Friday, July 13, 2007

Deconstructing Penguins

I am going to do my first Read Together prize drawing this week to include the participants who have already signed up. So, as long as your name is on THIS LIST by Wednesday, July 18, you will be eligible to win a copy of this book, sponsored by me, which I will pick at on that day.

I came across Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading in the way that I come across many books. I made a purchase on amazon, and the screen then showed me what other people had purchased with the same browsing history. I won't get into what I think about the fact that amazon knows more about me than some of my best friends, but I love this feature. This was a great book that I was happy to have stumbled upon in this way.

Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone run parent-child discussion groups at a library. They start with second grade and are now facilitating groups all the way up to 8th grade. They don't ask the typical questions: What did you think when Mary rejected her friend? How do you think Joe felt when his Dad left home? Rather, they deconstruct the book using classic plot, theme, and character elements and in doing so, find out what parents and kids really think about the story and the world. The very first book that they discussed was Mr. Popper's Penguins (hence the title of the book).

This would be a wonderful book for any teacher (in the classroom or home), librarian, or reading group facilitator (for children--or adults, for that matter). I enjoyed the layers of deconstructing a book that they modeled by sharing transcripts of the interaction in their reading groups, and it will help me as I discuss books with Amanda, as well as encouraging higher level analysis as she speeds through books on her own.

The Appendix includes lists of books that they've used in second through fifth grade, as well as in-depth examples using Mr. Popper's Penguins, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Charlotte's Web, Babe, Animal Farm, Bull Run, The Giver, The View From Saturday, The Phantom Tollbooth, and The Call of the Wild.

So, if you want to be eligible to win a copy, be sure you've signed up to Read Together (click that link for all the details).

There are other prizes to come: The publishers of the Fairy Chronicles have offered at least one giveaway at the end of the challenge, and Mary DeMuth will be giving away one of her books as well (which is actually quite appropriate because in her new book Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, she mentions reading together as one way to connect with your child). These prizes, as well as the $10 gift certificate that I am giving away, will be drawn from those of you who post about specific books (either a review of the book, or thoughts on the process regarding that particular book). The Mr. Linky will be available on THIS POST until August 26. You can "enter" more than once by posting multiple reviews/posts. I do ask that in your post, you link back to one of the Read Together posts so others can join in if they choose.


relevantgirl said...

Jennifer, thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I look forward to reading your reaction to the book.

Katrina said...

This book sounds really great. Thanks for alerting me to it -- and feel free to pick me as the winner. ha-ha. :)

At A Hen's Pace said...

I second Katrina: Pick me, pick me! The book sounds fascinating.


Carrie said...

Nice to know about this book! Thanks!

Corinne said...

That book looks really interesting. I want to win!

Melanie said...

This is a fabulous book, I agree. One of the best ones about discussing literature with children that I've read.

Appliejuice said...

Thanks for the information. I just ordered that book. :D