I’ve always been a big believer that good children’s literature is empowering. The most effective stories are those that provide a snapshot of life and troubles that a child can understand, and then show how the characters come to a resolution on their own. My son is no stranger to the ins and outs of building friendships, learning how to deal with arguments, dealing with the death of family members, financial woes from his parents being laid off, and now puberty wreaking havoc with his wiring.
Monday was his first day of eighth grade (he attends year-round school here in NC), and we got to engage in one of our favorite activities: school supply shopping. We also went to the bookstore to buy the three novels his Language Arts class is going to read:
I was hoping that with all of the spectacular children’s literature that’s come out in the last decade, he would’ve had something newer to read than the stuff I was reading 20 years ago. Don’t get me wrong–most of the books are good and do have good messages, but how about Kate DiCamillo’s The Tiger Rising, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games … or how about Harry Potter? I think classic required reading titles definitely have their place, but I wish Language Arts teachers would include a newer novel from the last five years in the list. The new stuff is worthwhile, too, and focuses on age-old issues with very current situations, and morals and lessons are extremely important to learn in a way young readers can interpret … but developing a love of reading should be high on any grade school Language Arts teacher’s list.
What is the best book you’ve read at school? What’s your least favorite?
- My favorite: William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- My least favorite: Lord of the Flies