Almond, David. 2011. MY NAME IS MINA. New York: Delacorte. ISBN 9780385740739 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-8]
This prequel to SKELLIG is both a visual and literary delight. Written in an undated journal format with different sized fonts, white space, and even white words on black at times, Mina’s first words are “My name is Mina, and I love the night.” After a run-in with her teacher, Mina asks to be homeschooled and her mother agrees and thus begins a time of almost “unschooling” where Mina is allowed to explore her feelings, her emotions, and subjects that interest her. This unstructured time and a blank journal give rise to a wonderfully introspective view of an intelligent young girl who needs time to figure life out on her own terms as she deals with the death of her father. With forays into an alternate school, meeting neighbors, and reuniting with old friends, Mina’s journey becomes the episodic plot. Nine-year-old Mina has the voice of a much older child which makes it accessible reading for both discerning elementary readers and thoughtful middle schoolers.
Use this as an introduction to journal writing or writing description. Read sections aloud to the group and encourage students to write about what Mina is writing about in their own journals.
Use in middle school or high school with students interested in creative writing.
Almond, David. SKELLIG. ISBN 9780385326537
Henkes, Kevin. SUN AND SPOON. ISBN 9780061288753
By Janet Hilbun