And Now…Reading Inspiration from my Colleagues…

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Following up on yesterday’s post based on Anita Silvey’s new book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book, I polled my colleagues at the Inly School.  I was not surprised to learn that they were inspired by wonderful stories.

Since I know most of these people quite well, I could have guessed a few of their selections without their completing the form.  For example, our head of school, a respected arts educator, chose Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora—no surprise there.   The director of our middle school wrote a note about P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go! “My father’s special book,” she wrote.  “No matter how bad my day was, he could cheer me up with the simple question: Do you like my hat?”

As you might expect from a group of teachers, there were several votes for The Giving Tree and Leo the Late Bloomer.  A teacher new to Inly this year, a person I could sense right away was a fellow lover of words, selected The Phantom Tollbooth.

There were also votes for Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Anne of Green Gables, Noisy Nora, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Farm, The Pumpkin Blanket, Dorrie and the Blue Witch, Winnie the Pooh, The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz, and The Little Fur Family.

Not a bad choice in the group—no wonder I love my job!

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Take a Dip…

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AnitaSilveyI found a new book to “dip into” when I have a few minutes or need something inspirational to read to a class: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book by Anita Silvey.

I guess on some level, this could be said for the majority of people in the world.  Most of us learned to read from children’s books, and that was the starting point for everything else we have learned.  But…that is not the point of Silvey’s terrific book.   It’s a 230 page collection of small essays by people from across the professional spectrum about how they were inspired by a  favorite children’s book.  The emphasis is on how the book continues to resonate in their lives today.

It’s interesting to see what people chose to write about.  So far, my two favorite essays are Gregory Maguire’s on The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton and Sherman Alexie’s comments on The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

My only complaint is that I wish there was one line at  the bottom of each essay identifying the writer.  I knew most of them, and of course, they are all identified in the back, but just flipping through and stopping to see that Stan Lee was inspired by the Poppy Ott books was tricky.  With all respect to Mr. Lee, I did not know who he was.  I do now.  He is associated with Marvel Comics.  But I had to flip to the back of the book to find that out.  I wish there had been a quick identification under his name so I didn’t have to keep flipping back and forth.  No problem though.  It doesn’t take away from this wonderful book.

I was especially excited to see that I share a favorite book with two distinguished people.  Before looking at Silvey’s book, I thought about what book I would choose.  That took two seconds: Charlotte’s Web.  And it turns out that both Louis Sachar and Eric Rohmann felt the same way!

I thought it would be fun to ask some of my colleagues at school to do the same so I asked them to choose their own book.  Coming up in tomorrow’s post: their answers…