Pat’s family memoir, House of Houses lends itself to thought-provoking reading group discussions. Here are some questions for exploration:
In what ways is House of Houses like and unlike other memoirs you’ve read?
Why do you think memoirs have become such a popular genre?
Name the person you connected to most in the book and describe the reasons why.
The author asks “Why do certain events become central memories, part of the core life story we create about ourselves?” (page 24) How would you answer?
Spanish words and phrases are used throughout the book. How does this affect your reading and understanding of the memoir?
How is your family like and unlike the Mora family?
Look through family photographs taken before you were born. Choose one and write a page about it. Would you like to share your piece with your reading group? A family member or friend?
The author refers to her childhood home as the “house of houses.” What does she mean? Would you describe your childhood home as your “house of houses”? If not, what three or four words would you use to capture your feelings?
What humorous scene and sad scene most appealed to you? Why?
The family stories in this memoir are organized through different seasons or rhythms–the rhythms of the garden, the church liturgy, the family. What seasons or rhythms would you use to organize your family’s stories?
I hope you enjoyed being with family and friends this summer. My husband and I went to see our granddaughter Bonny in Utah. We sang “Happy Birthday” and enjoyed birthday cake. Yum! My new book, My Magic Wand: Growing with the Seasons is about Bonny.
I write a birthday poem for Bonny too. Do you write a birthday poem or a story or draw a picture for Mom or Dad or an aunt or grandmother or friend? These are special gifts.
Did you read this summer? Did you visit your library? I read every day. Remember: every day is Children’s Day, Book Day. On April 30th, across the country, we celebrate all our children with books and special treats.
Based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant workers who went on to become the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system, this inspirational story suggests what libraries–and education–can make possible.
The Family Involvement Storybook Corner at Harvard University has created a tool kit for Tomás and the Library Lady.
Choose to Read Ohio created a tool kit when they chose Tomás for their 2019-20 booklist.
Watch a video about Pat’s visit to Perkins Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. With the help Des Moines Performing Arts’ Applause Series, each class did a different type of performance based on their experience of reading Tomás.
In January 2019, I began these occasional posts about feeling ALIVE.
My husband Vern, who’s now a retired academic, and I maintained our quiet writing schedule through the pandemic. Family and writing probably helped me stay sane. Thanks to my dear friend Father Murray Bodo, before I go to my desk in the morning, I read for reflection. I ponder. I thank God for my many gifts—family, health, friends, books, ideas. Each of these gifts helps me feel alive. What about you? What helped you working and smiling during the pandemic? I should begin pondering what I learned.