3. Bloomability by Sharon Creech
Last semester I read Walk Two Moons on the recommendation of LW in Grade 1. She told me the book was “…my favorite book ever; not my favorite kids book- my favorite book.” And after reading it, I could see why. So I decided to read some more Sharon Creech and I had this one on my shelf.
The premise of the book is that main character, Dinnie, is sent to live with her aunt and uncle when they move to work at the American School in Switzerland during her 8th grade year. Since the story is told in the first person, internal dialouge tells much of the story. Dinnie deals with the feelings of being apart from her immediate family, mixing with the other students of all nationalities, and general coming of age issues.
Reading Challenges and Teaching Opportunities:
Setting- This would be a challenge for students who have not lived internationally, but for our students, there would be many personal connections they could make to going to an international school. However, the Alps are not exactly the same as Taipei! So some serious visualization has to happen on the part of the reader.
Characters- The vocabulary and the premise of the book don’t appear to be overly complex. But since the main character of this book is going on 13, her internal dialogue about her growing self awareness might only be truly understood by sophisticated readers in 4th or 5th grade. I could see less sophisticated readers reading this, getting to the end, and not really having understood what the book was about. Especially since there is not a clear/obvious central problem to the story.
Plot Structure- Creech uses a few unique devices to develop the plot. Dinnie collects her dreams and these are seperated graphically from the rest of the text. a careful reading of these segments is helpful to understand Dinnie’s insecurities. Creech also uses post cards from Dinnie’s aunts back in the US to relay what is happening with Dinnie’s immediate family. Though the cards are brief, they pose some interesting questions starting with “Why do you think the author chose to use these post cards to tell this thread in the story?”
Foreshadowing- This would be a great book to teach the use of foreshadowing, as Creech builds suspense in the story toward the climactic event which has to do with skiing. Through the book, there are several references made leading up to this that could be used to teach this literary device.
Inference- Creech lays down several questions that go unanswered about several of the characters in the story. Leaving them unanswered offers the reader the opportunity to linger over things unsaid.
This would be a good book to use in book clubs with readers independent at this level.