Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Celebrating Books That Touch Our Humanity

This week, I tweeted this, "Books that touch our humanity need to be celebrated." Constrained by 140 characters, that was all I could manage (in addition to mentioning three authors that inspired the tweet.) I decided to spend a little more time  and give a bit of a description of each. Since these books have impacted me so greatly, I want to share them with my blog readers. There are a million books in the bookstore, everything from vampires, to teen drama, to mindless drivel... I think it's important to share the books that touch our humanity and make us want to be better people.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 

   Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.Website
I loved this book from the very first paragraph. I never know what it is about a book that does this, but I loved every single word and I hated when it ended. As soon as I finished it, I told every single person I met to read it.

I first learned about this book from two super Twitter members, John @mrschureads and Colby @colbysharp. If you are not following them, you MUST. Mr Schu has been on an amazing journey with another awesome Twitter friend, Donna @akgal68 and they visited the real Ivan! Read about that part of the adventure on the "Let's Go South" blog I had a great time vicariously traveling with John and Donna.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

   August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances? Website

Wonder is a one-of-a-kind sort of a book. It seems to have everything from laughs to tears. It's told from multiple perspectives and that really enhances the impact of the story. I have also shared this book with nearly everyone.

Wonder is such an amazing book, it inspired the Choose Kind movement.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds Website 

     Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."
Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw - she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us. Source

The Dot is a book that absolutely inspired me the first time I read it. I believe it is a book every person who wants to be a teacher must read and I share it with my college class of future teachers. To me, the beauty is how close it is to real life...Sometimes a rather small act by a significant person can truly change a kid. It's a message every single teacher needs to hear.

The Dot was so inspiring, a day was created to inspire kids to create dots called, "International Dot Day". You can read more about it here. As of today, 7/31, over 33,000 kids are expected to participate this year.

I'm Here by Peter H. Reynolds Website

 I'm here.
And you're there.
And that's okay.


maybe there will be a gentle wind that pulls us together. 

And then I'll be here and you'll be here, too.
Pure, powerful, and deceptively simple, best-selling author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds reminds us that children — and the friendships they make — can take flight in unexpected ways. With a strong anti-bullying message, I'm Here teaches children to stand up for others who may not seem to belong. Source
If you have read this blog before, you know In December I held a contest for people who bought the book and gave it to a school...I think it's that important of a book. You simply must read this book and share it with the kids in your life. It was originally written with autism in mind, I believe it is applicable for every kid.

What books have touched your humanity?? List them in the comments!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Seedfolks" by Paul Fleischmann is a great book about the literal creation of a community. My fifth graders read it every year.