English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: Katie Woodward

Art and Love

Art and Love

  I can’t find the words…

     I knew this book was going to break my heart, but at the same time I wanted it to happen. Rainbow Rowell did such a phenomenal job of portraying what your first love feels like. I loved the way she somehow managed to capture those first love feelings.

Eleanor:

“But Park’s face was like art. And not weird art, ugly art either. Park had the sort of face you painted because you didn’t want history to forget it”(132).

Park:

“Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something”(165).

     I love the way that the Rowell portrayed Eleanor. In every young adult novel I read when I was in middle school the main protagonist was always beautiful in an obvious way. They were given a small flaw then you were immediately reassured with the fact that they had clear skin, long dark auburn hair, and long beautiful eye lashes. But Eleanor was refreshingly and imperfectly different. She had unruly big red hair, she wore clothes that were too big for her, and most days she resembled a hobo. She thought very little of herself, but Park gave us a whole new perspective and we go to REALLY see Eleanor for who she was through his eyes. Many Eleanor and Park fans were worried about just “how big” Eleanor was and Rowell  challenged them with the question: Does it matter?

     Throughout this book Rowell quite subtly and beautifully challenged gender roles. She didn’t fight or make an argument, she simply wrote out her characters and who they were. Park wore eyeliner because he wanted to. And the moment Eleanor saw him she laughed and told him he looked fierce. It was HIM. Eleanor also pointed out how sexist the authors/illustrators were when making comic books.

     Park and Eleanor’s families were extremely different. Eleanor had a beautiful mother who stayed with an abusive man, while Park’s dad would come home everyday from work and make out with his mom right there in front of everyone. But despite Park’s parents’ loving marriage his family knew what loss felt like.

     Ultimately Rowell successfully put the feelings of our first love into words. She wrote about the first time you fall completely and irrationally in love with someone. She wrote about the hope that comes with our first young love. She wrote about all the possibilities that we believe are within our reach when we first feel what it’s like to hold hands with that one person who we stay up late thinking about. And she wrote about the painful and heartbreaking reality that comes at the end of young love. 

The Fearless Ha

The Fearless Ha

I picked Inside Out and Back Again for my free verse book. I REALLY loved it. I loved Ha’s genuine and raw voice. Her words were all so necessary. Every poem throughout the book gave us a piece of information about their everyday struggles or who she was as a person. It was refreshing to see that despite everything she was going through her childlike stubbornness and determination always won. This book made me take a step back and look at my life through new eyes. It’s so very overwhelming to have those moments where you are fully reminded of your privilege. There were many lines throughout this book that are so simple yet full of so much power. One of my favorite lines that has stuck with me was,

“People share

when they know

they have escaped hunger.

Shouldn’t people share

because there is hunger?”(p. 93).

     This quote hit me really hard and I found myself going back to it over and over again. It made me feel so thankful for children authors who have used their gift to spread these worldwide issues to young kids. Growing up I knew that there was hunger, war, homelessness, death, etc. I knew it in high school too. But these things weren’t really talked about at all when I was going through elementary school and even high school. The only place it was talked about briefly was in church. It wasn’t until I was in my freshman year of college that I was smacked in the face with the reality and brokenness that human beings are experiencing everyday around the world.

     I would love to use this book in a classroom. It would open up discussions about the history surrounding the Vietnam War, but it wouldn’t be straight out of a textbook. It would be from the viewpoint of Ha which is so much better and a lot easier for kids to be able to attempt to relate to.

     

Cento using lines from Inside Out and Back Again:

As we glide away

I wish she wouldn’t try to make something bad better.

but at times I know words are just words.

Because I can’t wish for him to appear until  I know where we’ll be.

Origami Yoda, I Believe in You

Origami Yoda, I Believe in You

     I’m reading the Origami Yoda series and completely loving it! If you guys didn’t sign up for this series I highly you recommend that you check it out. Basically you have this sixth-grade class of kids who are in that wonderfully awkward stage I’m sure we all remember. It’s that awkward point in life when everyone is a bit weird and even the “cool” kids don’t really know how to be cool. And of course there are those first crushes because cooties don’t exist anymore. And nobody wants to dance in the middle of the dance floor. It’s that point in life. There is weird boy named Dwight who creates his own folding technique for an origami Yoda paper doll and his Yoda will give advice to those who ask him for advice. There’s also this boy named Tommy who wants to find out if Origami Yoda really does have the power of the force with him or if it’s just another weird Dwight thing. So Tommy puts together this case file on whether or not Origami Yoda is real or not. By the end of the book despite all common sense you can’t really help but believe that he is real… It’s pretty epic.

