Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Slice of Life: Picture Books and Powerful Essays

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 



Yesterday at a PD session our presenter mentioned the beautiful essay that Matt de la Peña wrote in Time Magazine, Why We Shouldn't Shield Children From Darkness, and Kate DiCamillo's equally beautiful response to Matt, Why Books Should Be a Little Sad.  Today, one of my colleagues mentioned these essays in a completely separate conversation, and truth be told, I already had tweeted and shared them with several people. Some essays are so important they just keep coming up.

If you have missed these essays, go read them instead of the rest of my post. Really. At least just one of them. Matt and Kate are much more worth reading than I am.

I had pre-ordered Love, so I'd already read it before Matt wrote about the debate with his publisher about one of the illustrations. In Loren Long's illustration, a little boy is huddled under a piano and an empty cocktail glass. When I first read the book, I didn't notice the glass. My focus was on the words and the language--the poetry within the text.

I'm not sure that I can make this comparison as powerfully as I want to because I recently loaned my copy of Baby by Patricia MacLachlan to someone so I can't quote the exact passage that opens the first chapter, but bear with me. Papa tap dances after his first cocktail that makes him happy. He stops after his second cocktail that makes him sad. I'm not sure how different Papa's mood change in a middle grade novel is from the empty glass in a picture book is, and what I think is more important is that if a child notices either one of those details, then maybe that child needs to notice those details. Maybe that child is the one who needs to talk about something, and it's those details that provide the opening.

Thanks to this community,






6 comments:

  1. I have read and reread these essays, and I'm sure I will read them many more times. I couldn't agree with you more when you wrote: if a child notices either one of those details, then maybe that child needs to notice those details. So brilliantly important.

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  2. We have been having an ongoing conversation within our teaching community about the presence of alcohol in books. Some of my colleagues won’t read aloud a book wi5 drinking.

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  3. I had missed these essays. Thank you so much for sharing them here. Such a powerful point--the child who notices is the child who needs to notice. Much to think about here.

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  4. Thanks for share these important valuable thoughts in Essays with us. Such a good point you focused in all of this post. I agree with you if a child notices either one of those details, then maybe that child needs to notice those details. Maybe that child is the one who needs to talk about something. I read many free eBooks in PDF but this essay is top all of them.

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