One of the pre-course tasks we were set was to read from children’s literature, review the books and think about how we might use them in the classroom. The list reflected the multi-cultural nature of the city centre of Leicester and gave an insight in to the diverse backgrounds that some children may have experienced before coming to school. As I am taking the Upper Primary course, most of the books were for older children but there were several that I felt dealt with some complex emotional issues that were beyond primary age level.
I used Evernote on the iPad and iPod touch to take notes on each book, using a photo of the cover to remind me what it looked like. I’ve published my notes directly from Evernote, they are very much notes and thoughts rather than nicely written reviews and prose so don’t be too hard on me. The books I felt were most challenging for Upper Primary were:
- Abela, by Berlie Doherty (contained some very strong imagery, female circumcision)
- Tulip Touch, by Anne Fine (which was brilliant but very raw in places and ends in a serious case of arson).
- The Illustrated Mum, by Jacqueline Wilson (young mum suffering from manic depression and the effect this has on her daughters, very distressing at the end)
I am going to discuss them with the year 6 teacher I’ll be working with this week to seek her opinion on how she would handle these books in class.
A note to remind myself that the Book Trust provides a wealth of information about children’s books and their best book guides are a great starting place for new literature. However, I note that the review for Abela doesn’t mention the circumcision, would be useful to have a guide somewhere that gave this level of detail/ warnings for teachers (I’m sure there will be something like this somewhere!).