Monthly Archives: August 2018

2018.67 – Where the Watermelons Grow

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin was a thoughtful MG/YA book! Della Kelly is a 12-year-old in Maryville, North Carolina — she lives on her family’s farm with her daddy, mama, and baby sister.

Four years ago, her mama was hospitalized for months due to schizophrenia. When she finds her mother sitting at the table in the middle of the night, digging watermelon seeds from slices of watermelon. She is worried her mama is relapsing, and she sets out to do everything to prevent to help ease the stress.

Lucky for Della, she knows the Bee Lady’s honey can cure just about anything. So, why wont it work for mama? Unfortunately, the Bee Lady tells her that healing mama may have more to do with Della than mama.

Throughout the story, the way Della handles her mother’s illness, family responsibilities, farm stresses, and friendship are relatable. She is instantly loveable, with a great mix of compassion, fear, and spunk.

Not a spoiler: yes the watermelons grow down by the bay!

This is one I think many of my kids would also enjoy reading.


2018.62 – Dear Rachel Maddow

I can’t remember where or how I first heard of this book, I’m guessing it was on Twitter. It looked intriguing, so I got on the holds list from the library, and patiently waited for a copy to be available.

It’s only appropriate that I write this book blog post while watching the one and only, Rachel Maddow.

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner did not disappoint! I anticipated a more angsty and cutesy book about a troubled girl writing fangirl letters to her hero, Rachel Maddow. This book is pleasantly much deeper and thought-provoking than I expected.

Brynn, a high school junior whose life fell apart after her brother died, broke up with her first girlfriend, and is largely ignored by her mother and horrible stepfather, uses her draft folder as a sort of journal. This originally starts as a school assignment in her remedial classes, where she is asked to write an email to her hero.

Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn’s archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do?” (via Amazon description.)

Brynn’s story is so real and painful. Sometimes, I feel that middle school and high school kids are written…sorta out of touch. Like, do they really think and talk like this. Not in this book! Brynn feels like a slightly older version of one of my students, in the way she thinks and acts.

While I am not entirely interested in politics, this book made me grasp how much power is held by the few (reality, the rich white few), and how these people will make decisions in their best interest or based on where the money is coming from. I hear about it, and get it in concept, but then I really saw this happen a few times in this book.

I highly recommend this book! I love that it is written entirely in emails, and found it engaging, thoughtful, and hopeful!

Now, I’m quite curious how Rachel Maddow reacted to this book…