For my Book Show and Tell this term I chose The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. This is one of my favorite books, for a lot of different reasons. It’s the story of a middle school kid named Holling Hoodhood, and the book basically covers his seventh grade year in 1967/68. Every Wednesday, all his classmates go to either Hebrew school or Catechism, and he, being the only Presbyterian, is stuck in class for the afternoon. At first Holling is convinced that his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. But as the year goes on, she starts using the time to read the plays of Shakespeare with him, and they start developing a sort of friendship. The plays also serve as a kind of allegory for the other events in Holling’s life, whether it be his parents, his friends or even the war in Vietnam. Overall, this is a fantastic, genuine, and hilarious novel that I would recommend to anyone interested in the 60’s, Shakespeare, or just good books in general.
The book Every Day deals with a couple of different issues throughout the story, touching on problems like drug addiction, depression, suicide, etc. However, the thing it talks about most consistently is identity. The main character switches bodies every day, so they don’t really think of themselves as a specific gender, race, body type, or any other determining factor of identity. The problem with this is that they don’t really know who they are as a person. Even though the book is framed as a sort of love story between A (the main character) and Rhiannon, the true story isn’t about A getting the girl. It’s more about A finding an identity. The book also deals with gender a fair amount, since A is a different person every day and thus is switching constantly. Since A gets all the perspectives, the message seems to boil down to “people really aren’t so different after all.” It’s a clever way of addressing the issue without making it the main focus of the story, and the author makes it work very well. Overall, Every Day is a very interesting social justice book in that it deals with the issues in an almost sneaky way, without putting them front and center in the story. It seems like this might be an effort to say “it isn’t really a big deal what a person’s background is or how they identify themselves unless we make it a big deal.” It’s a good message of mutual respect between everyone, and it works well within this book.
For my Slides presentation, I focused on giving information about the author and his style of writing. I also included lots of information about other social justice books in the same vein as Every Day, mostly by the same author, as he has penned many books dealing with similar issues.
Overall, I found Every Day to be a very enjoyable read. It isn’t really the kind of book I would pick up on my own, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the story and concept. The author has a very unique style that lends some real depth to these characters, even where other authors would let it devolve into classic “high school story” stereotypes, and I really appreciated that he wrote people my age as people instead of disregarding them as “just kids”. Every Day is a book I will definitely want to revisit in the future.
I had a goodreads account before this for another class, but I hadn’t really checked it out much before now. After rating 20 books, it gave my recommendations. It showed me lots of fantasy books, which isn’t surprising as that is one of my favorite genres. One series it recommended that interested me was the Wheel of Time books. I’ve heard a lot about them, and I think I might start reading the series because I’ve been looking for a good new fantasy style series to dive into. There were lots of other great suggestions too, including more of Tolkien’s works. After this, I will probably be checking goodreads a lot more for good book recommendations.
For my Book Show and Tell I chose “The Saturday Night Ghost Club” by Craig Davidson. I got this book for Christmas and had finished it within a few days. It isn’t a terribly long book, but it quickly became one of my favorites. It’s centered around a group of kids living in Niagara Falls in Canada in the 80’s. The main characters’ uncle is very into paranormal stuff, so he takes the kids on “ghost hunting” expeditions every Saturday night. The story is framed by the main character as an adult, reflecting on the summer of “The Saturday Night Ghost Club”. I loved this story because it is in the spirit of The Goonies and Stranger Things, but it has a great twist that adds some darkness and maturity to the story. I would recommend it to anyone who loves 80’s throwback stuff like Stranger Things, or anyone who is looking for a fast but well written and entertaining read.
For my series I am going to finish reading the Steelheart books. I’ve been looking for a good series to start for a while, and Steelheart really drew me in to the story. I really like how Sanderson writes his characters to be both three-dimensional and relatable at the same time, and I can’t wait to see how he continues the story. I’m planning on finishing the series by about March 20th.
Connor Bliss and Alex Hassell
We chose to do a podcast discussing a few of the characters in Steelheart and their roles in the story. Sanderson generally writes very interesting characters, so we thought that exploring the various relationships they have to one another and the different parts they play could make for a fascinating discussion.
The boy had just closed his comic book when the fist impacted his jaw. He suddenly found himself sprawled out on the ground, his face to the pavement, the bitter taste of blood in his mouth.
“I thought I told you not to hang around here, Jack.”
These words came from the person attached to the fist, a brutish boy one year ahead of Jack in school called Ronnie. Jack lifted his head to reply, but dropped again as Ronnie’s foot flew into his side.
“You never really learn, do you?” the larger boy continued. “If you show your face around this neighborhood one more time, you’ll be in even worse shape then you are now.”
Ronnie’s eyes drifted to the colorful pages of the comic book, sprawled open on the sidewalk. “And not only that,” he he said, picking the comic up, “You’ll be down another of your precious comic books, too.” With this, he walked down the street and around the corner, and was gone.
Jack slowly picked himself up off the pavement. He never cried anymore; if Ronnie saw you cry, he was twice as hard on you. Instead of tears he felt a white hot, long simmering anger rise up inside him. If only I was the big strong one, he thought. Just like the heroes in the comics! Then I could show Ronnie how it feels to be the little guy.
He had had this same thought many times before, but this time something was different. His anger had reached a boiling point, and his thoughts quickly turned to darker places. But why be the hero? He thought to himself. The real world isn’t like the comics; people with good hearts don’t always win. If I were really as strong as a superhero, who would stop me from doing what I want? No one could push me around.
Jack had started the long walk back home by this point, and the sight of more familiar streets brought him out of his bitter contemplation.
“Ah, who am I kidding?” He said aloud to himself. “I’ll never actually be that powerful.”
This article is about how Indonesia has a bit of catching up to do in terms of inclusive education. While the country has come a long way over the past years, work still needs to be done to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for learning. The focus is on students with learning or physical disabilities, as well as kids who are at risk of dropping out. Only a handful of Indonesia’s provinces deem themselves inclusive in terms of education, so there is still a lot of work to be done. Schools need to be given the resources to handle such an influx of students with special needs. It will take some work but the article makes it clear that this is a worthy cause and that it will be worth the work. Overall, Indonesia’s education system needs to do more to provide learning opportunities for all.
Indonesia has a population of 261 million people, with 9.6 million of those living in the capital city of Jakarta. Another large city within the country is Surabaya, a large port city mixing skyscrapers with older canals and buildings from its Dutch colonial past. The official language is Indonesian, but there are many varying dialects including Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese, etc. The nation has a 9.82% poverty rate, and agriculture holds over 14% of the GDP.
The agricultural industry is based on mostly tropical products. Life expectancy is about 70 years, with diseases such as dengue fever posing lots of health problems. Energy is in good supply, as Indonesia has large amounts of coal reserves, with current supplies expected to last 80-plus years. Natural, clean energy sources are also in ample supply throughout the country. Islam comprises the vast majority in terms of religion, with 87.2% declaring themselves Muslim. This is followed by Christianity, with just under 10% belonging to Christian denominations. Many of the rest are Hindu or Buddhist.
August 17 is a very important national holiday, as it is Indonesian Independence Day. A group of revolutionaries declared independence from the Dutch in 1945, and it took 4 years of diplomacy and armed struggle to gain full independence. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. The government is a constitutional, presidential republic with an elected parliament and it has one of the strongest overall economies in Asia. Overall, Indonesia is a very interesting and unique country.