I am so excited to have the opportunity to JUST WRITE today! I really want to discuss my emotional connection with each of these books – the three of these books (Wonderstruck and Freedom Summer, especially) have opened my eyes and inspired me. It’s amazing how much you can learn through STORIES!
Who couldn’t love the characters in Wonderstruck? Ben is so hopeful (despite his mother dying, despite being struck by lightning, DESPITE BECOMING DEAF) in finding his father and it is admirable. Rose, also full of hope, has a dream of being an actress despite her being deaf. They both run to New York city in search of fulfilling their hope. Ben makes his travels in 1977, while Rose makes her move in 1927. It is amazing to me how their stories intertwine.
I also love the exposure to New York City and how it has changed from 1927, 1977, and as we know it today. Who doesn’t love New York City? Through Selznick’s illustrations, I felt as though I was in the city with Rose and Ben.
Lastly, I learned a lot about the deaf culture. It’s amazing to me how resilient Rose and Ben are despite their disability. Their dreams are not put to the side simply because they are unable to hear.
Ahh JOE and JOHN HENRY!!! I just love them, the two best friends who both aspire to be FIREMEN! They spend so much time together swimming in the creek, playing marbles, and helping John Henry’s mom…but there are a few things they are unable to do together (because John Henry is not white). They cannot go to the pool together and they cannot go to the general store together to get ice cream pops.
The story threw me through a loop when the boys were not able to swim in the pool together (after the Civil Rights Laws passed), but ended happy when they were able to both go in the general store to buy ice cream pops.
This book holds so much history thanks to it brilliant text and story line as well as the powerful pictures throughout. What a great way to introduce racism to students while also sending a message of friendship and triumph.
Marty McGuire Digs Worms
Marty McGuire Digs Worms is also a story of triumph. This story spoke to me and allowed me to thing about some of my own teaching strategies. I have always (well, in my short two-year teaching career) spent a solid month on Earth Day activities, lessons, books, and more. (I will definitely use this book as a read aloud next year during the Earth Day studies) It is very important to me to teach my students about loving our earth and taking care of it. I try my best to live an earth-friendly lifestyle, and I’d like to convey that to my students if possible. However, through all of our studies during our Earth Day unit, we have NEVER completed a project like Marty and her classmates do! We have always completed graphic organizers, crafts, Earth Day pledges, lists of ways to conserve, etc. Never once have we completed a PROJECT. DOING IS BETTER THAN SEEING! Next year I will certainly read this book to my kiddos and offer the same project and incentives — I think this will make my unit much more memorable. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! 🙂