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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ReedALOUD: Her Right Foot

I got emotional the first time I read Her Right Foot with students, and as a testament to the powerful message in this book, I felt equally as emotional when I shared it with the eighth and final class this week. This book is a call to action and my students and I are inspired to heed that call. 

Dave Eggers conversational approach quickly engaged my students and kept them tuned in until the end.  Facts about the Statue of Liberty are sprinkled with humor that elicited the appropriate chuckles along the way. Her Right Foot is a reminder of our history as a nation and a call to ensure that this monument to liberty is able to fulfill her role as welcomer to those who come to our shores. We are a nation of immigrants and the multicultural landscape represented in the art reminds us of this history. The art created by Shawn Harris is evocative and powerful, yet also matches Eggers' humorous moments. The mixed media collage brings additional depth to moments both serious and light.  

These collage figures feel somehow more alive and active.

Here you can see how effective Eggers' conversational approach engages the reader. I enjoyed playing up the fibbing aspect.

I love that this Parisian is not impressed or affected by that looming statue.

A perfect marriage of narrative and art. The students loved the body language of these French workers and the absurdity of the task.

My students appreciated the new science knowledge here. Harris' art is so interesting here. The collage, color, and way the art spills beyond the art makes it all feels more three dimensional and real.

I love this spread. Enough said.

And here, Eggers received the laugh he hoped for and deserved. They completely connected with his humor. These two pages, with their absence of art draw the reader into a space that feels intimate, almost like we are leaning in to hear better.

This moment of zeroing in on her right foot begins the shift in the narrative, from conversationally informative to thoughtful ponderance.

Once more. Love this. Enough said.

Eggers invites readers to wonder why she is on the move, and after exploring theories and facts, offers this reminder.

You're emotional too, right? 

This book is a call to action to help others. I used it as a way to get students talking about one of our school rules: taking care of others. I reminded the students that we are a community of learners, but more than that we are a community of diverse learners and a diverse community of learners. I asked them, "What action will you each take to ensure that our community is a welcoming, safe, and comfortable space for all learners? What will it look like and sound like when you are taking care of others?"

Here are some of their responses.

On having dinners in interesting spaces
A cool connection that I made the first time that I read the book, and which I shared with my students, is this idea of having dinners in sculptures. In 1853 or 1854, about thirty years before Bartholdi held his dinner in the Statue of Liberty while she was being constructed, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins held a dinner in his partially constructed dinosaur. You can read more about that meal in The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins.

No comments:

Post a Comment