learn the stories of both Susanna and Judith - basically had no rights or the right to an opinion in those days; women were stoned to death, and other brutal punishments were served at the hands of men who saw women as property. Artemesia’s father sees his own daughter as such, having her do the paintings and call them his own, and turns a blind eye to the events in this own home while he drinks after his wife/her mother dies. It’s hard to read such things, but throughout, Artemesia stays adamant that she will persevere and not let these men steal her ability to show her truth on the canvas. 


It’s uncanny that the ‘me too’ movement resonates so strongly when reading a book like this, but four centuries later we shouldn’t be having to make the comparisons, perhaps. I was so moved by this book, and by my own experience, and I hope many young women reach for this book and get a discussion going. I’m looking forward to our book club meeting; this isn’t ‘light poetry fare’ by any means, and this book SHOULD spark a lot of conversation. Artemesia’s life (and many others) shouldn’t be in vain, for these experiences are too common place. 


A note on the writing: Joy McCullough, as a debut author, has written a masterpiece. She wrote this as a play and then adapted it to be read as a book in this form. It’s masterful, and so beautiful to read. Since she’s local to Seattle, I’m happy to say she will be at the book club that will be meeting today; I’m glad we connected. I can’t wait for our group discussion. Absolutely superbly written. 


**Update: Congratulations go out to Joy for the announcement that Blood Water Paint is on the long list for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

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review 2018-09-10 05:50
A book of poetry genius.
Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

As if “The Giving Tree” wasn’t enough for us, Mr. Silverstein blessed us with his poetry books as well and this is just one of my favorites. I can remember as a child recitating “Where the sidewalk ends” in front of my class and feeling so proud. This book is full of all the most amazing poems that your classroom isnaure to love. Poetry has a way into everyone’s hearts but especially kids. I had the opportunity to witness poetry in use in the classroom in my lab placements this past semester in the form of what my CT called “poetry cafe”. The students had it every Friday and they would find a poem on Monday, the teacher would make copies and give back to them Tuesday and they had till Friday to memorize it by themselves or with a partner and perform it Friday. I will MOST DEFINITELY do this in my classroom. So many wonderful things that are coming out of this each week such as speech practice, fluency, expression, etc. As well as allowing the students to dress up or use props to show their creativity. 


Giided Reading Level: Q

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review 2018-09-10 01:51
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

Where the Sidewalk ends by Shel Silverstein is a level Q on the Fountas and Pinnell reading level scale. Where the Sidewalk Ends is a compilation of poetry pieces by Shel Silverstein that are silly and fun to read. I really enjoy reading these poetry books because as a struggling reader, they give me the confidence to read and help me enjoy it. These poems would be great to use in different literacy centers, would be great do practice during small groups, and can help assess fluency. 

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review 2018-09-09 22:06
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is a level J according to the Fountas and Pinnell reading level scale. Green Eggs and Ham is a book about a guy named Sam and he is trying to get his "friend" to try green eggs and ham. However, his friend does NOT want to try green eggs and ham, until finally he actually tries them and likes them. I think Green Eggs and Ham is a great book for Dr. Seuss week, and you can make your students try green eggs and ham. You can even have it as your class data that day on if your students liked green eggs and ham, if they never tried green eggs and ham, or if they did not like green eggs and ham. 

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