I love books. I am a voracious reader and am proud to say I follow most of the Nerdy Book Club people and lists religiously. If they say there is a book I need to read and share with my students, guaranteed I will be at Indigo or Amazon getting it. The thing I love even more is sharing my love of books and reading with my students. So it was a given that I would again participate in Global Readaloud this year. If you haven’t heard of it, it is the brainchild of this amazing educator from the US, Pernille Ripp. Last year my students and I followed the journey of Melody in Sharon Draper’s book, “Out of My Mind”. We laughed together, shared our outrage together and even cried together. It was from participating in this activity that I made some wonderful connections with teachers across North America and gave my students some powerful and authentic learning experiences.
So when this year came around I was very excited to again join up with Global Readaloud with my new group of “littles”. Even though this was a younger grade, I still thought it would be again the opportunity to open my students to some authentic learning experiences. When I found out the book I would be doing would be the “Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” I will not lie, I hesitated. I thought how was I going to get my students to connect to the story of a china rabbit named Edward. I had a rough and tumble group of boys, hockey playing, soccer loving boys. I thought for sure “The 14th Goldfish” was my much better choice. I have to give my connecting partner, one of my trusted inner circle in my PLN (an integral member of the #gelatoPLN) Zoe Bettess the credit because she was the one that convinced me I needed to give my students a chance. I needed to trust that they would see Edward Tulane for the amazing story that it was. Even though deep in my heart, I still was unsure, I took a chance.
Now I have to say Zoe, you were right. My students are in this for the long haul. When they first met Edward they were like “Mrs. D. he is so selfish” they actually decided his theme song should be “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and would go around the class singing “He’s so fancy….” it was really hilarious. When we got to the scene with Lolly, they were upset with her treatment and again the connections and conversations were fantastic. “Mrs. D., she is like the “old” Edward.” And on Friday, we reached the end of chapter 14 which ended with the important line “Edward wished he could cry.” The conversations that my little group of 7 and 8 year olds were having was amazing. Throughout this journey, my students have been blogging and tweeting, sharing their thoughts and ideas about this story and how it has unfolded. We have discussed what potential names we would come up with if we found Edward on a beach, we have made missing rabbit posters for Edward. On Friday, we skyped for the first time with a class in California and I was so proud with the things my students came up with, the ideas they shared. It made me realize how wrong I was to assume that they would not connect with this powerful story and its theme.
So to end this I say thank you to Kate DiCamillo for writing and sharing this story and character that my students are loving, thank you Pernille Ripp for picking this book for Global Readaloud this year, thank you Zoe for making me see the error of my assumptions but mostly thank you to my students for loving Edward as much as I do.