Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Letter to My Children's Teachers (And All the Teachers)

Dear Teachers,

Once upon a time, I was a teacher. I understand all the time, money, and heart that goes into commandeering a classroom from August-May. I know you can no longer keep track of how much money you have spent on your classroom and on your students. I know you arrive early and stay late. I know you will go home depleted many afternoons with tote bags full of things to grade. I know your weekends will be spent not with your family but with your planner and your students’ work. Your work is not taken for granted in our home.

I know that there will be students who try your patience and demand your attention even when you do not want to give it. I know there will be things your students say that will shock you and make you worry. As well as many times, when their words will make you hold in your laughter. I know there will be students who hook their claws into your heart – the ones who keep you up at night worrying and praying. I know there will be students you truly never forget. Your love is not taken for granted in our home.

I know there will be parents who do not always agree with you and question your teaching methods. I know there will be countless emails from administration and paperwork that never ends. I know there will be classroom management issues that require creative discipline. I know that you will often take home a myriad of concerns about how to help a certain student, how to deal with certain parents, and how to address a concern with the administration. Your perseverance is not taken for granted in our home.

I know there will be days when you feel completely fulfilled and recognize the importance of teaching. But, I also know there will be days when you feel empty and dry and question if it is time for you to leave the classroom once and for all. I know what you do day in and day out is often overlooked and taken for granted. But, not in our home.

You, teachers, are treasures. We are excited to see how our children grow and learn while inside the four walls of your classrooms. We will support you in any way we can. We will talk to you when we have concerns rather than going to someone else, or God forbid, over your head. We will talk to our kids when you tell us they need someone to talk to them about their behavior instead of questioning you.

As the school year begins, please know in our home, you are loved and prayed for daily. We know that all you are doing is often overlooked, but not by us. We know how much loving our two children makes us feel full and empty within the same hour – and you do it for ten months out of the year with 20 plus kids who you did not carry in your womb.

Thank you for all that you do. We are on your team.

The Parents of the Curry Children

PS. When our children say/do anything terrible in the classroom or on the playground, please remember this heartfelt letter. Then, call their mama. I will be at the doors of your classroom in a flash to give them a firm, but loving talking to. I mean it. I will be there in a hot second. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review: The List

The List by Patricia Forde

Let me preface this review by saying my opinion is very much influenced by the comparisons to The Giver and Fahrenheit 451. Why? Because I absolutely love both of these books. I read The Giver as middle schooler and never forgot it, so I was thrilled when I got to teach it as an adult. As far as Fahrenheit 451 goes, it is one of my all-time favorites. I have highlighted, underlined, and written notes in my multiple copies of the novel. So, when The List was compared to the two of these works, I jumped at the chance to read it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my personal hype.

However, this is still a good book and I can easily it working well in middle-grade classrooms for teaching the basics of literature (symbolism, allegory, themes, etc.). This middle grades novel tells the story of a dystopian world called Ark following the Melting (a result of global warming) where the people are forbidden from speaking using non-list words. The general idea is that language, art and music are what led to man’s downfall; therefore, extraneous words should be avoided. Young Letta, the main character, is a wordsmith, meaning she is responsible for documenting the proper list words. Letta develops a friendship with a desecrator (someone who does not follow orders and instead pursues the arts) and uncovers a harmful conspiracy by the leader, John Noa.

It has a very intriguing premise and may work well for teaching; however, it was pretty slow moving for me. The lengthy descriptive passages seemed to weigh the novel down rather than add to it. I wanted to be more attached to the characters and the plot. I also wanted the reader to see the power of words when more emphasis seemed to be placed on the power of art in general. It may be that I have just been saturated with dystopian novels, so for young people being introduced to the genre, they may feel differently. And, as I said earlier, as a former teacher, I was constantly picking up on how easy it would be to teach.

* I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

* You may purchase this book from Amazon here. This is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog!