It seems strange for me to have a Sunday morning where I’m not writing a blog post, so although I just posted on Friday, while I drink my hot cup of chai, I wanted to write a short post about a book I read recently.
I read a book that has been nominated for the Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award. The nominees for this award are geared towards readers in grades 4-6, and Rain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard is the first nominated title that I have read. It is set in Manitoba in the 1940s, and is told from the point of view of Bethany, an 11-year old girl knows that she is not like other children. She doesn’t learn as quickly as others and she has a limp, which sometimes makes people behave meanly towards her, whispering about her and calling her names. Bethany has an older sister, Mira, aged 14, who is also sometime mean, but other times she defends Bethany from rude classmates. When tragedy strikes the family, Bethany’s world is torn apart, and as she is shuffled from place to place, she is not sure she will ever again find a place that she can call home. This book was very emotionally moving and Bethany’s experiences were both realistic and heartfelt. There were moments of cruelty offset and outnumbered by moments of real understanding and tenderness. This book tackles themes of bullying, depression, and what it means to truly belong. Bethany’s close relationship with her father, as well as her relationship with her neighbour, Mrs Goldsborough, are genuinely moving, and we the readers are left with a sense of hope as the story leads to an uplifting conclusion. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading a few more nominees before the final voting in April.
That’s all for today... wow, this is probably the shortest post I’ve ever written. Time to get outside and play in the snow!