Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Turn, Your Turn

I started reading a really good book yesterday...Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli. I picked it because it was by a favorite author, but also because it involves two characters, twins, telling the story from their own perspectives. One chapter is Jake, then Lily picks up from there in the next chapter. Sometimes they overlap explaining their "side" of the story, but it's like an ongoing, moving forward conversation.

There are TONS of books for adults written this way - it's nice to see children's authors realizing this is a great structure. I am always excited when adults realize that if we like it, kids will too.

Which got me thinking. Kids have mentioned to me how they enjoy books when different characters "write" the chapters. They can sometimes take sides, but often, they learn how the same situation can look completely different from another person's eyes. Readers will wish they could tell a character some piece of information they aren't aware of, or something one character knows that the other doesn't. It creates a cool tension...quietly.

I got to thinking - it would be neat for me to be a character and my boys to be the other, and we can alternate reading "our" chapters. It would be a good exercise in fluency, and the role playing will force them to really pay attention to how the character is thinking, believing, and feeling.

If Jake and Lily aren't your thing, I took time to look up some other titles which have varied narrators. I didn't include picture books, just chapter books. It is in no way comprehensive, just a few suggestions to get you started.

Schooled, No Passengers Beyond This Point, jake and lily, Every Soul a Star, Flipped, Origami Yoda, Wonder, Wonderstruck, The Candymakers, The Homework Machine, The Tale of Despereaux.

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