I just bought a bunch of crap at the library book sale.
|The guy on the right is me, but I'm not a guy.|
Like, seriously mediocre reading material. I was embarrassed to go through the check out process.
The thing is, I was buying for my classroom library, and after two months, I have pretty well figured out what my students will read, and it's usually not the books I love. So I bought a bowhunting magazine (50 cents), a coffee table book about ancient Greece ($2.50), and a handful of paranormal romances. Oh, and American Sniper, God help me, which one book refuser has been SWEARING up and down he will read if I get. Time for him to put his money where his mouth is. (The hardback, oddly, was a buck less than the paperback.)
|Not my usual reading material.|
|Did I mention weapons scare me?|
I also found a few graphic novels, which are the ones that pained me least to buy. Anya's Ghost was one of my favorite reads last month, after all, so I grabbed the $3.50 copy, knowing that graphic novels tend to be pricey when you buy retail.
And I found the Rolling Stone with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover. Someone will want to read it.
I picked up and put down a few others. A Sonnerblick I haven't read yet. Circus Mirandus. Some great looking memoirs. Each time I told myself, "If you really want to read this, you can check out one of the copies they still have on their shelves. You're here to buy for your students." It was hard, but it was also satisfying to know what my focus was. I spent hundreds of dollars last summer, buying blind for kids I'd never met.
How do I feel about buying drivel and movie tie-ins (redundant much?) for my students? I'd like to say that I feel great, because READING IS READING, dammit, and if you're an 8th grader who reads at a 3rd grade level, finding a book you enjoy is far more important than meeting some English teacher's standard of quality literature. But I actually feel kind of sad, because I want so much more for them.
Still, it will be okay. The fact that the kids have figured out, "I really like nonfiction about ancient cultures," or "I like romances with werewolves that are kind of scary but have a happy ending," or "I like reading about kids dealing with gang issues," (actual preferences described by actual students this week) is huge. The fact that I have worked out a blend of conferencing, journaling, and simply talking with kids in order to find out what they are hoping to find as they stare blankly at the library bookshelves, is huge.
Some will branch out. They will show each other new titles, new authors, and new genres. I'd like to see the kid who likes the books about troubled Latino teens to try Trash or House of the Scorpion by the end of the year. I handed my paranormal romance fan three books the other day, and the one she settled on is Shiver; maybe Stiefvater will get her hooked. After reading Smile and Sisters six times each, some will be brave enough to tackle Drama and Sunny Side Up, or even transition into Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging or Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie.
|Love this book. And the sequel.|
|I didn't even LIKE this book, but it's the kind of|
book I'm comfortable around.
|Mystery. Sci Fi. #WNDB.|
|Another sci fi with a Latino main character. *Happy sigh.*|
Books are gateway drugs to other books.
And honestly, I'd rather produce students who go on to read trashy novels with great enthusiasm all their lives than ones who say, "Yeah, I read a really good book in 8th grade, and haven't read a book since."
*Subtitle: When what I really need are a pair of shoes that don't hurt my feet and a pair of jeans that aren't worn out.