Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wicked Cool Overlooked Books

Today is the Zombie Ass Kicking Edition of the monthly Wicked Cool Overlooked Books event at Chasing Ray.

I don't have a particular book to share this month, but I was thinking of doing something with the news that FirstBook had interviewed a bunch of people about the book(s) that hooked them on reading. (Here's the list of the top 50 books or series.) In true blogger form, Blog From the Windowsill turned the list into a meme. If you want to play, copy the list and put a + in front of the books that hooked you as a reader. What are some of the books that hooked you that DIDN'T make it on the list? (This is the part that connects to WCOB, in case you were wondering!)

- Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
+ Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
+ Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
+ The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
-Go, Dog, Go! by P. D. Eastman
+ Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman
+ Curious George by Margret and H. A. Rey
- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
- The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper and Loren Long
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Dick and Jane by William H. Elson
- Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
- The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
+ The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
+ The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Heidi by Johanna Spyri
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
+ A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
- Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
- Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
- Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
+ Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
- Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
- The Baby-sitters Club by Ann M. Martin
- Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss
- Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
- Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
- Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs
- Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
- Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
- The Bible
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

A Wrinkle in Time is the book that launched me as a reader. I got it from the book order in 6th grade. It was the longest, most challenging book I had read up until that point. It was also my introduction to fantasy. It really made me think. No book had done that up until then, and once I had that experience, I expected it out of every book I read. (I either wanted the book to make me think, or make me feel. I spent many a Sunday afternoon rereading sad books and crying -- Little Britches, Love Story, Where the Red Fern Grows...)

The other books I marked with a + are books that I remember being in my life as I grew up. I read a lot as a child and we took regular trips to the library. All that reading got me ready for A Wrinkle in Time, so I won't dismiss it as water through a sieve, but it was definitely not memorable.

This was also the first time my reading life outside of school had intersected with reading inside of school. Up until that point, reading at school was a basal reader and SRA cards. I was a good reader according to all of that, but none of my teachers knew me as a reader. None of my teachers ever asked me, as I will ask my students in a couple of weeks, to tell them about my reading history. None of my teachers ever gave me a list like this and asked me which books had hooked me on reading.

We survived our schooling. It was something that was done to us. How much better it is now that students actively participate in their learning. Now that students are asked and can answer, "Which books hooked you on reading?"


  1. Love this! I did it on my site. I changed the wording just slightly, didn't really say the wickedly Cool Overlooked books part, but whatev...
    Haven't talked to you in awhile. Congrats on your 500th post!

  2. I love that you ask your students about their "reading history." How do you do it, exactly? Informally? Written? With prompts? And how do you follow up? I'm so curious about this idea...it strikes me as so simple, but with such wonderful potential.


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