Sunday, March 9, 2008

Book of the Week

This weekend, I chose to read two books. They couldn't have been more different. The first, a book entitled BANG! by Sharon Flake, is about a boy struggling with the shooting death of his brother and one of his close friends. The main character, Mann, is haunted by the reality that his brother, an innocent victim of inner-city violence, is never coming back.

Mann's father is also desperate to understand the death of his younger son. He tries some controversial methods to save Mann from the same fate, but almost kills Mann in the process.

This a touching, harsh look at the realities of violence and the destruction of innocent lives. A good read, especially once you get about twenty or so pages into it.

The other book I read was a lot less vilent and a little more hopeful and inspiring. It's called Seedfolks and it's written by one of my favorite young adult authors, Paul Fleischman.

This is a story built around a vacant lot in Cleveland, Ohio. At the beginning of the story, this lot is filled with garbage and is overgrown. One day, a young immigrant named Kim plants some dried beans. Slowly, the seeds grow into plants and the vacant lot attracts more and more people, each with a desire to grow something and share a story. By the end of the book, we've met thirteen distinctly different characters and see that this simple, barren lot has transformed their lives and their struggling community. A great read!

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