Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Greetings from Nowhere
O’Connor, Barbara. 2008. GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE. Vancouver, BC: D&M Publishers. ISBN 9780374399375 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
Four separate lives cross paths and each are transformed at a rundown motel in the Smoky Mountains. Since Aggie’s husband passed away, she struggles with upkeep of the place, accompanied only by her cat Ugly. Out of frustration, she puts an ad in the paper to sell the motel then twists of fate take place.
Willow is dealing with the pain that her mom has left. Her dad abruptly decides they are buying a place in the Smoky Mountains. Willow skeptically goes to the Sleepy Time Motel and meets defeated Kirby, who can do nothing right in the eyes of his mom, optimistic Loretta who is on an adventure with her parents in memory of her birth mother, as well as worn out Aggie. The four characters intertwine at the Sleepy Time and end up supporting each others’ dreams in simple yet heartfelt ways. Ms O’Connor weaves the stories together with brief chapters alternating characters. This is a great read aloud that’s sure to stimulate thoughtful discussion on the power an individual can have in helping another.
Young readers can map the intersecting and parallel paths of the characters in the book for further discussion and development of empathy for others. O’Connor has a book trailer on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKj4y_-U2UE . After reading aloud GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE with the class, share the trailer and analyze and compare the two.
Other books demonstrating the power of individuals to make a difference in the lives of others:
Bauer, Joan. HOPE WAS HERE. ISBN 0142404241
Burningham, John. EDWARDO THE HORRIBLEST BOY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. ISBN 9780099480136
Weeks, Sarah. SO B. IT. ISBN 0066236231
By Susie Demarest