Two recommendations

Two quick recommendations for today:


I finally got around to reading Speak, and since it is a ten year old book (and fairly widely read) I’m not going to bother with a full review, just some thoughts.

In a Children’s Lit class in grad school, a few other people read this for an assignment and discussed it in class. I was under the impression that Melinda never spoke in the book, so I was surprised to see that she does speak, she just doesn’t speak about the important things. I much preferred this as I found myself wondering, before I began the book, how someone could just stop speaking and not have people freak out. (See Silent to the Bone by E. L. Konigsburg as an example.) Because she does talk a bit, no one realizes that she’s holding something back; her freshman year goes by with little notice from others. I love that despite the fact that she is bottling up so much, she finds a way to give voice to a lot of anonymous girls with similar feelings. 

I love the relationship that develops between Melinda and Ivy in art class. While they were friends in junior high, that relationship fractured over the summer. But I feel like that isn’t unusual – to have your junior high/middle school friendships that aren’t always based on anything deep, more on the need to travel the halls in a pack to survive (see Melinda’s friendship with Heather as an example of how this need doesn’t die off after junior high). In high school, even in the best of circumstances, those thin ties wear away as you find people you have things in common with. I like that while Melinda’s junior high pack broke up and directed a lot of hatred at her, she and Ivy are able to find their own solid ground to form a friendship on.

Speak is an excellent book; if you haven’t read it I really recommend that you do.


I stopped by the bookstore today to pick up a few books for a work baby shower this week, and discovered a children’s book that has somehow escaped my notice despite the fact that it was published in 2006.


Once I Ate a Pie is a must read for any dog lover out there. I honestly stood in the bookstore and cried while I read it – not because any dog dies (thank goodness!) but because it so perfectly captures the spirit and personalities in dogs. The illustrations are gorgeous and the text is original and delightful. I think dog lovers of all ages will enjoy this.



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2 responses to “Two recommendations

  1. Becko

    That’s the Carrie that I know and love. Standing in the children’s aisle and crying over a dog book written for 5 year olds.

  2. Ben

    My students have the option of choosing a frequently challenged book for a report if their parent okays it. I have a student who wants to report on Speak, but her mother doesn’t want her to “due to recent events”….which makes me think the student is going through something like the girl in the book and her mother doesn’t want her to “speak” of it (or read about it). I tried to tell her literature has helped me more than anything else in my life, but parents are the most controlling (and often unreasonable) creatures out there…

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