Friday, October 23, 2009


I guess you could say that I'm on a literary kick.

Fact is, our school is ordering a class set of books for each grade level, so I've been scurrying around trying to decide on the best novel to read and share with my 8th-graders. I want something that gives me plenty to teach.... characterization, plot development, word choice, and theme while giving the students a good story to enjoy.

I may have found it with Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl.
Written from a teenage boy's perspective, this story weaves its message through a plot that focuses on peer pressure and the need teeangers feel to fit in and conform with their peers. Stargirl, the other main character, is a free spirit, who is more concerned with how others feel rather than what they think. Yet as the characters wade into their relationships with each other and with their classmates, they find that remaining true to themselves is more challenging than they imagined.

The story made me smile... and cry, of course. Don't they all? Yet I think it will soon become the new class set of novels for my 8th-grade classroom. Its theme of being yourself (and being happy with who you are) is one that I hope my students will embrace as they continue their journey into adulthood.

Although I can picture numerous activities to go along with the book, it only took me a couple of hours to read it. So, if you measure time by the seconds rather than the hours, you can probably squeeze this one in!


McMGrad89 said...

Thanks for the suggestion. Other books I have liked are, Pictures of Hollis Wood and Surviving the Applewhites.

miruspeg said...

Oh I know I am going to enjoy this book Roban. I have just read several reviews and like you, they have all given glowing reports.

It will be interesting to see your students reaction to the book.

When I was their age all I wanted to do was fit in and keep a low profile. Now I can see the benefits of being an individual and not "playing small" as Marianne Williamson's quote always reminds me.

I hope to always cheer for both sides as this reviewer stated:

"But Stargirl cheers for every touchdown and basket (even the other team's), and this completely baffles the student body and then turns them against her".

I am really pleased you are on a literary kick Roban!

Peg xxxx

MommyJ said...

Definitely an excellent message for a classroom full of 8th graders! Thanks for the recommendation.

charrette said...

All three of my kids rate this as an all-time favorite. Great choice. Something in there just resonates for everybody to create that kind of passion.(Sounds like I need to read it too.)

charrette said...

Another one my daughter and I just loved reading aloud was Ida B.

Caroline said...

This sounds like a fantastic book! I will pick it up for sure. I will save it for my girls too...can't emphasize stuff like this enough. Thanks for the recommendation!

Heather of the EO said...

Thank you for the recommendation. It sounds like something everyone should read, since we all seem to carry our insecurities into adulthood.

I'm sure you're such a great teacher!

Candace said...

I LOVE this book. I read it a few years ago and suggested it to several of my students and they all loved it too. I like all his books. Your students are really going to enjoy this. There will be so much to talk about and so many neat activities you can do with this book. Sigh, this is when I miss teaching. Reading and discussing books was my favorite thing to do! Have fun and I'm glad ya'll have more class sets of novels!!!

Mummy McTavish said...

So wonderful that you are putting so much energy into picking a new class set of books. I doubt that was ever done for any I read, it was just "well, we've always used this one" even though it was in no way appropriate for our age.

Ages ago you asked what program I used to frame my pregnancy photos... I make my own frames in Photoshop using different brushes I have either made or downloaded. I just like that there is no other photo out there with the same frame. A lot of them are similar to ones I've seen in picnik photos but I like to think that mine is the equivalent of "handmade" compared to store bought, a stretch I know but I'll stick with it :)

Relyn said...

Oh, I SO love this book. Glad to hear your students did, too.

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

It sounds like the perfect choice for 8th graders!