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    This Month's Featured Book:

    The Immortal Life and Henrietta Lacks

    If a doctor took some of your cells for research without your knowledge would you be offended or violated? How would you feel if your cells thrived in labs around the world long after your death? If those cells enabled researchers to dramatically advance science and cure diseases like Polio, do you think your family should be entitled to compensation? This non fiction text shares the remarakble story of Henrietta Lacks, a black woman from the 1950s whose terminal cancer produced cells that continue to find cures for diseases. However, Henrietta's family knew little about the miracle of her cells, have never benefitted from her remarkable story, and can't even afford healthcare. 

    My Next Read: The Uglies

    Picking a favorite book is a bit like picking a favorite child; it is simply impossible! Rather than having a favorite read, I have a long list of books I adore for various reasons.  The below list contains some of those adored books.
    Here are a few of my favorites reads. Perhaps you will explore one (or several)!
      1. We Were Liars by e. lockhart: This one surprised me! A group of teens spend seemingly idyllic summers with their familieson a Massachusetts island, but their story involves some intriguing and dark family secrets. 
    Looking for Alaska by John Green: Broken into two sections of "Before" and "After", the novel addresses the circumstances leading up to and following a mysterious event concerning Alaska, a popular and emotionally unstable girl.  Miles and his prep school friends are troubled by this event (which is the twist in the plot) and search for answers while contemplating the "only way out of the labyrinth of suffering."
    2. Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King Love MacbethQueen Hereafter adds another dimension to the Shakespearean play by detailing a Saxon princess's marriage to Scotland's King Malcolm (son of Duncan, who was murdered by Macbeth) and relationship with a female bard.  The bard is also the granddaughter of the infamous Lady Macbeth, who has survived Macbeth and is using her granddaughter to spy on Malcolm's court.
    3. Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story by Timothy Tyson: On May 11, 1970, Henry Marrow, a twenty-three-year-old black veteran, ran out of Robert Teel's market and into the street, where Teel and his sons savagely murdered Marrow in full view of the public.  The violent act and the biased response of the local police department sparked race riots and calls for reform; the murder and the community's response also brought national attention to Oxford and the Teels' trials.  Years after segregation was deemed unlawful, many southern towns continued to mistreat and ostracize African Americans, who grew increasingly angry from the discrimination.  The text is a powerful narrative of a son's fight to heal a community by preaching tolerance and encouraging a community to embrace each other regardless of race.  It is a book about despair, hope, and learning from the past.    
    4.  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: Billy Pilgrim's trials as a prisoner of war who narrowly survives the firebombing of Dresden during WWII reveal the destructiveness of war and the horrifying truth of battle.  Like war, events in Billy's life counter his free will while his abduction by aliens leads one to question whether free will exists at all.  Billy's experiences with aliens and time travel are possibly true or possibly the hallucinations of a man struggling to escape the lasting trauma of war.  Slaughterhouse-Five is deeply philosophical, innovative, disturbing, yet humorous.
    5.  Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser: Fast Food Nation critiques the fast food and meat-packing industries for creating jobs with low pay and no benefits, for having shockingly low standards, for negatively impacting other industries, and for marketing products to children.  Viewed by some as propaganda and by others as non-fiction, it is a highly provocative and startling text that has been generating important discussions since its publication.  Readers should beware, however, as the descriptions are shocking!
    6.  Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman: A haunting graphic novel that exposes Vladek Spiegelman's life in Auschwitz and the complex relationship that Vladek shared with his son as a result.  Spiegelman depicts the predatory Nazis as cats and the vulnerable Jews as mice to illustrate the harrowing situation that Vladek and his wife narrowly escaped.  More than an important historical document, an "ultimate survivor's tale" and "a new kind of literature,"Maus is a book that you won't be able to put down. 


    Disclaimer: This page is intended to reveal popular texts and to share my current reads.  Nothing listed on the page is required reading, and parents/guardians are ALWAYS encouraged to be involved in the choices their students make. As a former literature coach and as a current language arts teacher, I aim to create a climate where reading is an essential part of daily life.  This page is not an endorsement of the books or the ideas presented in them.  Authentic literature commonly contains mature material as texts are authentic reflections of life.