Sunday, April 25, 2010

26th April Patricia Reilly Giff (1935)

Patricia Reilly Giff writes novels which have been Newbery Honor books and she is responsible for the Polk Street School series of readers, but I first met her when I started teaching because of her character, Ronald Morgan, a second-grader who everything goes wrong for in Today Was a Terrible Day. That year I had a child who always seemed to be having 'bad days' and I introduced him to Ronald and Alexander from Judith Viorst's Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day and we used to joke about how Ronald nearly always rescued the situation, like he does in The Almost Awful School Play. Now when I get the Ronald Morgan books off the shelf, I think that they are dated and not the sort of picture book that a child would choose to take without some prompting, but nevertheless, Patricia's books, especially her newer ones still have a place in children's lives. As she says " "I want to see children curled up with books, finding an awareness of themselves as they discover other people's thoughts. I want them to make the connection that books are people's stories, that writing is talking on paper, and I want them to write their own stories. I'd like my books to provide that connection for them."

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