Sunday Subway Reflections: The Fourteenth Goldfish and Sisters


Good Sunday morning/afternoon! I’m back to share my reads from the week of subway riding. This week’s reads were both quick reads and very inspiring.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm. The Fourteenth Goldfish (Jennifer L. Holm)

Believe in the impossible possible!  This book has one foot in reality and the other in fantasy. Ellie has had a pet goldfish since preschool. Then she finds out the truth. How long can a goldfish really live? But that is the beginning of her journey into middle school as she navigates a new pool of friends, teachers, and her teenage grandfather.

Yep! You read that right, her teenage grandfather.
The chapters are short and fast-paced. The thing I like most about Ms. Holm’s writing is that there are laugh-out-loud moments, as well as sweet, endearing moments (which both can be very dangerous on a subway ride- I’m sure the person beside me couldn’t figure out if the book I was reading was making me happy or weepy).

I’ve already seen this book on one of the student’s bookshelves in her locker and I can’t wait for others to sign out our library copy. This book is highly recommended for all teachers and students, especially those who are navigating the worlds of middle school, adolescence, or life.

One last thing about The Fourteenth Goldfish.  Ms. Holm does what many authors do in this story.  She endorses other books.  At the back of the book, she references many books and sites where readers can find out more about the scientists in the story. What grabbed my attention were the references to The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger).  The last time I read the book was in high school and I think I had the same reaction to the text, Ellie’s grandfather had, that it wasn’t a favourite.  But, he changes his mind.  That’s why I have decided to revisit the book this week.  Ellie was adverse to change, like so many of us are, but change happens.  I can’t wait to re-read it to see if maybe, like Ellie’s grandfather, my opinion has changed.

The second book I read, which didn’t take long to read but I also had to go back to re-read pages (one of my future blog posts will be about reading graphic novels and their immersive powers of all reading strategies).  But until then, I will write about Ms. Telgemeier’s newest book, Sisters.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.Sisters (Raina Telgemeier)
I knew I was in for a treat the second I opened this book. Ms. Telgemeier and I have a lot in common. Eldest sibling. Younger brother. Younger sister. Shared bedrooms. Sibling rivalry. You name it, I know we had it. But most of all, she had me at the moment in the story when she is wishing and praying for a baby sister. That was me. True story. I had to text my sister after reading the book (with a photo of the image of the page) to show her that an artist and author finally expressed my childhood feelings of wanting a sister.

And the rest of the story was bang on as well, even though my family never did road trips across the country, the experiences were very similar- except some of them could be interchanged between my brother and sister.

Anyway, this book doesn’t need much, in terms of promotion because I have had girls coming into the library daily to ask about copies of the book. Ms. Telgemeier, you did it again. Another great story! Another happy reader!

The week ahead, I have a couple of classics on my list, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill A Mockingbird, as well as a re-reading of The Book Thief.

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