Saturday, June 06, 2009

48 Hour Book Challenge - Update 1

Here are my stats so far.
Time Reading - 7:30 pm-12:30 am (5 hours)
Books Read - How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Time Blogging - 20 minutes
At this point I can't stop thinking about How to Steal a Dog. So much heartbreak, so much pride, so many moral dilemmas. At first, I could understand (sort of) Mama working to get them a new place. But when Georgiana said "Maybe you could act like a mother," I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. She goes on to say this.
"Mothers are supposed to take care of their kids," I said. "Not let them sleep in creepy old houses and wash up in the bathroom at McDonald's."
And then the questions started in earnest. What would I do if I found myself in a similar? Would I swallow my pride and do what was best for my son? Would I ask for help? Would I hide it and try to fix it myself? Then I thought about William and the notion of taking only one bag of belongings. What would he take? How would he ever choose? Would he ever get over being forced to do it?

I found myself angry with Mr. White. We train our teachers to recognize signs of abuse and neglect. Surely he must have seen the changes. Why wasn't he more proactive? I actually know the answer to this one, having been in the unenviable position of reporting families to social services. It's hard to know you have set in motion the ultimate act of a child being removed from a home, even when it may be the best thing for the child. It's just hard to see the good you may be doing when you're in the midst of the turmoil.

When we train preservice teachers to recognize child abuse and neglect we watch videos, listen to guest speakers from social services, and do some role playing. I think I'm going to add reading a few excerpts from this book. Here is one set that would generates some good discussion about what a teacher should be doing/thinking.
I studied myself in the mirror of the bathroom at McDonald's. My hair hung in greasy clumps on my forehead. Creases from the crumpled-up clothes I had slept on were still etched in the side of my face. (p. 47)

Mr. White had said plenty. He'd said how he couldn't understand my bad attitude lately. And he was so disappointed in my lack of effort recently. And then he had to go and ask me if everything was all right at home. (p. 50)
There's more. Lots more. I won't tell you the ending, but I cried when Georgina confessed all to Carmella. I cried at the end. And now, I can't stop thinking about it.

When I finished I went straight for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, knowing I needed a bit of comic relief. I certainly found it. My favorite part? The independent study project on building a robot.

That's it for now. Breakfast has been made and cleaned up. Dad's gone to work. William is reading and doing some coloring. Time for some reading of my own.

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