Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reflection on the Snow Willow Nominees

This year I just love the nominees for the Snow Willow Awards! The choices are thought- provoking, appeal to both genders, and are well-written. Once some of the grade 7s and 8s have read some of the choices, I would like to have them categorize the list of nominees and see what they can come up with. They may do it by genre, male/female lead characters, life's problems , book covers, or anything else they can think of. For me, my biggest category would be Responding to Life's Problems. I would group Wild Orchid, (autism), Out of Focus, (alcoholism) After (death), I Am a Taxi, (drug involvement), Sun Signs (cancer), Shattered (genocide) and Megiddo's Shadow (war) in this category. One of my favorites in this category is After by Francis Chalifour. His personal experience comes through very clearly and as a teen who also lost a parent suddenly I could relate to much of what Francis was going through. The book really spoke volumes to me! Megiddo's Shadow by Arthur Slade also had a personal connection for me. My father was a young Saskatchewan farm boy who lied about his age to get into the war (in his case WWII). Megiddo's Shadow brought to mind B for Buster by Iain Lawrence where another young Canadian boy lies to get into the war and finds he is way out of his depth.
How about you? What categories might you use to group the nominees? Is there one or more books that really stood out for you?


Jane Glen said...

Good- you're back. I love your idea of having the students categorize these. My big question is- how do you motivate grade 7/8 to read these books. I usually book-talk them to the classes and then quite a few are taken out. When I spoke to them this year about making comments on the library blog, they just looked at me. I'm asking teachers to make reading one of the nominees and making a comment on the blog to be one of their assignments this year, but I don't know yet if that will fly. Keep us posted.

Chris Arnstead said...

Hi, Well it certainly sounds like there are a few of us in the class on the same wave length. Other years I wasn't personally keen enough on the Snow nominees to promote them all. This year I think students will enjoy many of the titles. I plan to make up more thought provoking or response questions like I did in my blog for Sun Signs and set them up in a blog for students. Many of the grade nine English teachers give students 10 to 15 minutes of reading time at the start of class. I am going to request that they be made to read one of the Snow nominees and then respond on the blog. I am hoping I will get some "teacher takers" and will dangle the carrots that I will supply multiple copies of the books, I will book talk them, and will mark the blog responses. I'd love to hear how others think they will tackle this.

bookmarks said...

I book talk the books first and at present they are all out, hopefully being read. I did bring up the blog and I will pursue that with them some more. (Our classes were just set today). I am fortunate to have a Grade 8 teacher who is passionate about books so I'm hoping we can collaborate to get at least a few of the students finishing some of the nominees. Chris had some good ideas on her blog for student motivation. Stay tuned!

MrsG3 said...

Hi Diane,
Another title that would connect to Megiddo's Shadow is a former Willow nominee, Charlie Wilcox by McKay - similar in that the protagonist is an underage boy who enlists, expecting adventure, but discovers the realities of war. These could be possible Lit Circle titles, meeting the needs of different reading levels.

Carlene Walter said...


To incorporate the Willows in my school, I decorated the library to represent a Hollywood gala. The books are the stars and the students choose the "winner". I booktalked each of the books and during book clubs, the students respond to the books using paper and/or Web 2.0 tools (blog posts, FD Flickr Toys, podcasts, etc.)

Those students who have read the required number of books are invited to the upcoming gala - a nighttime black tie affair - where the "mock" winner is chosen.


bookmarks said...

Thank you Mrsg3 for that suggestion. I now have quite a list of books I could use for a lit circle group dealing with underage boys involved in war.

bookmarks said...

Carlene I love your Hollywood gala idea! Thank you for sharing that!I'd like to try that or something similar at my schools!!

Arthur Slade said...

If you are looking for other WW1 books, I have a list of a few of the ones that inspired me at:

Cheers and keep up the good work!


bookmarks said...

Much appreciated! I will check that out!