Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why Literature Matters

My friend Kevin gets a daily poem in April (National Poetry Month), and he sent me today's.  It really touched my heart.

Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things

She is holding the book close to her body,
carrying it home on the cracked sidewalk,
down the tangled hill.
If a dog runs at her again, she will use the book as a shield.

She looked hard among the long lines
of books to find this one.
When they start talking about money,
when the day contains such long and hot places,
she will go inside.
An orange bed is waiting.
Story without corners.
She will have two families.
They will eat at different hours.

She is carrying a book past the fire station
and the five-and-dime.
What  this town has not given her
the book will provide; a sheep,
a wilderness of new solutions.
The book has already lived through its troubles.
The book has a calm cover, a straight spine.

When  the step returns to itself
as the best place for sitting,
and the old men up and down the street
are latching  their clippers,

she will not be alone.
She will have a book to open
and open and open.
Her life starts here.

                   Naomi Shihab Nye

This is a picture of part of our new Fairfield Middle School Rabid Readers Book Club.  These kids are amazing, and we meet once a month to talk about a certain book.  The picture comes from an article that ran in the Fairfield Ledger last week.

This month it was The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.  The poem Kevin sent me really made me think of our book club and of the opportunity it gives kids to get lost in literature.  We have wanted to start a book club for many years, but this is the first year we have made it happen.  4 of us teachers and a spectacular parent volunteer make the group happen, and it's awesome.  What they discuss blows our minds every single time... how deeply they analyze and think... the connections they make.  Reading literature is so important.  Even though our club isn't huge, I'm so glad we're giving kids one more chance to connect at school and with books and with each other.  And this poem reminds me why it all matters.

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