Dark and Scary Places

24 May

Last year at this this time, I was a wreck because my library job had been eliminated and my future looked like a dark & scary place. This year, as the school year winds down I’m stressing because I am co-ordinating our ELL summer school.  I am a big picture person and have a vision, but I am not detail oriented and I feel as though I am stumbling through the dark, trying to get all my ducks in a row. Fortunately, I have learned that things will be OK in the end. If I step into the dark and scary place, there is usually just enough light to get me through to a place of light.

Yesterday afternoon, my teacher read-aloud group held our final meeting for the year. The picture book we talked about was The Dark  written by Lamony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

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You know when two powerhouses like these guys get together, it’ll either be something awesome (Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman in  Casablanca) or a complete disaster (Dustin Hoffman & Warren Beatty in Ishtar). Fortunately, this is fantastic book.

Laszlo is afraid of The Dark, who mostly lives in the basement. But one night, The Dark comes to his bedroom. And so begins Laszlo’s journey to confront his fear. The text is written to effectively build suspense, making it an excellent read aloud. When I read it to 4th graders, I had them in the palm of my hand. The illustrations enhance the text, and Klassen’s use of black (The Dark)  is splendid. Before reading, I had delightful conversations with kids about things the fear; afterwards we told stories about times we faced are fears. It would be a great way to start a writing lesson.

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