Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beyond the Station Lies the Sea by Jutta Richter

A few years ago I asked my friend Carol about finding a new read aloud for my third grade class. I wanted to read something different. I have nothing against the cannon, but I knew there had to be more. She gave me some suggestions (I would not be the teacher I am without her!) and recommended that I also look on line. This began my life in the blog world. It reached a new level this year when I was lucky enough to be a judge for Cybils. As I have written there were some wonderful books nominated.

As we know the read aloud is the soul of the reading day. Our voice (someone else’s words) can bring laughter and tears to a classroom of listeners. That is why it is SO important to find the perfect story. Beyond the Station Lies the Sea by Jutta Richter is one of the books nominated I would love to read as a read aloud. Jutta Richter’s language (or the translators) is full of beautiful imagery. I could not put it down. I am just not sure if it is appropriate for a third/fourth grade class. I am not afraid to push the limit with my kids. I know that kids can comprehend a lot more then they are given credit for. I’m not advocating reading Proust, Tolstoy, or Bellow but reading them books that push their thoughts is so important.

Beyond the Station Lies the Sea by Jutta Richter is stunningly written novella about a young boy that runs away from an abusive home. He befriends an older homeless man. They dream of moving to the sea, but to get the money to move Niner (the boy) must sell his guardian angel to a wealthy woman. She obtained her riches by being a prostitute. Here lies my dilemma, how does one explain to 9 year olds about some of these topics.

Abuse, emotional but doable
Rough language, doable

On line the book is listed as 8-12 but in my mind I am thinking 12 and above.

Book courtesy of the publisher.

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