Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New from Deborah Wiles

The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles

This might be my Newbery pick of the moment. I LOVE Deborah Wiles. I loved LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER and especially loved EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS. But, The Aurora County All-Stars (due out this week) may be my favorite for lots of reasons.

This is a story of baseball, a story of a strong community, and a story of friends. Deborah Wiles ties the story together with quotes from Walt Whitman. She also uses quotes from famous baseball players to set the stage for each chapter. Her writing is brilliant.

And, as an added bit of fun, Ruby Lavender is back in this book--she is part of the story. Reading about a familiar town with a few familiar characters is always fun and reading about Ruby Lavender again was quite a treat. She is not the main character but it is like visiting an old friend.

Deborah Wiles has characters you just have to love. Here is her introduction to one of the characters in the book:

"Honey Jackson, age six, aspiring dancer and lover-of-life extraordinaire, sat barefoot and cross-legged at the top of the front porch steps. She wore her best pink leotard and tutu. Around her neck, hanging from some string, was a pair of toilet-paper-roll binoculars. Behind her, in a short, straight row, sat seven small stuffed animals--her audience."

I am thinking that if I were teaching 4th or 5th grade this year, I would start the year with this as the read aloud. I am pretty sure it is one that all kids would love. And so much to think and talk about. But, I am teaching 3rd/4th and I am not sure it is the right book for early 3rd graders as our first read aloud.

Right now, it is one of my new very-favorites.

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