Monday, December 26, 2011

What I'm Reading This Week

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. You can recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and plan out your reading and reviews for the coming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now, to find more ideas for reading

Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

Sometimes the primary teachers at our school talk about the value of helping their students learn how to play, because some young children’s lives are quite structured and they do not have the time for imagination to hold sway in their backyards and in vacant lots down the street.  This particular story tells how one of these teachers uses a book to help her students expand their horizons beyond dance lessons and soccer teams.
           Right before the winter break I had an extraordinarily wonderful experience.  Four young primary students made an appointment to interview me.  Their quest, to discover my early memories of favorite places I used to play.  They brought their journals so they could record my answers.  In the journals they had questions ready, and took turns asking and recording.  All this came about from a book their teacher had read to them.  It was published in 1991 by Alice McLerran and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, winner of two Caldecott medals for Chanticleer and the Fox and The Ox-Cart Man.  She is also known for the books Miss Rumphius and Island Boy

The book’s title is Roxaboxen, a picture book telling of the playing place of a few children long ago.  The story is based on a story told to the author about her mother’s adventures as a child with friends in a place near their homes, a place they named Roxaboxen
Imaginations were set free in this place they built, each owning their own small created house, fenced by special rocks, and for one, desert glass.  They created activities such as pretend stores, someone became the mayor of the town, and others played at war.  There is quite a magical ending to this book, which I won’t reveal.
          I didn’t know this book until this particular day of the interview, and knew it was a special picture book to add to my collection.  I am always looking for books to inspire writing, and this particular one is just perfect to spark some ideas for all ages when writing about their childhood memories.  This primary teacher extended the experience so beautifully by having her students interview teachers all over the school so they could create a book of play-place memories.  I can’t wait to see their publication.  
So this is some of what I’m reading this week of winter break, lots of picture books that will add to students’ imaginations and my own.

From the text:  IMAGINE!  All you needed for a horse was a stick and some kind of bridle, and you could gallop anywhere. 

And-for the rest of the week I want to:
    finish Chime by Franny Billingsley
    read The Blood Lie, by Shirley Reva Vernick (won from the Two Writing Teachers blog)
    at least start Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend, by Susan Orlean, a book I received for Christmas from my daughter, who said it was terrific
    read a few more picture books purchased recently because other bloggers reviewed them so well I had to buy

   Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. I love this book. I used it often when I was a classroom teacher.

  2. Oh- I so want to read this book now! I'll have to get it from my library when I return home.

    Also, it'll be interesting to read what you think of The Blood Lie. I thought it was very interesting and showed a part of history often avoided.

  3. I have never heard of this book, but it is right up my alley! Your description certainly makes it sound beautiful! The story of your interview is precious as well.

    I once stumbled upon the discovery that most of my students who are in honors have played imaginatively (using blankets for capes, etc.) and most of my students who are in regular classes have not had those experiences. Seems to me that we need more play in school as a result!

  4. I have always wanted to put a sandbox type something or other in the library and let the kids build a little Roxaboxen. I always chicken out ... "What about the mess?" I should be braver. ;]

  5. Thank you for reminding me of Roxaboxen! LOVE that book!

  6. I love this book! Roxaboxen reminds me of my childhood and what was so wonderful about it. I liked to incorporate imaginative play into my curriculum whenever and wherever I could. I know it's good for kids. It makes for good adults.
    I love Barbara Cooney's illustrations especially in any book. Being from Maine, I was fortunate enough to be able to meet Barbara a number of years ago.


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