Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

From the back of the book:
What is the soundtrack of your life? After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance. Yet before she knows it, friends creep in--as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place?

I loved this book. Calle is a strong, yet typical teen. Her voice is so clear and true in telling her story. Kim Culbertson deftly walks the line of portraying teen life. This is a must have for my classroom library. After finishing the book on a weekend morning, I continued processing the book all afternoon as I was (supposedly) working on lesson plans. I kept thumbing back through the book and looking up the songs and artists I was not as familiar with. I was thrilled to read the names of so many of my favorite singers/songwriters in the book. I love the idea of the book and I'm still trying to find words to express how powerful Calle is as a character. Kim does such an amazing job of portraying both the teens and adults in the story. It is not angst ridden, yet the weight of what the kids are dealing with is not lessened, nor is the reality of adult choices and their impact on kids. And the language is beautiful! Wonderful figurative language in creating tone and setting.

This is a book that I could easily incorporate into my teaching. It will make a great anchor text. It has great literary strength for studying the elements of fiction, as well as being a fabulous mentor text for a writing unit on having the kids create their own soundtrack for their lives.

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