Thursday, August 10, 2017


Earlier this summer, I read "The Death of Reading is Threatening the Soul," by Phillip Yancey. I found the article really troubling and and have been thinking about it ever since. I decided to put together a list of books that captures some of the reasons that I read. 

Books bring me joy. 

Plastic dinosaurs wreak havoc throughout a classroom. 

How-to text, each page features a different scene throughout the school year. 
Considering using this one as a mentor text with third or fourth graders for our first writing/creating project the first day of school. 

Kate and Jim McMullan

Kate and Jim McMullan, the authors of I STINK, I'M DIRTY, I'M BRAVE 
(and lots more) are back with a story about a school bus.

Books help me understand myself. 

For anyone who has ever tried out the diving board or faced a fear.

Books teach me how to treat others.

A beautiful wordless picture book about two strangers that build a tree house and become friends. 

Emily Pearson

A girl's small kindness creates a chain reaction in the world around her. 
I thought this was brand new, evidently it's a re-release of a book originally published about 15 years ago. Pair this with EACH KINDNESS

Books help me understand other perspectives. 

Perfect to think about perspective or introduce a unit on persuasive writing. 

Lane Smith

Short and funny, but also a terrific message about the impact our actions have on those around us. 

Books are a window into other times and places.

An Italian child is forced to leave a much loved sculpture and immigrate to New York when his family's safety is threatened by World War II. Be sure to read the author's note. 

Francesca Sanna

I'll be using this book with our middle schoolers, who begin the year with a unit on immigration.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017



A horrible screeching sound against the driver's side door.

What could I have hit?

I quickly stop the car in the narrow downtown parking lot. I have to push against the driver's side door to open it. Once open, I see the pole. Short. Bright yellow. Designed to keep people like me, I guess, from turning the narrow corner too tightly.

And boy, did it ever work. The evidence is clear on my car door.

This happened in May. Three months ago. I was racing downtown to attend a meeting for my boss. The meeting was at 9:30, a hard time to find a spot to park in downtown Denver, so I was trying to pull into a small lot about four blocks of my meeting. There was a short post, right when I turned the corner into the lot, not quite tall enough to be visible over the car window, and somehow I didn't see it. And I scraped against it, and dented up the whole drivers door.

And so all summer, people have been asking me what I did to my car. And it's kind of embarrassing to have to keep telling them how stupid I am.

Around July 1st, I went and got an estimate. $2500. $2500 for a moment's stupidity. I made an appointment on the first available week, which was August 14th.

And now I'm trying to decide whether I should keep the appointment.

This has been an expensive summer. $2000 to get a big tree trimmed back. Another $2000 into one son's car. $476 into the other son's car. I really don't have $2500 more.

The car still works fine. After the first day, when the door was a little hard to open, I don't notice any difference in the way the car drives. I could probably live without the repairs.

At the same time, it's so ugly. And people keep asking me what I did to the car. And it's embarrassing to have to tell them what really happened. And every time I look at the car, I remember how stupid I was.

But even so, $2500 is a lot of money.

A whole lot of money for one moment of stupidity.