FINALLY! I read some books! We continued with our picture book marathon, but we primarily read chapter books this week.
My older son finds chapter books so much easier to love when they are full of pictures, and Megan McDonald’s Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid features illustrations by one of our favorite illustrators, Peter Reynolds. It has been challenging to find quality series with enough illustrations to keep him engaged (one or two pictures per chapter doesn’t do it for him), so I’m happy that there are many more books about Stink (and then we can start reading the Judy Moody series!).
Kate Messner’s first book about Marty McGuire was funny and engaging. The boys couldn’t wait to see what Marty was going to do with the real live frog she caught for the school play.
We’re also nearly finished with our very first Ivy & Bean book, and I am loving this series–illustrations by Sophie Blackall!
I am beginning to despair of finishing anything like the number of professional development books I wanted to read this summer, but I did read Ralph Fletcher’s new book, Mentor Authors, Mentor Texts, which I’ll review later this week. I think it would be a useful addition to any writing teacher’s classroom.
This is the second book I have read by both artists.
I also finished David Shields’s How Literature Saved My Life. I understand some of the negative reviews I read, but I did really like this book, and I think it’s one that’s going to sit with me for awhile. It’s a difficult book to categorize: it’s a memoir, intellectual autobiography, literary criticism, cultural criticism, and work of philosophy, full of quotations, written in a collage format. I think Shields has some important things to say about why we read and what we hope literature will do, and he also helped me understand why I prefer reading nonfiction and get very bored reading most literary fiction. And a big yes to white space and lots of it.
I found it very interesting that he uses almost exclusively white authors to make his points about the fragmentation of life, the desired fragmentation of literary form, existential angst, ennui, the impossibility of capturing consciousness in traditional literary forms, or at least in the novel. Do you have to be a privileged part of a tradition before you want to dismantle or at least seriously trouble that tradition?