Bibliographic Information: House, Silas, and Neela Vaswani. Same Sun Here. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2012. Print.
Brief Annotation: This is the story of two 12-year-olds – River, a boy from mountainous Kentucky, and Meena, an Indian immigrant living in New York City – who become pen pals (and, by the end of the story, best friends). The book is told through their letters to each other about issues in school, family, and living in their respective environments.
Grade Level: 5-6
Readers who will like this: Students who enjoy diverse cultures; students who are concerned about environmental issues; students who are in late elementary school (close in age to the characters); students who enjoy realistic fiction.
Rating/ Response: 5 – This neat book covers many serious and relevant issues. It takes place in 2008, so it covers recent events like the election of Barack Obama. The characters are relateable and their relationship very heartwarming and genuine. The style of letter format is engaging.
One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you imagine the life of someone living in NYC is like vs. Kentucky? What could these people have in common?
Reading strategy: Free Choice (Chapter Book)
Rationale for strategy: This chapter book would take more than one lesson to read aloud. It can be tied into many lessons – learning to write different kinds of letters, writing to students’ own pen pals across the country, etc. The subject that this ties in most to is social studies due to all the social issues (rent, mountaintop removal, family issues, etc.). Find more ideas on the Classroom Bookshelf blog: http://classroombookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/04/same-sun-here.html.
Posted by: Caitlin Miller