Thursday, March 7, 2013


Lucy and I really love this book:

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Sommerset Sisters by Leslie Blume

This is a Scheherazade kind of tale where someone tells stories to someone else and those tales both entertain and help the heroine survive her very real troubles. It is darling and wonderful and you can't help but love everyone in it.

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(These are two different covers for the same book—just to show you why you should never judge a book by its cover.)

Stories are the true meat of our existence; they are what give us hope and courage and the desire to move onward. Because someone else ahead of us has already gone through a similar thing and they have survived

At church, I regularly teach lessons to large groups of kids of all ages. Nothing gets their attention better than a story. Nothing. Not even attention-getters. Not object lessons. Not physical activities. Stories.

Lucy and I had an argument yesterday. (Poor girl, she has a mother who argues with her about what she's taught at school...) She was learning about different kinds of informational text at school (nonfiction). This is part of the common core standards—the ability to identify these different kinds of texts. One kind of text is called: Cause and Effect.

Me: "Lucy, that makes no sense. Everything is cause and effect. If there is no cause and effect, there is no story. There is no point."

Lucy: "No, there's lots of other kinds of text. There's chronological texts—"

Me: "Where something happens and it has an effect."

Lucy (ignoring me): "And Compare and Contrast."

Me: "Where you are comparing the different causes and effects two things have on something."

Lucy (ignoring me): "And there's Problem-Solution."

Me: "Where there is a problem that causes someone else to find a solution. In effect."

Lucy (no longer able to ignore me): "Mom!"

Me: "Sorry."

But really, how silly. Everything worth learning about has a cause and an effect. Everything worth learning about is a story. The story of Black Holes, for instance. We are reading this right now:

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A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami

This is a great book, and it is a story. It's a story of nature, it's a story of the universe, it's a story about the scientist trying to figure these impossible things out—what causes him to research this? What effect does his research have on us, the reader? It's a story about human beings and why we feel compelled to understand such things.

The greatest teachers on earth have understood this—that every lesson worth learning can be told as a story. Everything worth examining has a cause and effect. Everything useful and meaningful in life must somehow cause change.

What is my point? I have no idea. Maybe it's this: Let's use stories to teach our kids! Let's engage their hearts and minds with stories, both fiction and not, about the world around them. Let's engage ourselves in this too. Let's get out there and read!!!

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