Friday, November 16, 2007

current reads #3

Confession - I gave up The Book Thief at page 130. I've learned to swear in German.

New read - Story Time by Edward Bloor (who wrote Tangerine, both young adult novels). I like the "mother/daughter conflict" better than the "mystery magnet school satire of standardized/high stakes testing". The characters are interesting - precocious 13 year old Kate who's smart and smart-mouthed, Kate's timid mother, Kate's 11 year old freaky genius uncle George, Kate's clogging grandparents who live next door in a side-by-side double (yes, I said clogging). Kate and George are both accepted into a special magnet school recognized for superior standardized test scores. Already the subject of testing wears me out, even though it drew me to the book in the first place, even in a purported satire.

7 comments:

bygpowis said...

if you teach black boys, question:
what books (modern literature) recommended for young black boys in middle school to read that are engaging b/c their psychological reality's reflected?

conducting a teacher survey.

roller coaster teacher said...

Young adult novels and poetry written by Jacqueline Woodson and Walter Dean Meyers.

bygpowis said...

thanks for visiting. i have written a memoir manuscript. realize most yong folks have no time to read so i posted images with my words on youtube
http://youtube.com/profile?user=bygINCpresents. take a look if you have time.

my question really is: is there someone with the cache of baldwin or wright writing to young, black boys?

roller coaster teacher said...

Do you think the 12 year olds of today - urban, suburban, black, white, or otherwise - GET Baldwin or Wright? How old were you when you were hooked? 12 year olds see as far as the reach of their arms. Hence, young adult contemporary realistic fiction is fantastic. I'm totally serious - I've read Woodson (such as "Miracle's Boys") and Myers (such as "Monster") - try it. You tell me if they compare.

Thanks for asking the questions, btw. Rarely am I engaged in "multicultural" literature discussions these days.

jenamoured said...

I find that the black boys in my classes are most interested in reading my graphic novels-- superhero crap, calvin and hobbes, really whatever. i don't think it's that they are 'young black boys'; i think it's that they are young boys.

i read somewhere once that there is no true 'black experience' and that the black experience is individual to every person, just how the human experience is individual with every person.

what really matters is that they find a character they can identify with, and that they get into the reading, black or not. (when reading Holes, my students drew and pictured Stanley as a black kid, even though he is a white kid in the novel-- this shows they identified with him, regardless of skin color.)

i don't mean to say we shouldn't be taking measures to expose the kids to black literature. i do mean that we should be taking the same measures to expose them to any literature, and to literature they can identify with.

skin color isn't really token and it's not going to get them automatically interested in something.

i'm more and more concerned about having my young black american students read texts where people are respecting themselves-- and i'm really seeking that for all my students.

rct-- hope all is well with your dadinlaw. sorry i hijacked for a minute there.

roller coaster teacher said...

Adolescents need literature in which they see themselves, such as their personalities, struggles, interests, experiences, etc. I know that's what you're saying, Jen. At the age level where I teach, I use whatever hook I can, keeping it kosher, appropriate, etc. Differentiated instruction is a fancy term for this approach.

My father-in-law gets surgery tomorrow for the operable brain tumor. God willing, he gets radiation for the inoperable brain tumor next week. And we celebrate Thanksgiving in between...

Jen, how are you doing with Thanksgiving/holidays coming up?

jenamoured said...

i'm making it but it's very hard. the grief gets overwhelming sometimes.

i'll be sending positive vibes your way in hopes that they reach your father-in-law.