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Month in review

Reviews
Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera
Bad Kitty School Daze by Nick Bruel
Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices by Ralph Fletcher
Buzz! by Ananth Panagariya
David Hockney: A Bigger Picture by Tim Barringer
The Death of Bernadette Lefthand by Ronald B. Querry
Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls by Victoria Laurie
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Hard Truth by Nevada Barr
How To by Julie Morstad
J. C. Leyendecker by Michael Schau
Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur
Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn
Moonhead and the Music Machine by Andrew Rae
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
The Necropolis Railway by Andrew Martin
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher
Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson
Sammy the Seal by Syd Hoff
Satan's Prep by Gabe Guarente
Satellites in Outer Space by Isaac Asimov
The Seer of Shadows by Avi
Sneakers, the Seaside Cat by Margaret Wise Brown
Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
A Touch of Gold by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene
Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life by P.J. Hoover
When You Are Alone/It Keeps You Capone by Myra Cohn Livingston
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

Miscellaneous
No students! or My First Bookstore
On deja vu or why I keep a list of what I read
Replacing ARCs with Research
Why I'm no longer accepting review copies

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices: 04/15/15

cover art

Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices by Ralph Fletcher is a misguided treatise on teaching writing in the classroom. I read it in conjunction with the older and better When You Are Alone/It Keeps You Capone by Myra Cohn Livingston.

Fletcher's thesis is that the school system is so over run by gentle, nurturing women, that there's no room for the rowdy natured boys. Apparently teachers across the country are actively discouraging boys from truly expressing themselves through their writing which because of their boyish nature leans towards gross out jokes, violence, superheroes and the like. Instead, teachers are encouraging girls and their boring stories about families and domesticity.

Are you mad yet? You should be. I certainly am. This book falls into the frustrating gender trap and is doing its best to further marginalize anyone who isn't someone likely to grow into a well off, privileged, white man. Here in a book about teaching are the seeds of bullying, rape culture, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Think I'm off my rocker? In a chapter on social media (especially chat), there's a section on why boys love to write, especially when it's anonymously and online. The author includes a sample chat where a boy discusses his break up. The conversation quickly devolves into name calling and slut shaming on the part of the girl who isn't there to defend herself. This is conversation is held as a GOOD example of getting boys excited about writing.

And where is the author's hard evidence that there's such an anti-boy conspiracy? Are there any actual scientific or sociological studies cited? No. Any case studies of actual schools? No.

For better examples of the challenges of teaching writing to children any gender, personality, or background, I recommend the older books: When You Are Alone/It Keeps You Capone, and Teacher by Sylvia Ashton-Warner (who has some interesting theories about fear motivating violent writing, rather than it just being some natural "boyish" thing).

One star

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