a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NO NAME-CALLING WEEK: Jan. 23rd -27th

In honor of No Name-Calling Week, the idea for which originated with this book, I thought I would post a review of The Misfits by James Howe on my other blog.

This book has one of my favorite leads:
"So here I am, not a half-hour old as a tie salesman and trying to look like I know what I am doing, which have got to be two of the biggest jokes of all time, when who should walk into Awkworth & Ames Department Store but Skeezie Tookis. "
I think I like it because it is such an inviting introduction to Bobby and Skeezie, two of the four friends referred to in the book’s title. 

Bobby, Skeezie, Addie, and Joe are seventh graders who decide to create their own political party to run in the student council election.  Their goal is simple: to put an end to name-calling.

When thinking about how I will approach No-Name Calling Week in my classroom, the part of The Misfits that resonated with me was page 139, the list of all the names each character can remember having been called:

What struck me is that each person in my classroom (including me) carries a list like these inside of him/her.  That just plain breaks my heart. 

I still remember Jill T. and her blonde ponytail from the first day of 1st grade.  I was second in line for the school tour.  When Mrs. Fulton headed to the back of the line to talk to a student, Jill T. seized the opportunity to whip around, her ponytail snapping around her head from the sharpness of her movement, to look me up and down and announce authoritatively, “You’re puny!”  I honestly hadn’t known it was a bad thing until that moment.  I hadn’t realized my size was a reason to feel ashamed. 

I am 33.  That 30 seconds of my life occurred when I was 7. 

Needless to say, I believe No Name-Calling Week is a cause worth supporting.  I plan to utilize some of the resources I have found online:

 A List-In-Progress of Books to Share for No Name-Calling Week:

1.     The Misfits by James Howe
2.     Playground by 50 Cent
3.     A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd)
4.     Blubber by Judy Blume
5.     Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
6.     Dear Bully edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
7.     Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
8.     Loser by Jerry Spinelli
9.     Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
10. Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
11. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
12. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
13. Godless by Pete Hautman
14. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
15. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


  1. Good to think about Christy. I'll be interested to hear what happens this week for you. I've read most of the books, but Stargirl is such a favorite of mine. Sad to think that others are so fearful of differences that they must belittle them. Best wishes!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I didn't know about No-Name Calling Week and it seems like a great idea! (btw, I was persecuted by some older boys for being a "shrimp" in elementary school!). I will definitely check out the resources you shared!

  3. Your memory sparked emotions. The book list is a great resource.