As a kid, one of my favourite parts of school was being read to. Sure, my parents read to me at home, but something about having a teacher stop being a teacher for a second and get right down on the floor with us and create another world was completely thrilling. Funny, I don’t remember story time in kindergarten, or grade one, but grade five is what sticks out in my mind. At the school I was doing my practicum at, the librarian didn’t read to the classes past grade three, which I found odd and disappointing. This is the best time to read because you can really get into longer stories- James and the Giant Peach, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, A Wrinkle in Time. My supervisor was also disappointed that this was policy at the school, but nonetheless kept a few books of her own on hand just in case the opportunity ever arouse to read aloud to these “older” students.
One of the books she particularly loved was A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. The story tells the classic Grimm Brothers’ tales in all the gory glory- perfect for even the most skeptical sixth grade boy. Beginning with Hansel and Gretel’s origins, the reader follows one beheading and curse after another, and the narrator often pauses to assure the reader that the story is going to just keep getting worse. It’s both comical and classic, a perfect way to retell beloved fairy tales.
Though I’m only twenty-five pages in, I can tell that when/if I’m a school librarian, I’ll make sure to have my own copy on hand to read aloud!