Sunday, June 7, 2015


My first #bookaday (ok, actually #booka2days) for summer- THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds. I'm wondering how I could have not known about this author, who won the CORETTA SCOTT KING/JOHN STEPTOE award for his first novel, WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST, which I am definitely going to read this summer.

A quick snippet about this YA novel, more appropriate for older middle school and high school kids. Matt is a senior in high school. His mom has just died, and he and his dad are both trying to come to grips with their loss. Matt gets a job at a funeral home, and discovers that somehow, attending other people's funerals helps him to come to grips with his own loss.

I loved this book. I wish it had been around when my boys were in high school. It will definitely be one of the first books I talk about with the eighth graders this August.

The kids I teach look like this author. 
Jason Reynolds is an African American man. With long dreds. He looks a little like my youngest son. Before he cut his dreds.

The kids I teach will know this neighborhood.
We started up that block, our cement world of trash cans blown into the street, stray cats begging, stoop sitters dressed in fresh sneakers smoking blunts in broad daylight, old ladies sweeping the sidewalk, tired nine-to-fivers walking slowly on the final stretch before home. The buses, and cabs, and bicycles, and skateboards. The shop owners hollering out their two for one deals. The little girls singing, the older boys laughing, the babies crying, and all of us moving through it all.  (p 75).

The kids I teach know grief. Whether it's the grief of someone dying, or just someone, like a father, not being part of their lives, they know grief. 
I liked watching other people deal with the loss of someone, not because I enjoyed seeing them in pain, but because, somehow, it made me feel better knowing that my pain isn't only mine. That my life isn't the only one that's missing something it will never have back.  79

The kids I teach know loneliness.
I still felt like I went from a not so fancy version of the Cosbys  to a one-man family. LIke that movie with Tom Hanks stuck on an island- I felt like him, far away from everything, calling out in the dark, the waves splashing up on me, the dark, deep water waiting to swallow me up.

The kids I teach need to know other people have walked through, and then out the other side of the issues they are dealing with. 
Even though I know that I couldn't help them and they couldn't help me, just knowing that we were all struggling with this thing…that helped

The kids I know (and me too!) need the big life lessons in this book.
And sometimes, I can lose and lose and lose and I don't know why. But there's nothing I can do but just keep flipping the cards. Eventually, I'll win again. As long as you got cards to keep turning, you're fine. 109

For people who use the strategies in NOTICE AND NOTE, Mr. Ray, the funeral home owner, is perfect for the "Words of Wisdom" strategy.

No comments: