Celebrating Jon Scieszka

Today, many bloggers in the kidlitosphere are taking a moment to thank our National Ambassador of Children’s Literature, the incomparable Jon Scieszka.  I did not have a lot of experience with Mr. Scieszka’s books when I began teaching.  I remembered reading (and loving) his The True Story of the Three Little Pigs as a middle schooler. But I did not realize his utter power in my classroom until his latest memoir was published; the hysterical, over-the-top, unbelievable Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories of Growing up Scieszka.

I am the oldest of six kids. When I bought Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories of Growing up Scieszka for my classroom library, I started reading it right away. It was like I was reading about my own family. I laughed so hard at times that there were tears running down my face!  Like Scieszka, I went to Catholic grammar school, came from a large family, and may have tied up a sibling or two.

The result was almost identical when I read a few passages out loud to my students later that week. Suddenly, even my most dormant readers were begging for the book.  It was passed around from student to student, with whispers of “You gotta read the story on pg. 22!”  It was a magic book with the ability to cross all gender lines.  So thank you, Mr. Scieszka, for creating books that my 6th graders love and adore.  They adore them so much that they literally read them to pieces and I need to purchase new copies fairly frequently.  And you know what?  That’s ok by me!