In this week’s MTYT, Holly and Marilyn discuss how different books with similar themes connect to one another in meaningful ways. When these connections are recognized, separate pieces of literature are able to be looked at together. This creates the opportunity for younger readers to further educate themselves on the different cultures within these books.
HOLLY: When months have five weeks, we have the benefit of showcasing another book. What I would like to do, Marilyn, is talk about how connected these books are to other books we have read, as well as how much they have in common with each other. We started that conversation with The Book of Dust in week three, but there is so much more to discuss!
First, I want to talk a bit more about Escape from Aleppo and some other books. For anyone interested in that situation, I would recommend Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atai Abawi, Dance of the Banished by Forchuk Skrypuch, which is an historical account of genocide in Aleppo during WWI, and the graphic novel, Escape from Syria, by Samya Kullab and Jackie Roche. Coupled with the documentary, “Last Men in Aleppo,” these are a timely set of texts for serious readers of current events in Syria. What connections are you making to the books we read for this month, Marilyn?
MARILYN: To start, Phillip Pullman’s The Book of Dust immediately connects with the previous series about Lyra in his Dark Material Series, starting with The Golden Compass. Another of his books, The Ruby in the Smoke, could connect with The Hired Girl since it is about the same historical period and features another female character with grit and courage who solves a mystery about her father’s death. The Hired Girl could also be connected with another historical novel by Schlitz, Splendors and Glooms, which received a Newberry Honor Award.
Children who enjoyed Bronze and Sunflower could learn more about the Chinese Cultural Revolution by reading two other books; Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jang and Revolution is Not a a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine.
Finally, two books that connect with Escape from Aleppo could include A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, which is about two young people who escape from the turmoil in Sudan during different years, and Refugee by Alan Gratz, which features three stories about children escaping from their warn-torn countries. The last tells the heart rendering story of a girl and her family fleeing Syria.
The discussion about these connecting books and the ones we featured could help young readers understand the themes and characters involved in these engrossing stories.
HOLLY: We have discussed some pretty terrific books, Marilyn. While I wonder about how a couple of them might be used, I see a place for all of them in learning about the world and the need for greater compassion and understanding.
This is the fifth installment of May 2018’s My Take/Your Take connecting our reading over the past month. We started with Bronze and Sunflower, The Hired Girl, and The Book of Dust. To follow the whole conversation, check back each Wednesday.