December 4th’s prompt:
Book. What book – fiction or non – touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane touched my heart this year. Although it wasn’t published in 2009, I read it this year. I picked this book up from the McClatchy Library because I had loved Kate DiCamillo’s other books: especially Because of Winn Dixie and The Tiger Rising.
I needed a book to use to teach my class about story structure, a book that would clearly spell out the story’s problem and resolution. My plan was to find a read aloud book to my class that we could analyze and enjoy the book together. My search for the perfect book was over when I found Edward Tulane.
As usual, I always pre-read books that I read to my class. I want to make sure I know what is coming, what I’ll need to explain and so that I can practice my read aloud voice. I don’t remember the details of my solo read, but I do remember thinking this is one of the best children’s books I’d ever read.
As I sat on my chair in the front of my classroom, kids sitting on the floor at my knee, I began the read aloud by showing them the cover of the book. Like the good readers they are becoming they began asking questions and making predictions about the story just by looking at the cover.
The kids asked what miraculous meant and wondered who was that little rabbit in the red pajamas in the picture? They decided that this book must be fantasy because rabbits don’t really wear pajamas.
Sharing a chapter a day, the kids sat on the carpet criss-cross-apple-sauce, leaning forward listening intently. They were immediately entranced with the story of this China doll rabbit.
When asked about the story’s problem, one of my students explained that the story’s problem was really Edward’s problem: “It’s all about love, Ms. Hackbarth. Although many loved him, Edward himself was not able to love.”
Nothing warms a teacher’s heart more than an eight year old so clearly articulating the problem! The main character’s inability to love is the problem in this story. The other students correctly predicted that by the end of the story he would come around to loving those who had loved him longest.
Some may say that makes Edward Tulane a predictable story, but I would argue there is so much suffering in this story that the resolution leaves you feeling like love really is possible. This book is absolutely heartbreaking and in the end so redeeming that I can’t wait to share it with my class this year.
I am a very lucky woman. I get to read to kids and they pay me. So in order to earn my keep, I read kid’s books more than most.
The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake made my class laugh so much that they made me read it to them more than once. They even made me read it out loud in front of one of our parent helpers because they said I read it so well.
This book was a particularly good pick for this class because many in my class were reluctant readers, especially my boys. By the time I had returned The Dirty Cowboy to the library, the book had been well-loved and reread by many in my class.