Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Whisperer Inspiration

I am a nerd you guys, I will admit it, but I will take so many of you down with me if you make fun of me! I think part of the definition of teaching is "nerd".  Isn't it?  Wikipedia defines it... Nerd is a derogatory stereotype of a person typically described as socially-impaired, obsessive, or overly intellectual. 
Yep.. the shoe fits! Teachers love learning we like to be challenged and sometimes it can come off as "obsessive, or yes, shocking, overly intellectual! :)  I have taken nerdy to a whole new level thanks to Donalyn Miller. Many of you may know her as The Book Whisperer, but now I know her as the woman I had lunch with last week! The woman who showed me pictures of her granddaughter, the woman who gave me book recommendations, the woman who signed my copy of The Book Whisperer, the woman who told me about her up and coming book and her process of writing it, and the woman who has inspired me to READ more! And MORE... and WAY MORE than that!

I was fortunate enough to be presenting at a conference for Scholastic where she was the Keynote! The night before at the dress rehearsal, they asked for volunteers of who may want to share her lunch table... and my hand SHOT up! It took everything in my being to stay calm and not shriek when she shook my hand.  This woman knows her stuff and she is so down to Earth about it!

One thing I came away knowing from this Keynote is that I need to be more well read! I've heard about the Book a Day Challenge- have you? I just haven't made it a point to DO it!
I find time to read for myself, but I don't know nearly enough about children's literature and I realized that as she was speaking. This woman is so well read- she knows her stuff! And she is so humble about it! She talks about books like the rest of us talk about Reality T.V.   A friend of mine sent me a quote the other day and I think it sums up my impression of Donalyn...

"Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic."
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

And look how she signed my book! OMG! I am a nerd, but this brings me such great joy!

So she inspired me. And then that night I found a link to the 100 Best Children's Books...

So how many have you read? Really READ... meaning you remember what it was about? Be honest. Go to the link and make a tally!

I am only at 28 out of 100!!?? That is barely over 25%! Not good enough! So I have a challenge to myself. I have GOT to know more of these books and I have got to know more about children's lit because it is my job!

I know there are lots of books for adults out there- and not enough time to read all of them, but now I've made myself a challenge. I will trade off! One adult lit for one young adult lit/children's lit book.  Can you take the same challenge?

Yes we need to be well read, but we don't have the luxury of just reading as adults. We have to read so that we know how to teach reading to young children! I challenge you to read one book for you... and one book for them! Yes- the books for your students will be below your Lexile Level- but I assure you, Fifty Shades of Grey was too!

Oh- and what were those book recs from Donalyn... she said if you are only going to read THREE- these are the ones to read...

One for the Murphys- I've already read it and it was GREAT
Wonder- On my "to read" list
The One and Only Ivan- (Will be reading NEXT- after my "adult" book- Prague Winter)

Please comment on this post...what are you inspired to do?


  1. I am so happy that you are blogging about The Book Whisperer. I am currently re-reading it, and it is full of so much inspiration and good practices. I think that EVERY teacher should read it!!!

    I just finished reading the part of book where Donalyn is talking about "genre requirements" for her students. Reading your post got me thinking. I think for me, that I need to start reading from a wider range of genres. I do read a lot of "kids" books, but I seem stuck in the fantasy genre. As a mentor of readers, I think that it hurts my kids who love "Hatchet" and "The Babysitters Club," because I can't recommend them books from those genres. So, I'll keep reading my fantasy, but my goal is to read one non-fantasy book for every fantasy book I read. That will make me a more rounded reader, and maybe I might find something I like. I can't wait until my students start making recommendations!

    One thing about the teacher reading "kids" books...The kids love it when the teacher checks out books from the school library. There will be a waiting list of kiddos wanting to read what the teacher read. :)

  2. Dear Melissa,

    It was a pleasure to meet you and discuss our shared obsessions for teaching, books, and kids. If that makes us BOTH nerds, I am proud to wear that label.

    I hope you enjoy a wonderful year of reading and learning. I look forward to the day our paths cross, again.


  3. I scored a 78 out of 100 on that list...and several of the ones I hadn't read are on my desk right now to look at. I have the OPPOSITE problem you have! I read so much YA/children's lit as a part of my job, and then those books lead to sequels and trilogies and before you know it, reading an "adult" book is an accomplishment. The problem is, YA lit is so good! It's written for a tough crowd, so it HAS to be good, and it is. It's fast-paced, exciting, well-written, moving, funny. But it's still written for teens. Every once in a while, when I have down time at work, I find myself craving something with a little more meat to it. However, by the time that happens, I'm so far behind that I don't know what's good in the world adult lit! Suggestions are welcomed :) I think that I'm inspired to get outside of my YA lit bubble and dive into something more my age!


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