Monday, March 3, 2014
SOLC2014 #3: It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
On Mondays, throughout the year, I share my reading life through the wonderful blogs, Unleashingreaders.wordpress.com and teachmentortexts.com. Some of the best recommendations come from this blogging scene. I also slice on Tuesdays through twowritingteachers.wordress.com. During March, we slice EVERY day, so, just for March, What Are You Reading doubles up as a Slice of Life!
I wish that I could remember who recommended An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo so that I could send an explicit and resounding thank you. What a wonderful example of how snippets that we hear from history develop into stories and books, weaving imagination and reality. While I could just enjoy this book as a reader, I also admire it as a writer. Michael Morpugo creates a story within a story, offering him the power of reflection and insight from the all-knowing narrator, as well as the comfort of knowing that the narrator survived--there were certainly times when I was a worried reader. I could see this as an incredible read-aloud for upper elementary students, one that would go along with studying history, but also would support the development of empathy and understanding of perspectives.
I owe another shout-out to the blogger who recommended It's All About Me-Ow by Hudson Talbott. What a hilarious example of an informational book for young writers to read and study! The more that we can show our developing writers how to maintain voice, regardless of genre, the better-- and this is an awesome example. Hudson Talbott writes from the point of view of the cat, weaving in timelines, charts, diagrams, facts, and detail, sometimes through anecdotes, sometimes through conversations, sometimes through the character stepping back and telling the readers exactly what they need to know. So, so funny!
My Amazon box also contained Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen, another book some of my favorite bloggers have been talking about. (The theme of this post is that I need to do a better job of keeping track of who I owe thank you's to for recommending great books!) This book is a great mentor text for teaching about character and plot development. Just when you think Violet is clear, there's another setback, and what a clear picture of her Steve Breen creates! Violet is full of quirks that relate to the plot and engaged me as a reader. This is also a great book to get kids talking about, appreciating, and honoring differences in the people around us.