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Saint Maybe

06th November 2006

Saint Maybe a NovelI’m so glad that I stumbled onto Anne Tyler. I’m really enjoying her books–this one, about an uncle who becomes a father to his nieces and nephew, is my favorite to date. Some things I enjoy about Tyler’s writing:
-She begins by telling the story from one character’s perspective. Just when you’ve gotten comfortable with that character, she starts telling the story from another character’s point of view. It’s hard to get used to at first, but now I really like it.
-She writes about ordinary people and ordinary events, but makes it interesting. There are no big mysteries, no crimes to solve, no major plot twists, no big surprises. But somehow, once I’ve started one of her books, I can’t put it down.
-At the end of her books, there are no big changes or dramatic endings. But somehow, you feel that her characters have learned and grown, and are better off than they were at the beginning.

Having read everything that Torey Hayden has published, I’m still not tired of reading about heroic special education teachers. I searched around and found this book by MacCracken. It’s written in a similar format to Hayden’s books, chronicling one school year in MacCracken’s life. There are several big differences though. First, MacCracken has fictionalized her account, rather than just changing names and places like Hayden does. (In spite of this, the book is still categorized as non-fiction by the library.) Second, MacCracken writes with much more of a political agenda. Where Hayden will comment on laws and policies that make her teaching difficult, MacCracken tends to complain and rant, which is annoying and distracting from the story. A third difference is that MacCracken does describe her teaching methods in more detail, which for me as a teacher, is interesting and helpful.Lovey, a Very Special Child

Another good book by Clements, focusing on the teacher/student relationship. Not as good as Frindle, but still very entertaining. Mark and his teacher, Mr. Maxwell, get off to the wrong start in school, and it only gets worse once they arrive at the annual 5th grade “Week in the Woods” trip.

A Week in the WoodsThe characteristic of Clements’ writing that I most enjoy is the way he explains what both the students and the teacher are thinking. As a reader, I really understand both points of view, and so understand why all the characters are acting the way they do.

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