I know you’ll be shocked to hear me say this, but we will not speak of the films here. I am not a fan of books made into movies. I will not tire you with my various rants (way to take away all of Ginny’s awesomeness, movie people) or go on a teacher tirade (nothing’s better than a series that inspires struggling readers). We will merely discuss the BOOKS.
Last year, Gina introduced me to Andrew Clements with her review of Frindle. I read it to my kids and we were hooked…but unfortunately, we found it hard to find the right follow up from Mr. Clements.
I found Room One and Extra Credit on the library shelves,but for some unknown reason, my girls refused to check them out. We tried Lunch Money, but gave up three or four chapters into it. It was too practical. In fact, it felt as if it were written specifically for teachers to use in math class.
Note: Gina completely disagrees! Loves this book! Thinks it’s delightful!
We tackled A Wrinkle in Time and a couple of Jerry Spinelli books instead.
It took months before we were ready to give another Clements book a go. Something about this one caught my eye, however. It has occasional entertaining illustrations. It is smart and funny. The type is generously-sized, and the chapters are short.
Seeing as I can’t grow a mustache this month (c.f. Movember), I’d like to focus on writing instead. November’s actually the easiest month of the year to do so.
Writing is often a solitary activity, and left to my own devices, I am easily mesmerized by videos of adorable animals frolicking, or meatheads having staple gun fights. Any time outside of teaching, parenting, and editing would be easily devoured by YouTube and Iron Chef.
Consequently, I am a huge fan of writing groups, writing classes, National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo), National Blog Posting Month, and all of those organized writing extravaganzas. I thrive with structure and community, deadlines and systems of accountability. I like having someone looking over my shoulder–not annoying people, mind you, but the delightful, word-loving types.
The year I did NaNoWriMo was crazy and fabulous, with pep talks from Jonathan Franzen rolling into my inbox, videos to entertain and encourage me, forums, essays, and write-ins at local coffee shops. It was all designed help build and maintain my momentum, and I loved it. I wrote more that month than ever before or since. Some of it’s a load of crap, but nestled in there are nuggets I never would have created watching Maru.
It just doesn’t seem right to love books and to love Halloween and not post about Halloween books on Halloween. I realize nothing can top Beret’s Ghost Cake with Flaming Eyes, but as I spent much of today thinking lovingly of the picture books I proudly displayed in my classroom library each October, I thought, why not share? All contain little to no nightmare-inducing possibilities and are just as delightful for adults as for kiddos. Continue reading “Gina’s Favorite Halloween Reads”
Remember A Wrinkle in Time? I mean, what a great book.
Many elementary teachers still trot this out for book club or circle reading (I sure did), so your young person might be familiar already. How I loved (and still love) misfit Meg, with her temper and her glasses and her grim determination.
A couple of years ago, I received an unusual text.
“GO GET THE CANDYMAKERS AND READ IT ALOUD TO YOUR KIDS,” it advised.
It seemed rather urgent, so though the book wasn’t yet out in paperback–and weighed in at a hefty 453 pages–I “Amazon-ed” that thing and got started immediately.
Now comes the hard part: explaining why you should get the book, too.
Unlike my friend Gina, I’m not one of those people who regularly seeks out new youth literature. I’ve been burned too many times by inane codswallop like the Rainbow Magic Fairy books. If I could remember who introduced them to my kids, I might even unfriend them, since over the course of the following ten months, I was forced to read at least 42 of those. Continue reading “All hail Wendy Mass”