Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor of Love: Monday Titles 9/2

Happy Labor Day! I hope you are enjoying unscheduled time today to do what you want to do. I read Matthew Quick's amazing Silver Linings Playbook Friday night. A student said I "HAD TO READ IT", so I purchased the Kindle edition and dove in. Another student recommended Brom's The Child Thief, but after reading the preview, I just couldn't stomach the abuse.  I don't mind a dark plot, but some days I can't take the vivid description of such horrors. I'll have to tell her and see if I can come back to it another time. There is too much of it in the world as it is. For me, books  hold out hope--when I get a sense of that in the opening pages, this reader is hooked.

As I'm sure most of you know, because you've either read the book or seen the movie or both, The Sliver Linings Play Book is hope-filled. I love Pat Peoples. I love how he struggles to regain his life after a traumatic brain injury and I love how Quick writes the character. I love how realistically Quick captures mental illness and recovery. Cloaked in a clumsy grace, Pat Peoples came alive for me.  I love his optimism. I can hear it when he first meets his therapist and says, "I tell him I like the room, and we talk about my love of clouds and how most people lose the ability to see silver linings even though they are always there above us almost every day."  Pat Peoples reminds me to look for the good. Know the happy ending is coming. Run the race. Loved it.

I don't know how I missed the book when it came out. I enjoyed Sorta Like a Rock Star and Boy 21 which both came in my ALAN box in recent years . I was inspired when I heard Quick speak at ALAN in Chicago in 2011.  Maybe I'll luck out and he'll be in Boston at ALAN again this year. I think I could hang on that author's every word. I pre-ordered The Good Luck of Right Now and just downloaded Forgive Me Leonard Peacock.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Shelia at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye at Unleashing Readers give the meme a kidlit spin. Open your Amazon wish list or your "to be read" list in GoodReads as you visit participating blogs. You'll find some great titles to keep you reading.
If you haven't read Johnston's Opening Minds or Choice Words, both are available online at Stenhouse. Johnston reminds me to speak to students with intention. Just today as I was inputing marks for who turned in what (parent information forms, notes, initial assessments) I found myself writing not turned in yet instead of did not do. A small difference, but the change in tone seems significant to me. Johnston reminds me of the child  in front of me--and while he writes of elementary school children, my high schoolers need the same kindness. Johnston uses words to encourage not punish, belittle or shut down. Johnston notes, "When you make a mistake, it means nothing more than that. Fix it. Learn from it. It does not mean you are incompetent, stupid or not a good person (3)." There are so many things to help teachers reflect in his work.I'm savoring the reading and re-reading.

Up Next
I think I'm going to have to stay up late and read this one to the end!

Preview the book here.

I love Buckner's  Notebook Know How and Notebook Connections, so I am sure I will find interesting resources in her third title in the notebooks series. My students keep what academic journals sort of a cross between an interactive notebook and a writer's reader's notebook as envisioned by Linda Rief. Every year though I tweak my process and students teach me something.


  1. I think I need some Matthew Quick books in my life. Just re-read Choice Words - so many lessons to take into my classroom this year!

    1. You do, Tara. Wonderful, compassionate voice and rich characters worth fighting for, we love his books (in my room his titles tend to disappear).

  2. I am re-reading Opening Minds-so good to remind ourselves about the words! Thanks for the intro to Matthew Quick- new to me! Have a great start, Lee Ann!

    1. You're welcome. I really enjoy his work and appreciate his treatment of mental illness. You have a great start too, Linda! Thank you.

    2. You're welcome. I really enjoy his work and appreciate his treatment of mental illness. You have a great start too, Linda! Thank you.