Over the past few years, I've had some students choose The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer as their independent reading book. I've always been impressed with the vocabulary as students read aloud to me and discuss the book during our weekly conferences. With words like "blissful," "Zenlike," "amidst," "precariously," 'deranged," and "luxuriantly" appearing in the first chapter, I figured I should give the book a try. Besides, how could a book which touts the obvious superiority of tea over coffee, be bad?
After reading it, I think it is a fine choice for independent reading. I'm not sure it is literary enough for a classroom text, as I don't see enough opportunities for the deep analysis called for by the Common Core, but there are definite teachable moments. Aside from the challenging vocabulary in context, there are also epigraphs at the start of each chapter. These epigraphs offer opportunities to discuss primary sources and what they reveal about the time period, as well as the chance to make connections between the epigraph and the central idea of the chapter. There are also delightful recipes and tea-service tips, as well as copies of vintage ads for tea.
So... curl up with some scones and your favorite brew, and enjoy!