Saturday, April 14, 2012

Maniac Magee

As a writer, my A to Z challenge is going to be about books, characters, TV shows and movies that have impacted me somehow. Enjoy! Be sure to check out Lee’s blog to find more bloggers taking on this challenge!
Maniac Magee

This is another book I read aloud as often as I can. It’s usually the first book I read in the year. The story has so many layers! On the surface, it’s a funny story about a kid who likes to run and is trying to find a home (his parents died when he was young and his aunt & uncle are too bizarre to live with). But it’s about so much more – love, friendship, courage, and above all racism and family. This is another book that spawns incredible discussions in the classroom. The kids are always amazed at how life ‘used to be.’ And they’re very glad that racism doesn’t exist anymore. And, yes, the students in my room don’t always speak English at home, they have all varieties of glorious skin colours and they don’t understand racism at all. I love my job!
Do you know of any other books that handle serious topics with a light-hearted manner?

49 comments:

  1. I'll have to check this one out - thank you for sharing it! :)

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  2. Amy - you're welcome! It's another great kids' book :)

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  3. Alex - it's a great one for kids!

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  4. Sounds like a book I would really enjoy!

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  5. It discusses racism? Wow, that's an important book to read and discuss.

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  6. I read this once. I should read it again since I peel back more layers with a reread.

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  7. Kylie - I hope you do!

    Clarissa - the core of the book is about racism and why it doesn't have to be like that! Great story :)

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  8. Medeia - it really is a great book to reread! My students love it :)

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  9. I've been meaning to read this one! (At the end of the A to Z challenge, I should go back to your posts and make a list of all the ones I need to read, haha.)

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  10. Shelley - there are SO mnay good ones - it's so hard to get to them all :)

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  11. I loved Maniac Magee. And you're right, it's a great book to read aloud. So touching, yet so humorous.

    I think Al Capone Does My Shirts falls into this category. It's just written for a little older reader.

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  12. Lee - I've heard so much about that story - I've got to get myself a copy! :)

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  13. I love books that make kids think beyond the context of the story. Great post!

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  14. Sounds like an excellent book for kids.

    Als thanks for your comment about my post on L'Aussie's blog today!

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  15. Cherie - thanks! Me too - kids are so smart and see so much, it's easy to get them involved in discussions!

    Paula - hi! You're very welcome. It was nice to meet you over at Denise's :)

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  16. Wow, it sounds like a really great read. I can't wait to check it out.

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  17. SL - it's a fun story - with a big heart. Enjoy :)

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  18. Hi Jemi,
    I've not heard of that book, but I'm always intrigued by the approach in a book that handles serious topics in a light-hearted manner.
    And yes, Lee, the dude with the cool hat and shades. Did you know that the man compliments me so much at my site that I'm blushing with embarrassment?
    Have fun with the challenge that brings further awareness of the alphabet.
    In kindness and happy writing, your way, Gary

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  19. Don't know this one. But it's great for a book to bring awareness of heavy issues to kids in a way they can connect with.

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  20. Found you via A to Z. Love your theme. I love finding books that I can put on my read every year shelf!

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  21. I also have never heard of the book. but is the case with many books on the other side of the pond.

    Yvonne.

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  22. This sounds like a very good book. If you can read it every year it must be, only the best books can be read so many times.
    I may have to check it out sometime.

    A Bit Unlikely,
    Jack

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  23. Sounds like a great book, Jemi! Thanks for the recommendation. I think my daughter may like it, too.

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  24. Gary - I love that Lee recognizes your style! :) And dealing with tough stuff in a way that makes kids laugh and think really is amazing!

    Nick - exactly! We have so many great discussions around this book!

    Overcoming - nice to meet you! This is one of those books for sure :)

    Yvonne - it's true that many books are different on our two sides. I LOVED my Mandy and Bunty comics my grandparents would send me from Scotland!

    Jack - nice to meet you! It really is a great book on so many different levels!

    Elizabeth - I think she's right around the perfect age for this book! :)

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  25. I love that you're giving us such a nice variety of stories. From Lord of the Rings to Maniac Magee...now that's fun.

    Pat

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  26. You've been sharing some really interesting stories!
    Wagging Tales

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  27. I've never heard of this one! Thanks, Jemi.

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  28. Jerry Spinelli is an amazing writer. He's written some tremendous books.

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  29. Pat - thanks! I do have pretty eclectic tastes :)

    Charmaine - thanks! There are so many great stories out there - it's fun to share :)

    Talli - it's a great one. Kids love it.

    Jeff - he really has. Maniac is my favourite of his. :)

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  30. I see this book all the time, but still haven't read Maniac Magee. I need to pick it up the next time I see it.

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  31. Theresa - it's really fun - and there's more to it than that which makes it great :)

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  32. I hadn't heard of this one!
    Hmm, I love the authors Mazer and Mazer, especially the book Bright Days, Stupid Nights.

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  33. Deniz - I don't know those ones. I'm going to have to check them out! :)

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  34. I love this book too! It was one of the first books I ever created a whole unit about for my classroom. Meeting Jerry Spinelli was one of the coolest things about going to the Highlight's Summer Workshop at Chautauqua.

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  35. Sharon - that would be awesome! He's written some great books, but this is my favourite of his! :)

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  36. My kids have both read it, but I haven't. After this great review, I'll have to change that!

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  37. Beth - I think you'll really like it. It's such a wonderful story. :)

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  38. I've never heard of this book, but it sounds wonderful. Even better is your description of your classroom. It's heartwarming to hear that they don't understand what racism is, meaning they haven't had to deal with it.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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  39. Shannon - it IS great. I think it's an advantage of living in a small city. We do have a wide variety of cultures to celebrate, but there aren't many issues :) It's awesome!

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  40. Great post. I love books which make kids think.

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  41. Nas - me too! There's nothing like the discussions kids can get involved with! I love watching their wheels turn! :)

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  42. Golden - yay! I'm glad you're another fan! :)

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  43. never heard of it -- so embarrassed! sounds really good though, gotta check it out :-)

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  44. Agnes - don't be! A lot of people apparently haven't heard of it either! But it's well worth a read! :)

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  45. I can't think of any. Most I've read use serious topics "as is" to introduce conflict and move the plot along. I like the idea of using a light hearted manner so sensitive topics can be discussed in a more comfortable setting.

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  46. I ADORE this book. It always prompts rich discussions and questions from the kids. One year in my class we made a big ball of string and then tried to unknot it. Have you read Jerry Spinelli's LOSER? If you love Maniac, then Donald Zinkoff will float your boat.

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  47. Stephen - me too - especially for kids! It's important to keep them talking!

    Leslie - I'm not surprised!! I've got Loser in my class, but I haven't read it yet. I'll have to get to it! :)

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