Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey as a way to share what you have read and/or reviewed in the past week. It's also a terrific way to find out what other people are reading.

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers have given this meme a children's literature focus: picture books, middle grade novels, etc. They "encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting the other bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

With the brutally cold weather and nasty snowstorms, I haven't ventured out to the library at all lately. But I have curled up with blankets and coffee and enjoyed an afternoon of one of my favorite movies, which inspired this week's reading selection (it was so long, it actually took me over a week to read it)...

On a recent blustery winter day, I curled up on the sofa and watched the 1949 version of this classic novel, starring June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, and Margaret O’Brien. This has always been one of my favorite movies, but I had never read the book. I was able to download it onto my Kindle for free. I’m glad I read it, because it digs into the story much more deeply than the film version does. There is lots of wonderful descriptive writing and character development. It is long - the Kindle version has 585 pages; but with all of the winter weather advisories and wind chill warnings, there was plenty of time to enjoy it. It’s also very old-fashioned, so younger readers may have a difficult time sticking with it.

This was a powerful story, told in verse, about a year in the life of a 12-year-old who was sentenced to house arrest for stealing a wallet at a grocery store and using a credit card from the wallet to purchase medicine for his sick brother. As part of Timothy’s probation, he is required to keep a journal to reflect on what happened. This middle grade novel is made up of the entries to that journal.

As the story develops, the reader finds out that Timothy has a baby brother who is critically ill: his airways aren’t developed properly and, so he is dependent on a trach tube in his throat to breathe. The baby needs round-the-clock care, while at the same time Timothy’s mother must work extra hours to make ends meet, and Timothy’s father has left the family. Clearly, Timothy has all sorts of issues that he must sort out with the help of a court-appointed counselor and his probation officer.

This is a powerful story that I really believe a lot of kids will be able to relate to. Sadly, I have had students in the past that wore court-ordered ankle monitors and were on house arrest. And while their circumstances were different, the attitude of the protagonist would certainly ring true to these readers. Also, anyone who has ever had family circumstances with financial and medical issues, would certainly find this book compelling. And this is also a great book for teachers and others involved with youngsters to read as a powerful reminder that kids today are dealing with so many issues and that we need to be mindful of that when we try to help them.


  1. House Arrest sounds powerful. I've heard good things about it. Our students' lives can certainly be complex and challenging and books that showcase this can definitely help develop empathy for their situations.

  2. I love House Arrest, and would love to read it with students, sometimes a big regret now that I'm retired. I've read Little Women with a book group of my middle school students, Jana, and they loved it, also A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, both so good. But you've made me want to watch the movie again. It's been a long time. Keep warm!

  3. This must be the second time I've seen House Arrest given love by Monday reading enthusiasts - really looking forward to finding it. Little Women has been one of my absolute favourite classics when I was a young girl, really looking forward to this new film adaptation.

  4. Can't wait to read this one. Such an important book to show students that they are not alone with their problems

  5. I'm pretty sure I purchased House Arrest when I was in the library, but can't remember reading it. I might have to go and borrow it from them.

  6. House Arrest is one of my favourites, and Myra is right I have been seeing it on here more often. She has written another book with these characters, Knockout, and it is out March 6. It might be even better.