“Read as much as you possibly can. Nothing will help you as much as reading.”
“There’s no formula.”
This is a wonderful post on books!
spent a few beautiful afternoon hours
at the kerrytown bookfest
in the ann arbor farmers market
on this day
i found all kinds of wonders
new and used books
loved the gunslingers section
illustrators proud of their work
fellow book loving shoppers
passionate authors of all kinds
so many, many words
“reading is an exercise in empathy;
an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.”
This is another wonderful post by a truly gifted teacher!
Book Bears started yesterday. It’s my library reading group, mostly second graders. Yesterday we met each other and shared our favorite summer read. ‘Meet and Greet’, with books. Some children were nervous. Some were outgoing. I could see a wide disparity with their books, from Harry Potter, to Frog and Toad, to an American Girl Doll book. A typical gathering of children. Thirty minutes later, we were bonded at the hip, BFFs. This is what happened:
I greeted every child, making sure I said something important to each one; Haley and I had the same earrings, Jonah went to sleep-over camp this summer, and so on. Then I passed out the snack, walking around the table to every child. My conversation went something like this:
“I love books. This is so cool to share our favorite books. But I have to tell you something. When I was your age” .. pause
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This is a wonderful quotation from Stephen King!
One of the reasons that I love to read, in addition to experiencing other worlds, walking in the path of other characters, learning about the world around us, and escaping from reality for a short time, is to enjoy the beauty of words. Some writers are able to elevate their writing to a level of poetry and beauty that is exhilarating and joyful to read.
One writer, whose use of words, reaches poetic levels is Ray Bradbury. He is a writer not easily confined to one genre and whose work is defined by love of story. I have taught his work in several college classes in both Muhlenberg College and Lehigh University, and his writing has been an influence on me as a novelist.
I will offer two passages from his brilliant novel Dandelion Wine, a BildungsRoman or coming-of-age story, set in late 1920s in Green Town, Illinois. These passages are from the perspective of a boy who is beginning to see possibilities in life, both the external world and in himself.
The first passage is the opening of the novel:
It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.
Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing
of the world was long and warm and slow. You only had to rise, lean from your
window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living,
this was the first morning of summer.
Douglas Spaulding, twelve, freshly wakened, let summer idle him on its
early-morning stream. Lying in his third-story cupola bedroom, he felt the tall
power it gave him, riding high in the June wind, the grandest tower in town. At
night, when the trees washed together, he flashed his gaze like a beacon from
this lighthouse in all directions over swarming seas of elm and oak and maple.
Now . . . (1)
That is an extraordinary opening to a novel. It pulls the reader into the story with a seemingly simplistic prose, but within that simplicity is beauty and the poetry of the world being seen through young eyes.
Another passage shows Douglas at night time:
Douglas sprawled back on the dry porch planks, completely contented
and reassured by these voices, which would speak on through eternity, flow
in a stream of murmurings over his body, over his closed eyelids, into his
drowsy ears, for all time. The rocking chairs sounded like crickets, the crickets
sounded like rocking chairs, and the moss-covered rain barrel by the
dining-room window produced another generation of mosquitoes to provide
a topic of conversation through endless summers ahead. (33)
Both excerpts, in my view, are beautiful, compelling, and poetic. All writers should read and study Ray Bradbury.
Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. New York. Avon Books. 1999.
This is another wonderful blog by Jennie.
How do we deal with 9/11? How do we honor and respect those who risked their lives? How do we face a tragedy, and find goodness and strength? Most importantly, how do we do this with young children?
The tragic events of 9/11 unfolded, and our country was united in brotherhood. America had scores of heroes, and we helped one another with selfless acts of kindness. Since then, my school has celebrated “Kindness, Peace, and Love Day” every September. We come together to meet and honor heroes. We talk about the hero in all of us, and the kindness in all of us.
Last year Police Officer Rachel and Firefighter Lindsay joined us. They told the children how helping one another and being kind makes them a hero. They shook hands with each and every child. We thanked them for all they do.
Imagine being a child on a playground with…
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Please take a look at K.D. Dowdall’s wonderful book, Delphi Altair Strange Beginnings.
On the day of her mother’s funeral, Megan Donnelly found a mysterious package, wrapped in faded brown paper and twine, on her dresser. She had no idea where it came from or how it got there. Somehow, despite her grief, the bundle of faded brown paper and twine seemed to have a strange power over her, as if she were spellbound. Megan was about to reach for it when her cell phone rang, startling her. She reached over to her bedside table and saw it was the geeky boy who lived in the house next door.
“Hello, Jake,” answered Megan. Megan was willing to talk to anybody, even Jake Peterson.
“I’m sorry about your mom, Megan. I really am. Is there anything I can do – like help you with your homework or something? Anyway, I was just wondering if you wanted to catch-up on…
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