I'm reading What Flowers Remember by Shannon Wiersbitzky

Yesterday, I visited a seventh grade class about four chapters into The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963. I wanted to see how they would respond to The Watsons. Would they laugh at Byron? Situate the book in its historical context? Feel empathy for Joey & Kenny?

Before I could search for answers to my questions,  I noticed the teacher had an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper on her door that said, “I’m reading…” just above a picture of the cover of the book.  Being made aware of the teacher’s personal reading, reminded me that I used to use this blog as a space to write about what I am reading.

So, what am I reading now?

What’s it about?
Delia the protagonist of What Flowers Remember watches as her friend, Old Red, declines. With spunk and ingenuity, she tries to help Old Red hold on to memories, people, and places that seem to be fading away.  The short chapters are organized by the months of the year, spanning about a two-year period. Rural experiences like attending fairs, neighborhood church events, and engaging in horticulture are depicted realistically.

The friendship between Old Red and Delia is representative of cross-generational relationships that my co-author of Young Adult Literature: Exploration, Evaluation and Appreciation (3rd ed.) and I discuss under contemporary realistic fiction. We write, “[For youth], it may be difficult to think about what it is like to be a senior citizen. However, many young adults do form very strong ties to older people, only to realize that, just as there are challenges with growing up, there are challenges with growing old” (p. 138-139). Delia certainly attempts to adjust to a newfound awareness of aging.

The book is calm and quiet. Ever since I read Shannon Hitchcock’s The Ballad of Jessie Pearl, I have been drawn to books that might be packed with conflict, but have a certain tranquility in the tone and mood. Like The Ballad of Jessie Pearl, this one is published by Namelos. Perhaps that is the publisher’s niche: books about the everyday lives of girls in rural areas coupled with an underlining hint of faith.

*The book was sent to me, as books often are, but I was not asked to review it, and I will never be compensated in any way for mentioning it here. Like the teacher I visited yesterday, and most people who read a good book, it’s just natural for me to want to share it with others.