Monday, August 18, 2014

Don't Miss This Book!

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          At the beginning of the school year, my brain swirls with thoughts for lessons, and this time I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to share a book I just shared yesterday. Some of you read my posts on Monday, but some do not, and this book is too good a mentor text for history research and presentation to ignore.

           A long time ago I discovered The Jolly Postman, or Other People's Letters, by Janet & Allan Ahlberg.  My daughter and I loved it, and then I used it for creative writing purposes, to show how someone can present information through letters, and so on. It's a delightful book that can be used for all ages. And probably many of you know and love it.


        Then, someone recently shared a new book, Archie's War by Marcia Williams. I was able to check it out from the library, and I am mesmerized.  What a marvelous experience to read (and pretend) is this scrapbook of a ten year old boy in London, right before World War I begins, and through the war. It is filled with comic drawings and loads of ephemera that the fictional character Archie has collected. All of these teach us about the war, tidbit at a time! There are two funny characters that follow along in some of the pages, ripped out news clippings, photos, and most pleasurable of all, letters from the front that one can actually pull out of an envelope or unfold and read (like The Jolly Postman)! As the months go by, Archie’s pages become more serious. At first it’s quite fun to play at war. But when his Uncle signs up, and goes to France, then his father and others, his mother goes to work at the father’s job, the family chores weigh heavily on Archie himself. In the timeline of things that occur, like the Zeppelin airships bombing London, the brother growing old enough at 16 to go himself, the mention of food, or lack of food, Archie begins to know that war is not fun; in fact, it’s terrible. This is a book to examine again and again, and I’m impressed with the research Marcia Williams had to do in order to include so much.

       Of course if you are studying World War I in your curriculum, this would be wonderful, yet even more it can serve as a mentor text for other kinds of research communication. When my class had American history as its class theme, one of the assignments I did give was to choose a person from our US history, research, and create a scrapbook as if the student was that person. This is a similar kind of thing, and wow do I wish I had had it to show students during that time. I've also had students create letters that show history events happening over time, another interesting way to present information. I hope those of you who believe this will be helpful will find and enjoy this book, Archie's War!

24 comments:

  1. Wow Linda! This book sounds great!! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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    1. You're welcome, Michelle. It is very good!

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  2. OOO, I love the scrapbook idea. what a fantastic way to dive deeply into a person's life or a piece of history.

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  3. Sounds like a great book. Even though I am no longer working I know some people I can recommend this to. Thanks for the ideas.

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    1. You're welcome. I think you would enjoy it too. It's very interesting.

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  4. I saw Jolly Postman title in a different post earlier today. Seeing it here again makes it a sure sign I need to read it. Then again, any recommendation from you makes me want to grab the book you shared. You are a trustworthy source.

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    1. Thanks, Terje, I hope you find and love The Jolly Postman. It's such a great text for letter-writing, along with Dear Mr. Henshaw.

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  5. Oh, I squealed when I saw The Jolly Postman! I'm so glad you reminded me of this book! It's been a few years since I've used it. Thank you!

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    1. I still use it now & then, such a sweet book. Thanks, Kendra!

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  6. Linda, I loved using the Jolly Postman in my reading classes and will certainly check out Archie's War since I am a lover of history and ephemera. Thank you. My offering is on its way.

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    1. Archie's War is definitely for the older ones, but it is very good. The Jolly Postman just makes one want to join in on that letter writing! Thanks, Carol.

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  7. I love books like this - history revealed through daily experience. Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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    1. I thought of you when I read it, Tara, with all your wonderful history studies. Thanks!

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  8. Ooh, that sounds like a book I need to have in my classroom, Linda! How neat!

    P.S. I've missed you! So glad to be slicing again!!!

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    1. I think you will enjoy this for your classes, Jennifer. You can apply it for many things. I've missed you, but have been following your stuff on FB-sorry for all the mess! Have a great start to the year!

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  9. Archie's War sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks so much for sharing, Linda!

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    1. It truly is, Catherine, hope you like it, too!

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  10. Thanks for the recommendation - definitely adding it to my list! Sounds like a wonderful book!

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    1. Well, as you can see, I really like it. Hope you find and enjoy it, too, Dana.

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  11. I can't wait to check out this book. Our book club did a book set in WWI this year. I keep picking up other WWI books, so I'm off to request Archie's War. Although I never used The Jolly Postman with students,my kids loved this book.

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    1. Great, you can check your knowledge with what the book does, Ramona. Have you also read Stay Where You Are And Then Leave, also about WWI-very well done. Thank you!

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  12. I was intrigued when I saw it the other day in your post. It does sound like a good one to check out. I like the idea of the book being more interactive. I think children's literature authors have gotten more and more creative with their writing and style. It's nice to see things not be so cut and dry for topics such as this one!

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    1. It's like a story within a story, really, and students will love seeing that they, too, can make their stories creative with books they read like this one. Thanks, Michele!

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