?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
04 December 2013 @ 05:30 am
Firing the Canon  
Firing the Canon

In Boston I had the chance to speak to several hundreds secondary teachers at their Get Together on Thursday evening. I ended my presentation by asking them to brainstorm lists of books they would use to create their own canon. Joan Kindig suggests that a canon is a set of texts we hold sacred. So I asked these teachers to come up with books they held sacred, books they wanted to be sure to pass along to a new generation of readers. They posted them to Twitter using #canon as the hashtag. I collected them for several days after the Get Together and I present them here (and they will be up on SlideShare.net/professornana as well.

What is not at all surprising to me is that the books they listed are a diverse lot. There are some traditional canonical texts. However, they are mixed in with more than a few contemporary texts. Also unsurprising, there were not many titles listed by more than 1 person. The only titles with multiple “votes” were:

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART TIME INDIAN
ENDANGERED
SPEAK
THE POISONWOOD BIBLE
THE CHOCOLATE WAR.

If I were to ask a different audience this same question, I have no doubt that some of the titles would be different. When Connie Epstein asked this question dozens of years ago of Ivy League English professors, she found much the same thing: there was little agreement about the specific books they wanted incoming freshmen to know. What one professor remarked has stayed with me over those years: give us kids who love to read; assign grades for reading by the pound. I feel the same way: I want my grad students to love books and reading. I can give them titles and let them explore children’s and YA literature if they already love to read and know the power of a good book (the right book for the right reader at the right time as my subtitle to Making the Match declares). I worry in our prescriptive CCSS Exemplar Text state that we risk losing readers. And so, here is the rest of the CANON from NCTE’s Secondary Get Together. May it be a starting point for more discussion and for more celebration of books and reading.

REVOLUTION
THE GREAT GATSBY
THE COLOR PURPLE
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
1984
THE GIVER
THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE
GRACELING
HURT GO HAPPY
IF I STAY
A WRINKE IN TIME
CHARLOTTE’S WEB
THE BOOK THIEF
LORD OF THE RINGS
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN
WONDER
WILFRID GORDON MACDONALD PARTRIDGE
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
THE TEMPEST
OF MICE AND MEN
DIVERGENT
THE CLOCKWORK PRINCESS
STUCK IN NEUTRAL
AMERICAN BORN CHINESE
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF MELANIN SUN
A FIRE IN MY HANDS
THE MOVES MAKE THE MAN
CHAOS WALKING SERIES
ELEVEN AND OTHER STORIES
IN DARKNESS
THE LITTLE PRINCE
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: blissful