Friday, September 11, 2009

When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature.
If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world,
I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.
- Maya Angelou -

One of the on going conversations that I have with my students in library is the importance and value of being well step outside the comfort of always reaching for the familiar author, or genre, or subject and explore something different. Our library is young, our school new, but nevertheless, the collection is diverse...and one of the saddest phrases a student can utter is, "I can't find anything to read." What the child usually means is that they can't find another book exactly like all the other ones they've read. I spend a great deal of time looking for ways to tempt my readers into new territory.

A favorite activity is something I call "Famous Firsts." I read the first line of a book to each class and challenge students to tell me the title and author of the work. Sometimes half the hands go up. Sometimes I'm lucky to find one or two students who know the work. Occasionally, I find a book that is totally unknown, in which case I'll read a few pages to tweak their curiosity. I'm no longer surprised by the sudden popularity a book attains from even so brief an introduction.

We're all about children's literature here so why don't you give "famous Firsts" a try?!

Can you name the title and author of each of these books? Resist the urge to Google. I'll list the answers on the next post.

1. Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away.

2. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.

3. The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another...

I invite you to share the first lines from some of your favorite books.

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