Week 2 of the year saw us continuing our start up learning program, so the lessons were pretty prescriptive and texts were chosen for us, but I did want to share the books that didn’t fall into those categories. This week marked the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires and so we read a new release that takes a look at what it was like for the people who lived through this, as well as started our first novel read for the year,
The House on the Mountain by Ella Holcombe and David Cox
Allen and Unwin, 2019
I’ll preface this section with the warning to have tissues on hand while reading this book, because it’s very emotionally charged. Following the lives of a family living through a devastating bushfire, from the lead-up to the evacuation to the aftermath that is confronting in its honesty. This is a book that evokes a sense of place and the landscape is as much a character as the people in the story.
As a class, we listened to this via Storybox Library, with author Ella Holcombe reading the story, and it was an experience. Most of my students are too young to remember the bushfires themselves, but many of them know older students or siblings who do, and the conversations this story prompted were as sobering as they were deep and meaningful. It’s well worth taking the time to unpack this with students.
Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
I’ve waited a long time to teach a year level that Skullduggery Pleasant would be an appropriate class read for, and I have to say, nothing has made me happier. We’ve spent a lot of time this week reading this book (we’re in to chapter 4) and since I started it we’ve not had a day when my students haven’t asked for us to read a bit more. And even though we’ve read some intense scenes, we have a good giggle every few minutes.
For the uninitiated, this book follows 12 year old Stephanie as she stumbles onto the world of magic and the skeleton detective, Skullduggery Pleasant, after the death of her uncle. It’s part fantasy and part mystery, and Derek Landy is very clever with his dialogue and characterisation. It’s a lot of fun.
What have you been reading this year?