Wowie, did I ever stumble upon a book. Someone asked me if my kids had read THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, which they had not, and amazingly, neither had I. Anyway, it was summer reading for her kid, so I borrowed it and man, oh, man. I constantly hear editors and agents say they never want to see another Holocaust book because the market is so full of them (can there ever really be enough reminders???), but this book came out in 06, I think, so I knew it would be good. BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS by John Boyne tells the story of a 9 year old Berlin boy, Bruno, whose father begins to move up the ranks in German government. HE's offered a special position hours away from Berlin, and the entire family moves. They live in a house that borders a strange community surrounded by a high wire fence. Bruno thinks it is odd, when he considers it, which isn't very often at first. Then from a high window in his house, he catches a glimpse inside the fence, and sees a bunch of people in 'striped pajamas'. Of course, an adult reader immediately realizes they're stationed at Auschwitz, and his father is the Nazi officer in charge there. Bruno goes exploring one day and befriends one of the boys in pajamas and through the fence, they develop a friendship. This book is an amazing tale about 'sins of the father', how countless children may have been affected by their parents' involvement in the Nazi party without quite knowing what it was all about. A fabulous book for a young book club. I am dying to discuss it with someone who's read it, particularly the ending, so please comment if anyone out there has read it. If you have not, it's yet another MUST READ on the Koppelman list. And yes, it is a middle grade book.
So Redneck Parenting Tips for going back to school:
1. Buy as many school supplies as possible at the Dollar Tree
2. Give each of your child's teachers a nice gift at the BEGINNING of the year. Nothing major, but enough that they know you're on their team for the year.
3. In our house, the kids get a new bookbag when they change schools NOT every year. For example, in our house this year one kid begins middle school (new bookbag) and one begins kindergarten (new bookbag), and one begins second grade (same old bookbag since kindergarten but washed and looks great) and one begins seventh grade (same bookbag since last year, again washed, etc.) Buy good bookbags, though. Lands End are my favorite and they guarantee them if they get a hole or zipper breaks.
4. Take advantage of end of summer sales and get your kids a couple of new things to go back to school. It's still summer, right? So let them pick a couple of things off the summer sale rack, then wait for fall sales to buy fall clothes. They won't need them for a couple of weeks, at least. Don't be a back to school shopping sucker who buys clothes full price that they won't need until October anyway (when they'll be ON SALe)
5. Make a lunch plan NOW. Will you buy lunch? Make lunch? Some of each? And a system for that. When we get the school lunch menu, I have the kids circle the days they DON'T want to buy lunch, and I can plan ahead to pack their lunches. NO morning deciding. It's too crazy in the morning to stand and debate the cafeteria menu.
6. Start putting the kids to bed a little earlier every night, so the first day of school won't be such a shock to their system (and yours!).
7. Help your child get his or her homework area ready for business. When they feel good about their area, it's clean and well-supplied, the routine will come more easily.
Woo hoo! I'm ready for school and a routine again. WE go back the 25th. How about the rest of you? Enjoy the final lovely days of summer...remember that endless summer poster everyone had in college in the 80s?
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.