Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ice Ice Baby

Some books have to be put in the freezer and only taken out at select occasions. Books like Little Women, the final book in the Harry Potter series, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor, winner of the 1977 Newbery Medal, and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, winner of the 1978 Newbery Medal, have to be shelved until the time is right. This is not because they are poorly written books, but on the contrary, they are so powerful that they can overwhelm us with their awesomeness. The emotional themes that they explore like growing up, racism, tolerance, loss, and grief are difficult to process and often provoke unsettling emotions. I finished re-reading both Newbery winners in public places and should have known better. While sitting in Starbucks, I downed my vanilla latte in a bout of tears. Yet, there was a catharsis in allowing myself to cry for the broken worlds within - and outside - these novels. Like Cassie, the narrator of Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, I cannot fathom how there can be so much hate in the world, and want to scream, "Does it have to be?!" (275). And like Jess in Bridge to Terabithia, I sometimes want to escape to a magical world of possibilities - even if it's only in my own mind. These books are so potent that I save the pleasure of reading them for times when I need to weep and let out my emotions. In the meantime, when I crave them, I have created a playlist for each of them to get me by. Share your suggestions for additional songs in the comments or on my Facebook page.


Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

We Shall Overcome covered by Bruce Springsteen
You've Got to Be Carefully Taught by Rodgers & Hammerstein
Where is the Love? by the Black Eyed Peas
This Land is My Land by Woody Guthrie
No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley
One Day by Matisyahu

Bridge to Terabithia

Free to be You and Me by Marlo Thomas and Friends
What a Wondeful World by Louis Armstrong 
Broken Bridge by Daughter Darling
Bridge Over Troubled Waters by various artists (Simon and Garfunkel, Elvis, Eva Cassidy, Johnny Cash, and yes, Rockapella)
With a little Help from my Friends by the Beatles
Under the Bridge covered by Gym Glass Heroes 

Free Lesson Plans 
I had the opportunity to teach Bridge to Terabithia in sixth grade a couple years ago and now have the chance to share my resources with you. Click on the link below to access the Bridge to Terabithia Unit and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Bridge to Terabithia Unit








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