Monday, March 19, 2018

MMGM- The Sky at Our Feet

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Hashimi, Nadia. The Sky at Our Feet
March 6th 2018 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Jason and his mother live in Elkton, where his mother works in a laundry, and the two live in a small but cozy apartment. One day, his mother tells him that while he was born in the US and is an American citizen, she came to the US on a student visa while Jason's father remained, working as a translator for the US military. After he was killed, she struggled to raise him and has never applied for asylum, even though her friend Seema keeps telling her to. Not long after, his mother is picked up by the police at her place of work, and Jason panics. He grabs a back pack and a few granola bars, and starts off for his Aunt Seema's apartment in New York City. The venture does not start off well-- he loses his backpack and later passes out, hitting his head and ending up in the hospital. He pretends to have amnesia, so buys himself a little time. He meets Max, and girl who is vague about why she is in the hospital, and the two decide to break out and get to Seema's. They do manage to get out, and make their way across the city. Max really wants to see the zoo, and the children manage to get in. Max's medical problems catch up with her, however, but she tells Jason to go on without her. He has several adventures of his own and eventually makes it to Seema's. The big question still remains, however; what will happen to his mother, and to him if she is returned to Afghanistan?
Strengths: The issues of Jason's mother's immigration challenges are related in a realistic, sympathetic, and understandable way. Jason's love for his mother and his Afghan culture are very sweet. The adventure in New York City is what will sell this to children, especially since Jason even has a brush with celebrity. This put me in mind of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in the best possible way.
Weaknesses: While I would have adored reading the adventure in this when I was 12, just about every decision that Jason makes appalls me as an adult. I also was alarmed by how little planning Jason's mother had done. As a single parent, it seems that she would have had an emergency plan for Jason even if she hadn't had the additional worry of immigration on her mind.  Also, I would have liked a bit more detail about Jason's every day life before his mother's detainment.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. This is a great mix of adventure and very realistic problems, told from an #ownvoices perspective.

When my daughter was in kindergarten, I actually enlisted a neighbor in a drill for my daughter about what she would do if I collapsed unconscious on the sidewalk during our mile walk to school. No joke. She had to know our emergency contact name and phone number in case she had to knock on a neighbor's door and have them call the squad for me. Perhaps I worried a little TOO much, but clearly Jason's mother could have worried a little more!

I had a lovely week with my younger daughter home from college, and she'll be home again this weekend so we can go to the Weird Al concert! We are super excited for the Ill-Advised Vanity Tour and bought the tickets in August!

I just completed my 1,001st review on Edelweiss! I feel like I should get a tiny reward... you know, like a Jolly Rancher or something.

Things are a little better now, but there are still bludgeoning things happening all too frequently. The latest was a huge water leak at the fantastic Westerville Public Library that supplies me and my students with books. I had one boy I thought would start to cry when he heard the children's collection might not be circulating for a while. At least I have spring break in a week. That's always a good time to rededicate myself to reading, get a little more sleep, and take Sylvie on lots and lots of walks. While I'm reading!
Ms. Yingling


  1. Sorry about that water break-yikes! But glad you've gotten to be with your daughter! The book is certainly timely, but plans for kids in an emergency seem important to me, too. My granddaughters do have a couple of 'go-to' neighbors just in case they need to.

  2. I've heard a lot about The Sky Beneath our Feet- appreciate your thoughtful review. Oh and hooray for spring break reading, everybody!

  3. Whoops. The Sky AT Our Feet. Think I misstated the title...

  4. This one sounds great. I've added it to my growing list of books. Congratulations on your Edelweiss milestone. I'm sure Weird Al is the only reward you need.

  5. The Sky at Our Feet sounds like an important and relevant book.
    I cringe regularly at the choices people make in books and in real life, but sometimes wonder if it's because I am just getting too old for all the drama. On the other hand, because I'm reading more #ownvoices, I'm also becoming more aware of the ramifications of knowing the world in different ways.

  6. The Sky at Our Feet is definitely a book that could be both a mirror or window for students. Thanks for sharing your review.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about the Westerville library! But terribly excited to hear about the Weird Al concert!

  8. I do not have any Jolly Ranchers handy, but I can offer congratulations on your Edelweiss milestone!

  9. The Sky at Our Feet does sound like a fun adventure.

  10. The Sky at Our Feet sounds very good! And I completely understand the concerns about not having a child prepared. I wasn't even in Kindergarten before my parents taught me how to call the emergency hot line for help. I remember my mother teaching me our street address to relay to the police. Anyway, this sounds like a great book that I need to get my hands on. Thank you for sharing!

  11. I'm looking forward to some reading time over Spring Break too. It seems like mine is always full of interruptions so I'm ready for a bit longer stretch of time!
    I have this book, but it hasn't made it's way to the top of the pile yet. You have me intrigued!

  12. The Sky At Our Feet sounds like a very timely story, especially in light of what is going on in the world. It's the first I am hearing of Edelweiss, I shall check it out.