"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Making of a Literature Quilt

Stitchin' and Pullin'

That's what it feels like some days.  It feels as if I am weaving one very funky quilt with an invisible thread that leads from one book to another, one author to another.  Albeit, a quilt that is incredibly diverse yet somehow unified and one that has no discernible pattern but offers interconnected journeys.

Today was such a day. 

Today I begin a Sharon Creech author study with my fifth grade students.

I am so excited about this!  I am going to begin with Love that Dog.  See the post, Reading Is Not Optional to see how much I love this book.  (Also, There is a wonderful "Teach Creech" guide for this book on Sharon Creech's Website.)

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
In preparation for sharing the book with students, I went around my library  finding copies of the poems mentioned in the book as well as books of poetry by the poets of those poems.

Here's what happened:

I started with Arnold Adoff and while looking for a book of poetry by him, I found a book of poetry by his son, Jaime Adoff.  This book, The Song Shoots Out of My Mouth (which he dedicates to his mother, the amazing Virginia Hamilton) seems eerily thematically similar to his father's poem, referenced in Love that Dog, Street Music.

The Song Shoots Out of My Mouth by Jaime Adoff
This book was right next to Arnold's book Black is Brown is Tan.

Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff
I know why these two poetry books are beside each other, but the dedication in Jaime's book seemed to bring these two books into another realm of connectedness.  It became a family affair!

I collected the books and moved on to the next poet, Robert Frost.  This was easy enough.  I grabbed our Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Walter Dean Myers came next.  There was Harlem.  This got me thinking about the Langston Hughes poem of the same name.  What if the students compared the two poems?  Two more books in hand, I moved on.

Harlem by Walter Dean Myers

Book containing Langston Hughes' poem, Harlem.
Harlem reminded me of Uptown by Bryan Collier.  I abandoned the other poems and poets and headed for my Coretta Scott King Book Award books and collected Uptown. 

Uptown by Bryan Collier
Despite my desire to then follow this to an Ezra Jack Keats book or book award book, I had to stop or I would soon have gathered a significant part of my collection and all for an intro lesson for Love that Dog.  Well, okay, make that at least two intro lessons!

By the time I had finished my task, I was quoting some advertisement from my childhood, "and so on and so on.." 

I will most certainly be sharing this experience with my students and demonstrating how these cool literature threads exist all over the library.  I hope it will inspire my students to begin weaving their own threads.

Here's what else I hope: that they make a connection to the power of being a reader and the opportunities that exist because of being a reader.  We can all be thread weavers and quilt makers.

Do I have passion for books and reading?  You bet.  Let's give every child this opportunity.

That's why I've joined the World Read Aloud Day initiative. 

I remember more of that ad now...it had something to do with sharing information, "and they'll tell two friends and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so and so on..."

Let's make it happen.  Spread the word about World Read Aloud Day.

Be there. March 7, 2012.

Off to teach Creech!  More later....

1 comment:

  1. I luv your quilty connections and am honored that you are teaching Creech