My Life as a Book was delivered to my door a few days ago. I’m always on the look out for books that might appeal to my 5th grade grandson. Reading is not his thing. His mother is an avid reader. I’m an avid reader. Grandpa enjoys reading. He is surrounded by books and book talk. We have read and read to him. Mother and son listen to books on tape in the car. Mother and son go to the library. Flashback: He had not reached his first birthday before I was engaged in Reading Recovery training. I was learning a lot of about the reading process so with great joy I observed his on target literacy development and was amazed. I’m thinking: This is good. So then…what happened during the school years? I didn’t think we would have to worry about this child’s reading. But he hasn’t found the passion. He struggles with reading assignments. Jim Trelease always says it just takes one book to begin a love affair with reading. I’m wondering if takes more though. Laughter was heard from his bedroom as he read his way through Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Hope. No, he didn’t develop the passion. Thus, always on the look out… The title, My Life as a Book, intrigued me. On opening the book I noticed the font is easy to read with plenty of space between the lines. Jake Tashjian, 15, illustrator, uses stick drawings in the margins for vocabulary in the book. The book has a Diary of a Wimpy Kid feel. Definite plus for a reluctant boy reader. The story: Derek Fallon does everything to avoid any “real” reading. Calvin and Hobbs (this is what my grandson loves to read) doesn’t count as “real” reading according to the readers around him. His mother does everything to encourage Derek to read. She offers one chocolate chip per page and then even raises it to two chips per page. Derek escapes from the well-meaning reading incentive to the attic. An old newspaper with the headline, LOCAL GIRL FOUND DEAD ON BEACH catches his eye. Intrigued? This book has potential for my reluctant reader. It is getting wrapped. I’ll let you know his response.
Classroom connections: Great read aloud. Great text when teaching students about visualization or creating mental images. One of the leaders at camp, Margot, talks Derek about visualizing as he reads. I’m sure many students will see themselves in Derek’s character.
Memorable Quotes from the book:
“Worse than that, suppose nothing happens and I’ve spent my summer obsessed with something that doesn’t have any meaning at all.”
Maybe evolving is what we’re supposed to do–all of us, all the time.”
“…we all mess up sometimes and struggle with things that are difficult. That even if reading is hard, everyone needs stories. I didn’t want to read the books on the list, but I wound up surrounded by stories anyway–”
Share your story. What was the title of the book that began your love affair with books? Or perhaps you haven’t read it yet. Share your experiences that developed your reading passion or experiences that didn’t develop the passion.