Using books is powerful. Let us just analyse the word powerful. What does that mean? For me a great book has the power to shape and influence a child (and adult) in many ways.
As a teacher, I am blessed to have the unique opportunity to use books to help a child reflect, analyse, challenge and access every emotion possible.
I have been very reflective this academic year about what I use in my classroom. I knew that I wanted to open the eyes of the children to things they haven’t thought about. I decided our Space topic would put Katherine Johnson at the heart of it. The children really engaged with the narrative and the discussions we had (that were not planned) were possibly some of the best I have had in my teaching career.
Using a book to be the heart of a topic has a multifaceted approach. It can excite; inspire; evoke emotion; generate discussion; challenges stereotypes; be powerful.
A good book has the potential to open up dialogue about subjects we often worry about how we tackle. The last few weeks we have been reading Vashti Hardy’s glorious Brightstorm. The discussion we have had surrounding the book have been ‘powerful’ this week. We have discussed gender and can women be leaders? Stereotypes: can a beautiful person be bad? Age: does age matter? Family dynamics: can a kingdom be run by two kings? Pacifism: is Harriet right to not carry weapons in her ship?
All the dialogue we had was generated by the children and things I never thought about they homed in on. So in conclusion, pick a book for your class that is funny and excites 100%, but if you can find one that has the added power to generate and tackle important issues in context, you are onto a winner.
Books are powerful.