Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Guys Read

Guys Read
, edited by Jon Scieszka, 2005

I almost got to hear Jon Scieszka talk about this book in person in 2005 but the fire marshal closed the large auditorium at the San Antonio convention center and a huge number of librarians were left staring at the closed doors. The overflow attendance at his talk highlighted the level of concern there is about boys and reading (or their lack thereof) today.

Guys read is a jump-in-anywhere you-can't-go-wrong-read for guys. An A-list of authors and illustrators contributed to this book. As Scieszka explains in the forward, the book is NOT required reading.

"It is reading to find what you like. And I know you are gong to find something in here, because these things are funny, action-packed, sad, goofy, gross, touching, stupid, true and all very short."

The short length of each offering fits any attention span, read one, read five. I am still reading my copy. Jack Gantos and Gordon Kormon have made me laugh out loud. Matt Groening's "Any Questions, Class?" will strike a chord with every student on Earth.

Many of the articles center on what reading meant to the writers when they were kids, others celebrate "guyness."

The briefest bit of biography is offered at the end of each piece including where the writer grew up, where they live now and a random fact. A short bibliography of their other works also follows. (Hey, if you like this short bit, try one of their books.)

My sister told me my fifth grade nephew loves this book. I think most guys would too.


SilberBook-Blog said...

I love this book. And as a writer of books that get earmarked with the "BOY" tattoo find it such a silly and yet needed tag. POND SCUM appeals to boys with its gooey gross humor - but girls have flocked to it as well (for the same reasons). The trouble with these lables for me is that underneath all books lie the themes which usually speak to both boys and girls - transformational power of friendship being central to mine.

GUYS READ is a great eye-opener, but once open - here's hoping the eyes take in more than just what's mentioned in that book!

Camille said...

OK, I absolutely need to read Pond Scum! Gooey, gross, boy friendly--This sounds like my kind of book.

You are so right about books with themes that appeal to boys and girls. I was always amazed that so many boys enjoyed the required 6th grade summer reading True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. In fact I think more guys than girls actally liked the book.

SilberBook-Blog said...

If you NEED to read it - then email me with your "coordinates" and I'll see if the wonderful and oh-so generous folks at Hyperion will send you one!

In the meantime Colleen Mondoor at Chasing Ray had these kind words to say about POND SCUM: http://www.eclectica.org/v10n2/mondor_dream.html