This is my maiden launch with a community of bloggers who share their reading lives through the hashtag, #IMWAYR.
Like most readers, I always have a few books going:
- Writing: Jennifer Serravalle’s The Writing Strategies Book
- Reading: Lindsey Moses’ What are the Rest of my Kids Doing?
- KidLit: Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan’s Save Me a Seat
- AdultLit: Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club (late to this one)
Although I will shelf the professional texts and adult lit for now, it’s interesting to see how all four titles intersect. Whether it’s strategies, independence, or truths, Joe and Ravi, the two main characters in Save Me a Seat, employ all tactics in order to survive their first week of school in 5th grade. Written in first person by each of the main characters in alternating chapters, the book is about two protagonists, whose lives intersect through personal adversity and the antagonist, Dillon.
Young readers will devour this page turner. The story is well crafted, with each new chapter seamlessly picking up the story from the previous chapter, but angled toward the voice of the appropriate character. There were other chapters, which retold the same scene, but with the added perspective and emotion from the opposing character. By isolating the characters’ thoughts and emotions, the reader is “in on the truth,” but the characters don’t figure it out until later in the book.
There are many social issues raised in this narrative, which makes it great as a read-aloud or a book club choice. Beyond family values, and friendship, there is a thread running through each character’s life; Joey’s social and emotional aspect as a special education student looms large in his life, while Ravi, who recently moved to the States from India, is navigating his way through the cultural and educational differences. The authors provide us with another surprise as well by including snippets of Christopher Paul Curtis’ Bud, not Buddy throughout.
Bravo to co-authors Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan for composing such a well written novel, with sophisticated topics and using kid friendly language. That’s no small feat for tacking issues kids will care about, and want to share with others.