Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Why is it when you can sleep in, you can't? GRRR!! I was awake at 6 a.m. when I didn't have to get up today and yesterday I dragged myself out of bed. Psychological I guess. Very overcast today - no sight of St. Croix in the distance this a.m. After living in Hawaii and knowing what the Big Island means over there I have to smile when someone down here refers to St. Croix as the Big Island. It actually is much larger than St. Thomas or St. John, but somehow all I see is Hilo, Kona and Volcano National Park when the Big Island comes to mind. :-) Last time we visited the Park it was so cold that Mary and I were standing as close to the steam vents as we could to warm up. Back on the beach in Kona it was hard to believe we were that cold.

Rita Williams-Garcia is one of my favorite YA authors. I absolutely loved Like Sisters on the Homefront and was stunned by the harshness but beauty of Everytime a Rainbow Dies. Having covered the issue of teen pregnancy and rape in the above two books, Williams-Garcia continues the trend of writing about controversial subjects with No Laughter Here, which is about female circumcision. The two friends are typical playful 10 year olds when they part for the summer. Akilah spends the summer with her mother, who is on sabbatical from her job as a social worker, while Victoria returns to Nigeria with her parents for a coming-of-age ceremony. When Victoria returns she is the ghost of her former self and Akilah wants to know why. When Victoria tell her about the operation and what was done to her Akilah wants to know more and begins to do some research online. That's how Akilah's mother discovers Victoria's secret. The varied reactions of the adults to the situation is what makes this book so real - from the mother's calm acceptance that this is the right thing for her daughter, to the teacher's realization that this is common practice in some parts of the world, to Akilah's mother's out right rage and confrontation of the Victoria's mother. The Author's Note at the end is quite poignant and heartfelt.

Have to lighten things up a bit with my children's picture book read - While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat by Amy Reichert. Alexandra Boiger illustrates it with a 1920s flavor. I chuckled out loud as I read this delightful rhyming story of a mother and little girl right before bedtime. Rose is supposed to get ready for bed with Mama has a "quick little chat" with Uncle Fred. While Mama is on the phone a party, complete with magician and jazz band (Rose on drums), occurs in the livingroom. "It's hard to believe, but Rose did ALL that before Mama had finished her quick little chat!" A wonderful bedtime or storytime read aloud. Little ones will delight in the facial expressions of the mortified cat!

On to reading the YA lit students discussion on what a YA novel is and the first one they read.