Thursday, February 7, 2019

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Booked is written in verse so if you can get it to count for a required poetry read go for it. It is more akin to rap and rhythm than it is to poetry and rhyme. Also if you like words this is a great book because the main kid's dad makes him read the dictionary of odd words that his dad has written. Some friends feel sorry for him one girl thinks it is great. He comes out with a lot of words that were totally new to me.

What I appreciated most was that the author was able to adapt his verse style to the message of the particular chapter. So the nature of the verse was always changing and helping to move the story along.

If current plans continue on track I will be presenting at a conference Mr.' Alexander is headlining at in the fall of 2019.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Phinneas Gage By John Fleischman

This is required seventh-grade reading in our area. In 1848 Phinneas was a construction foreman building a railroad in Vermont, his specialty was explosives. At that time you bore a hole in the rock and poured in gun powder. Using a tamping rod you packed the powder and the fuse into the hole. Then sand was put in so the blast would be forced down into the rock.

On one such job, Phineas' tamping rod slipped into the hole prior to the sand, causing a spark, igniting the gunpowder, and shooting out the tamping rod. The rod passed through Phinneas's cheek, temporal lobe, and skull, completely exiting his head.

Phinneas lived. In fact, immediately after the accident he could talk and walk. His crew insisted on taking him to town to see the doctor. For the thirty minutes, it took to find the doctor he sat in a chair on the porch of the hotel he lived in. He conversed freely with the people around him.

Following this gruesome beginning, the story explores the history of brain science and how it was possible that Phinneas lived a functional life, showing only a few personality changes. He died eleven years after the accident.

My drawing.