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Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Big Fat Head/From the Mouths of Babes

First off, really my head isn't that big and fat. Really. But when I looked at my blog page, I realize I have taken credit for all of the success other people are having as well as claiming to know EVERYTHING that any agent/editor might want to know. Big.Fat.Head.

(And if it wasn't huge already, everyone was sooooo nice in their comments....Bigger.Fatter.Head.)

And now....school.

I was doing a lesson the other day with my fourth graders asking them to tell me, "What makes a book good."

In small groups, they discussed and listed the elements of a good book. They came up with:

good characters
excitement
humor
a good beginning
something that makes you turn the page
not boring
good vocabulary
excellent plot
scariness
a satisfying ending

Pretty great from a bunch of nine year-olds, no? But really, it was a trick question. Because the answer I really want is not what makes a book good, but who makes a book good.

Yes. The author.

The author controls all of these things. My point being that they are the authors. They have control over their writing.

Masterful.

Except that Bradley threw me for a loop, because his answer was waaaaaay better than my preconceived answer.

Me: So, this is a great list of what makes a book good. Does anyone else have an idea? I'm looking for an answer that no one has said yet. (This is where I am trickily leading them to say the author makes a book good.)

Bradley: hand shoots up.


Me: Bradley, what makes a book good?

Bradley: Hard work.


And there you have it.


hrh

19 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

What wise kids you teach! And, yes, Bradley's answer pretty much sums it all up, doesn't it?

Kim said...

Not fair! Anecdotes like this make me miss the classroom.

I'm not sure what you teach. I think you mentioned you teach multi grades so are you a Gifted Resource Teacher? Surely, Bradley is gifted so I'm going with GRT.

Yat-Yee said...

Yes, Bradley!

I've done my share of asking leading questions too, and love the surprises when the answers don't go where I've led.

Mouths of babes.

Carrie Harris said...

Snarf. He sure showed you.

Not like I would be any better. I'd probably stand there and gape at him. And steam would come out my ears.

Bane of Anubis said...

I like all the answers -- hard work's definitely up there, but 'not boring' is really important, too, particularly to the younguns :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! I love it. Personally, I think you are a wise teacher to lead your students to this. And I'm sure your head is quite normal-sized.

MG Higgins said...

Whoa! I love Bradley. He's my hero.

Lisa and Laura said...

Hell yeah. I like this Bradley kid.

storyqueen said...

Lazy-Yep, those kids is smarter than I.

Kim-I am a Literacy Specialist which means I get to do whatever I want in the name of supporting literacy. so, I do storytelling with the little ones and writing with the big ones. I visit every class once a week for 30-45 min.

Yat-Yee-I've done this lesson soooo many times and NEVER has a kid said "hard work"!!

Carrie-There was not smoke, but I did laugh a bit....it was just too cool.

Bane-Totally agree on the not boring part!!

Tricia-Thanks, but the head is fat today.

MG and L and L-Bradley is one very cool kid.

Stephanie Faris said...

Good answer. Smart kid!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Kids are so smart :)

Lady Glamis said...

Awesome. And you deserve to have a big head sometimes. We all do. So live it up!

Suzanne said...

AMEN Bradley.

Kelly H-Y said...

Kids are so smart!

Jessie Oliveros said...

No, you are both wrong. It's lots of sugar and no sleep that make a book really good.

Amber Lough said...

I think Jessie's right, but she forgot one other element: caffeine.

storyqueen said...

Great.....just great.....now how am I supposed to go in tomorrow and tell children to eat more sugar, sleep less and drink soda or coffee? (Kids, if you are reading this, do NOT do this. You can write a good book by eating lots of broccoli....)

um....yeah....right about the broccoli....NOT!

Tess said...

You won the Middle Grade Par-Tay give away over at my blog...pop over for the details. Congrats!

Paige Keiser said...

A very smart cookie! Although I have to agree with the sugar and no sleep lol. I get all my book ideas (practically all of them) when I have insomnia....wait, don't know if they're actually 'good' so I guess this doesn't count.