Book #1 of 2015 was Brown Girl Dreaming, a beautifully written verse memoir by Jacqueline Woodson, who grew up in the 60s in South Carolina and New York. I passed this one straight on to one of my eighth graders, who's enjoying it now.
Book #2 was The Heart of Haiku, a Kindle Single by Jane Hirshfield. It's a fascinating and very informative essay about the seventeenth century Japanese poet Basho.
Book #3 was the new YA novel about the Haitian earthquake, Hold Tight, Don't Let Go, by Laura Rose Wagner. You can read a review of this book here.
Book #4 was a hilarious and oddly touching "progressively lipogrammatic epistolary novel" called Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn. The island of Nollop is named for the author of the most famous pangram (a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet), "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." When the statue of Nollop begins losing letters, the government decides that each fallen letter must be eliminated from the language. The characters are forced to compose their letters to one another using fewer and fewer letters. By the end of the book, the reader understands much better exactly how precious language is, so this charming and funny story makes some clever points about censorship and expression.
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