MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing
ISBN: 9780735219090
Publisher's Synopsis:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

"Marsh is not swamp.
Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water,
and water flows into the sky."
MrsK's Review:
When we meet Kya she is young, abandoned, and in need of much TLC. As she grows up there is much that she learns by survival, as well as her brother, Jodie, who teaches her survival skills in a marsh. In 1952, Kya's mom walks down the road with her train case in hand. Three more siblings walk down that road... until that evening when Jodie must leave too. So many emotions flow and ebb as you experience Kya's life as the "Marsh girl."

Jodie, seven years older than Kya, plants the seeds of survival in the swamp. His teaching of bird songs, steering the boat in and out of the swamp, and the creatures that live in Kya's world will become the seeds of Kyra's scientific discoveries and survival. 

In 1969, Chase Andrews is found dead. No footprints were ever found, at first it appears he fell to his death from the tower in the swamp. The sheriff accepts how Chase might have died, until others in the town begin coming forward about strange sightings and clues.

Back in '52,' as a storm was approaching, Kya becomes disorientated and a friend of Jodie's helps her find her way back to her cove. Slowly, Tate becomes a friend, someone to fish with, someone to sit on the beach to watch the sunset, and someone who cares enough to teach Kya to read and write. If it wasn't for Tate, Kya would never have published her discoveries.  Yet, if it wasn't for Tate, Kya would not have been abandoned again to a life alone in the swamp. By 1970, Tate will remember his father's definition of a man: "one who can cry freely, feel poetry and opera in his heart, and do whatever it takes to defend a woman."

"Don't go thinking poetry's just for sissies.
There's mushy love poems...
but there's also funny ones, lots about nature...
they make you feel something."
Kyra begins bringing in fish for the local wharf. Jumpin and his wife are the ones that will help Kyra get clothing, small amounts of cash, and gas for trading. Jumpin becomes a father to Kyra and is involved in providing "cover" during difficult times. 

"Where the crawdads sing," is a way of saying "far in the bush where critters are wild." The story line is a bout a life that most of us can't imagine. The characters in Kyra's life are sometimes brutal, often times compassionate, and for the most part deeply engaging. This book is an excellent choice for every book club...
"Crying and screeching, the birds swirled and dived,
hovered near her face,
and landed as she tossed grits to them."
 A well developed story about a young girl on her own.
How does one survive a life that is loaded with
unfortunate loneliness?
Meet the Author: 
Delia Owens  Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in AfricaCry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others. She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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