Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt

I seem to be on a roll with books that have so much potential to use with kids, but are sprinkled with content that is a little out of what I would be comfortable giving to my grade 7 students.
How To Build a House is the story of Harper, an 18 year old whose family life has spun out of control. She has lost all sense of her family and her sense of self-worth. Harper decides to escape all the craziness at home and focus on building a house for a family in Tennessee. She flies to Tennessee expecting to escape in hard work. There she meets a new set of friends while learning a new trade.
Then, she meets Teddy, the son of the family whose house was lost in a tornado. While they learn to work together, Harper must learn to trust herself, her feelings and other people with her feelings.

I love many of the concepts in this book:
1. Running away from life, while at the same time doing something worthwhile.
2. Letting kids explore the world in a safe way.
3. The effects of divorce on a family and the children.

While it bothers me I can't use this book in my class, I have to remember that Harper is 18 and a young woman. Her relationships with the boy back home and Teddy are very real and leave a lasting impression on who she becomes.


  1. Would this be a good book for me Mrs.Mcdonald Jordan

  2. Sorry Jordan- I don't think so. Maybe Jackson- although it is a bit more of a girl book anyway. I've got some good ones for you though- check out the Roland Smith books. They would be good.