JEN: This month we are doing Reading Along I-94 a totally new, different way! As I read Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, I dogeared pages with quotes that I really loved. (I know, I dogeared the pages – but it was an ARC and it felt good.) At the Anderson’s Breakfast, I gave Colby the book with a hand-written letter explaining that his challenge this month is to try and figure out which line or sentence or group of sentences on the page made me dogear the page.
WEEK 4 –
JEN: We’re coming to the end of discussing Same Sun Here. I’m sad because I love this book. It has been fun seeing if you can guess my favorite quotes! So far you are six for six…let’s see how you finish up!
COLBY: p. 250 “My parents work so hard. I want to get a good job and get them a house in New Jersey. I said that to Kiku and he said, “We’ll work hard, too, and then we’ll take care of them.” We shook hands on it and I felt very grown-up. I was thirteen years old, sitting under the GW Bridge, in New York City, with my brother, who trusted me with his secrets. Sometimes Kiku can be mean, but mostly he is sweeter than a big bag of gummy bears.” -Meena
JEN: Okay, I’ll give it to you! The line I loved was: “Sometimes Kiku can be mean, but mostly he is sweeter than a big bag of gummy bears.” –Meena
I love this description. It’s such a simple simile but she mixes in some alliteration and who doesn’t love gummy bears? Right? It reminds me of the beginning when she talks about her brother. Both lines just seem to emanate her love for him.
COLBY: I love gummy bears.
I think it would be cool to be so close to your siblings like Meena. I have lots of siblings, but I’ve never been super close to them.
JEN: I have a sister who is five years younger than me and a half-brother who didn’t grow up with me. We don’t talk to each other very often, but when it comes down to it they are still my siblings. My sister got married in October and after she got dressed and was waiting for the ceremony to start, we were hanging out in a back room for brides. My brother drove down from Wisconsin that afternoon and came right to the church. I had been pretty composed all day but when my brother walked in and we were all together for the first time that day, my sister and I both started bawling. Even though we aren’t the kind of siblings who talk on the phone everyday, they are still an important part of my life.
COLBY: p. 253 “The opposite of this is that Ms. Stidham told me she was real proud of me, though. She asked me to stay after class one day and I thought I might be in trouble for something, but then she looked at me like I was a grown-up and she said, “River, I want you to know that I’m proud to know you.” I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say a word, although I guess I should’ve said thanks or something. Then she held out a little purple paperback book. “Here,” she said, and shoved it into my hands. “This book is about doing the right thing, too. It’s my favorite.”
I looked down at the cover. To Kill a Mockingbird.”
JEN: “…Ms. Stidham told me she was real proud of me, though. She asked me to stay after class one day and I thought I might be in trouble for something, but then she looked at me like I was a grown-up and she said, ‘River, I want you to know that I’m proud to know you.’ I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say a word, although I guess I should’ve said thanks or something. Then she held out a little purple paperback book. ‘Here,’ she said, and shoved it into my hands. ‘This book is about doing the right thing, too. It’s my favorite.’
I looked down at the cover. To Kill a Mockingbird.
‘I want you to have it,’ she said, and I swear it was like there were little tears in her eyes. But then she straightened herself up and said, ‘Go on, then,’ and turned me by the shoulders and walked me to the door. I finally managed to say thank you.” – River
Right again! Ugh. this part just had me so emotional. A teacher, a student, a book. Such a powerful moment. It’s like she can’t tell him what she wants to say but the book explains it all. I love that she says, “‘…I’m proud to know you.’” She doesn’t say I’m proud OF you, she says I’m proud to know you. It resonates differently with me than if she had said I’m proud of you. Lots of people say that but it seems so different that she says she proud just to know him. Like knowing him makes her better. Like he is so important, it has nothing to do with her but everything with him and how he can influence people. Love it.
COLBY: Your thoughts make me think of the book Choice Words by Peter Johnston. It is all about how our word choice affects our students. He talks about saying things like, “You should be proud of yourself,” instead of, “I’m proud of you.” It’s amazing how switching up one or two words can have such a huge impact on kids.
JEN: I read an article that talked about being careful of telling kids they are smart even. If they are always told they are smart, then when they can’t do something right away they will feel like they are dumb and won’t have that sense of feeling that if they try again or harder or in a different way that they will ever get it. I talk to kids about making good choices or good thinking skills instead of complimenting them for being smart.
COLBY: p. 262 “She said there are so many Americans-legal, illegal, citizens, not citizens-who love America and, also, the country they or their ancestors come from. I asked her is felt that way about China and she said, ‘That’s what it means to be an American. To be free to love who and what you want, and to keep a lot in your heart at once.’”
JEN: Wahoo! You got them all right! “’That’s what it means to be an American. To be free to love who and what you want, and to keep a lot in your heart at once.’” – Meena (Mai)
How amazing is the idea of love and our heart? You know the saying, “I love you with all my heart.” That’s pretty amazing. I know now that I have kids I feel like I am capable of more and more love every day. I love them more and more every day. Love is exponential. It’s amazing.
Can you just try to imagine everything inside your heart? It’s a pretty mind-blowing image if you ask me.
Colby: It is very mind blowing:)
JEN: Do you ever think of friends from childhood and think of how close you were and how they shaped your life but how they are just memories now? It makes me sad sometimes, especially with some close friends I haven’t kept in touch with. But it’s like they are in my heart. I’m reading Far From You by Lisa Schroeder and the main character’s mom died but told her she is always with her. In the book, the girl thinks of her mom as an angel who watches over her but I guess that could mean she’s always in her heart. Love is such an interesting emotion.