Friday, April 19, 2013

YA Pick, Nonfiction for Everyone, and a Really Great Sentence

I really loved this book:

Product Details
A Corner of White: Book One in the Colors of Madeline by Jaclyn Moriarty

It's bizarre, but that's not a good word because it's not bizarre. It's partially set in a different world, but that's not right either because it's really not. There's a depth to this book that I do not quite get. And yet, I get it. Australia produces some great authors who are not afraid to write a book that fits no formula or prescription. This book is brilliant, but it doesn't feel like Moriarty was trying to be brilliant. She's trying to make you feel, but what you feel is up to you.

This is great YA fiction, the best, and as such, it really isn't for tweens. They will miss too much—it's a book worth waiting for until you can really understand the feelings behind it. This is for fourteen and up, really, I'd say for sixteen and up. A big, fat read, but, for me, it was worth every minute.

Now for Nonfiction for Everyone!

Do you know that The National Geographic is much cheaper than it used to be? You can get a years worth of issues (12) for fifteen dollars!

We get plenty of kid-friendly nonfiction magazines for homeschool purposes, but National Geographic is their favorite. They like it better than magazines specifically written for kids. The pictures are amazing and the articles are so interesting. My kids have read about the ability of scientists to recreate prehistoric creatures based on genes, the beauties and dangers of Rio, fracking, the Titanic, illegal ivory trading around the world and more. And they've read them for fun. Without parental pressure!

So worth the investment!

I have a roll of black contact paper waiting to go up on my wall so that we can take turns writing (in chalk) our favorite sentences, but we're working like mad to finish planting and mulching our front yard (pictures coming, I swear! Just in case you were worried...), and I haven't had time.

So you're stuck with my favorite sentence of the week. The purpose of these sentences is just to get us and our kids thinking about words. Words are fun. Sentence structure is awesome. Seriously.

Here it is:

"After a cursory search of the sleeping berths and a peek into the hold, he pointed his curved beak toward the Egg Gallery, where he found Junco sitting, of all places, on top of the stolen egg, fast asleep."

Imagine this sentence how many of us (and our kids) would write it:

"He performed a cursory search of the sleeping berths and peeked into the hold. When he turned his curved beak toward the Egg Gallery, he found Junco sitting on top of the stolen egg. Junco was asleep."

The latter sentence, the true sentence, is long and complex, but it doesn't feel convoluted. It flows. The commas are in all the right places, the structure of the sentence emphasizes all the right things.

Imagine the sentence this way:

"He finally found Junco, fast asleep in the Egg Gallery, sitting on top of the stolen egg after he searched the sleeping berths and peeked into the hold."

Not quite right.

This is Calvin's version of the sentence:

"He did a fast search in the bunkbeds and hold when he turned toward the Egg Gallery and finally found Junco asleep on the egg."

Here is Shaemus's:

"A person named Junco hid from a guy as he sat on an egg."

I had them do this, and soon after, both of them came to me with awesome sentences they found in something they read. It takes very little to stimulate our kids. Give them a question or an interesting idea, and watch them go. Give them words, give them sentences, and watch those brains wake up to the wonderful world of language. (Oh boy, that was cheesy. You can shoot me later.)

Please post a great sentence any time! We love them!

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