Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I know it is April 1st but I am going to make a huge call and say this is my book of the month. Well to be truthful I read it last week when it was still March but since I am blogging this one here tonight I have decided to grab your interest by declaring Counting by 7s is my book of the month!

How do I measure a book?  One way is via my compulsion to keep reading.  I read Counting by 7s late into the night.  When I woke around 2am I turned on the light and read on.  Over breakfast I kept reading and while I was at school I couldn't wait to arrive home so I could get stuck in and finish reading Counting by 7s.

Willow Chance is a twelve year old girl. Willow Chance is a special girl.  Willow Chance has been orphaned twice.  Willow Chance loves the number 7.  Willow Chance needs a break.

Life has thrown some hard things her way.  Her adoptive parents have died.  The school authorities have no idea about her gifted brilliance and have accused her of cheating.  The school counselor, who is supposed to help her, is himself a total loser with no skills or training to work with young students especially students like Willow.

On the other hand, through this counselor called Dell Duke, Willow meets three very special people - Nguyen Thi Mai who is fourteen and from Vietnam, her brother Nguyen Quang-ha who is fifteen and considered a delinquent and their mum called "Pattie".  Willow also meets a wonderful taxi driver. She changes his life.

On the author web site you can read Chapter One.  I am sure this will convince you that this is a splendid book.  Here is a video interview with the author.  I even found a Readers Theatre Script. Here is a set of teaching notes with links and further reading ideas.

If you enjoyed My life as an alphabet, Counting by 7s is even better. You might also enjoy The view from the 32nd floor, Liar and Spy and Signed by Zelda.  I highly, highly recommend Counting by 7s for senior Primary students.

Here is the scene where the Kindergarten teacher has been reading to the class (perhaps you can guess the name of this book?)

"I had not uttered a single syllable in my five sessions as a student, and I had no intention of doing so. 

But after days of hearing more lies from an adult than I'd been exposed to in my whole lifetime - everything from how fairies cleaned up the classroom at night to insane explanations for earthquake preparedness kits - I was at some kind of breaking point.  

So when the teacher specifically said 'Willow, how does this book make you feel?' I had to tell the truth.

'It makes me feel really bad. The moon can't hear someone say good night; it is two hundred thirty-five thousand miles away. And bunnies don't live in houses. Also, I don't think that the artwork is very interesting."

If you still need convincing read the review by the Nerdy Bookclub and here is a quote from the School Library Journal from the review by Cheryl Ashton :  Willow’s story is one of renewal, and her journey of rebuilding the ties that unite people as a family will stay in readers’ hearts long after the last page.

1 comment:

Susan Stephenson said...

I loved My Life as an Alphabet so will be on the look out for Counting by 7s. Thanks!