Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech is our read aloud for the last few months of the school year. Aside from being an incredibly captivating story with beautiful writing, it also fits perfectly with our curriculum as we are studying storytelling (and Sal, the main character, is telling a story) and American Indian studies (Sal has Indigenous ancestors and visits sacred Native sites). We also study Health & Wellness so the budding young romance is perfect for our class to experience as well. There are also many other relevant and significant issues skillfully woven into this story (mental illness and the related stigma, family dynamics, and gender equality, to name a few).
We have a bin full of books by Sharon Creech that we only bring out of the closet (with a lot of fanfare) when we start reading Walk Two Moons. Soon, the books are fought over (especially Absolutely Normal Chaos as it features a character from Walk Two Moons) and students are excitedly announcing book “shout outs” with lots of reminders from their classmates that spoilers are not allowed!
We use Walk Two Moons as a mentor text during Writing instruction, finding examples of how Sharon Creech communicates context without explicitly saying where, when something is taking place. We also find a lot of meaning, action, and character development and dialogue.
It is also a wonderful read aloud with lots of emotions! We felt happy, sad, cried, laughed, and more as we read it together. Many chapters end in cliff hangers, and students have ample opportunities to make predictions, connections, find meaning and theme and more. It’s also a reminder that not all stories have happy endings and events don’t always work out perfectly, and that’s life. But life is also beautiful, unexpected, and hilarious as well.
We always say we don’t have time to do a chapter book read aloud, but somehow we always find the time because reading aloud and experiencing a book together is so powerful. Even our reluctant readers would get excited when it was time for read aloud, and beg us to keep reading even if we were running out of time. We finished the book on the last day of school, which felt appropriately final and anticipatory. Many of us were teary after a sad part (teachers included, to the delight and amazement of our students), and some students had questions about what happened next (to which we replied, what do you think?), but it was best described by one of our students, who said (with a huge smile), “That was so good! And sad. But so good!”