English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: kylieherman

Anya’s Grafik Novel

Anya’s Grafik Novel

Aside from the semi-abrupt ending, this book was really really awesome! Unlike the other books we’ve read in class, this one had pictures with little to no color. Which I though was going to be an obstacle, but instead the lack of color helped capture the facial expressions and gestures in a much clearer way. I remember reading Maus in middle school–which also lacked color–and absolutely loving it! The emphasis on facial expressions wasn’t as great in Maus, but somehow the photos really helped tell the story.

I have found that reading graphic novels helps me to really understand what the author wants the reader to get from their writing. I enjoy using my imagination, but sometimes knowing the direction the author wants you to go is nice.

A couple ways you could use graphic novels in the classroom would be, acting out some of the scenes could be a nice way to bring these books to life, but also having your students make their own comics would be really fun and would allow them to be creative. There is so much you could do with graphic novels!!

The Poem of a Monster

The Poem of a Monster

A) Monster was a book that seemed like it would be super interesting and not that complex, but once I started reading it I discovered that it is a pretty complex book to follow. To be honest, I was a little relieved when I found  out that my book club felt the same way about the book. There are some pretty cool “journal entries” in the book that help the audience gage what the main character’s feeling are about his situation–being a young convict in jail, but the script format that the rest of the book is in, is pretty hard to follow. Unlike a regular script for a play or movie, this book lacks stage direction and emotional cues. It can be tough to interpret what a character is actually feeling, because this book is pretty much all dialogue.

I don’t think I would use this book in my classroom, but if I did, I would probably assign students to certain characters and help them with the possible emotions they, as the characters, might be feeling. I would most likely pair this with book with a unit on justice if I used it…



I am so scared. My heart is beating like crazy and I am having trouble breathing.

Each evening we wait for the first light of the last fireflies, catch them in jars.

Last night I was afraid to go to sleep. It was as if closing my eyes was going to cause me to die.

I knew one day I’d need my own wings to fly.

I wanted to be away from this place so bad, away from this place, away from this place.

Lemme Let You in On Diary of a Wimpy Kid…

Lemme Let You in On Diary of a Wimpy Kid…

I personally LOVE this series, and I’m twenty years old. It has so many great qualities that make it so appealing to a wide range of people. No, it’s not really a book I would recommend to a peer, because it’s not meant for us, but maybe our (future) students, younger siblings, etc. Obviously, books twenty year olds look for are often stories based on true events or maybe self-help books, not really junior high journals kept by a “wimpy kid”, which is what this book basically is.

Greg Heffley is a middle school aged dweeb, who keeps a diary “journal”–given to him by his mother–about his everyday life. His journal entries are normally composed of events that took place at home or school, peer interactions–both positive and negative (mostly negative), rude things his brother does to him, complaints about his parents and younger brother, as well as his feelings towards his “uncool” best friend. In my opinion, Greg has a pretty large ego and can be pretty rude, which can make this book pretty hilarious, but also make me hate Greg at times.

I could definitely see this book being popular amongst middle schoolers, because most of the characters are in middle school and the book discusses middle school issues, but the vocabulary that is used is not too difficult. I would say that children in the third and forth grades would also enjoy this book a lot, because they would probably like to fantasize about what it’s going to be like when they reach middle school. Will they get stuck sitting next to “dorks”? Will they get to use their older brother’s tricks on other kids? What will it be like to go from class to class, instead of staying in one classroom with one teacher?

One way you could use this book in class is to read through it (maybe out loud) with your kids, and then once you finish, have them write their own “diary”. This would allow them to write creatively, journal, and potentially open a window for some self reflection journaling. Those are just some ideas…

The (Not So) Secret Life of Kylie Herman AND What it Means to be a “Reader”?

The (Not So) Secret Life of Kylie Herman AND What it Means to be a “Reader”?

  1. I’m not exactly sure what you would like story wise, but I’ll just put what I think should go here…On the surface: track athlete, Christian, and super into music, both listening and playing. But those previously listed things do not really describe me and my background/upbringing. Christianity was not part of my upbringing, nor were the practices similar to the stereotypical Christian family. And by that I mean my mom was 19 when she found out she’d be a mother in the near future and my dad was pretty into the party scene, and later not around that much… I learned from his mistakes and trials so that I could get where I am today, which is college–a place very foreign to my family. I’m very happy to be here and get to experience this great period of time! Movie nights and jam sessions with friends and late night doughnut runs are what I live for. That might have gotten a little deep, but that surface level stuff doesn’t really describe who I am.
  2. I always thought a reader was someone who enjoyed reading, and reading a lot. The things that readers read are novels, not random articles in People or celebrity bios. Outside of school I don’t read many novels. It takes me forever to read novels, because reading has always been less interesting than hanging out with friends or playing music (which sometimes requires reading). The reading that I do do outside of school normally does not connect with the reading I’m supposed to be doing for school. I tend to read articles that pop up on my FaceBook newsfeed, text messages, sounds stereotypical, but I read through Bible verses, lyrics to new songs I like, and a lot of other really random stuff. I read everything besides books. Reading is something I enjoy doing, but only in short little spurts, because why would I spend hours reading when I could hang out with friends and make memories? Some of the “take-aways” from the article were that readers come in many forms. You don’t need to be novel obsessed to be considered a reader, which is kind of a relief, because I never thought of myself as a reader until now. I read a lot, I just don’t read a lot of books.