Wednesday, June 9, 2010

For 5th Graders’ Smart Parents, Too.

Ask a writer, “What are you writing now?” You might get an answer.
Ask a writer, “What are you reading?” and you’re sure to get an answer. That response is almost certain to lead you to a good book. Maybe even a great one. What was Larry Brimner reading when I asked him? THE DREAMER.

THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan, drawings by Peter Sis. Scholastic, 2010

This fictionalized biography reads like a novel. The subject is Pablo Neruda who was painfully shy as a child and bullied by an overbearing father. Yet he refused to be crunched under the boot heel of a harsh emotional climate. His spirit and his talent triumphed. Thankfully. Neruda became one of the world’s best read poets and was honored with a Nobel Prize for poetry.

Beautifully written, this book offers child-like simplicity with adult depths. The main character’s age–or the age of the biographical subject during most of the story-- would lead a parent or teacher to consider middle grade students as the best audience. However, this work is multi-layered. Adults who discover THE DREAMER will find it hard to forget. Poetry and art weave through the text like flowers in a garden at the best time of day.

Pamper yourself for an afternoon. Read this one for you.

Side note: Thanks to Larry for the recommendation. And congratulations, too. Larry’s most recent book, BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY (Calkins Creek, 2010–reviewed here April 15), continues to receive rave reviews.

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