Reading Response 2: How Main Characters Drive Plot Points
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
In Sugar we follow a 10 year old girl of the same name in 1870 Louisiana while she works on a sugarcane plantation. Since the story is written in the first person, one gets a deep insight into her wants. Sugar wants nothing more than to not live at River Road anymore. She dreams of adventure and of a really free life up North. Sugar drives the plot as any 10 year old kid, she wants to play! Her choice of friends causes problems since he’s the plantation owners son, but she doesn’t care until she sees that is causes problems for others. No matter what Sugar wants, she’s not going to get it at the expense of the people who care for her. Sugar sees the world differently than the adults around her and wants them to see as well. She wants to make friends with everyone including the new Chinese workers and does. The plot weaves around Sugar’s life as she remembers her lost mother, and her father who had been sold before the end of slavery. The reader grows with Sugar as she learns that just because grown-ups say something is wrong doesn’t mean that is actually is. She shows the reader as well as the other characters in the book that learning and growing as a person is important. Sugar pushes through every boundary, and she keeps pushing all the way North.
written by Charlotte Moundlic illustrated by Olivier Tallec
The main character in The Scar is a young boy who has just lost his mother. This book takes us through his actions and emotions as he learns to deal with the stress of losing a parent. We can’t help, but feel everything that the boy is feeling, the anger at his mother for leaving him and his father alone, the sadness that she’ll never return and the longing for the past. We are also taken on another journey with the child, the journey of healing. The boy is starting to forget, smells, looks, and sounds of his mother. He gets hurt one day and hears the voice of his mother, as long as he can keep the scab open, he’ll hear her. The scar is a reminder of his mother’s love and warmth, as it heals so does the boy. Though still scared of losing his mother, his grandmother tells him that his mother will always be in his heart. This reminds both boy and reader that one never completely loses anyone and the boy and the reader learn that pain and remembering a lost one do not have to walk hand in hand forever.
Private and Confidential A Story About Braille
written by Marion Ripley illustrated by Colin Backhouse
Laura doesn’t seem to lead her story so much as ask for help around every corner. Laura wants very badly to get a letter in the mail and luckily her teacher has just set up a pen pal program with a school in Australia. What I do love about this book is that it shows the simple joy we rarely get anymore, receiving a letter in the mail. It’s almost magical, having to wait so long to get the letter and then writing back and waiting again. Laura’s pen pal, Malcolm, is almost completely blind and becomes unable to write to Laura, but she won’t give up that easily. Laura does lead her plot, in a way. She is unwilling to let a thing like blindness get in the way of writing to her friend and by asking for help instead of giving up, she shows the reader that maybe we could all do a little more.