Posts contained in the “Teaching Issues” category:

About the Lit Project

As anyone knows, the cost of college textbooks is sky-high. One of the advantages of being an English major, however, is that you are studying novels and plays that are available relatively inexpensively in paperback. Quite often you can get them used in the college bookstore for slightly under the price of new, or you can …read more…

November is National Novel Writing Month

Every November is National Novel Writing Month, an opportunity to write a 50,000 word novel. Sponsored by the Office of Letters and Light, a California-based nonprofit organization which hosts some of the largest literary events in the world, it started in 1999 with 140 participants, and last year had over a quarter million participants in …read more…

My Dad’s A Punk edited by Tony Bradman

Again, this book was another one of those lucky finds as I wandered around in the library: a book of short stories for reluctant readers, and a book about things boys think and wonder about written just for boys (many of whom are reluctant readers). The title story, by Sean Taylor, is probably my favorite, …read more…

He Said, She Said: The Fine Art of Dialogue Attribution

I have just spent the last year being in and out of classrooms, and I noticed that many of the English classrooms (especially in middle school) displayed posters that provided synonyms for the word “said.” In one room I saw poster that extended horizontally over half the length of the wall, listing over 300 “synonyms” …read more…

I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets

Literary legend has it that someone once challenged Ernest Hemingway to write a novel in six words. His response was “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I’m not sure if this is true or not: the whole thing sounds a little too neat for me. I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway, so I’m not …read more…

Strange Happenings (Avi)

At some point in our lives, we all have a desire to become someone or something else. What would you do if that wish became true? The five short tales contained in this book all have transformation as a central plot device: A bored twelve-year-old boy turns into a cat. A young princess in a …read more…

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)

Update as of 26 October 2011: This book continues to be controversial. Only this past spring, I was asked to help fight a push to not just remove this book from the twelfth grade curriculum of a public high school, but to remove the book from the school library, as well. The irony is that …read more…

April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. I know I’m getting this out a bit late, but better late than never (a cliché that I’m sure all aspiring poets will be careful to avoid in their work). If you don’t know what National Poetry Month is, it was inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets …read more…

Some Notes on my Writing Process

For some time now, I have wanted to do a blog post about my writing process for the reviews I do here, in an attempt to demystify my writing process for my students. I want to be very clear about one important thing up front: writing for this blog is very different that some of …read more…

Latino Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests (Sara E. Martínez, ed.)

I find books like this one a bit maddening, first because they are expensive (all books for librarians are expensive), and second, because they are out of date almost as soon as they are in print. As an introduction to Latino literature for someone who is unfamiliar with it, it can be a good resource. …read more…