Thursday, July 24, 2008
I found this very cool letter/picture tool via Sarah, via Two Writing Teachers. What a fun app.
Spell with flickr.
I read Seedfolks a few days ago. It was published during this window from about 1990-2001 when I wasn't such a huge reader of kit lit. I know, I know. I missed a lot of great books during those eleven years. But I read a lot of good adult books during that time and, among other pursuits, I also finished high school and college.
At first I was set to buy 8 copies because it seemed like really rich material, perfect for literature groups next year (which i'm determined to have more often). But...there was a tug of doubt in the back of my mind, a tug full of constantly percolating questions, like, how many kid readers do I know who will actually like this? find it painfully boring? hate it? I never bat 100 when answering these kinds of questions, but just asking them means I don't believe Seedfolks has nearly enough kid appeal. Not only is the plot boring (i believe, for 12-year-olds) and lack any real, dramatic conflict, there also isn't enough sustained character development, and the book is painfully didactic. I liked the feel good "we-can-overcome-stereotypes-and-form-communities" message, but there are lots of other books with similar themes, many of which don't hit you over the head with it AND have enough "kid appeal" to keep my student readers enthusiastic about their reading assignments.
It's such a balancing act: teaching books with content worth investing classroom time and also finding books with the illusive ingredient: kid appeal. But my barometer for finding such books is at least somewhat reliable. Earlier this summer I read more Horrowitz Horror, and I knew these scary stories were oozing kid appeal. So I ordered the original Horrowitz Horror, and the sequel. This afternoon I was eavesdropping on my high-schooler as she very dramatically retold one of these deliciously dark tales to a friend on the phone.