A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Nancy Farmer (House of the Scorpion, A Girl Named Disaster).
- In 1872, the doughnut cutter is patented in Maine. Read Homer Price by Robert McCloskey.
- The first successful open heart surgery was performed in 1893. Read Hope Is an Open Heart by Lauren Thompson.
- In 1962, Bob Dylan records â€śBlowinâ€™ in the Wind.â€ť Read The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins; A Wind in the Door by Madeleine Lâ€™Engle; and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
Lazy July daysâ€”perfect for summer reading. But what if you donâ€™t like to read; what if you actively avoid reading? Such is the dilemma of our protagonist of the day, twelve-year-old Derek, who begins his saga in My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian with these bold words: â€śI DONâ€™T WANT TO READ THIS BOOK!â€ť That has been Derekâ€™s relationship to what the adults in his life consider appropriate reading for years. A very reluctant reader, Derek has been pressured by teachers, librarians, and his mother to pick up books, which he personally finds a waste of time. His mother even offers briberyâ€”one chocolate chip per pageâ€”to no avail. And now this summer he has to read three books from an approved reading listâ€”a fate worse than death.
But while avoiding books, Derek finds a newspaper clipping in his attic about a seventeen-year-old girl who died years ago on Marthaâ€™s Vineyard. Who is she? And why has his mother kept this moldy clipping for so many years? In his pursuit of answers, Derek doesnâ€™t exactly discover the joys of reading traditional books, but he certainly begins to open up to the possibilities of research. First he discovers a website dedicated to this teenager. Eventually, he manages to get his family to revisit Marthaâ€™s Vineyard, where Derek locates the best friends of the girl who died. In doing so, he and his family come to terms with what happened on their family vacation many years ago when Derek was a baby.
In this page-turning, exciting book, perfect for fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the text appears in larger than normal type and is heavily illustrated by Derek (who makes drawings of vocabulary words). Derek is smart and sassy. In his easy, breezy narrative that sweeps readers along, he demonstrates plenty of humor and lots of heart. Funny and serious at various points, the story might just convince some reluctant readers that they enjoy booksâ€”the right kind of books that is.
Jake Tashjian, son of the author, provides the illustrations of the vocabulary words displayed on the pages. Janet provides the fascinating story. Both are descendants of one of the finest childrenâ€™s librarians I ever worked with, Virginia Tashjian, whose enthusiasm for stories convinced many children that they would love books and reading. Iâ€™m glad to see the family tradition continuedâ€”and grateful to have such a funny, fast-paced, and enjoyable book for young readers ages eight through twelve.
Hereâ€™s a page from My Life as a Book:
Originally posted July 9, 2012. Updated for .