Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You and I

It's truths and questions to ponder from my book stack this week!

  • I've finally gotten around to pulling Kenneth Ginsberg's book, Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings of my shelf. I'm at the beginning, but here are two ideas that have already influenced my interactions with kids: 1) Let's distinguish between "paper tigers" and "real tigers."  Meaning, if a situation isn't life threatening (taking a test, deciding on a lunch table, choosing an outfit), you can use breathing and self-talk to frame the challenge in a reasonable (not panicky) way.  And 2) If we adults jump in to solve kids' problems for them instead of letting them puzzle and troubleshoot, we're conveying a lack of faith in their abilities. I really dig that last point.  To sum up: Not everything is an emergency; let's not act as if it is.
  • The sixth graders and I are reading The Lightning Dreamer, a book in verse by Margarita Engle.  Poets, as you may know, sometimes use their craft to explore unanswerable questions.  Here are the four questions we talked about today: What are the limits of love? What messages are conveyed in the stillness between words? How do we make up for lost time? and What good is a witness who cannot testify? To sum up: Art wriggles into mysteries and exposes secrets in curious ways.
  • Finally, another book I've been meaning to read forever found its way open this week.  It's Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  Sepetys also dwells in the land of the unanswerable question, the questions in this case encircle Stalin's mass deportations in the Baltic region during World War II.  I'm already attached to Lina, the protagonist.  I'm aching for her happy ending, and I feel certain it's not coming. To sum up: Heartbreaking stories from history prompt us to examine and reexamine our human nature.
That concludes Writerly Wednesday.  There will be more in this week's newsletter, per usual.

1 comment:

mm said...

We had a conversation similar to the suggestions made in the first book today at our team meeting.