18 November 2014
Boston: A Wicked Good Time
A year ago today, according to my Facebook timeline which now serves as my memory, I was packing for a trip to Boston for NCTE and ALAN. I had no idea how amazing this trip would be and how it would impact my life in big and small ways. It was wicked good!
For one, I had yet to discover the most amazing food in the history of the universe: the Florentine cannoli from Mike's Pastry. Where ya been all my life?! Seriously, somebody please ship me a box!
I had not yet discovered the place I want to live if I ever leave Iowa. Oh, Boston! You had me when the sun magically appeared as I stumbled down the wrong street from the hotel and discovered Fenway! See the angelic presence in the center of the picture? My whole trip had that halo effect. And I got to wander around this most charming of historical cities with several of my favorite people: Brenna Griffin, Abby Hendrickson, and Kirstey Ewald.
All my teaching life of twenty years, I have revered the name Nancie Atwell. She has been the shining light of reading & writing workshop in my classroom. Her work In the Middle is amazing. I have every versions. A year ago, I had not met my teaching idol.
A year ago, illustrator Gareth Hinds had not completely changed the way I teach the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. His graphic novel interpretation creates a major contrast to the traditional climbing of the trellis. This creative thinking demonstrates how the same idea is re-interpreted in multiple mediums. Discuss the graphic novel frames of this scene in contrast to the Baz Luhrmann interpretation and kids will be hooked!
The YA novel Boy21 is my go-to book. I've never had a student, male or female, honors student or reluctant reader, finish the first page without getting hooked. Every student who reads it rates in their top 3 of the year. A tender and illuminating story about friendship,mental illness, race, grief, and basketball, it is one of my all-time favorite books. I got to lavish all my praise in person on the gracious and inspirational author Matthew Quick (of Silver Linings Playbook fame.) Q is an amazing human!
A year ago, I had yet to see the awesome Catching Fire premiere on Scholastic's dime. With editor David Levithan. Okay, I wasn't WITH him. He was two seats in front of me, but I COULD hear all his witty comments.
Did I mention the life-changing properties of the Florentine cannoli?