#SOL15: Writing about Reading

Conversation about this book over dinner, purchased at a book store (Bank Street Books in NYC), and then talked about in person at TCRWP Institutes – all eventually led to an online book chat that culminates tonight in a Twitter chat at 6:30 EDT (#WabtR). The questions for the discussion are located here; please join us!


What have I learned?

This post covered my learning as a reader and as a writer.  I am green with envy about a friend’s report that she sat down and read the book all in one sitting.  We agreed to read and respond to four chapters a day.

Of course, life in summer was complicated.  I was waiting on the mail because I had the books shipped home (so much cheaper than the extra cost for a checked bag)! And when the book arrived, I was a day behind and felt the pressure of “keeping up with the book club”. I didn’t read ahead until I had completed my writing.

A rule follower. Playing school.  Unfortunately, my biggest feeling was relief when I completed the book.  Adding some creativity to the summary re-engaged me as a learner and made me happy to “come to school again.”  During my drive time thinking yesterday I began this.

No Spoiler!

Star    Star    Star    Star    Star

A Handful of Stars


Hope, wishes, and faith

Hope for the present,

Hope for the future,

Hope for self, and

Hope for others.


Wishes for the present,

Wishes for the future,

Wishes for self, and

Wishes for others.


Faith in present,

Faith in future,

Faith in self, and

Faith in others.


Hope, wishes, and faith

Three girls

A dog named Lucky

Blueberry barrens, and

Issues from real life experiences!

What do you want to remember most from this book?

I’m not big on book reviews unless they are professional books.  My taste in picture books often matches others but when it comes to YA literature, I hit multiple bends in the road.  I will read almost anything one time, but the books that I return to and read year after year are often historical fiction or classics.  However, I continue to read and read and read.  I usually finish a book, albeit quite slowly, when I discover that it is not my “cup of tea”.  BUT if you like Cynthia Lord’s books, then you should read, A Handful of Stars!

What are you reading this summer?

How are you experiencing the tasks that you ask your students to do?  How are you “walking the talk”?

When an experience doesn’t meet your expectations, how do you turn it around in order to celebrate the “positives”?


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

10 responses

  1. Your poem has intrigued me as to how it fits into the book. Now I will have to request it from the library. Books with animals always tug my heart. I have been reading more YA books this summer from others who have blogged about them, such as “We Were Liars, All the Bright Places, and Bone Gap.”

    1. YAY! It’s definitely not a summary poem, but I didn’t think of it as intriguing.

      I have not read any of your books – more for my TBR list.

      Can you email me? Want to touch base with phone # etc. before ILA so we don’t miss. (fran.mcveigh@gpaea.org)

  2. This makes me want to get the book and read it for myself. I admit that since I retired I have not read much YA. I have been reading selfishly for myself…Patterson, Deaver, Abbott. Although I will say that even though they are not the newest, I really did enjoy Miss Peregrine and Hollow City by Riggs

    1. I love ANY conspiracy set in DC/NYC – loved the historical implications in Meltzer’s – Culper Series!

      It’s a great book! You will love it!

  3. Ooh – love what you did with that poem as book review, Fran. So creative! Looking forward to our chat tonight…now, gotta finish painting that ##$$%% kitchen.

    1. Tara,
      Go get your kitchen painted. It needs to be the right color because you are there every day!

      Talk with you tonight!

  4. I love the poem, Fran! And I love the book but in a very different way than if I had read it alone. It’s sprinkled with others and their thoughts. But I feel guilty too. About the assigned nature of this. Reading is so personal. How can it also be communal?
    By the way, I’m reading All the Light That We Can Not See (I think you would love this book and I won’t make you write about it)

    1. Julieanne,
      I do love the book. It’s amazing and I have other CL books now on my list!

      I just ordered All the Light that We Can See. We will have to talk about it when I finish it!

  5. I love the poem! I was so disappointed that I couldn’t participate in the book club more. I still need to go and read the archive. There is so much power in doing what we ask our students to do. I love, love, love Handful of Stars!!

    1. Julie,
      The reality is that it’s summer. Life happens. We hate that but also need to be realistic!

      A Handful of Stars is a fabulous book!

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