     Throughout the book you are introduced to different classmates who really bring you back to your sixth-grade days. They’re real, imperfect, and messy. They also never fail to portray their teachers in not so positive ways… They’re usually mean. By reading all of Tommy’s case files that he has put together the reader is reminded to appreciate the small things in life and not forget what really matters. I personally think Dwight is the coolest guy ever even though everyone in his class thinks he’s completely insane. I’m excited to start the second book and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Alma, hope you’re having a good weekend(:

Reading in the Wild and Fifty Shades of Grey

Reading in the Wild and Fifty Shades of Grey

     First off, the realization that a student’s possible love or hate for reading could all depend on me and how I teach/encourage/incorporate reading into my students’ everyday lives is TERRIFYING!!! As for me I am that person who carries at least two books I am currently reading (not related to my classes), one of my all time favorite books, and of course my class-related books with me at all times. I am THAT nerd at work who is made fun of everyday for not being able to put a book down when I am on my breaks. I am THAT nerd who reads in my bedroom while my roommate is playing beer pong in our living room with all of her friends. I am THAT nerd who receives Barnes and Noble giftcards from family members on Christmas and my birthday because they’ll never worry that I won’t love that gift. So I am that wild reader who never realized that is what I was. And what I want with all of my heart is to show kids how books are more than just words on paper. They are beautiful words, put together carefully by wonderful people, they are an escape from the sound of your parents fighting, the pain of a broken heart, the stress of life, and so much more. My hope is that all of my future students are able to find some sort of comfort in the pages of a book.

     I love Miller’s book so far. I love how straightforward she is and I love the knowledge that she is sharing (wow there’s a lot of love in there). What stuck out to me was the part where she was writing about her daughter in her natural element as she seamlessly alternated between writing her Hunger Games fan fiction, referring to her book The Zombie Survival Guide, and recommending a good book to one of her friends. I hate the need for some to label reading as “academic reading” and “non-academic reading”. And I hate the term “guilty pleasure” that we use to describe some of the books we read. I think we can all agree that we learn SOMETHING from every thing we read. Yes, I honestly learned something from Fifty Shades of Grey. This may have to do with the fact that at the time that I read this I didn’t completely understand what sex was so Anastasia and Christian’s relationship was very informative… Anyways after reading chapter one I was brought back to my elementary school days and I remember quite clearly the Accelerated Reading program that we took part in 1st-8th grade. This program infuriated me to no end. I loved reading, but I am naturally a very slow reader. I often like to read books twice to make sure I fully read the book. And then of course after FINALLY finishing my book you have to take a ten question quiz on the book you read. Which at the time as a 1st-6th grader tests on computers seriously stressed me out for some reason. So knowing I had to take the test after reading the book was always scary. While already having to these personal stressors, you are also competing against your fellow classmates who all read and different paces and at all different reading levels. I’m not even going to mention the way they so wrongly classify the books into specific reading levels, which sometimes stops you from reading the books you actually want to read. So I believe the AR program is bull shit and I hope that by the time I’m teaching it has been destroyed. If it hasn’t I will have something better to offer my students.

     Have a great week everyone. P.S. – Alma what’s up(:

You’ll Never Guess Who…

You’ll Never Guess Who…

In these pastures there is no need for a fairy godmother.

It is not a prince, but a princess who must have the other.

There is no grand ball.

Only locks of gold that steal her heart and all.

The birds are creatures we miss.

And instead all we get is a hiss.

Katie the Crazy Cat Lady (one of many)

Katie the Crazy Cat Lady (one of many)

     Hello everyone! I am beyond excited to be in this class with all of you. You all seem like amazing human beings who love kids and I really believe it takes a special person to teach the little humans. A little bit about me… I have a cute little Quarter horse named Tucker who has been my partner for eleven years now. After high school I decided to stop barrel racing and brought him to Chico with me. He is my stress reliever and only source of complete peace amidst this chaotic time in my life. I have two cats that I love with all of my heart named Meredith and Rousey (yes she was named after Ronda Rousey). My boyfriend hates cats and his limit was zero and now I own two… Recently I started the Game of Thrones series and am completely addicted and would love to geek out with any fellow GOT lovers.

     Like many of you, choosing to be a teacher was the only thing that really made sense. In the beginning of my college career all I knew was that I loved to write, reading books is still the greatest thing ever, and that kids are the best teachers out there. Ultimately I decided to be a teacher because I want to go to a job everyday KNOWING that at the end of the day I will have made a difference in someone’s life and made some sort of impact, big or small. My mom is a beautiful person and it is because of her that I am here today sitting next to all of you. I am terrified to be a teacher, but at the moment my mom believes in me enough for the both of us. I am here. And I find myself feeling a terrified  type of excited in the best way because Kim Jaxon has that effect on even the most unconfident of students/future teachers.

    Now for the Williams article that we read. I’m not really sure that there should be a clear cut definition for a “reader”. At this time there is so much information readily available to us that the contents of what we “read” is so diverse that there is no label for it. Outside of school I read for “pleasure”, which is a word I feel hesitant to use because there are many reading assignments for classes that I find myself surprised to actually enjoy. I think that as soon as there is a deadline attached to a reading many people approach that reading differently, maybe in part because there is potential stress attached to it now. For me I feel that that is the reason why I can scroll through twitter/instagram/facebook for twenty minutes or so reading through different articles as I go and take in the information and enjoy it. But then when I am assigned an article there is a possibility of failure attached to it now. There’s a chance that I will miss the big picture or finish without gaining the knowledge my teacher/professor had hoped I would  by reading that assignment. In the end I think that all the little/big bits and pieces we read here and there build us into who we are. If you were to look at my bookshelf you would see my favorite books ranging from ages 3-20 years old. And looking at every book takes me back to that point I was at in my life when I read it (or had it read to me) and that bookmarked memory means so much to me. So it is all connected. I believe the connections we are able to make are evidence of how much we have grown mentally and emotionally.