Sing a Song of Tuna Fish: A Memoir of My Fifth Grade Year by Esme Raji Coddell
This book documents Esme Codell's fifth grade year, which was probably very different than the fifth grade experience of a lot of people! Esme grew up in Chicago in the 70's which provided a backdrop for a lot of interesting characters and stories.
What I Thought: I am a fan of Esme Raji Codell! Ever since I head her book, Educating Esme, which is the diary of her first year teaching. (It was a requirement of my teacher certification program, and should be required teachers of teachers-in-training everywhere!) She's also written several other books for kids, all of them are really great.
I enjoyed this book because it gives a peak into Esme's life and the interesting childhood that she experienced. I found especially intriguing was the school her parents sent her to---where the kids chose what they wished to do each day. They could sign up for math or reading if they felt like it. Esme mentions that she spent many days writing screenplays and recruiting classmates to act them out! Sounds great fun, but when Esme transfers to a "normal" school she finds that she is sorely lacking in her math skills because she did not sign up for math lessons in her old school.
Overall, I think this is a great book that provides an interesting glimpse into a different way of living for a lot of people. This would be a great story to read to any fifth grader and compare/contrast the times, their lives, and experiences.
This book would also be a great way to encourage kids to start their own memoirs, so they can prevent getting "grown-up amnesia" -- where we forget our childhood as we grow to adulthood.
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