I'm sure many of you have seen this clip of B.J. Novak reading his book, The Book With No Pictures.
Ever since I purchased this book my house has been filled with the sounds of "boo boo butt", "blurf!", "grumph!" and "blueberry pizza head", punctuated by uncontrollable fits of giggles. The Book With No Pictures is pure, unadulterated fun, mainly for kids under the age of 8. Just look at the smiles on the faces of the kids in the video. It doesn't get much better than that! Get out your most theatrical voice and be prepared for a lot of laughter! Got some older kids who need fluency practice? Challenge them to read this book with expression; guaranteed they will laugh too!
Jumping from early primary up in to the intermediate grades, I finally finished Out of My Mind (Sharon M. Draper). I wanted to write about it again because, well, I finished it and I'm not sure I felt as passionately about it as so many of the reviews I had read before. The subject matter was fascinating - the idea that a very intelligent person could be trapped in a body that prevents them from sharing their intelligence really makes you stop and think about some of the kiddos we come across. Are we underestimating them? If they could communicate, what would they say? How can we provide them with opportunities to show what they know? Definitely transformative thoughts to be had there.
At the same time, I just didn't really love the book. I found many of the terms used to be quite dated ("way cool", "that's what's up"), which made the book feel a bit stilted. I also think that many of my students would have trouble connecting to the students in this book; in many ways it felt like an adult's interpretation of how kids behave and what they say. Finally, the climax (which I won't spoil for you) felt forced; possible, yes, but not very likely. All in all, I loved the concept of this book and think it could spark some very interesting discussions; ultimately, however, it fell a bit flat for me.
Continuing on in the intermediate vein, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen was another one that I finally finished this week. Much older than Out of My Mind, it didn't feel nearly as dated. The mystery was very well played out and the storylines came together in a really fun way. Definitely worth the read, with some great themes - environmental issues, development and being the new kid. Be on the look out for the 2006 movie of the same name to share with your students.
Two final book-related (but not actual book) items that I wanted to share with you: 1) a beautiful list of quotes pulled from classic children's literature that popped up on my Facebook feed this weekend and 2) a list of book recommendations for holiday gift-giving from Momastery (she's got other gift items on there too, I just love that she polled her family for book suggestions!). Enjoy!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about literacy, collaborative teaching and finding new and innovative ways to engage & motivate all kids. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!