You should read Educating Alice

Another education blog, another library blog, a blog on children’s literature.

And it’s one you probably should read if you care about books, education, or children.

Educating Alice.

Read it to see if you have enough courage to read this book to your kids:  The Graveyard Book. Read it to see how to get through “discomfiting words,” like “scrotum,” which oddly seems to bother people so much they’ll keep good literature from kids rather than read the book.

Go read Alice.

And don’t forget:

2 Responses to You should read Educating Alice

  1. flatlander100 says:

    Bless the teacher who is willing to take some chances, and a risk or two, with readings for kids in class. Two of the most memorable teachers my kids had in middle school did exactly that, and now…. fifteen years later… my children are still [I think] benefiting. One of them read to the class over a few weeks “Tuck Everlasting” — which was absolutely not on the district’s approved reading list. 4th grade class. It raised very chewy questions involving killing, life, death,loyalty. My daughter was mesmerized at the story and the issues it raised. And came home each night after a part of it was read in class wanting to tell us about it and talk about it. This went on for some time. Books as not just momentary stories to distract, but books as both fun and filled with ideas — chewy ones — was the real lesson. She still remembers that book and that teacher.

    Same with a 5th grade teacher who bought out of her own pocket enough copies of “My Brother Sam Is Dead” for her fifth grade class. This time it was my son who got hooked on the complicated questions of loyalty and justice and law and injustice and patriotism the book raised. Again, he came home wanting to talk about the book, ask us what we thought. He asked for a copy as a Christmas present. Still has it. Still remembers the book and the teacher. And still reads for fun and knows… he learned it in the fifth grade… that part of the fun of reading is wrestling with the ideas in the stories.

    Neither choice, absolutely not “Tuck Everlasting” and not “My Brother Sam Is Dead” either, though it was on the approved list, was a completely safe choice. But they were both good choices made by good teachers not afraid treat their young readers seriously, and not willing to dish them dull pablum just because it was easier [and safer] to do so.


  2. Lisa says:

    That does look like a cool book. Definitely for when my kids are older.

    I’ve always used the ‘real’ words for body parts with my kids. For my daughter, I see it as a step to help protect her from sexual abuse and to feel comfortable with her own body, and for both my daughter and son, it just seems the right way to do it. I had to struggle with my own discomfort using words like “labia” and “scrotum” without giggling like a schoolgirl, but now the words come naturally. It just takes practice. I’m really surprised how many of my peers eschew the biological words for phrases like “doober” and “hooha” and whatnot.


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