Ladder this one up with Pablo Neruda's BOOK OF QUESTIONS. . .invite students to create a series of questions of their own to which they may already kn...moreLadder this one up with Pablo Neruda's BOOK OF QUESTIONS. . .invite students to create a series of questions of their own to which they may already know the answer or to foster a sense of inquiry. Pfister's book might work well with Jeff Anderson's approach to Classical Invention (modeling of questions to arrive at possible solutions or invitations to write).(less)
Jesse Andrews's name and this particular title have come up in two separate conversations or interactions this week. This means that...moreApril 13th, 2012:
Jesse Andrews's name and this particular title have come up in two separate conversations or interactions this week. This means that the book is on the reading radar and the two people I was talking to this week know books. They know titles.
I want to share what I had to say about ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL.
I very cheekishly said that I thought Jesse Andrews had created the antithesis to John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I want to keep this with thought for must a moment. It is. To be funny. And to provide an in-road to a deeper conversation about books, readers, and choice.
The characters in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS were dealing with a difficult subject painfully familiar to so many. It is raw. It is tender. It is poignant. It is memorable and discussion ready. The characters are deep thinkers, most cerebral in their thinking processes and communications. They enjoy the deeper cultural elements. There are readers for Green's book as much as there are readers for WHY WE BROKE UP, WINTER TOWN, and other thoughtful books from the past couple of years.
Now. Let me tell you about the lovable knucklheads I have in one of my reading communities. Faced with the notion that someone relatively close--but not related--was dying and some of these fellows would go right back to watching FAMILY GUY or ANNOYING ORANGE videos. And if pressed to communicate their inward feelings, what you might get in the room would be different than what might be expressed around the corner as these guys talk amongst themselves.
Snark is a language teens speak and they speak it well. We deal with this almost every day in Room 407. Show a sentimental video clip in class and someone will have a comment. It's how some of these kids process. And it should be a guage for how we select classroom reading and how we do reader advisory in the classroom.
No wonder Greg and Earl talk the way they do in Andrews's book. No wonder they cannot be bothered to put down their FLIP cameras long enough to process mortality and its related issues.
I believe there is an audience of this book. I am one. I have one friend in the building with whom I can share a short section of plan period to talk about 80's toys and games or to share a YouTube video that WE find funny (sometimes for reasons we cannot explain). Our kids are like this too. You know them. You want them to be more without realizing--right now--they are probably enough and know things in ways and means that we do not know them.
I have had five people read this book since its release. One reader did not want to wait and he went out and bought his own copy after our SKYPE interaction with Jesse back in early March. If I could have predicted the readers who would seek out this book, I would have been six for six. And I know six more who are ready readers for a book like ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL.
My end point is this. I love ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL. Is it the best book to present on the subject of "death and dying?" Is it the best title to present on the subject of "familial relationships and socioeconomics?" I don't know.
Would I "ladder" this book with TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE? Yes. With THE FAULT IN OUR STARS? Yes. With Walter Dean Myers's MONSTER? Yes.
Would I select this title as a whole-class novel? No.
But this is because I know my readers as a group. And as individuals.
Would I recommend this book without reservation based upon what I know about my readers?
C. R. Mudgeon's predictable--yet comfortable--life is disrupted when a new neighbor introduces elements of change in an otherwise stable, expected wor...moreC. R. Mudgeon's predictable--yet comfortable--life is disrupted when a new neighbor introduces elements of change in an otherwise stable, expected world.
