Saturday, April 17, 2010

Frances O'Roark Dowell-Visit and Books

On the last day before Spring Break, my school hosted well-known and loved author Frances O'Roark Dowell. She talked to our students about the writing process, what inspires her and also about her latest book, Falling In. She was great! She's down-to earth, funny and knew how to speak to the students. The teachers were thrilled to listen to her writing process anecdotes and when she left, most of them were surprised to learn that she was not a teacher. "She's like us. She is SO a teacher!". Now, if you live among teachers, you know that is a very high compliment!
I recalled the first Dowell book I read, Chicken Boy. A book cover that haunted years ago when I read it for the first time. When I was at the book store, the cover just grabbed my attention. You see a boy craddling a chicken, with sad eyes, that seem "to follow you". For some reason it's a cover that I never forgot. And it also has a story that grabs you. So, during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, my goal was to read and even reread some of her books.

My favorite is still Chicken Boy. The main character, Tobin McCauley is a character that just wins you over. The story flows so smoothly, you can see the story right in front of you. You will remember your Middle School days and friendships you made. The kind of friends that even if you stop seeing each other for awhile when you meet again, it's like you talked the day before. The grandmother and his best friend Henry are awesome, dimensional characters. Also, I enjoyed the music references with Al Jackson. I don't listen to country music so googled him and listened and saw several of his video on Youtube.
I also read: Phineas L. MacGuire...erupts! and Phineas L. MacGuire...gets slimed! The character made me think a lot about my son, Diego, asking questions and loving Science facts. I feel it's like The Magic School Bus in that it maked Science fun and interesting for children. Children a lot about Science, without even realizing it. It's great! We need more stories and characters like Phineas. A character that is intelligent, out-of-the-box and still COOL.  My only complaint is with the illustrations. I don't know why every time someone writes about a smart kid, the kid has to wear glasses! Why? I think we should break that stereotype.At the end of both books, kids can read instructions on diffrent experiments. I love those! They are easy to follow and do because the materials are things you find in any household.
I was not able to finish Falling In, so what I will do, since it's her latest book is write my thoughts on a separate post -very soon- and also raffle an autographed book...So, keep reading!

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