Book Snob #sol17


Book Snob

March 7, 2017

I like to think that I believe all books to be created equal.  I mean,  I’ve read quite a few romance novels in my day, although you won’t find them on my Goodreads profile.  So I guess I don’t want you to know I read them.  Cat’s out of the bag.  

I’m a snob about children’s books too.  I’ll admit it.  I saw Dav Pilkey speak at the Teachers’ College reunion last spring.  I thought he was fantastic.  I thought his message was on point.  I thought his reasons for writing what he does were perfect.  I still couldn’t get through a single Captain Underpants book.  

Then I had a student.  A third grader who needed to be listened to.  A third grader who needed to be encouraged.  A third grader who didn’t need my sanctimonious rant about “good books”.  A third grader who needed me to remember when the going gets tough, the reading teacher reads romance.

So when this student told me that what he really wanted me to partner read with him was Dogman and that he couldn’t wait to show me the part where they handshake with poop on their hands,  I cringed.  ( I hope that cringe was on the inside.)  He was testing me.  He was wondering if I would say, “Oh, no,  let’s read something else.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,  I did not.  I read all 240 graphic pages of dog jokes, poop,  people make stupid by spray,  the world’s books being destroyed,  conflict ridden pages with him.  Sorry,  Dav Pilkey,  I did not love it, but I’m not your audience.  My young third grade friend not only loved it, but loved getting me to read it too.

Like Nelson Mandela,  I hope that the reading of comics (or graphic novels) will lead to the reading of ‘good’ books.  But really what I hope is that the reading of this book and any other book will just lead to more reading of any sort.  All reading is good. This book made my young friend think.  This book  gave us a chance to talk about reading and books… and dog poop.  That’s not so bad for a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.

So thank you Dav Pilkey for writing books that many students want to read over and over and over again.  Thank you for explaining to me why you write them so I could tell my third grader about hearing you in person and what inspires you.  Mostly,  thank you my third grade friend for reading with me.  It’s good to read with friends. 



I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

11 thoughts on “Book Snob #sol17

  1. Great post! I love Dav Pilkey’s message. I listened to a podcast where the talked about being a poor student and getting in trouble all the time and drawing/creating saved him. I think about Dav when I have young artists in my third grade class who just want to create their own books instead of doing the work in my lesson. I try to be gentle. This is a fantastic slice and shows what a passionate teacher you are!

  2. I too tend to worry when children are not reading the “great” books that are out there, so reading this post was a good reminder. Reading and enjoying reading is powerful. It’s a way in to what will hopefully become a habit. Thank you for sharing Dav Pilkey’s message.

  3. I totally agree with you. Do I want my students to read good literature? Absolutely! Do I try to expose them to all different kinds of books and talk books and share books and push books? Yep! And do I occasionally read books about dog poop, teen romance, and other equally unsavory subjects? Absolutely! Because readers read a variety of texts, for any number of reasons. And connecting with other people is definitely one of those reasons!

  4. So much in this piece – to me the most important part is how you engaged this reader. He is falling in love with reading because of you. I love the line: “A third grader who needed me to remember when the going gets tough, the reading teacher reads romance.” We do need to remember they are little people at heart and not numbers that need to grow. Your connection, your time and your wonderful laugh made all the difference for this reader. Lovely slice! (It would be great for Nerdy Book Club)

  5. Fabulous! I teach 6th grade. Whenever I book talk, I find the poopiest part, if there is one. Most of times there is not, thank goodness. Even the most erudite 6th grader appreciates a little potty humor from time to time.

  6. This is a definition of love.

    Sometimes it is that simple–the love between a teacher and her student. They get us to do all kinds of things we never thought we would.


  7. I love how you embraced the reader regardless of the quality of literature. Just getting them to read and be excited about a book is a challenge enough so this hopefully is will open up his world of reading. I could definitely imagine your dog poop conversations. 🙂

  8. I think they love seeing us read books they are interested in. I have a third grader myself that loves Captain Underpants and wants to read Dogman, but all the misspellings just drives me crazy. Glad you were able to have a nice conversation with your student.

  9. I love the last few lines in this, as well as the one another commenter highlighted–“when the going gets tough, the reading teacher reads romance.” I have evolved to embrace any kind of reading that my students will willingly engage in. Captain Underpants, comics, WattPad stories, repetitive series–I pass no judgement.

  10. As a firm lover of genre literature, I can empathize. And I love that you decided to give Dogman a shot! Kudos to you!

    By the way, have you tried graphic novels? One of my favorites for kids is the Phoebe and her Unicorn series by Dana Simpson. It’s very Calvin & Hobbs-esque, only with a girl (and her unicorn) at the front and center.

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