Thursday, March 4, 2021

#sol21 March 4 So Many Books, So Little Time

"We like to hop on top of pop," she said laughing as I thought of the many emergent readers, over many years who eagerly devoured Suess's predictable texts and powerful rhymes on their way to wide reading of more substantial texts.

"We are in a book," he read laughing as I thought of the many emergent readers over many years who eagerly devoured Mo Willems predictable dialogue.

As I read about banning of Seuss's books this week, I thought about making the best choices for our students. So Many Books, So Little Time.  Admittedly, Seuss was not writing for diversity. His first books merged parts of animals into strange creatures that emerged from growing up as the  always busy sketching son of a zookeeper a century ago. Some of the images in To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street (1937) and If I Ran the Zoo (1950), are not acceptable today.  Yet, his gift to generations of young readers is worthy of note, and Hop on Pop might still be worthy of a spot on the library shelf.

There are So Many Books, old, new, and in between and So Little Time that parents and teachers must always look critically at book choices pointing out, as we share, copyright dates, words of caution and explanations about books that depict life different from today. 

  • The Ugly Duckling? He's really just different! 
  • Danny and the Dinosaur? Clotheslines? Drug stores? Animals in cages?
  • The Night Before Christmas?  "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth....
  • So Many Books...
I, for one, am not opting to abandon Suess, Anderson, Hoff  or Moore entirely; however, I use all older texts with explanation of society as it was at the time the book was written and the timeliness of it's message that has kep the book on shelves. 
I, for one, am opting to embrace (Mo Willems, Jonathon London, Dav Pilkey.......) the many books that support that respect diversity and embrace the similarities and differences in our society as well as the needs of young readers, because there are So Many Books and So Little Time.....


dianelisa2 said...

I agree with you. It's great to surround our students with books about human diversity and inclusion, but some of the classic children's writers don't do that. Instead of banning the politically incorrect books, it is wise to present the older texts in context, as you do.

Glenda Funk said...

This topic consumed me yesterday. Long story. Anyway, I haven’t heard about schools banning Seuss. What I’ve seen is ceasing publishing of six of his books and districts taking away his privileged position in Read Across America. I’m all for that. Maybe in times libraries will weed the books as they do others w/ low circulation. I think about Seuss the way I think about Huck Finn. I stopped teaching that book because it does cause students trauma and harm. Teens can articulate this better that young children. I replaced Huck w/ Kindred, a very good decision. Teachers must always ask what they’re trying to accomplish w/ a book and whether it’s the best choice for that objective.

Laura Arnhold said...

I agree as well! I actually posted about this on my blog this week as well. Presenting older texts in context is what it's all about and you're right there are so many amazing books available that embrace diversity and inclusion!