World Read Aloud Day is nearly here – March 6th. This week as part of the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge, along with many other blogging teachers and librarians, I’m answering the following questions as I would have when I was 10 and then again as I would answer today …
1. I think everyone in the world should read…
When I was 10: It’s a tie…King of the wind by Marguerite Henry and Katie John by Mary Calhoun – both these books were bought for me from the Scholastic Book Club. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, I usually borrowed heavily and enthusiastically from the Town Public Library. I still have these books today, they were so precious then, I don’t think I could ever bear to part with them as I read them over and over again.
Now: More! everyone should read more of everything…. But a specific title, that is so difficult there are so many titles I love and it depends on the target audience…but at this particular moment in time I would pick, drum roll please…The one and only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate and Wonder by R.J. Palacio. These books really do change lives by encouraging empathy in readers – empathy and kindness are often ‘missing’ in many people today.
2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…
When I was 10: The male teacher who read us Stig of the Dump. I still remember that story even though I have forgotten everything important about this teacher including his name..(actually he wore very cool plaid flare pants, had enormous sideburns, and wore thick framed glasses – he wasn’t retro, he was original…this was the 1970’s!)
Now: There are two male teachers in my school that have the power to mesmerize their students whenever they read aloud and I could happily listen to them read for longer than their library session allows.
3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…
When I was 10: Toad from the Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I have vague memories of reading this to my brother and a collection of soft toys.
Now: I am rediscovering my read aloud ‘mojo’….which is what happens when you switch from Corporate Information Specialist (researching Mergers & Acquisitions) to Stay at Home Mum, lately reinvented as a children’s Librarian. However if I can do it then anyone can! So any parent who thinks they can’t read aloud should try it. I don’t have a favourite character yet.
4. The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is...
When I was 10: I would love to say I had the ability to predict how we would be reading today but the concept of an e-reader would have seemed impossible outside of an episode of Doctor Who or Star Trek (both of which were screening in black and white during this same time period)….but on my shelf with the books like those pictured below were animal stories, a much loved book of children’s bible stories and the Reader’s Digest big omnibus of fairy tales. Although I had very few children’s books my parents had a big collection of literature classics, all the Time-Life and Reader’s Digest sets – all of which I loved looking at and reading from when I was very small.
Now: Fantasy, realistic fiction, scandinavian noir and masses of non-fiction mainly biography, travel and history. My e-reader (Kindle app on an iPad is full of scandinavian noir..read avidly before beaching Junior Librarian…now it is full of children’s books from all genres!)
5. The last book I wish I’d written or inspired me to write my own story is..
I am not a great writer which is pretty obvious, but if any book could inspire me to write….
When I was 10 (or possibly 11 or 12): I am Rosemarie by Marietta D. Moskin. I had never read a story about the holocaust or life in a concentration camp (and had yet to read the Diary of Anne Frank or I am David) when this book was listed in another Scholastic Book Club selection. This story really opened my eyes and I re-read it many times even into my twenties. I am gratified to see it has been reprinted over the years. Memo to self – get a copy for school library.
Now: The Book Whisperer: awakening the inner reader in every child by Donalyn Miller. I am trying to work out how I can inspire more of the teachers throughout each year level in my school to create a reading culture that permeates every aspect of our students day (and life). I have bought a copy of this book and it’s currently circulating (albeit slowly…) around the campus and I have also encouraged teachers to either buy their own copy or request the epub version via Overdrive from their local public library or borrow the print copies from there also. There aren’t many professional texts that can make a middle aged Librarian cry – but this was one of them!