“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or a duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." Kate DiCamillo
Sunday, August 30, 2009
LISTENING FOR CRICKETS- DAVID GIFALDI
One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone." When I think about books, and when I think about my students, that's certainly one of the messages I hope kids will take with them- you are not alone, other people have lived the life that you are living, they have survived, and you will make it too. This weekend, I found LISTENING FOR CRICKETS, a gem that I know I will be handing to many, many kids this year.
Ten-year-old Jake has a rough life. His mom and dad are like a lot of my students' parents- in marriages that are barely making it, struggling financially, and sometimes numbing those struggles through drugs or alcohol. Jake's parents are not able to provide much support for Jake, or his second grade sister, Cassie. His father, trapped in a series of low end jobs, is frustrated and abusive and often unkind to his children and his wife. Jake and Cassie share a room, and every night, Jake makes up stories to distract Cassie from their parents' loud and sometimes violent arguments. And as if the struggles at home weren't enough, Jake can't read very well, and has to go to a special reading class every day.
This is a sad book, but it's also a book with a message of hope. Jake receives support from a smart and intellectually stimulating best friend, his reading teacher, and a crusty old woman who lives next door. It is those people who give Jake the strength to deal with everything that is going on at home.
The kids I teach have hard, hard lives. I'm so glad to have a new book to remind them that they are not alone.
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