Reading Response #1
As this weeks theme is teacher/student relationships, two of the book’s I’ve read focus on that topic. The almost heartbreaking steadfastness of the teachers portrayed in these books is nothing short of amazing. I hope that I both will live up to the women portrayed and that I will never have to experience the sort of hardships through which they have gone.
Dear America: My Face to the Wind The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, A Prairie Teacher
Broken Bow, Nebraska, 1881
by Jim Murphy
In My Face to the Wind, young Sarah Jane is left parentless when her father dies of diptheria. Left on her own at only 14, she must find a way to stay in the place she feels is her home and lands on being a teacher as was her father. This is the set up for a child’s journey from student to teacher.
An interesting tale that many children could enjoy, the student teacher relationships in this book are strained at first since the teacher in question is only 14. This book shows that there are many paths to being a teacher and that every teacher was once a student. This is a necessary lesson for both adults and children to learn. Teachers don’t pop out fully formed educating machines, they learn and grow from their own experiences. Throughout her teaching, Sarah Jane grades herself on her ability to teach, starting with low grades and getting better as she learns what her students need to thrive. On a personal note, I read many of the Dear America books as a child. The diary gives a wonderful bit of insight to another time and the historical notes are always fascinating to young minds.
The Children of Topaz
The Story of a Japanese-American Internment Camp, Based on a Classroom Diary
by Michael O. Tunnell and George W. Chilcoat
A book that would be a shocking read for any child, Topaz is better suited for older children. Though the authors try to use simple language, the emotions evoked by this book and the content surrounding make it much better suited for 4th graders on up.
Topaz shares the amazing resilience of children and the stoic-ness of teachers. In this book one is shown how true horrors may be overcome with the help of a teacher’s guiding hand. This wonderful woman provided a much needed outlet for her children. Not only did she give them an education, she gave them a safe haven, to talk about their experiences and to let them out in creative and healthy ways. This student teacher relationship is a very special one, different because of prejudice and circumstance, but most amazing in character.
Off Topic Book(s)
Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise
written & illustrated by Leo Landry
For this book, I took the time to read it aloud to a friend over Skype. The book was simply too wonderfully silly to not be read aloud.
The short story of Ivy Louise gives the reader a glimpse into a child’s magical imagination. In her mind, peas can come to life and be circus performers! This isn’t simply the story of a child not wanting to eat her peas and making a mess, oh no. This is a story of a toddler that is so willfully imaginative that she could not possibly eat her new friends that put on such a lovely show for her, she must set them free! This book shows that not every mess is mischievous, sometimes messes are peas in a circus.