Monday, July 23, 2007

My Life in Flashcards by Charise Mericle Harper


I know it seemed as though I had vanished again, but if you notice I am taking breaks on the weekend. As the summer moves along, my book reading is moving slower and slower. I apologize for that.
So this weekend I read My Life in Flashcards by Charise Mericle Harper. I thought this was bar none the cutest teen book I have read all summer. For the most part I keep finding myself reading books about boys, so it was good to get into one where the main character was a girl. Again we are reading along with a middle-schooler who is going through all those middle school things (boys, friends, parents, school, etc.) Something that makes this book a little different is the main character, Emily, received a set of flashcards from someone she calls Aunt Chester (not really her aunt or named Chester). The flashcards have labels on one side such as: Friends, Kiss, Hate, Embarrassment, Food, Love, Clothes, etc. and on the other side you are suppose to write or draw pictures about yourself and those topics. Is that not a cool idea? I wonder if it really exists? I am sure someone has thought of it. I loved how there were lots of drawings, check lists, and diagrams that look to be made by the main character, Emily. It helped to make the book flow and seem very realistic as if a teen were telling the story herself. I noticed the author, Charise Mericle Harper had also written a graphic novel.
I would not be able to read this book to a fifth grade class, it had some subjects that were very much middle school but not so much fifth grade. Again, and I feel like I am starting to sound like a prude, there were some cuss words I wouldn't be comfortable reading aloud. I have never felt this way about books, but what is up with using a word like -- the "B" word in a children's book. I know it is realistic and teens use it and hear it, but that totally ruined me suggesting the book to any fifth grader in my class. Although I will for sure put it on my shelf and hope someone picks it to read anyway. I guarantee this is not the end of Emily. This book lent itself perfectly for a second one.

1 comment:

AMY said...

I'm teaching a 5/6 blended class next year and I read this book recently as well. In fact, I was just brainstorming some ways of introducing it in a booktalk. I have similar concerns about the language, but I'm planning on letting kids know when books are "PG-13"---and then leaving the choice of whether or not to choose such books up to them. I know for some kids this will be an extra "selling point," but I also hope I'm being fair to kids who don't want to read cuss words. I hope my students' parents are understanding about this stance...