It was time to introduce the story mountain to my third graders. We are in the Character Studies unit and it has been going along really well. The children are enjoying the character work and of course they LOVE listening to and discussing “Because of Winn-Dixie”. They beg me to read it to them every day. Today, however, it was to be a reading of “Peter’s Chair”. Until it wasn’t.
Hmmm, I thought to myself, Where is my copy of “Peter’s Chair”?
I quickly flipped through the basket I usually keep my mentor texts in. Nope. Moved on to the basket that I often put my mentor texts in after I’ve read them. Nope. Looked in the last place I would have expected to put it. Nope again.
Dang it, I thought inside my head, I should have pulled the book out earlier. But I was so sure I knew exactly where it was.
Obviously I didn’t.
So on to Plan B. My fingertips graced the outer edge of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. Sure, why not? I haven’t read this book in a long time!
“Well guys, I can’t find the book I was looking for, but guess what, I think I have a book here that you will really love. Do you know this book?” I held up “Alexander” and they all shook their heads no. “Great,” I said, kind of surprised they didn’t know it, “then Alexander it is.”
I began reading the book and they were immediately entranced. It is such an exquisitely written story, the timing and the humor and the illustrations just reach out and grab you. Alexander is every single one of us when we are having a bad day. It is a pity party. And it is social justice. And it is sibling rivalry.
And it was exactly what these kids needed at this very moment in time. It dawned on me while I was reading it that these kids are living “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days. They just are. It’s not that their lives are terrible, they aren’t. But there is an angst inside them. It comes out in little ways all day long. Adults can’t quite put their finger on what it is. But Judith Viorst put her finger on it. It is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad moment in our history and these kids just need to hear it and acknowledge it and move on.
Because some days are like this, even in Australia!