teachers -- fiction
The Chalk Artist first reads like a love story as Poor Boy and Rich Girl meet and fall in love, but Allegra Goodman has a bigger message. It is the real world versus the virtual world in this story. What are the roles of teachers and artists in the modern world? In the old stories and fairy tales, magic can grant wishes and create happy narratives, but it can turn menacing. In this modern story, technology takes on the role of magic. It is the real world versus the virtual world as the characters in the novel battle the technology that can destroy them. To find happiness, the characters must find balance in their lives and make connections to each other.
I love big books. I cannot lie. I love tomes big enough to use like doorstops which contain a truly satisfying, finished story. You can sink into a comfy chair or couch and know you will have hours of reading enjoyment. The Nix is one of those tales.
Nathan Hill has Dickensian characters, stylistic antics, and a sprawling plot that manages to tie up every loose end. This novel is a genealogical dig into Professor Samuel Andreson-Anderson’s past, a coming-of-age story, a story of unrequited love, and a satire of America. With the humor and a journey through American pop culture, Nathan Hill sends Samuel and the reader on a quest.
The Girl With All The Gifts, by M.R. Carey, is one of my favorite books of 2014. It's an adult science fiction novel about a 10-year-old girl named Melanie who goes to a special school. She develops a deep love for one of her teachers named Miss Justineau who has also developed a deep affection for her student. Please don’t read anything on the book’s jacket description. Instead, let the story unfold like a flower.
Getting ready for back-to-school, but not ready to pack away the fun? Al Yankovic’s My New Teacher and Me! is as welcome for the last weeks of summer as an ice cream truck after a long, hot day at the pool. In this rollicking story, Mr. Booth’s strict rules have met their match in Billy, a bright-eyed boy who shows up for the first day of class with a wide-open imagination. Disapproving Mr. Booth spots the dirt on Billy’s shirt immediately! Billy quickly—and politely—tells him how that came to be:
“I was digging to China out in my backyard.
And I almost was there when—I hit something hard!
Well, I dug, and I dug, and I dug a bit more
And discovered the skull of a real dinosaur!
“And I would have cleaned up, sir, but hey, I’m no fool—
I just couldn’t be late on the first day of school!”
Bow-tied and sour, Mr. Booth says his tale sounds highly unlikely, but as Billy points out, “the awesome-est things in the world often are!”
“I have always thought my best stuff was in my sketchbooks. I have hundreds and hundreds of sketchbooks. I like to work at night, I suppose because that’s when my defenses are sort of low. I have my most creative ideas at night. I’m less inhibited, and I really let it rip.”
From: Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book, edited by Leonard S. Marcus. p. 96; pp. 82-106 are on James Marshall
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, James Marshall’s whimsical drawings added humor to dozens of children’s picture books. While many were made for other writers’ works, including classics such as Mother Goose, Edward Lear, and Ogden Nash, he was also a talented writer on his own. Indeed, he became one of the most popular and prolific illustrators in children’s publishing. In high school, however, he wasn’t so much about the art--though he did doodle, as he called it--as about the music which he saw as a way to get a scholarship to college far away from swampy Texas town where his family lived.
When he was a very young boy, Andrew Clements loved A.A. Milne's House at Pooh Corner and Margaret Wise Brown's The Five Little Firemen. By the time he started school, he already loved reading. He read so much he surprised his teachers. Once he checked out a big book of Greek myths from the school library. The next day, he brought it back. The librarian said if it had been too hard for him he was welcome to get another book. Andrew wanted another book all right. Another thick book. He had finished the Greek myths in one day and was ready for more good stuff.