Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are is an immensely rich collection of short stories, all about friends and enemies. I originally bought it when I was unable to find a Richard Peck story online and I am so happy I did.

In our reading and writing workshop classes, I like to use mentor short stories that express what we are focusing on, from character development to details to setting. There is an example for every teaching point in this collection.

"Priscilla and the Wimps" by Richard Peck is my favorite piece in the collection. I read this story to my students several times a year to illustrate different aspects of writing. The cliffhanger stuns them every.single.time. I love that.

"What Means Switch" by Gish Jen is a hilarious look at being different and trying to fit in. Students bang the tables with laughter when we read this story.

Sandra Cisneros' gem, "My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn", is a short example of what happens when the exact perfect word is chosen, every single word in a story.

Meanwhile, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", by Joyce Carol Oates , is so utterly creepy that I had to research it on the internet and am still rattled by the story.

Reluctant and confident teenage readers will gain so much from Who Do You Think You Are? My teaching and library are so much richer because of it.

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