November 21, 2009

Who Doesn't Love Some Discarded Books?

Magical Mystical Teacher's Six Word Saturday is

Books open doors. Open a book!

I concur!

I opened up a book last night, and finished it this morning. It was brain candy romance that I read when I need a fix but do not have a lot of time. Not sure it opened a lot of doors, but it relieved some stress by allowing me to escape reality for a little while.

One of my colleagues passed on a box of brain candy to me the other day. She is no so unlike me in that she does not have a lot of time but needs to zone out, so she brought a whole box to my classroom marked "Desk Supplies." I'm not sure if it's a reused box, or it was disguised to hide our dirty little secret.

About that same time, Ari, a senior girl in my proficiency class, brought Tana French's In the Woods and asked if I'd read it. She also asked if I had anything good to read. I enjoyed In the Woods (although the end was not as good as it could have been compared to the rest), and we talked books for a while, but sadly, I did not have anything to pass on. I haven't been reading much for leisure (education research journals anyone?), and I donated a my box of unwanted books before I moved. It's not that I'm book poor, but the stack I have is of unread books only.

The box of brain candy changed things because my colleague passed it on to me saying, "Just pass them on when you are finished!" I went through and picked out what I didn't want to read or had already read, and what I thought would be okay to pass on to students and came up with a little pile of John Grisham (been over him since '99), Mary Higgins Clark (haven't I read just about everything she's written?), and Nicholas Sparks (I can take him or leave him).

I was so ecstatic to see them attack the pile like hungry teens on pizza! Some of them admitted to enjoying reading, but others who took books were indifferent. A couple thought they had to take a book, but when they realized they didn't, they reconsidered and put it back. Whatever. What was interesting is that those who don't read a lot but were excited to have a book to read. It's interesting how sometimes if you just give a kid a book, and these "kids" are two inches from being full-blown adults, they will take it happily and read it. Some of them won't read it, I know from experience, but the fact that they just blasted excited to get a book is so wonderful!

Once or twice the past, I've brought extra books in for my alt ed kids to take home, and I get the same reaction. How hard it would it be for me to bring in some books to give away from time to time? Their tastes are probably closer to mine than my middle schoolers, as they also read both young adult and adult books. I typically like to trade my books in for new ones to read, but if I'm money smart, I can do this pretty inexpensively. It's a little impact, but maybe for a couple of teens, owning a book, or being "given" a book, even if it's from a pile of discarded books, is a treasure. I know it is to me!

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