Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 8, 2008

Letter to Thank Keith, etc.

Filed under: from your prof — sunyprof @ 12:11 pm

I’ve drafted a letter that I will send to Keith to thank him for coming to our class yesterday. I will copy his dept. chair, principal and supt. Is there anything you want me to be sure to include in the letter — from you? Let me know. Thanks!

Also, please post interest in reading the Myers/Flake stories or the Christopher Paul Curtis novel for lit circles for 2/21. I will gather copies of these titles to bring to class on 2/14 if there is interest. You can also let me and your classmates know your interest by posting under the “Lit Circle Picks” category.

Good time too to review book club selections. The syllabus asks you to read widely and out of your “element,” so to speak. Include non-fiction recommended for YA’s, short story collections, historical and science fictions, authorial voices/characters from other than western cultures, books suitable for both middle and high school readers, etc. etc. If you are looking for a particular “kind” of book, or book, please let me know so that I can help with that. All of us enjoy reading blog posts on the books you are reading for book club since not everyone gets to hear about all of the titles in any TH afternoon.

I noticed this morning the remarkable new collection of titles flooding the “new” title YA shelves at B&N in Syracuse. KES



  1. Prior to Keith’s visit, I thought of myself as open to graphic novels, understanding of their form and value, and willing and eager to include them in my classroom. However, in reflecting on our conversation with Keith, I realize that I had a limited understanding of the term “graphic novel.” I thought the genre included books such as MAUS, PERSEPOLIS, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, BLANKETS, etc., but I thought it excluded superheroes. Keith’s visit broadened my understanding and definition of graphic novels. The connection between Campbell’s Hero Theory and superheroes seems so obvious now, and the themes of these books so clearly universal. I’m looking forward to reading THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, ELEKTRA, and CIVIL WAR. I can’t believe that the next time I go to Carousel Mall it will be to visit the comic book store 🙂

    I think Keith was also a great example of a great teacher in general. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, modest, fun and funny. It is clear that he rejoices in his students’ success and gives them extensive support. This is a teacher who empowers his students by telling them, “YES you can!” when they ask to tailor the project to their own interests, skills and desires. He demonstrates the importance of audience – What if all our students thought that the work they did for class could be published and sold at a local store? How do you think that possibilty would affect the quality of their work?

    Further, instead of thinking, “I know my department is looking for a new English elective, but they would never support of course on the graphic novel…” he asked, and he received beautiful new books, administrative and community support. This in and of itself is a lesson that we CAN change the status quo, and it may not meet with as much opposition as we anticipate.

    Overall, it was a wonderful visit. I wish we were offered more opportunities to talk with innovative and passionate teachers like Keith. Thank you, Karen, for inviting him to our class, and thank you, Keith, for sharing with us.


    Comment by sostrom — February 8, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

  2. Sarah, what a nicely put thank you. I sent it on to Keith. I know he will be please. I think the guy is dynamite. The funny thing for me is that I began my career in this district–many years ago–and they fired me. I can tell you that story sometime!! KES

    Comment by sunyprof — February 8, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

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