For older readers, this book would serve well as an introduction to THE PORTABLE CURMUDGEON series.(less)
The best part of adding this book today? That I got to hear Kelly DiPucchio read this aloud in her session at the Michigan Reading Association confere...moreThe best part of adding this book today? That I got to hear Kelly DiPucchio read this aloud in her session at the Michigan Reading Association conference. This counts, right? (wink)(less)
One part of my Personal Day today: Listening to Nikki Grimes reading BARACK OBAMA: SON OF PROMISE, CHILD OF HOPE. Nikki's gentle voice brings to life...moreOne part of my Personal Day today: Listening to Nikki Grimes reading BARACK OBAMA: SON OF PROMISE, CHILD OF HOPE. Nikki's gentle voice brings to life the story of David, a young boy from the tenements, whose mother recounts for him a story of hope that comes, hope that sustains, and hope that delivers. Based upon President Obama's book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER creates a nice "ladder" between the two books. Add to these OF THEE I SING and you'd have a nice journey message of hope. Grimes's title is beautifully re-packaged by Simon & Schuster with a CD of Nikki's reading if you've not seen this picture book before. Yes. This was a very nice way to spend part of this day.(less)
I don't know about the story except for this one is really bent on a sense of nostalgia. The illustrations really pull the whole thing together for me...moreI don't know about the story except for this one is really bent on a sense of nostalgia. The illustrations really pull the whole thing together for me. I would ladder this one up with Rocca's MOONPOWDER. (less)
I remember reading Marty McGuire in my Disney hotel room in November of 2010 (and hardly being able to stand not coming right out to say how much I lo...moreI remember reading Marty McGuire in my Disney hotel room in November of 2010 (and hardly being able to stand not coming right out to say how much I loved that book because it was a May release). Upon returning home from the Michigan Reading Association conference yesterday, I found an envelope from Scholastic. Scholastic hardly ever sends Mr. Hankins materials or titles, so I knew. . .I just knew. . .this had to be from someone I knew that had a Scholastic title forthcoming. And I was right.
And I can say really nice things about this book--right now--because it releases in April (in fact, I just saw the title in Maddie's spring Scholastic Book Order form. Guess who is putting an extra little check mark on that order form friends).
Just like the first book, we have this charming third-grader, Marty. So endearing. This is the kind of character and the kind of chapter book you want your younger readers carrying home from school for their independent reading. Inquisitive and always ready for an adventure, Marty is the kind of youthful heroine we can all celebrate without any reservation (well, except for the improper use of a food processor and the unintentional mutilation of vintage paper dolls, but you'll have to read the book to get to these. . .).
In MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS we find Marty at school where an assembly hosted by The Frog Lady and an invitation to come up with an idea that will make the earth a better place sets Marty and her classmates (Veronica Grace and others from the first book are back) up for a new experience that will challenge the way they think about their world and their contributions to make it a better place.
When Marty's grandmother shows Marty her worm bin, this becomes Marty's project for the contest. But it's not all dirt and fun. Marty learns through trial and error to care for her worms and how to take charge of her own project (some misunderstandings with classmates prompt important discussions about honoring each others' projects and the subtleties that come along with each).
Here's what I like about MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS:
*We have a main character who draws upon her learning--even during play with friends.
*We see an invitation to learn through new experiences.
*We see real-world learning in the classroom.
*We see an innovative lead learner who's not afraid of a little "messy productivity."
*We see mentors/roll models from various stations within the school (custodian, lunch ladies).
*We see scientific inquiry and problem solving.
*We see a celebration of individual contributions through the various projects and approaches.
We see Marty writing in her journal, reflecting upon the different stages of her project. Many will recognize Kate Messner's professional text, REAL REVISION, and right here--in MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS--we see a main character making journal entries, questioning their length and depth (and sometimes focus). We see some growth, not only within the worm bin, but in the writing that Marty does to capture the experience on paper.
Of course, Brian Floca's illustrations throughout really bring the whole book together. What was a really, really nice book in Marty McGuire is now a really nice start to a set with MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS (and who can resist the wordplay in the title here?).
A nice book to share with colleagues and with my own daughter, Maddie. Kate Messner has the potential to create a new classic here with natural ladders to SEEDFOLKS with this new title.
One cannot help to celebrate and to share when a new book releases that models youth, innovative learning communities, citizenship, and environmental responsibility. So, I am celebrating another Kate Messner title. You just want really good things to happen for authors like Kate. Because she gives from her heart a character like Marty.(less)