Today I am following the prompt in the Thirty Day Writing Challange. My favorite books as a child.... hmmmm. These are the ones I can remember that my Mom read to me. They are probably actually my Mom's favorites, but they are mine by default. Dandelion. The story about the common lion who tries to be someone he's not and it just doesn't work out, his friends don't recognize him and even laugh at him. Then there's the story of Petunia, about a duck who is always finding trouble. Those are a couple that I remember and I have my copy of Dandelion. I read it to my kids and sometimes I read it at school. There are definite character building lessons in that book! As an adult, my favorite children's books include: Chrysanthemum; Is Your Mama a Llama?; and the Laura Numeroff books, such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie or If You Give a Moose a Muffin. If you've read these books, you know they are delightful. I loved reading all sorts of books to my babies. Lots of books that say I love you in one form or another. We read Guess How Much I Love You often when my now *adult* daughter was little (she turns 18 today~ yippee/yikes). We often told each other how much we loved each other and often my daughter would just look around for something to put in the phrase. So a couple that we pull out and use today are..... "I love you to the moon and the stars and the ceiling fan!" "I love you to the moon, and the stars, and the.... wheels!" What?! Yes, that was my funny, bright, witty daughter when she was maybe three. Bottom line, she loved us everywhere.
As I got older I read horse books, lots and lots of horse books. I read every book I could lay hands on in The Black Stallion series. Because I am old enough (what?! hard to believe....) that the movie wasn't out yet! But the book that stayed with me in a most haunting way was: A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry. This is about a girl who's sister has Leukemia and all the changes that happen and how she has to grow up and deal with this horrible ordeal that they are going through.
In college I had to read "young adult" books. Or about Middle school reading level books. And I liked most of them. I liked Frindle because it is light and still carries a good message. I like Loser and So B. It as well. I also liked The Giver. I did NOT like it the first time I read it. It was too far over my head. It is really deep. Especially at a fifth grade reading level. Quite frankly, I think The Giver, as a book to be read and discussed at school, should be reserved for high school. I DON'T think that I want my fifth grader discussing the deeper meaning of the book with her fifth grade teacher or any middle school teacher. I think it would be above her head and at 10 years old, I still want to be the one influencing her moral compass. Perhaps that is foolish, especially since I am a teacher, and I have tackled issues with students as young as 3rd graders (if you say these two people are alike just because they are both black, that is a prejudiced statement....). But as a parent, that is where I stand. While I applaud Lois Lowry for bringing many deep issues to light in her books, I would like to be the one to tackle some of these issues with my children/child (I'm down to only one left that I really have an influence over). I like what Loser has to say and it is not SO DEEP as the Lois Lowry books. Let me be honest, A Wrinkle in Time came out when I was in about Fourth Grade and our teacher read it to us as a read aloud book and it scared the living daylights out of me. As a teacher, even if/when I want to tackle moral issues, I don't want to scare my kids. Those kids who are creeped out by these books are the ones who probably need my trust the most and need to feel secure in my classroom. So I have to find another way to bring the issues out and let everyone feel like they can explore/discover their inner self in my class.
Oh! For Kindergarten (2nd semester probably), and First Grade, even Second.... okay, primary... I love Spencer's Adventures by Gary Hogg. Hair in the Air is the book my RLA teacher read to us (I know, I had an awesome prof who modeled everything to us) for read aloud and it is hilarious and the kids love reading it. I also love, love, love me some Junie B. Jones. She is every teacher's nightmare, every parent's exasperation, and as completely lovable and relate-able as any character could possibly be!! She cracks me up! And I love to read and give her her own voice and be bigger than life for a few minutes. It is also very easy to engage your students and make them active participants as you read..... "Do you know what a 'huffy breathe' is? Let's all do one right now...." "okay, everyone put your hands on your hips and...." I love making students act out what I am reading. They don't fall asleep that way.*wink, wink*
As far as "adult" reading material. I really love light-hearted mini-lesson books that have short stories full of encouragement or life lessons. Coffee table type books. I like the Chicken Soup books. I also like to dive into novels. But I don't unless I have 8 hours I can dedicate to just the book. Because I want to consume it entirely. I like Grisham, and James Patterson and Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich.
Okay.... hop over to Big Time Literacy and read and link up. What are your favorite books? And why? I really want to know. Oh, and in the big scheme of things, I always like The Bible. There is one other book that provides a solid moral compass for me and if you really want to know, you can email me and ask me.