As a teacher librarian I'm constantly seeking out new offerings for my students and as a member of a state book award committee, I have committed to reading what is on our consideration list. So other than my yearly re-read of Pride and Prejudice, or the odd re-reading of another favorite, I find that I don't have time to re-read books. I also tend to discourage my students from re-reading books. I have a variety of reasons I do this: a) they want to re-read because it's easier and I want them to challenge themselves as readers, b) they want to re-read because they know they will like a book and I want them to find others they'll enjoy, c) I suspect they're taking the easy way out for assignments. All rational, considered reasons. There is a world of amazing literature out there for middle grade readers and I want my students to experience what it has to offer.
However, this summer I've had a bit of an epiphany about re-reading books. I've had a few stressful situations crop up, as is wont to happen in real life, and although I have shelves of shiny new books with creative titles and fabulous covers, there are some days I don't want to read them.
What I want is the macaroni and cheese of my bookshelf - something comfortable and familiar, something that doesn't require me to stretch when I'm already stretched, something that won't rock my world when it is already a bit off kilter, something that will quiet my noisy mind and heart, and... make me laugh.
Perhaps my students are looking for something in the same vein, something that will take them away from whatever is troubling them and allow them to live somewhere else for a bit. This August, when we go back to school, I will still encourage my readers to try something new, but will also not discourage them from reaching for the familiar.
As a teacher librarian in a 6-8 middle school, when I'm not dreaming up all sorts of tactics to get books into my students' hands, I am seeking new ways to harness technology to help them learn.
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