Top Five, huh? Wow! But I love them ALL!!! If I had to pick my top five, I’d have a hard time because I firmly believe the next book I read will be become one of my top five…so with that in mind, I am picking foir and leaving myself open for the next great one. I’ve read each of these four books at least 10 timeseach over the last 23 years of teaching. Yet, every time I read them, I fall in love with them all over again. –Guadalupe
Ah! What can I say about this book that has not already been said? It is poignant, moving, touching, and so so very heartbreaking. I cry every time I read it. The imagery, the literary devices, the interweaving motifs, it all works beautifully to create an absolutely unforgettable true story that leaves me breathless every time I reread it. I actually have been known to buy extra copies of this book to give away to people who are not aware of the actual atrocities committed during that time. Yes, there are those who don’t know exactly what went on and I feel it is my duty to “educate” them–with the help of the great Mr. Wiesel, of course!
I picked up this book at my school library because I loved the cover. There was something intriguing about that old man. His eyes captivated me. I wanted to know what he was “giving.” Then, of course, I read the premise on the back flap, and the first page, and the second, and the third…so I took it home and read it in one night! It knocked me to the ground and I sat there startled, wondering what had hit me. That’s when I realized, it was the religious motifs, the social issues, and the very real portrayal of a society that was way out of whack! I loved it so much, I had fights in the teacher’s lounge over what happened to Jonas at the end. It was crazy how much I got caught up in Lowry’s world.
I heart Tree-Ear! From the depths of my soul I want to adopt him. He is so sad, so tragic, yet so inherently good and so incapable of meanness that I can’t help but love him with my mother’s heart. Linda Sue Park created a character so alive, so real, that I could not stop reading this book. And the story? Oh, well, can you ever compete with a perfectly depicted historical setting with conflicts that arise from that very setting? This novel is perfect in every way! I wish I could write like that.
Out of all the novels-in-verse out there, this has got to be my number 1 most beloved verse novels of all time! I was so moved by this story that I read it aloud to my students and cried every time I read the poem that describes her mom’s painful delivery…you know which one I’m talking about — after the accident– it was just so heartbreakingly vivid and realistic, I break down in tears when I get to that part. Ah! Now I have to go read this book again. Where is my box of tissues?
5. Looking for No. 5
Guadalupe Garcia McCall is the author of “Under the Mesquite,” which won the 2012 Pura Belpré Award for Text and was selected as a 2012 William C. Morris Award finalist (for debut novels). You can follow her on Twitter or check out her blog. Stay tuned for an Author Q&A with Guadalupe coming soon!