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

Friday, September 8, 2017



This was my first book share of the school year. I read excerpts to both my fourth and fifth grade students. Why? Because I love Red. I want to be like Red. I want to help others. I want to create a safe space for others. I want take risks for all the right reasons. Added bonus: I love her personality. 


Did I mention that Red is a tree?

Exactly! Now you know why I had to share this book first  --  I had completely identified with a tree! Nicely done, Katherine Applegate, you have once again given me a point of view that makes me stop and think.
Don't you love Red?

Red is a red oak and she has been around a while. She's a wishtree because one a year on wishing day, people tie their wishes to her branches. Some of the wishes are fanciful and grand with little chance of coming true, but others are heartfelt and should come true. Such is the wish that Red receives from a girl new to the neighborhood. That wish inspires Red to take a risk, one that could have terrible repercussions.

This was the first time I was seeing students this school year.

I explained that instead of talking about books they had read over the summer, they would think about the most interesting character or place they had met in a book over the summer. Red was my example.

I read these three pages:
Red goes onto explain how hollows happen and how she got hers. 

I slowed my reading as I got to these lines:

"Hollows offer protection from the elements. A secure spot to sleep and to stash your belongings. They're a safe place." 

"Hollows are proof that something bad can become something good with enough time and care and hope."

I shared how I want the library to be like a hollow - a safe space for all students and all learners.

Next I read the beginning of chapter ten.

I slowed my reading again at these lines:

"But sometimes things happen that aren't so good. When they occur, I've learned that there's not much you can do except stand tall and reach deep."

I shared that there would be times this year when we would all need to stand tall and reach deep within ourselves to overcome social, academic, and emotional challenges. We would also need to stand tall and reach deep within ourselves when called upon to do the right thing, as Red does in this story.

Not wanting to ruin the whole story, I finished by explaining that there is a girl in the story who is not feeling welcome in her new community and Red wants to help her.

I then read the dedication, which is beautiful in its simplicity. 
I want my library to be a safe space for newcomers and welcomers. I hope it is.

What characters did my students find interesting?

The students shared by talking in small groups, drawing the character, or writing about the character. 

Here's a peek into what they shared:

I want every third to fifth grade classroom in my school to read Wishtree by Katherine Applegate as a class read aloud. I wish I could be the one to read it aloud, but there is just not enough time during my classes. It would be dragged on for weeks, and let me tell you, the readers would not stand for that. Once you pick it up, Wishtree is hard to put down. Put it on your book order and add it to your #bookstack. This one is special. Look for it on bookstore shelves later this month!

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