One of the hats I wear is that of fifth grade teacher. Yes, I am deep in the middle grade trenches, and there isn’t a better place to be.
In August at the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, summer conference, I had the delight of breaking bread (well actually folding fajitas) with the inspiring author, M.T. Anderson. I asked which of his books would be a good choice to read aloud to my fifth grade class, winning me the title of “Cool Teacher.” He suggested the middle grade science fiction adventure, WHALES ON STILTS, from his PALS IN PERIL series, and boy oh boy, was he right.
The class and I LOVED it. We laughed at his clever voice, bigger than life situations, and delicious craziness. Best of all, it fired the kids up to read more of his awesome works. It is a privilege to fill my class library with the works of M.T. Anderson.
Here are some of the comments from the trenches: (SPOILER ALERTS)
· My favorite part was when Larry wrote on a piece of paper, “My mom is a fish.” ASHLEY
· I was very interested in three amazingly intelligent kids. KAITLYN
· Jasper Dash made me laugh, he never made fun of anyone, and his bubble suit was hilarious. HAZEL, FERNANDA, CALEB, ARYANNA
· Half whale/half person, what gets more gross than that? KYLE
· It kept me hanging in suspense. CARLOS
· I hope a whale with laser beam eyes never goes after my gramma. MYSTERY STUDENT
Thank you M.T. Anderson for making me a “Cool Teacher.”