Saturday, July 1, 2017

Contracts ~ Celebrate 2017 (seventeen)

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share the celebrations from our week.  Why don't you join the celebration?

This week I have been reading tweets from the Booth Bay Literacy Retreat and copying many of them down in my notebook.  Many have made me think.  Many have made me nod my head.  And many have made me remember the important work we do as teachers.  This quote made me do all three:

"I feel like we have a contract:  I will tell the best story I can tell.  
And you put it in the hands of kids." ~ Chris Crutcher

Toward the end of the school year I finished Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson.  It was an autographed copy that I won in a Twitter drawing.  This book introduces us to Annie, a young girl who struggles with panic attacks and who has an overprotective mother.  Annie's parents agree to give her a "summer of freedom," and the three of them head off to the country.

Here, Annie meets California, a young girl staying with her grandfather, and the two girls form a perfect summer friendship.  When California tells Annie that her grandfather is dying of cancer, the two go on a mission to reunite the grandfather with California's estranged mother. This mission is full of adventure and secrets and a summer Annie (and the reader) will never forget.

I closed the book, wiped the tears, and knew exactly to whom I was going to hand this book.  As I handed it to Isabella, I told her to come see me as soon as she finished because I knew I would want to talk to her about it. 

The end of the school year was upon us, and Isabella had not finished the book. I told her what any passionate reading teacher would say, "You can take the book home with you."  She smiled and carefully (she knew it was a signed copy!) placed it in her backpack for the summer.

This week she returned the book along with this note.


I knew she would love this book because I know Isabella as a reader.  I spent the year handing her book after book after book.  She would come into my room and ask, "Ok I finished that one. What's next?"  She is the reader every teacher wants in their classroom.

Authors can write amazing books, but if we don't find a way to get them in the hands of our students, we are reneging on our end of the contract.  Today, I celebrate that contract, the trust that authors place in us as teachers, and the joy of placing the right books in the hands of the right readers.

Yes, we have important work to do.

Notes:  After I read Swing Sideways, I immediately ordered multiple copies to use in my student book clubs.  This is the reference Isabella makes in her note about ordering more copies.

Nanci is also the author of Georgia Rules, another amazing heart fiction book which was published in May, and Lizzie Flying Solo about a recently homeless girl who loves a pony she can't have - coming in September 2018.  Nanci is a must-read author for those middle grade students who love books that tug at the heartstrings. 


  1. I read this book earlier in the year and loved it. Now Georgia Rules is in my WTR stack. And I simply love the quote you shared. Now I need to check out the Booth Bay literacy tweets too! I'm so grateful to be a link between authors and students. Happy 4th, Leigh Anne!

  2. This is what all reading teachers shoot for. Finding books for that match that reader. Beautiful and thank you for the recommendations.

  3. This looks like a great book and I enjoyed your reflection on our roles as teachers! I think I have a reader at home who needs this book. Thanks for celebrating this week.

  4. Wow your blog today is why I teach and what gives me the energy never to give up. To our students as readers. I have added the title to my TBR list.

  5. Your post today is incredibly inspirational. I love the idea of writing down tweets in my notebook. That thought never crossed my mind! Can't wait to collect and read the books by this author. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. That note...oh my! I'll have to look for this book, Leigh Anne - sounds wonderful.

  7. Perhaps you'll continue that connection with your student, Leigh Anne, continuing book buddies! What a special note, and thanks for the book titles, new to me, although I may have heard of Georgia Rules. I love the quote, too. He's a special author.

  8. Well this post certainly made my heart swing sideways! I agree, the contract comment is so true. Alone, we work magic, but together we (author/teacher/librarian) roar. Thank you for sharing all of this. You've changed my Twitter-purpose forever, and shared something precious with me. Tell Isabelle I am so honored.

  9. The greatest joy in teaching is when you hand a book to a student that they fall in love with. I can feel your heart soaring. I don't know this book, so thanks for the recommendation.

  10. I love this so much... these readers that we get to know in our classroom... who read and read all the books. What a great note, too.
    And now I have to go order this book!

  11. Leigh Anne, this is heartwarming story that touched my heart. While we all may have an Isabella, the piece that resonates with me is: "Authors can write amazing books, but if we don't find a way to get them in the hands of our students, we are reneging on our end of the contract." Thank you for sharing your passion for impacting your students' lifelong reading lives.

  12. "I spent the year handing her book after book after book." So wonderful!