Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday What are You Reading? Learning about Authors We Love

It's Monday What are You Reading?  Thank you to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting.
My recent reading and my reflection from #NCTE16 has confirmed my passion for authors.  
Did I need this reminder of how important books and authors are to me?  I didn’t think so, since I share my passion for books, for story each day with children, with colleagues, with friends and family some who suffer through my enthusiasm and others who will add my finds to their pile of TBR and I will add their recommendations to my stack.  In our teaching we are always trying to connect students to authors and illustrators.  The following two books make learning about two remarkable writers of children's books an extraordinary journey.

I was about half way through A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney when the tears started streaming.  Why?  I had no idea how deeply I love the work of Ezra Jack Keats and how much it meant to me growing up.  I didn’t realize that A Snowy Day was published in 1962 – I just knew it was woven in the fabric of my being – woven so deeply and rooted in memories both childhood and in sharing with students as an adult.  It was on my shelf as a child.  My mother bought it for me.  She read it to me.  It is a perfect picture book – simple, beautiful heartwarming by being blanketing in snow.  I never questioned before why this book doesn’t make you feel cold, with all that snow – now more than 50 years later, I finally know why – because it is warm and loving and heartfelt, little did I know revolutionary as well.  I didn’t think about the brown of the “brown-sugar boy” as Andrea Davis Pinkney writes, I just saw him as Peter.  The same Peter who taught me to make snow angels. Yet Peter and his creator turn out to be angels for so many as we think about mirrors and windows.  I took this for granted.  I am almost ashamed to say, when I read about Peter and his friends to children, I wasn’t thinking about windows or mirrors.  I was simply sharing the magic of the words and illustrations of Ezra Jack Keats. 

When I finished Some Writer! I sat and hugged the book.  I knew I had to own it.  Melissa Sweet brings E.B. White to us in such a gorgeous format and clarity of words. You want to learn more about the life of E.B. White and you turn each page with eagerness and receive a visual gift as well.

Two greats have been brought to the fore for us. Both of these writers were asked to write for children.  Thank goodness for those who encouraged them and served as mentors to them.  The world is a better place because of these writers.   The world is a better place because of writers.  Thank you to Andrea Davis Pinkney and Melissa Sweet for their exquisite gift in bringing the story behind these stories to each of us, for giving us a better understanding of two writers we have loved for a very long time.