Have often have you fallen in head-over-heels with a book on your first read? Word After Word After Word by Patricia Maclachlan is one of those books for me.
In the past week, I have read it (mind you before we were even served our drinks on a flight to St. Louis), reread it (in the hotel room), and reread it (last night). With each read, I've thought about how I will use it in my classroom this year (which starts on Tuesday).
The book is about Ms. Mirabel, an author, and the time she spends in a fourth grade classroom. She brings the magic of words and joys of writing to each child in the book. She teaches them to write their own stories... word after word after word.
This book is beautifully written. Mrs. Mirabel tells the students that, "I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want to be..." And through her experiences as a writer, she encourages each child to find their owns words and reasons for writing. She encourages them to record their lives in their notebooks.
The author's notes say that Patricia MacLachlan wrote the book in response to many of the questions she answers over and over and over when speaking to groups of children. Eloquently she explains how Ms. Mirable helps a group of fourth graders... one copes with her mother's cancer, one deals with the death of his pet, one comes to terms with the addition of a sibling to the family. How does Patricia MacLachlan do it?
I think I may have to read it again... and again... and again! This is the perfect book to use with my fourth graders as we revisit our writer's notebooks this year. I can't wait to get started.