Friday, January 22, 2010

Grand Discussion of Also Known as Harper

So if you follow Literate Lives closely at all, you know that I'm a big fan of Also Known as Harper. I had high hopes for it during "awards season" but unfortunately it didn't win. It was probably my favorite book of 2009. I knew immediately after finishing it that it would be included in our Grand Discussion line up this year, and so, last night we discussed it.While we didn't quite have the crowd we had at the first one of the year, it was a nice manageable size group and we all fit in the library. We also had some special guests, my sister Martha Crone (in red) a teacher in Ashland, and the librarian, Jan Miller, from her building joined us to see how the whole thing worked. They hope to do something similar at their school. We were also joined by Dionne Dukes (on the table) another enrichment teacher from our district who may start a discussion at her building.

As usual, a good number of folks came in wondering why I picked the book as it was sad, depressing, one thing after another, nothing positive, etc. But in the end the crowd had turned and appreciated Harper for it's message and teachable moments. One mom even thought it should be put on a shelf and brought back out when the kids reach high school and read To Kill a Mocking Bird, she saw a great comparison paper in the making.

I like to pick books like this, books that make the kids and parents think about the world outside of our community, but that's not the only criteria, author Ann Haywood Leal used language and technique to create a memorable story.I've promised to lighten things up a bit next time. We're going to read The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, the recent Newbery honor pick.

8 comments:

  1. I'm also interested in your Big Discussions -- should I go searching in the archives?

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  2. Thanks for letting us "eavesdrop." Jan and I talked most of the way home about how we could make this work at our building....can we sign Joyce up for cookie baking?

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  3. Thanks for sharing about your wonderful gathering.

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  4. Beth,
    I did two "how to" posts in December 2009, check those out for some info.

    Martha,
    I've tasted your cookies, you'll be fine! Glad you enjoyed it and isn't it interesting that for the most part, kids are kids?

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  5. I agree with you Bill, Also Known as Harper was my fave last year. And the value behind these Grand Discussions are unmeasurable. Way to let language & conversation integrate beautifully.

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  6. I agree with you Bill, Also Known as Harper was my fave last year. And the value behind these Grand Discussions are unmeasurable. Way to let language & conversation integrate beautifully.

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  7. I'm also going to have to investigate the Big Discussion idea. I'm excited by the idea of all those people really talking about the book. Inspiring.

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  8. Just goes to show that a little enthusiasm goes a long way. I didn't like Harper or Homer, so if I bought them, it would be hard to sell them to the students!

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