Book 55 of 80
The fifty-fifth book in this reading challenge is First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. The premise of this book is going to sound familiar — a young girl from a privileged family is forced to flee when her city is stormed by troops. She becomes a child soldier; her siblings are forced to go to work camps. I’ve read a few books like this…but this time we’re reading about Cambodia.
And I wanted to read this book because my students read it — several copies have been sitting on my classroom bookshelf for ages. My first year teaching, a young Cambodian boy read this book and ONLY this book the entire year. (Well, he did give a convincing performance as Tybalt in our class version of Romeo and Juliet. If you ever wanted to know how Tybalt’s character would appear in the hands of a giggling fourteen year-old boy…well, I think I can describe it for you.) While Pol Pot’s army invaded Cambodia a generation before his own birth, reading this opened up conversations with his parents about what they remembered from their own childhoods growing up in Cambodia.
Since then, the book has just sat there in my room — read and put back — but ignored by me. Until this challenge, of course.
I will admit, however, that I’m halfway through Mockingjay…so, starting First They Killed My Father has been delayed. (My book arrived yesterday evening!) Yes, it would be unlikely if the book was still unfinished by 8am tomorrow morning. Which is good, I guess. Because then I can read book 55 instead as we start the seven hour drive up to Northern Idaho. In full disclosure: I’ve already been promised hours of Settlers of Catan playing post-wedding on Saturday. And then I’m back to work on Monday. I honestly don’t know how my reading will fare come Monday…the first couple weeks will be slow, I imagine. But I’ll get into a routine soon.
(Ps. I got to meet with our principal yesterday. He told me I could ask him anything. A free question. I probably should have asked about his favorite book. Or maybe I should have thought bigger. Oh well. Instead, I asked him what his favorite board game is and why. He answered Risk. Which prompted a 20 minute Risk strategy conversation. If someone is willing to indulge me in board game dialogue, I’m pretty happy. So, I think it’s gonna be a good year.)