Stacks of books teetered on the floor. Stacks that needed to be organized. A weekend with no plans. I set the goal to get rid of the several stacks piled on the floor. That would mean dedicated focus on my part. No stopping to take a peek at the words wrapped inside. The book was in the first stack that I was tackling…sandwiched between other titles; Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read by Diane W. Frankenstein. Uh- oh. I tell myself I’ll just take a small peek as images of reluctant readers danced in my head and the never ending quest to move reluctant readers to book lovers. I open a book divided in sections. One section is called “101 Story Pages”. There is a two page spread for each suggested book title. Each two page spread contains these sections: Story Synopsis, World of Ideas (themes and topics), What I Noticed, Quote, Look Closer (a section that contains thoughtful questions), Who, What When, and Why (a section that answers “right there” questions), Next (a section that list other titles that the reader might enjoy) and Souvenir (a souvenir quote from the book). The word souvenir caught my eye and sparked my imagination. At the end of winter my heart turns toward spring which reminds me of Spring Break which reminds me of vacations which reminds me of … souvenirs! I’m filled of images of different souvenirs I have brought home from various travels…books, t-shirts, mugs, hand-crafted items, shells, post cards, photographs, beach sand, sunburns and yes, even injuries. I take the souvenir idea further…not just about collecting things from a trip. It’s about collecting souvenirs of our life experiences. Isn’t that why I scrapbook? I’m collecting words and images for future generations…souvenirs. Why not use this idea for readers? For a book souvenir Diane Frankenstein has collected a quote from each book she highlights. Readers can collect all kinds of souvenirs from a book…a quote, a word, a memorable character, a setting an artifact…so many souvenir choices for remembering. What a great focus lesson using the souvenir idea to help readers determine importance and synthesize. Often someone will ask me if I’ve read a certain book and I answer, “Yes, but it’s been awhile. I just remember I enjoyed it.” For the past few weeks I’ve tried taking a souvenir from my reading. It causes me to pause and reflect. I’ll have wait to see if it stands the test of time as far as remembering what I have read. I could also “take” a souvenir as a writer. That will be more difficult for me!
I’ve also am trying this idea with readers at school. So far I have found it is a great strategy for readers to reflect on their reading experience. They have to state or write why they chose their “souvenir”.
The Lemon Drop Jar will pull at your heart strings as Great Aunt Emma has a souvenir of a lemon drop jar given to her by her mother when she was homesick. Good luck finding this gem. There are a few sellers on Amazon but the price is hefty!
I am still in process of reading Louise Steinman’s adult book, The Souvenir. Louise finds an ammunition box of World War II memorabilia after the deaths of her parents. A Japanese flag is among the letters and medals that leads Louise on a search of the story behind the Japanese flag.