I’m still looking for a book for this year. I frame the year around stories and storytelling and why we tell stories. I have a bunch already:
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
(here is my hole in the list)
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Inherit the Wind by Lawrence and Lee
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
All of these books pose a problem for the reader that we, as a class, wrestle with.
Here is my burma-shave style tweets in response to a friend and librarian at the Newberry:
tabor330 I like to choose books that are complicated so we can talk about how to read them. If you will excuse a list of tweets,…
Haroun and the Sea of Stories: it’s an allegory! it’s an adventure story. It’s full of (Hindustani) puns!
Inherit the Wind – killer vocabulary, even for an adult in 2009 contemporary society, great look at rhetorical styles
To Kill A Mockingbird: A deceptively difficult narrative structure, lots of inference and indirectly stated relationships
All these books need a community of seventh graders (with my help) to read. It is a rare student that can do it on their own.
The Hobbit: lots of characters, great narrative voice, long boring bit in the middle, (what?) the dragon gets killed by who?
Each book poses a reader problem: tough words, confusing timeline, boring bits, inference. No Hobbit this year. What to add?
So, I’ve been thinking about The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I need to reread it to see what kind of problem it poses to the reader. It’s like Kipling’s The Jungle Book or Burrough’s Tarzan. There is definitely the story tradition here. But is that enough? It’s won an armful of awards (Newbery, Hugo) so I know that they will enjoy it. It’s not a “good for you” book or a lifetime achievement award that so often is the Newbery medal. I really liked it when I read it.
photo by flickr member dweekly