|Sarah Weeks speaking on March 24, 2012 at Riverside Church at the TCRWP Saturday Reunion.|
From So B. It when the main character, Heidi, is describing her agoraphobic neighbor, Bernadette, who homeschools her:
"Every night as far back as I can remember, Bernadette read out loud to me before I went to sleep. The two of us would tuck Mama in together, and then Bernie would come in and sit on my bed and read to me until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.
"She read me Charlotte's Web and The Little Prince, parts of the Bible, and Zen philosophy. She translated Romeo and Juliet into English, well, my kind of English, and we both cried at the ending. She read me Greek myths and Nancy Drew mysteries, the biography of Mahatma Ghandhi, and all the Little House books twice through. Bernadette and I couldn't go outside together, but every night we rode bareback across the praire in calico bonnets or belly crept into dark caves or followed clues up steep winding staircases into the tops of mysterious clock towers.
Bernie taught me everything I knew, and she was a very good teacher. When she explained things, they shot into my brain like arrows and stuck. She could describe an Arctic blizzard or cross-pollination, and suddenly I'd be leaning into the bite of a freezing wind or riding a bublebee's back right into the middle of a snapdragon. Nobody ran in Bernadette's world - they 'skittered' or 'high-tailed it.' They didn't whine, they 'pulled and moaned.' (pg. 8-10)
After hearing this excerpt, I thought, as a teacher, I have a new role model. I want to BE Bernadette with my students - reading and using strong vocabulary to enrich their lives!
Sarah also shared this excerpt from Oggie Gooder, which I will remember to share while I am launching Writing Workshop in the beginning of a school year:
"Creative writing was Oggie's worst subject...But the bigger problem was that Oggie could never seem to think of anything he wanted to write about.
"Ideas are like seed," Mr. Snolinovsky had explained to the class one day. "Plant a seed and you'll grow a story."
Oggie stayed after school that day to ask Mr. Snolinovsky a question.
"Where do those story seeds you were talking about come from?"
Mr. Snolinovsky tapped the side of his head. "In here," he said. "And here, too." He tapped the left side of his chest, over his heart. "We're all full of seeds, Oggie."
"You mean like all watermelons are full of seeds?" Oggie asked.
Mr. Snolinovsky smiled and said, "Yes. Exactly."
"That's wnat I was afraid of," sighed Oggie.
"What do you mean?" Mr. Snolinovsky asked.
"My Aunt Hettie has a garden and she grows watermelons that look like regular watermelons from the outside, but when you cut them open they don't have any seeds in them at all."
Mr. Snolinovsky scratched his head.
"I think I know what you're trying to say," he told Oggie, "but believe me when I tell you that you're a very interesting person, Oggie Cooder. And unlike your aunt's watermelons, interesting people always have seeds in them."