Part book-discussion guide, part memories of the authors' own book-discussion experience, Deconstructing Penguins reads with the ease of the novel and the content of a scholarly work. Leaders will be able to apply the principles to any book; they look at the underlying structures and how to get children (and their parents!) to look beyond the surface. Featuring real conversations on the books they discussed, including The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Frindle, Charlotte's Web, and of course, Mr. Popper's Penguins, key elements of theme, setting, character, point of view, climax, and conflict are explored in easy to understand terms. Enjoyable and relatable, this guide will help to-be book discussion leaders prepare for all aspects of leading a group. 206 pages, softcover.
“Books are like puzzles,” write Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. “The author’s ideas are hidden, and it is up to all of us to figure them out.” In this indispensable reading companion, the Goldstones–noted parent-child book club experts–encourage grownups and young readers alike to adopt an approach that will unlock the magic and power of reading.
With the Goldstones help, parents can inspire kids’ lifelong love of reading by teaching them how to unlock a book’s hidden meaning. Featuring fun and incisive discussions of numerous children’s classics, this dynamic guide highlights key elements–theme, setting, character, point of view, climax, and conflict–and paves the way for meaningful conversations between parents and children.
“Best of all,” the Goldstones note, “you don’t need an advanced degree in English literature or forty hours a week of free time to effectively discuss a book with your child. This isn’t Crime and Punishment, it’s Charlotte’s Web.”
Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, including Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies. One of his novels won a New American Writing Award; another was a New York Times notable mystery. His work has been profiled in The New York Times, the Toronto Star, Salon, and Slate, among others. He lives on Long Island with his wife, Nancy.
Nancy Goldstone has written and coauthored several books, including Four Queens. She lives with her husband and co-author Lawrence Goldstone in Westport, Connecticut.
“This insightful book can be immensely helpful as we strive to resurrect literacy among children. With Deconstructing Penguins, kids and their parents can share in the enlightened adventure of active interpretation during reading. As a result, they will become more avid and able interpreters of their own life experiences.”
–Mel Levine, M. D., author of A Mind at a Time
“Not just the single best book on leading a book discussion group, Deconstructing Penguins is also about how to dig a tunnel into the heart of a book. In my ideal world, every reading teacher would trash that boring classroom text and adopt this book as a curriculum bible.”
–Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook
“This wonderful, easy-to-read guide will be a tremendous resource for librarians, teachers, and parents who want to help kids experience the joys of children’s literature.”
–Sally G. Reed, executive director, Friends of Libraries U.S.A.