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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The School for Good and Evil vs Silence of Our Friends



Who would have thought that two books could have divided a staff so much.  As a result we are tied (2 votes Silence of Our friends and 2 votes School for Good and Evil).

As I am one of the supporters for Good and Evil; I do wish that there was a bit more Silence from my Friends in this decision. I do understand that the graphic novel format is quick and easy for students to read and therefore could be accessible for them, but I don't think that this "ease" out weighs the problems with the content. A deep and through set of background knowledge is needed to support the story of Silence of Our Friends. It took me at least two full classes to prepare our students before we watched The Butler earlier this year and even so, students still had questions about events that they could not understand.  This scaffolding does not happen when students simply check a book out of the library. On the other hand, Good and Evil is a story that needs no background teaching or support to understand the concepts or storyline.  I will admit that it is long and somewhat repetitive, but not at the expense of a unique and interesting story line filled with deeper meanings.  I believe that students will quickly find the story  interesting and will grasp the  bigger issues (such as the difference between words and actions - a necessary life lesson).  Bottom line:  I would move The School for Good and Evil forward and let Silence of Our Friends sit quietly on the shelf to be used as a supporting resource for a social studies class.

Smack on ...

2 comments:

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  2. Our lunch time discussion over these two titles was much like the tag line on the cover of Silence of Our Friends: "...the struggle was never black and white." While both sides agreed neither book was mind blowing, a decision could not be made. Even as I type this I know it is a race against time as Dia sits holed up in her Masterpiece Theatre style library, turning pages sitting in a large leather chair next to a crackling fire, feet propped up in her fuzzy slippers (shaped like books of course), diet coke in her hand happily exercising her role as booktator for our divided staff. She probably will laugh an evil laugh once or twice as she makes her final decision. Before the axe falls there are couple of things I wanted to say in support of my vote:

    -The Silence of Our Friends would require a lot of questions to be answered for students, or explanation before reading. Many students would probably not even ask for clarification and just pluck it off the shelves, so seeing the word "Panthers" would not hold any connotation for students without the background knowledge. As well, very few students would pick up on the motif of the blind daughter and the poem used about birds. And most definitely would they miss the message (a wordless one at that) on the last few pages coupled with the aforementioned poem. Which is the foundation of this book (in my opinion). Without the background being taught it would be read without a second thought- which would render it powerless. As well, just because it is a graphic novel doesn't mean it makes it easier to access. This particular graphic novel is heavy- visually, symbolically, and in content.

    -Yes School for Good and Evil was long, yes at times it could be predictable, yes UNFORTUNATELY the cover is drawing a certain audience, but I liked the message of not allowing someone to write the ending to your own story. Any student could grab this book off the shelf and find their own enjoyment in it. The idea of where our favorite fairytale characters actually came from was unique. I secretly reveled in Sophie's obsession with skincare products (a junkie just like me!) and applauded her for breaking the rules to be her own version of evil. I also jumped up and down (in my head of course) for how Agatha didn't always bow down to Tedros like many female characters tend to do. She was strong headed and refused to be misled by anyone, even if he happened to be a dreamy soon-to-be prince.

    Long live the School for Good and Evil!

    *holds breath waiting for the tie breaker*

    hP

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