I’m currently making my way through Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart which is a novel I want to deliberately take my time with. It tells the story of Timothy McGrother who wants more than anything to start eighth grade as Lily Jo McGrother. And then there’s Norbert Dorfman who has just moved from New Jersey and is dealing with bipolar disorder and a hidden secret, something to do with his father and why he moved.
I’m doing what Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature calls Reading Without Walls. He’s challenged us to read in one of three ways:
- Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or doesn’t live like you.
- Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
- Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun (chapter book, graphic novel, book in verse, picture book, hybrid book, etc)
I shared the challenge with students during our book talk on Monday, and am tackling 1 and 2 in the challenge above. So far, the book is tough. My heart aches for Lily Jo and I’m holding my breath as to what Norbert has done, both to fit in with the boys at school and with (or to?) his family.
It’s not an easy book, but I didn’t expect it to be. Reading outside of my comfort zone opens my eyes to other perspectives that I would otherwise be blind to. I’m ever so grateful for authors and their bravery at tackling a topic, bringing it to light and showing others, yes, this is life.
Norbert (aka Dunkin) has just made the final cut for the basketball team. Page 148. The next chapter is called “It’s Time To Go”