Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book To Book (1)

I've been wanting to write a post for this new feature, Book 2 Book, for some time. I have all sorts of book pairs that I'd like to talk about, but just have not had the time to get started. Now that school is almost out for the year(!), my workload has lightened a little and I can finally get down to blogging business.

Book 2 Book is an idea that I had based on some conversations with fellow educators. Most English teachers that I've talked to do not participate in the YA blogging world (and I'm fairly new to it myself). Because they are not as interested or well-versed in this world as some of the bloggers I've met in my travels around the blogosphere, they might not know about the abundance of great YA available. And, so much YA can be used in the classroom.

In this feature, I am going to connect a YA book to a classic. English teacher who seek to pair YA lit with a classic often call this a "bridge". Recently, I've come across more and more YA titles that could serve a bridge. I'm calling this feature "Book 2 Book," as a play on "back to back". I don't know about this name, but I like my little button thing-y that I made. Here is my first pairing.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson and Frankenstein by Mary Percy Shelley

As anyone who has ever taught Frankenstein can tell you, it is not a super easy read. I'm not saying that it's not worth reading, but the language and the imagery are not for kiddies. I think that some students who are at first excited to read Frankenstein feel this way because they have seen so many pop culture recreations, adaptions, and allusions that they think it'll be an easy horror novel à la Stephen King. Not so much.

But, it is worth reading! The questions raised in this novel are timeless and the quality of writing is outstanding. The connection to The Adoration of Jenna Fox is not so much in exact plot correlations, but in the questions and themes that each book raises or deals with. Like:

What makes us human?

How much should science tamper with nature before scientists are "playing God"?

What is the responsibility of a creator/ inventor/ scientist for his or her creation?

Should laws restrict the science community when it comes to potential life-saving technologies?

Are we the sum of our parts?

And on and on. The more that I think about this connection, the more I want to teach this pair! They are not alike in reading level, so if you're interested in teaching this pair, you might want to think about using excerpts from one book or the other rather than teaching the entirety of each novel. (This may depend on the reading levels/ needs of your students.) And, I am sure that there are a ton of real-world connections to be made from this book pair, like issues in organ donation programs, cloning, and other attempts to meddle with mother nature.

Let me know what you think about this book pair and/or this feature!

3 comments:

  1. Hattie,
    I think this is a fantastic pairing. I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and the themes - or BIG questions - fit perfectly with Frankenstein. A pairing of these books can manifest in so many ways, depending on your readers and your purpose. I look forward to reading more of this new Book2Book feature.

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  2. Ooh I like this feature! I recently read The Adoration of Jenna Fox and what stood out for me was the points about what actually makes us human so although I haven't read Frankenstein I reckon that it's a great pairing from what I've heard of the book.

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  3. I love this! I have never heard of a "bridge". I work on text-to-text connections with students all the time and I find that it's hard for those kids who don't read all that much. I started reading like crazy about 3 years ago and I soon realized how easy it was to make text-to-text connections if you've read a ton. (Duh.)

    Anyway, I have one for you! I just read Jane Eyre for the first time! I saw Jane Slayre and I think these knew "renditions" of books are cool, but not-so-cool if you haven't read the original...so I checked out Jane Eyre and actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Not sure if you've read it or not but towards the end there is a part that totally reminded me of a part in Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Might a be stretch, but I thought it was interesting that the two had a similar occurance happen and how one really supported the other. I like the "Book 2 Book" idea!

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