Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Humphrey's World

This series by Betty Birney, about a classroom pet, is a delightful read. Read these books and you'll look at your hamster in a whole new light. Humphrey is a great  role model. He cares about his human classmates. He wants to help them solve their problems. Kids will identify with his eagerness to have adventures, learn new things, and also with his fears - many of which they may share.  Even when Humphrey is afraid he shows great courage.  If you are looking for books to help with character education, this is a good series. Humphrey gets the messages across without being preachy about it.

Titles include:

The World According to Humphrey
Friendship According to Humphrey
Trouble According to Humphrey
Surprises According to Humphrey
Adventure According to Humphrey

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Freak The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

This is an excellent book about friendship and about learning how everyone is not the same. Some have expressed concern over the violent nature of Max's father, but it is such a small portion of the book. And the emphasis of the story is not on how violent and criminal Killer Kane is, but rather on how Max does not have to be like his father, on how the friendship between Max and Kevin ("Freak") is so strong that Freak does not allow his small size to keep him from coming to his friend's rescue, and how with such a strong friendship the two boys are able to survive the cruel teasing of their classmates. The violent behavior shown in one small portion of the book is nothing compared to what children see on prime TV or in their own video games. While it is important to be aware of this content, it should not be a deterrent for sharing the book with students, especially those of a higher reading level.

If you want a good book to generate discussion about character traits, this is a good one.

I'm already on hold at the public library for the sequel "Max the Mighty."

What are you reading?