Reading Response the Fifth One

I may finally be catching up to myself, but I don’t want to get my hopes up.

Reading Response 5: Organization and Style – How do Writers Engage the Reader?

Hana’s Suitcase
by Karen Levine
The book is organized by chapters that move between future and past. This method pushes the story forward so elegantly that I never felt a misstep when moving between the years. Levine manages to pass along important information while simultaneously pulling at my heartstrings so hard that I went through several tissues during my read. I would have lapped up both stories, the one of the Japanese teacher learning of Hana and the story of Hana herself, separately if they had been presented that way. Levine did more than engage me by combining the stories into one winding path, she had me completely enthralled. Her expert use of storytelling left me wanting at the end of every chapter so much so that I could not stop reading for a moment. Every bit of this book shows Levine’s expertise at her craft and reveals the attention that was lovingly planted in every sentence.

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets
written by Kathleen Krull paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Krull had many acclaimed books, this along with her numerous sources lend credence to her qualifications. We begin our journey by learning of young Jim’s life, which helps to build an immediate connection to a reader young or old. The book is told in chronological order while remaining an engaging story narrative that ends with Jim’s funeral. A few comical facts sprinkled throughout the story keep the book lighthearted. The book is clearly written and can be enjoyed by a wide audience, I would say as young third grade and on up through to sixth grade. It is more than a possibility that older children and adults would find this book informative and fun. Personally, I found it to be lovely.

written by William Miller illustrated by Leonard Jenkins
Miller doesn’t appear to have any qualifications beyond being an author. Neither are there any resources to be found, which brings the accuracy of the book into question. The author’s note refers to this book as, “…a creative attempt to tell [Tituba’s] story and fill in the missing periods of her life,”. It is written at a level that can be understood by young children but, I am unsure as to when this material would be appropriate to be taught. I would not bring it up anytime before the fourth grade. This small piece of Tituba’s life is told as a story narrative with a rightfully gloomy overtone. I found it to be dull and as this book is a creative endeavor based on supposition rather than fact, I do not hold it in high regard as a biography.

Hello, I’m Johnny Cash
written by G. Neri illustrated by A.G. Ford
G. Neri has won awards for their writing and includes a discography as well as a bibliography for this book. That leads me to believe that this book could be used as a means to teach children about the music legend without too much conjecture. The reader is taken on a chronological narrative story from the perspective of Johnny as a young boy through to adulthood. The language level of this book is great for fifth grade on up and I believe that it could be enjoyed by children and young adults. The prose of this book is written as song lyrics would be written in liner notes and each page is titled with a song from Johnny Cash’s library of recordings. Each line drew me in further, willing me to learn more about this man who has been called, “the elder statesman of cool”. This book is insightfully written and the research done shines through on every page.

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