Books, Boxing, and Boot Liners

My kids finished their first novels of the year recently. For some kids, these were their first chapter books. One boy in particular announced to me that he’d never read a chapter book before and that it felt good. Since finishing that one, he’s read two others. Instead of poking the other kids when he finishes his work early, he quietly picks up his book and goes to a private corner of the room to read. I keep pinching myself to see if it’s real.

The first group read The Mighty Miss Malone. They were inspired by the account of the 1936 Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling fight and created puppets and a boxing-themed puppet show based on their reading and their research. They were a huge hit with the younger kids, who couldn’t stop talking about it for days after the big kids came to their classes and put on a show.

Yesterday, a group that read Homecoming finished their project, a picture book based on the story. They did a beautiful job: The illustrations were superb, and the main plot points of the story were all there in terms that little people could understand. I went with them to the K-2 class for their reading. Terri projected the book and had my kids read it aloud for the little guys. When they were done, she encouraged the little kids to thank the big kids with hugs, and “ask them nicely to write another book. You’d like an alphabet book, wouldn’t you?” My big tough boy hid behind a table when the little people came charging around to give hugs. One little girl looked directly at him and said “Wiw you wite us a book about faiwies?” and his face nearly melted. She was soooooooooo cute.

I talked on the phone with a friend in another village last night. He says he’ll take me camping this winter, which is awesome. Just going for walks here opens up the world and makes my heart smile. He’s talking with me about snowmachines and extra boot liners and wall tents, and I can’t wait to find out what the world might look like from that kind of adventure-place. I’ve also been emailing all week with a teacher from another district who’s taking me hiking when I go to town in November. He had all my students when they were in elementary, and seems to have an endless supply of super cute pictures of my kids when they were small. I often feel pretty isolated out here, but this week I haven’t. I’ve felt downright social.

Sometimes I think
everyone around me talks too much
I think
I don’t talk unless I have something to say

Sometimes I wonder
if I have nothing to say, or if
listening
just wears the words out of me

Either way.

Lately, I think
friends are the people you are quiet with
I think
I can hear our skis swishing in the snow

Lately I find
i have some friends here
listening
who hear the silent mountains too.

They say “Let’s go outside and play”
And we do.

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