Children love stories. Stories serve as a great source of both entertainment and education to kids. However, it is generally known that compared to that of the adults, the literary taste of children is more difficult to please and satisfy. In order for a story to be well-received by the young audience, it should be good. But what makes a children’s story good exactly?
"A person’s freedom of learning is part of his freedom of thought, even more basic than his freedom of speech. If we take from someone his right to decide what he will be curious about, we destroy his freedom of thought. We say, in effect, you must think not about what interests and concerns you but about what interests and concerns us.” John Holt
I have been a fan of Gary D. Schmidt for a long time. My first introduction to him as an author was during my YA Literature class in college when we read his novel, “Okay for Now.” These books are written with young adults in mind, but I find that a lot of the topics that are addressed in Schmidt’s work are very adult in nature: war, racism, mental health, death, and teen parenthood just to name a few.
In his literacy narrative, Lives on the Boundary, Michael Rose writes on the inadequacies that the American Education system has when dealing with students from vastly different backgrounds. This idea has been incorporated, not only to the localities of the public schools or higher education institutions, but also on the political landscape that is currently happening in the United States. In many cases, such as Khasru’s case in Alex Moore’s Khasru's English Lesson: Ethnocentricity and Response to Student Writing and the Mexican immigrant’s case that Josh Cuevas focuses on in his article Hispanic Acculturation in the U.S.: Examining the Relationship between Americans' Ethnocentricity and Education, the political landscape that American politicians and its citizens create, profoundly influence the views that educators in America have against students who develop from different backgrounds. Rose observes many educators judging students due to their preconceptions, the political landscape of America and American values:
I came across this book while preparing a thematic unit on survival for my students, and I thought that it seamlessly coincided with the conversation currently happening throughout the country. Survival takes on many different shapes and forms, as my students will learn, but this particular tale of survival shows just how closely we are connected to one another, and--whether you want to call it fate, chance, or even luck--how the smallest slivers of choice and opportunity have to power to drastically alter every aspect of the human condition.
Without a doubt in my mind, I feel as though I have finally found the answer to the question that seems to befall every book lover: who is your favorite author? I have always struggled with this question because I have always enjoyed such a variety of authors and genres, but I have finally figured it out--Andrew Smith. Andrew Smith has woven his way into my heart, and he has taken on the title of my favorite author.
Those that know me, know that I love to read. It’s one of my favourite hobbies and it’s what’s inspired my love of storytelling, journaling and creative writing. I have over 300 (maybe even more) in books in just my bedroom alone and I never appear to have enough. Although, one could argue that it’s never possible for one to have enough books. Without further ado, here is a list of books that have been published this past decade that have left a footprint on my heart or have challenged my way of thinking. Sometimes both
Arthur Schlesinger, a historian who taught at Harvard University, once commented that when writing history, “objectivity is not neutrality.” One could argue that this is the case with Daniel Walker Howe and the book What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America—1815-1848.
REVIEW: This Is How It Always Is by Laurel Frankel
La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, penned by Francis Parkman, Jr. was originally published in 1869. There is an art to crafting a compelling narrative readers want to digest not only with their eyes, but also their minds. This is equally true for historically accurate works as it is for works of historical fiction. There is little doubt, when reading Parkman, Jr.’s writing, there was a mind at work when penning La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West.
It is rather difficult to find suitably diverse books to include in a classroom collection. Many common children’s books are written from a western, Anglo-American point of view. How do we include more diversity into the classroom with this limited variety of resources? How do we encourage more multicultural stories for the future? Like we have talked about in class, providing opportunities for all children to express themselves, tell stories, and facilitate their talents will have a large impact on them as adults in the workforce. When they feel represented in the classroom literature, it shows them that all perspectives are important. Children who are encouraged to read and write freely may feel compelled to write their own books featuring their unique cultural experiences.
On September 17, 1954, the British publishing company Faber and Faber Limited published Lord of the Flies, by English author William Golding. It did not sell well in its early years, but later went on to become a popular novel. Lord of the Flies has been challenged and banned by many different groups and people throughout the years. Certain school districts in states such as Texas, Arizona, and Florida have banned the book because of claims that the book has racism, sex, violence, obscene language, and statements that insult God, women, and minorities throughout it.