Andrew Clements is a recent discovery for me. Summertime tends to be a time when I try to read books by those authors I’ve never read before and about whom I feel REALLY guilty and irresponsible due to my general cluelessness about their work. Enter Andrew Clements. This summer, I completed a little Andrew Clements marathon, with much rejoicing and satisfaction. Since completing this lovely immersion experience into Clements’ work, it is now my greatest desire to use a bunch of his books in a literature circle / author study with my Grade 5 munchkins.
Here are a bunch of themes / topics that Clements handles with balance, thoughtfulness and entirely kid-friendly (but completely tight) writing (these themes would be good discussion points / unit themes for lit. circles in the junior grades):
- kid world vs. grown up world
- standing up for your beliefs
- rules (who makes them, breaks them, why we need them)
- being different / judging people with differences
- different ways we communicate
- innovation / invention / creating a “master plan”
- multiple intelligences – different kinds of “smart”
These are just a few ideas. His books may be short, but they are rich and thought-provoking, which makes them perfect for lit circles in grades where the reading levels may be wide-ranging.
So here’s a list of Andrew Clements books I think will work best to get kids talking, at home or in school:
The Report Card
A Week in the Woods
The Janitor’s Boy
The Landry News
Experiment time… I wonder if my little children partake of Andrew Clements’s stories, will they become creative thinkers, bold questioners and determined (but appropriate) rule-challengers?
Experiment results to follow.