Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SoLSC Feeding My Soul 8.26.14


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

I read a blog post by Donalyn Miller the other day and something really stuck out to me.  The post was called Why I'm Not Answering Your Email Today and while it wasn't the subject or topic of the post that stuck out to me, it was some of the smaller points in the text that did.
She says, "I need to read for both my sanity and my soul."  After reading that, my brain was saying 'yes'.  My heart said 'YES'.  I need to read for my soul.  For me, that's when you finish that good book, and there is something inside you that has just filled up.  You don't want to put that book down, you want to talk about it, and you want to go back and read it again.  I feel sad for anyone who doesn't know what that feels like.  It's one of the most complete feelings you can feel.  It moves the inside of you, the thinking and connecting part of you, like nothing else. It feeds your soul.
Donalyn continues on in her post talking about reading children's literature.  She talks about reading in order to talk about books to students, both past and present.  Books connect her to them.  I'm lucky that as a reading specialist, I get to work with many students K-4th grade.  I get to read a wide variety of books that allows me to connect with them and share with them.  However, I see former students all the time.  I love that I have other books I can tell them to read - upper middle grade, young adult.  I can stay connected.
Donalyn also talks about adult books vs. children's literature.  I've read a lot of books for adults.  This past year I've read more children's literature than I ever have before.  The more I read, the more I prefer kid's books.  I still have my favorite books written for adults.  There are still authors that I will continue to read every book they publish.  But you know what I've found?  Adult books are long so they are more drawn out.  They take chapters and chapters to say something that ends up being so long, I've lost interest.  The characters aren't as developed even though they've had 200+ more pages to do so!  Not all of them, but I see it the more and more I read.  Children's literature is shorter, so they have a smaller amount of pages to work with.  Authors of kid's books seem to understand they have a shorter story to work with and therefore they make everything that much more sharp.  The characters are sharp.  The details are sharp.  Not all of them, but the books I pay attention to, the ones I hear buzz about, those are the good ones.  Those are the books I want to get lost in.
I'm looking forward to my soul having its fill of books today.  What a lucky book birthday it is.  Quest, Sisters, The 14th Goldfish, Leroy Ninker, 365 Days of Wonder and in two days Brown Girl Dreaming.  Soul filled.  Happy reading.


  1. I really enjoyed this post. "Read for both my sanity and my soul" yes! And the sharpness with the children's books is so true, just think Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggie series, so few words yet So Much character!

  2. Michelle,
    Such big, big truths here. I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately, in the beginning of year craziness. I even wrote about "feeding my soul" a couple of weeks ago, after I had spent a week at a new teacher institute.

  3. I read that post by Donalyn Miller, too and had the same reaction. I've been trying to figure out how to bring that idea to my classroom this year. I think i just have to live it. Most of the kids know this about me anyway.

  4. I enjoyed this post, Michele. Reading does the same for me, and I'm not sure why I don't remember that every day and make time for a chunk of reading each week. I found your thoughts about children's vs adult lit fascinating. I rarely read adult lit any more--though I do enjoy nonfiction quite a lot. But I don't have the patience anymore for most adult fiction. It feels overwritten and underthought to me most of the time in comparison to the middle-grade and YA novels I read. And thank goodness for my nerdy PLN because thanks to all of you, I rarely read a book I don't love and appreciate!

  5. Today indeed is a happy book birthday, isn't it? I think books satisfy me too, Michele, & by linking up to so many 'wild' readers, I have such fun, even if I don't get to all the books. Our students begin tomorrow, & I'm getting ready for some book talks to start the year. Like you, I'm now working with lots of ages, so I've read more 'different' levels than ever before since I started my job. I've discovered many books I didn't even know about because I only focused on my middle school kids. Thanks for sharing a personal post, and linked to Donalyn's-so nice!