Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Monday. What are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture below.

Gifts by Ursula Le Guin is the first in a trilogy, and is about Orrec and Gry, who live in the Uplands. The different clans have gifts that they pass on through father/son, mother/daughter. These gifts are to be used in the service of their community.  

As Orrec and Gyr grow they learn about their gifts and they come to realise that their gifts can be viewed in a different light. Gry has the gift of calling - animals - so that they come for the hunters.  Orrec supposedly has  the gift of unmaking - with a glance of his eye he can unmake (kill) a person. As they learn about and wrestle with their gifts they grow in their understanding of who they are and who they want to become.

It took me awhile to get into the book, but at some point I slipped into it, and lost myself to the world around me and entered the world of Orrec and Gry.  For some reason I always thought Ursula Le Guin was British, but I see I am wrong and she is an American.  This book has made me want to go back and reacquaint myself with the Earthsea books as it is at least twenty if not thirty years since I read them!

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Newbery Award Winner 1977, by Mildred D. Taylor was my other read for this week.  I really loved this book with the delightful Cassie and the rest of her family.  This family never lost their dignity and humaneness in spite of the injustice and prejudices of those around them.  

I borrowed this from The Stack at our public library - hardcover and well read, almost at that level where I go -" ew! too yucky dirty to read!"  I want this to be available to my class so I have ordered a class copy and the next two that follow as well.  I remember reading Black Like Me as an 11 or 12 year old and it opened my reader eyes to another world. I had the same kind of awakening when I read Kathryn Stockett's The Help, when it came out,  it was set in a time when I was growing up in another part of the world, I kept thinking this was happening when I was alive.  While it's easy to relegate these books and the issue of racism to the south in North America, yet these books ask us to examine our own treatment of the people around us, wherever we live.

This week I plan to read Voices by Ursula Le Guin, the book that comes after Gifts, and I will also make a trip to the library to see if I can pick up another Newbery book to read for the challenge. A couple of Lunch Lady books have arrived so will probably read them as well.

Happy reading everyone!


  1. I have not read those Le Guin books, but have read & taught The Left Hand of Darkness, & I too have struggled with getting into the book, but then all of a sudden, she has me there. She is good! I'm glad to hear about this trilogy beginning with Gifts! I have loved all the Mildred Taylor books & find they do not lose their appeal. Thanks, Kathryn!

  2. I haven't read this LeGuin, but did like ... that other series. Tombs of Atuan. Goodness. Must be suffering from summer brain. Like Mildred Taylor a lot as well, especially some of her shorter books like The Friendship.

  3. I have read a number of LeGuin series, but not Gifts. It sounds interesting.

    I read Roll of Thunder when I was in 6th grade as part of a reading contest and loved it.

  4. Somebody gave me Gifts ages ago, but I still haven't gotten around to reading it. I must do that soon! It sounds really good. Will be my first LeGuin novel.

  5. I look forward to getting to Roll of Thunder in the Newbery Challenge. I recall reading it, probably not long after it came out. It was indeed eye opening!

  6. Roll of Thunder is always in our historical fiction book club cycle - such an important book. Sad to say, I have never read LeGuin...perhaps the time has come!

  7. Thanks, Kathryn, for visiting my "It's Monday, What are you Reading?" blog post here.

    I have to say I haven't read LeGuin either. I do like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, though. I am learning so much today about these reading challenges. I guess I didn't even know there was a Newbery Challenge to join.

    Thanks again for the comment and for the advice. My students aren't blogging yet, but I think they may be before the eight weeks is up!


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  9. I have always wanted to read some Ursula LeGuin- my brother loved her books when he was younger. The only one I've read is her juvenile fiction book Catwings.

    I have read Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry in years, but I have not forgotten it. About 5 years ago, I went through a stage where I read all of the Taylor books- they are all so good!

    Happy reading this week! :)

  10. I've read Roll of Thunder at least 3 times. Once as a middle schooler, then as both an undergraduate and graduate student as part of children's literature courses. I agree with others that it's a powerful book.

  11. I read Roll of Thunder so many times when I was in middle school. I think there is a sequel, and maybe a third book? I can't remember.


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