It's time for We Recommend, in which readers ask for suggestions, and we try our very hardest to come up with the perfect book in answer (and then you guys come up with even more amazing choices in the comments). Looking for a recommendation? E-mail us! We're very agreeable.
And just in time for Cathie Black's resignation, we have the first official Teacher Edition of We Recommend.
It's astonishing to me how much of a difference teachers can make in a person's life—in students' lives, in the lives of the students' parents. I feel like as a culture we're in a deep trough of teacher respect, and it pains me. Teaching is a job I could never do (and trust me, I tried); it's a job that swings so wildly between thanklessness and heart-bursting empathy that it's a wonder any of them ever find any equilibrium. My kids' amazing teachers have been vomited on, risked lice, gotten their feet stepped on (both purposefully and not), been screamed at by parents, by kids, by politicians, and still they manage to come in and patiently explain why when you divide, usually the answer will be smaller. I am in awe.
Today's request killed me for a number of reasons: 1) it's a teacher whose students are going to be leaving her school, and she wants to find just the right presents for them. 2) when she wrote the email, she noted that I probably wouldn't post it because "the children aren't technically mine."
See, that's what teachers have to balance all the time: they give their heart and soul and time and energy to these none-too-easy kids all day, and then watch the kids go on and leave them, all the while acknowledging that "they aren't technically mine." Which just speaks to the fact that they feel like they are hers—and they are.
At any rate, let's see if we can help her find books for technically-not-her children:
The first child is a girl. She is 9 years old and she can read at a Grade 3 level. She has been reading the Rainbow Magic books and she can do Magic Treehouse ones without a problem. She is not that kind of child who needs to be told to put the book down and go and play already, but she does enjoy reading. She is quiet until you get to know her, at which point she is strong and silly and stubborn. She likes stuff that is girly but not too girly. She found it hard to make friends when she first came to our school and I worry that it might happen again. I would like to encourage her to be true to herself and not feel that she has to be like somebody else.The boy is 8 years old and I don't think he is reading chapter books yet, but a book he will grow into (or that somebody else will read to him) would be good. I expect he can read at Frog & Toad level or thereabouts. He likes knights and dragons and animals and adventures. He is all boy but with a tender, sensitive side that is not immediately obvious. I would like to encourage him to hold on that side of himself, and to be strong and gentle and responsible.