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Sunday, May 13, 2012

WHY THE BOOK SOUNDER STILL HAUNTS ME



I saved my favorite animal book for last. I’m capping off CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK with SOUNDER.
Our 11-year-old Coon-like dog, Lucy, nestled by SOUNDER

William H. Armstrong's heart-wrenching story, set in 19th century Virginia, tells of a poor sharecropper, his family and their coon dog, Sounder. When I first read SOUNDER it stayed with me for days: the cadence of the characters’ dialogue, and the thoughts of the boy. (There are no characters with names, except for Sounder.)

The story is as much about perseverance, acceptance and dignity despite injustice, as it is for fighting to save your family in the best way circumstances allow. For the boy, it’s about finding Sounder--which is his only tangible bond with his father. For the mother, it’s caring for her children instead of herself. Sounder is the glue that binds them, and a beacon for the truth that animals live among us, not beneath us. 

Metaphors in this Newbery novel abound, but every line is so brilliantly heartfelt and haunting, the images of Sounder and his family are indelibly etched in my mind.

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