Every week or so my class send me a letter about a book they are reading. I love hearing their reactions to the stories they read and what they think of the characters they meet.
As I sit here reading, cup of tea in my hand and my cat on my lap. I am totally blown away by their growth over the year and their incredible insights into what they read. I see them really connecting with their books. Their comprehension level goes so far beyond knowing the story. The children show how they are emotionally affected by their books, expressing wonder, happiness and also anger and sadness. Their work is honest, some opening up about their own feelings as they see themselves in the characters they meet. They also show an understanding of the importance of not just the words but the power of the illustrations as a vital part of the book, be it informational or fiction. I see them reading as writers and writing as readers. All the children write with their own voice, their emotion coming through, effectively sharing the joy in the book they have just read.
Arthur read "Out of My Mind" by Sharon Draper
"Sometimes it makes me think, how could I be able to go through life and elementary school without being able to express myself in any way. She must have been so strong but so weak at the same time. It's mind-blowing, truly mind-blowing....But most of all I like the description, the feelings, the sounds! ....It all seems so real, it's like in in the room with her, living and breathing, but I'm not actualy there. I mean it's sort of like I'm looking through her eyes, speaking through her mouth."
Grace read "Spirit Animals- Blood ties"
"I really felt really sad and shocked when a whole war busted out, and it went on for a long time, but then when it ended I couldn't believe what was written. What was written was just so sad, it had be crying like a little baby, it got to me real bad, because I didn't want to have any people , or animals die, but I didn't have a say. I wish I had a say....I liked the tension. It was building up between the chapter where the person was dying. I just wanted to scream!"
Sam read "Dumb Diaries"
"Do you ever notice drawings that are supposed to look hand-drawn but are really really, REALLY detailed, I mean, it looks awesome. Anyway, the author makes Angeline look like, a well, GODDESS! As for poor sweet, lovable Jamie, the author makes her look kind of what I would probably write as average....Yet ANOTHER reason that I like this book is that the author makes the story so believable, that sometimes I forget that I'm reading a book!"
Mallory read "The Imaginary"
"The main reason I liked The Imaginary was because the story was a story of persistence and friendship. Most of the story Rudger is looking for Amanda, and will stop at nothing to find her. The author was able to make Rudger's emotions so real and deep that I couldn't help but feel a great amount of sympathy for him, even though he isn't real in real life or in the book. Any author with that ability deserves an award. The way he writes is what makes the book ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING."
Lila read "My Life is Horrible" - written by Lila herself
"You just want to feel sad for her, and in the funny and happy parts you feel her happiness and it just makes you want to laugh....In some books the main character is so dry and just not interesting, but this character had emotions."
Stella read "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon"
"Minli is brave, she left home to do something for her family's fortune, and met much danger along the way. but Minli was tough. I admire Minli a lot, she is who I'd want to be if I were in the book....Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is wonderful. When I open it up, I can never put it down, when I finally close it and out it down, I want to pick it up all over again. The rope that pulls me in is strong."
Jude read "The Imaginary"
"The Imaginary made me feel really sad because it made me think of Cracker and Ken, the fading away thing that happens to imaginaries when we grow older. The Imaginary made me think about how people are friends with other people, but they don't want to tell anyone else. "
Sophia read "Ocean Food Webs"
"Most of all I like this book because it talkes about all the living things that lie in the ocean from plankton or orca whales...The photographs are amazing, I really recommend it. There's one picture that is so beautiful that when I saw it I had to put the book down for a minute and regroup."
Sydney read "Oh Brother, Oh Sister"
"I think this book would be very useful to every girl out there who has problems with their sister. And remember, whether it's a brother, or sister you fight with they always will and forever love you. You can count on it....It helped me to solve fights with my sister, it really helps."
Tally read "AART"
"I really liked how they didn't actually have to draw what they looked like, they didn't even have to draw people. They really did real art and it made it really beautiful...It was inspiring and you could learn from it and that's cool and amazing. It brings people closer. AART stands for more than prettiness it stands for who you are in every way."
Dylan read "George"
"The emotion in this book is outstanding, whenever George shouted I wanted to too. I almost cried when I got to the part where the teacher denied her. It doesn't seem huge but to someone who cannot express themselves, it's heartbreaking...Wow! If anyone doesn't think this book sends a message they're crazy."