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04 January 2013 @ 05:45 pm
Book Love  
When I logged into Twitter this morning, this is what my eyes saw first: @pennykittle: We all build reading lives--every year, every child, every classroom. We can be a force for good for always. #booklove

And on Facebook, I saw this:

caring for reader brains

I have written here about reader's heart. Let's talk a little but about nourishing the reader's brain as well. As Penny Kittle observes, we build reading lives constantly. To build reading lives, we must provide nourishment, to find a way to make sure that hearts and brains grow. That means finding not just one book that speaks to a reader, but dozens, perhaps hundreds. I often joke that one of the things that used to make me crazy was the day AFTER I had helped a reader find the "just right" book and he or she came back to me and asked for "another one just like it." I would think that I found this person one good book. Now, he or she should be able to go off and take care of himself or herself. That is akin to feeding a child once and then expecting the child to find nourishment on his or her own after that.

In some ways, it is important and good that kids come back and ask for that next best book. It means a couple of things. First, they respect our opinions and tastes and recognize we can be of assistance. Second, they are telling us that they mean to continue to read good books. More importantly, it keeps us honest: we will have to keep reading so we can recommend more and more books. As Penny notes, we can be a force for good for always.

So, a couple of years ago, I wrote READING LADDERS as a way to guide kids from one book to the next and so on. I suggest books to those who seek my advice (and sometimes when they do not, too). And I keep making connections between and among books as I read. Today, as I finished ROAD TRIP by Gary and Jim Paulsen, I was mentally making lists of other road trip books, other books that would connect for kids who likes this one. If you wonder, then, why I strive to read as much as I can, turn to Penny Kittle's quote and the cartoon about watering brains, and you have the answer.
 
 
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