Thanks to twitter, I realized Sharon Creech had a new book out. Click here to read more about it from Sharon Creech’s website.) Yesterday I bought Moo and finished it in one sitting. Today I am still thinking about the characters and all they taught me. Today I am still asking questions about farm life in general and about cows specifically. I want to research Belted Galloway cows and the state of Maine. I want to discuss this book with someone. I want to reread parts and jot down some quotes. I ended this book with so many thoughts.
First, I want to thank Sharon Creech, a masterful writer. Her book, Love That Dog helped me to love poetry, something my high school caused me to hate, much like the boy in Love That Dog. All books by Sharon Creech are amazing in my opinion and Moo does not disappoint!
Second, I want to give credit to two great minds in literacy – Ellin Keene and Lucy Calkins.
Ellin is the one who taught me to spy on myself as a reader and notice exactly what I do to comprehend a text. Because of her, I am an aware reader. I know now that I ask questions, I make connections, I visualize. I read Mosaic of Thought as I was studying to become a Reading Specialist in the early 2000s. Her thoughts from that book stay with me today as I actively read. Thanks Ellin!
Lucy and her amazing staff developers at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project push me, too. As I read Moo, I found myself noticing character traits and how a character was not just one way. I noticed the kind of problem-solver each character was. This summer while learning from Kelly at the Reading Institute, I set a goal to get better at determining theme. Personally, I tend to read for plot and then move to the next book. As I linger with Moo, I feel I might be able to work on my personal reading goal, too. Thank you, Lucy and your amazing TCRWP staff!
I do think Moo teaches the reader how each of us has gifts to offer to others. Sometimes, at first, we may be put off by another. They may seem scary or mean or annoying. We may instead, not want to bother. However, by offering to help another, we can use our gifts to connect to them and in return, all are helped. In Moo, I saw this happen in many places. One place was with the family’s son, Luke. He has a clear gift for drawing. Yet, he also was so scared of the neighbor, Mrs. Falala. Yet, his drawing became the connection between himself and Mrs. Falala. In the end, a strong friendship formed.
I start school tomorrow. It will be, I realize, my 25th first day of school. I have seen my class list. When talking to others about these new friends, they used an assortment of words to describe the students on my class list. Words included a range from helpful, sweet, and hardworking to quirky, distracted, and a handful. As I begin my school year, I am going to remember the characters from Moo. Each is unique. Each use their unique trait to connect and be helpful.
I may feel like Luke did in the beginning when he first met Mrs. Falala. I want to remember all the good that occurred when he found a way to connect with his annoying neighbor. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think my new students will be annoying. However, they are 8 years old and are all still learning how to be kind and helpful and may need extra patience from me as we learn together. Like the characters in Moo, I am going to be helpful and I know amazing friendships will be formed during our one year together.
And I do think I will read-aloud Moo to my 3rd graders this year!
I recommend for YOU to read it, too!!