This is a blog for talking about great children’s books. All reviews posted are my own views about books I have read and enjoyed. Many of these books I have used in the classroom.
I have been teaching for more than 20 years, and children’s literature is my passion. Too often, I see great books bypassed for the classroom, because teachers are busy people, and they just do not have the time to read everything. Book lists for classrooms need to be kept fresh and current. That doesn’t mean we need to race to the latest in popular literature. Very few of the books I review will have vampires, zombies or even a series attached to them. Kids will find those books on their own.
I have two sons, neither of whom are voracious readers. One has the view that if its not true – what’s the point? And yet two of his favourite books are ‘Swallows and Amazons’ – by Arthur Ransome, and ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ – by John Marsden. At the moment he is reading something scientific – and that’s great, after all he won the physic prize in year 12, so I can’t complain. My younger son is 14, and like Charlie Joe Jackson, is an avid avoider of books, unless you count ‘Bud, Not Buddy’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘That Was Then, This is Now’ as books that he loves.
Since I have sons, and since some of the most successful book avoiders I have taught are boys, I make no apology for there being a boy focus in my listings – but I do hope there is something there for everyone to enjoy.
It’s up to the adults around kids to find them books of quality – something timeless and yet resonating with their own lives. Some people might regards ‘good books’ as difficult, or boring. In my opinion, there is nothing more boring or difficult to read than a book which is poorly written, or formulaic to the point of yawn drawing dullness.
Just as young musicians must have quality instruments to be able to hear the tone quality, sports gear that helps not hinders, and access to opportunities to wonder and think about their place in the world, they must have access to great literature to learn to love reading – especially those reluctant readers…after all, they may only read a few books in their lives…we might as well make them good ones.
Good reading everyone!