You know that one of my favorite things about teaching is watching my students change from being non-readers to kids who cannot put their books down.
It’s a metamorphosis, y’all…a process I am honored to witness every single year.
This year, I am teaching two intensive reading blocks. These kiddos have the pleasure (ahem) of getting read to nearly every day.
This year, we’ve read The Honest Truth (gripping), Stuck in Neutral (nail biter at the end), and most recently Life Happens Next.
The last book is a sequel to the aforementioned one…both written by Terry Trueman.
Stuck in Neutral is about a boy named Shawn. He has Cerebral Palsy. Everyone thinks he’s a vegetable. He’s not. He has perfect auditory memory and can read, when his eyes will light on text long enough for him to focus on it. He also thinks that his father is planning to kill him.
Is your interest piqued? I know that my kids’ were.
So, we read the first book. I didn’t tell them there was a second book, relishing their anguish at the cliffhanger of the first.
I am evil that way. It’s one of the fun parts of being a teacher.
Anyhoo, the second book picks up where the first left off, introducing a couple of new characters.
My kids have been mesmerized. Shawn’s personality comes through loud and clear…sarcastic but oh so relevant as a teenager.
I finished reading the book today, and I decided to share the author’s notes at the end. I remembered being blown away by the fact that Mr. Trueman based his characters off of people in his own life.
My kids were in awe, and they had great questions about what happened to the “real” people.
So, being the fangirl that I am, I tweeted out to the author.
And he responded.
Don’t you just love being acknowledged by royalty? In my world, authors rank right on up there with Prince William and Princess Kate.
For real, though.
Here’s what I received late this afternoon…
As I’m typing this, I am literally giddy. I cannot WAIT to share this tweet with my kids.
It is a moment like this that solidifies their journey as readers…connecting with characters…reaching beyond their own lives in their quest to understand others.
I mean, y’all…you should have seen my kids’ responses when a character in the book passed away, unexpectedly. The class had begged for “one more chapter.” I had acquiesced to their request.
And then the character died.
And the room was dead silent.
For longer than a minute.
Until they blamed the gal who had finally convinced me to read that chapter.
Nobody saw it coming. This would have ranked as a first class blindside on the show Survivor.
The fact that they were flabbergasted was “that moment.”
It was the moment that preceded today’s “moment.”
In the course of the year that I have my kiddos, we string many “moments” together that keep the kids coming back year after year until they graduate. We often talk about books. Sometimes, they’ll borrow some from me. Mostly, our exchanges are about the bonds that we formed while they were students in my class…teacher to student…human to human.
So, I thank authors like Terry Trueman who stick their necks out and write about difficult topics to get us to think outside of the box…to ponder on things that go beyond the surface…to pick at feelings we didn’t know we had.