Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: Words

I have found words to be a powerful tool that can be used in both positive and negative ways.  When I hear the phrase, "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me" I know how wrong it is.  Words can do a lot of damage.  But words can also do a world of good and that is the idea that Patricia MacLachlan explores in Word After Word After Word.

Word After Word After Word
by Patricia MacLachlan
Katherine Tegen Books, 2010.
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.(goodreads.com)
 Each of the five children that the story focuses on has there own troubles, everything from a parent with cancer to resentment toward a soon to be adopted sibling.  Ms. Mirabel reminds me of a teacher I had who taught me the power of words.  She teaches the students about how writing can help a person cope with problems, express joy enabling the writer to retain a memory, and helping a person change.  I especially related to Lucy who had such a hard time finding words to express herself, but discovers that sometimes feelings come out better in written words than spoken words.  

 There is much in this book that is worthy of discussion.  Each chapter ends with a poem written by one of the characters, but each chapter also raises questions about writing and feeling and living. I plan on sharing this book with some of my students and look forward to listening to their thoughts and feelings.  I've found that I can learn a lot by listening to other people's words, especially children's.  It's fascinating to observe how children learn to communicate and share their experiences.  Writing provides one way for them to do so.

Head on over to The Lemme Library for this week's Book Talk Tuesday.

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