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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1-12-2015

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Thank you Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee & Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Readers across the blogging community share their latest reading experiences, opening new possibilities for sharing the impact of books on our lives.

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Boy and dog travel
Learn the value of friendship
That’s the honest truth

I received a copy of The Honest Truth at the 2014 NCTE convention.  When I started reading it with my son, I got my first clue that this wasn’t your ordinary book.  My son stayed up late every night and finished the book before I did.  I heard gasps, “oh-nos,” and, “Mom, you won’t believe this!” to which I responded, “Don’t tell me!” each time. Kid tested; parent approved.

     “They read because they want to, not because I make them.”  

Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

I strive to help kids find the right book so that they are reading, not because I asked them to, but because they want to, as Donalyn expresses.  The Honest Truth is the kind of book that kids will CHOOSE. They will be captivated by Mark’s adventure- full of lessons he learns about life alongside the best companion a boy could have, his dog Beau. It’s the kind of book where you HAVE to find out what happens. You care about the characters that much. The issues are complex and inspire discussion.  Should Jessie tell what she knows?  Should Mark have taken Beau along on his journey?  Should Wesley call the authorities?  Should Mark have left home at all?

Teachers will be equally as excited about the potential of Gemeinhart’s writing as a mentor text.  After I finished the first read (I just HAD to find out what would happen!), I reread more deliberately, uncovering elements that I had glossed over the first time through.

  • Mark and his best friend Jessie, express themselves through haiku.  You’ll see my son’s first try at haiku above. He’d never heard of haiku before.  He’s learned about it in a meaningful context, not through a worksheet.
  • When you turn the page after chapter 1, you are faced with chapter 1 1/2, told from a different character’s point of view.
  • Mark is sick, but the primary setting is not in the hospital, in fact far from it.  Readers can follow Mark’s progress, which starts with 263 miles to go and is updated on the cover page for each chapter.
  • There is significance in what readers may perceive as minor details: Beau’s mismatched eyes, the broken pocket watch, the mountain.

I was in the room when my son read the last page. “Ohhhh.  Now I get it,” he expressed as he closed the book. Gemeinhart hooks the reader right up to the final page, the final line, the final word.  Now that’s they kind of book that can get kids reading because they want to, not because we asked them to.

I can’t wait to hear how this book speaks to you and your students!  The book is in your court…

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6 responses »

  1. I loved The book Whisperer and have Reading in the Wild on my list of books to read this year. The Honest Truth sounds amazing.

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  2. So now I’m going to have to remember to get this one when it comes out. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  3. That is one very positive endorsement! Will be on the lookout for this title. 🙂

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