I was accepted to read and review the following novel by BookSparks: After Kilimanjaro by Gayle Woodson. I was happy that my application had been accepted for two reasons: the book was set in Africa; and it dealt with basic women issues.
The novel is interesting so far and centres on a young woman doctor, Sarah Whitaker, who has travelled to work in Tanzania for a year. What she sees and experiences opens her eyes to the reality of the country she is in. The extract I am sharing describes one of the patients that she encounters:
” An awful stench floated in the next patient as she shuffled in with her head bowed. The chart said she was twenty years old, but she looked ancient. Her name was Charmaine. She was a victim of genital mutilation and a pregnancy gone wrong. The baby was tepees by scarring and after four days of labor, a dead infant was delivered in pieces. Charmaine was left with holes in her bowel and bladder and continually leaked urine and faces.” (p 107)
The content of the novel certainly makes me grateful to be living as a woman in a more modern society.
The day of departure from the Dominican Republic arrived too soon. Before we knew it, my husband and I sat in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the bus to take us to the airport.
It was midday and the hot sun was causing a sheen of sweat to cover our bodies. Drinking an ice-cold glass of water, I savoured the heat with the knowledge that by the end of the day I would be experiencing the cool temperatures of a Canadian Fall.
A few hours later, we were airborne and bade our farewells to a country that had welcomed us with open arms. We had enjoyed our stay and looked forward to returning to the island with our children sometime in the future.
Once we had arrived at our hotel room, we spent some time unpacking and freshening up. A quick shower did wonders for our travel fatigue. We then set out to find a place to eat dinner as we were hungry. Our diet for the day of a sandwich, banana, mandarin and salted pretzels on the planet and not been a satisfying one.
We liked the ambience of the buffet restaurant we had found. We tried a little taste of many of the foods on offer and really enjoyed the pasta with its accompanying sauce. The dessert was a little blah and I am hoping that the place we try tonight will have a better offering.
We found the buffet restaurant we want to visit for tomorrow ‘s dinner. The place looks bigger and very appealing inside. While walking around the complex, we happened upon a show titled Broadway. It contained hits by Liza Minelli and from Broadway shows such as Chicago. The show ended with a bang with the songs from Grease. The show was fun to watch and I look forward to seeing what they will offer tomorrow night.
Before heading off to bed, we wandered around a little more and had a drink while listening to some music. We enjoyed our first evening at the hotel and will set off to do some more exploring today.
This morning I am spending some time at the airport as I wait to board a plane to the Dominican Republic. The morning is grey and gloomy and I am looking forward to sunshine and walking on the beach.
My husband has surprised me with a trip to a place we have not yet visited to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It is unusual for us to be travelling sans famille but I am sure we soon get used to be on our own.
Since the beginning of September and the start of the new school year, our living room has become an art studio as my youngest daughter explores painting techniques and works on her homework assignments.
I find it interesting to look at her assignments and to see her imagination come to life. It is also interesting to see the way she works. I am thinking soon she can give me ideas to use in my classroom!
At the Frenzy Presents event in late August, I learned about Rena Barron’s novel Kingdom of Souls. The fantasy aspect of the novel interested me; and the African theme running through the story intrigued me. Soon after the event, I pre-ordered the novel online.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend, where one girl must sacrifice her life, year by year, to gain the power necessary to fight the mother she has never been good enough for.
Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.
Shame and disappointment dog her.
When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.
An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.
The beginning of Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron was not easy to read as I had to familiarise myself with the unusual names as well as the references to African culture. Often I found myself wishing for a name chart at the beginning of the novel so that I could refer to it and set it clear in my mind who was related to whom, and in what way they were connected.
Once I got used to the unusual names and had a clear picture in my mind where everyone fit in, it was easier to focus on the story. And what a story it was! Details were intricately woven in between the actions of the characters; characters that reflect the range of personalities that are found in the world. Within the Kingdom, there are kind and gentle people as well as people who are cruel and who adversely affect the lives of others.
The heroine, Arrah, is a young woman who tries to rectify the actions of someone she loves. As she goes on her journey, she grows as a person. She is one who perseveres and, as such, is a good role model to any young person reading this novel. Arrah is a character who discovers who she is and who discovers the magic she has within herself. Her journey is difficult but, with the help of her friends, she is able to realise her potential.
Kingdom of Souls is not an easy read and is more suitable for a young person who enjoys a more literary type of novel. Magic is a thread that runs through the story and is perfect for fans of fantasy novels. The ethos of African culture is a bonus and will appeal to those who are looking to connect with or explore the beauty of this culture. As an adult, I enjoyed the symbolism and imagery I read in Barron’s words. This is a novel I would highly recommend.
I have begun the unit on patterning with my grade 1s and 2s. The children enjoy this unit and tend not to have too much difficulty with it. As a diagnostic, I asked my students to use attribute blocks to create a pattern.
Once they had created and extended their pattern, my students recorded their work in their Math notebooks. While they were working, I observed them and made notes of any difficulties a student may have had. If they transcribed their work incorrectly, I also made a note.
Before I ask my students to create another pattern, I will teach them how to improve their responses. I will also challenge them to create more advanced patterns. I look forward to seeing what they create.
Have you used attribute blocks to create patterns?
Harsh sunlight shone on the desolate playground; the lack of children’s voices echoed in vacant spaces. Life was emptier and less purposeful without the younger generation. Two months ago, children had forcibly been taken en masse. Adults were still unsure of the reason for the forced removal; but rumblings were beginning to stir. Distrust of those in charge fanned hidden embers of discontent.
Children were hidden deep within the bowels of the earth. Their DNA had the key to unlocking the solution to future disaster and their resilience made them the perfect guinea pigs. Echoing screams were unheard above ground.
When I looked out of my apartment window yesterday afternoon, not only was I discouraged at the grey skies but also at the number of buildings that have sprouted up over the last few years. A new crane has shown up on the horizon recently with a few being promised nearby. The grey skyline is not one I every expected to see daily when I was growing up in the suburbs in South Africa.
At night, the view changes a little and becomes less harsh. With the growing number of condos in the neighbourhood, though, the sky in no longer pitch black. No stars can be seen in the night sky.
The view I see daily from my window is not my first choice; but it is one that I have resigned myself to. Who knows what my future may hold; and what view I may see. For now, the city view is the one I live with.