Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Children’s books and service learning

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I get to add another book to my list of books I’ve read this year: Rent a Third Grader by B.B. Hiller. The reading group I lead in one of the third grade classes just finished their last book, and this is the next one. I started it at 10:30 today and finished it after dinner. It was a quick but satisfying read. I like kids’ books, and should probably read more that I never got to when I was a kid.

Rent a Third Grader is about a third grade class who decide to earn money to save the local police department’s horse from being sold to a dog food company after his handler retires. What I liked about this book is that the kids decide to earn money for the horse to live on a farm, and with a little facilitation from their teacher, the class forms a committee, and they start working on their project. The main character refuses to just accept money from their parents to pay for the horse’s retirement, he insists they earn it. Basically, this book plays out as the ideal service-learning project. The kids take ownership of the project, they get some help and advice from adults but the ideas are their own, they learn from their failures, and in the end they recognize the value of teamwork, impacting the community in a positive way, and learn leadership skills.

Plus, kids’ books are usually pretty funny. Pretty soon I’ll write down the story about how the book I’m reading in another class, Socks by Beverly Cleary, used the word “weiner” instead of “hot dog” for an entire two and a half pages and it was all I could do to keep myself from giggling uncontrollably, much less the kids. I was just laughing at the situation, I swear.


Written by nikkinbird

January 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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