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Ekster, Carol Gordon and Sue Rama’. Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?: A Story of Divorce. Weaverville, CA: Boulden Publishing, 2008.
Carol Gordon Ekster, an award-winning educator, recently retired from teaching. Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? A Story of Divorce, is her first book for children. The story grew out of Carol’s 35 years of watching many fourth grade students muddle through the side effects of joint custody.
Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? opens with an engaging scene of the two brothers waking up, confused about if they are at Mom or Dad’s home. The book is told from the POV of the older fourth grade brother, Mark, and the sentence structure is appropriate for independent readers. The book is probably best for educators and counselors who want to use the book as discussion starter.
For Mark, making sure he has everything organized for school is a problem. This is an issue that will ring true for children regardless of their family situation. It may be helpful for adults to stop reading around page 16 before Mark solves his problem. This would be a good time to talk about Mark’s situation and ask the class for their ideas. Brainstorming possible solutions would keep the students engaged through the book to see if Mark solved the problem the way that they suggested.
As concept books sometime do, this book has its share of didactic moments that come from adult word choice, and telling instead of showing, “I set a goal to be more responsible” (Ekster 8) or “The class has heard all about the importance of making lists and being organized since the first day of school” (Ekster 18). However, Carol also has some nice imagery, “But my lips stay sealed, tighter than a zipped up baggy” (Ekster 10) and, regarding his Mother’s computer limit, “It’s like she has a timer in her brain” (Ekster 13).
The book is published by the educational publishing house Boulden Publishing who chose Sue Rama’ as the illustrator. You may know Sue from her delightful illustrations in Linda Sue Park’s, Yum! Yuk! She also won the Tomie de Paola Award for Illustration from SCBWI. Sue uses what looks like pen and ink, water-soluble crayon, and watercolor to create wonderful textures and flowing gestural line. Spot illustrations extend and reinforce the story.