Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
March
Unbecoming
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
OCDaniel
Girl in the Blue Coat
Refugee
Defy the Stars

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Careful What You Ask For...

Well, Andrew, you wanted more Silence of Our Friends in this discussion.  Here it is.

The book that stood out for me this round was most definitely Silence of Our Friends.  I don't see the same problems with content that my colleagues on the opposing side did. Yes, maybe background knowledge might not be as strong for all readers as it should be to fully grasp the entire story. However, for me its power is in what each reader would take away from it which does not necessarily need to be the same thing at the same level. If our students are reading it with an open mind, asking questions and wondering as we hope that they would, they could come to have the questions that are meaningful to them about the things that they may not have the background. If we are building a community of readers as we hope we are, readers would have individuals with whom they could discuss.  From a library perspective, scaffolding happens when the book is returned and the conversation takes place. The student asks if there are more books like the one being returned or about the same topic to build knowledge around the topic. I can see readers who enjoyed Yummy, a former Smackdown contender, enjoying this book as they work their way up their personal reading ladder. In addition, circulation and student requests of realistic stories and graphic novels far outweigh student requests for fantasy. In the end, part of it is how well we know our students as readers. While we didn't have time to test out School for Good and Evil with a students, we did try out Silence of Our Friends and was enjoyed by a girl in grade nine.

I also wonder if we aren't underestimating our readers. Our students are much more visual learners than we ever were (or are). I think we have to give our students more credit in their ability to determine what the images mean. Some might not always know what the images mean, but would know that they mean something.  My opposition might use my own argument against me as I opened our discussion at lunch the day before yesterday with The School for Good and Evil was too.... Too long. Too repetitive. I know a niche group of a readers who would gobble it up. For others, the message would get lost in the length. Many more would never persist to the end and, if they were a male reader, wouldn't get past the cover art.

The Silence of Our Friends would not sit quietly on the shelf; The School for Good and Evil would.


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