I just spent the weekend reading a new book I got for the library. It was "No Passengers Beyond This Point" by Gennifer Choldenko, the author of "Al Capone Does My Shirts." It was intriguing, to say the least. Three children find out that their family home will be foreclosed by the bank. Their mother, who is a teacher, is sending them to live with their Uncle Red while she stays behind to finish out her school year. Everything seems very ordinary, squabbling siblings on a plane, until the plane lands. Following a person who has their name on a sign they enter a cab, then everything changes. The fact that the book is told by three points of view, from each of the three children, keeps your attention through this maze of a place they have landed in. Each child needs to decide whether to stay here or go on, they must depend on each other and ultimately on themselves. The ending is a real twist, and makes me question whether or not this book is right for many of my students. I will be curious to see who picks it up and reads it.
Of course, I also went to the Virginia Hamilton Multicultural Conference, and it was wonderful! I was so glad to get the chance to hear Nikki Giovanni, not once, but twice! She is a wonderful speaker, I guess if you are an award winning poet you would have an amazing way with words. She was funny, charming, and slightly outrageous by turns, and always surprising. Charles F. Smith, Jr. was also a presenter, a photographer/poet/performer who was a delightful new author to meet. He is one I can't wait to introduce to my students, especially the boys. Just wait until they see the Mohammad Ali book he has written. The third presenter was Chris Raschka, who was as interesting as his illustrations! All in all, this was a terrific a wonderful conference!