JEN: I am really excited to talk about I Want My Hat Back! I love that you picked this book for us to discuss as part of It’s A-Okay to Reread in April! I’m not sure how I’m going to contain myself and my excitement...
Colby: This book kind of started our friendship. I can’t think of a better way to kick off It’s A-Okay to Reread in April.
JEN: It did really start our friendship. We had talked on Twitter but we really got into it when I read I Want My Hat Back and freaked out at the ending.
COLBY: I think that I Want My Hat Back is my all-time favorite Twitter book (book people talked about on Twitter).
JEN: I Want My Hat Back is so remarkable because it did spur such an amazing conversation. So many people were discussing this book, choosing sides, debating the characters’ choices. We had twibbons on our Twitter pictures and the #hatback hashtag. It was crazy going to NCTE and overhearing one of the reps at the Candlewick booth telling someone how insane the discussion had become over I Want My Hat Back on Twitter.
COLBY: The first time I read I Want My Hat Back, I thought it was funny, cute, and a little surprising. I had no idea that it could cause to much discussion and passion. For me it showed the importance of having shared reading experiences with your reading community. Whether it be in a classroom, on Twitter, or with friends. People that read and talk about books they love with people they trust, creates some pretty amazing conversations.
JEN: The first time I read it I was completely appalled by the ending. It totally caught me by surprise. I haven’t read many books as unique in their ending as Hat Back and I think that’s why it was able to cause people to really be able to discuss it.
You are completely right though, it was an awesome look at how a community can develop around a book. This book made us think, made us take sides, made us want to give it to others to read, made people who hadn’t read it want to see what we were talking about. What if in your classroom you start discussing books...then won’t everyone else want to be discussing books? And if a few people/students are talking about books...won’t other kids want to read those books and be part of the discussion, too. Building that same community in classrooms and schools is important.
COLBY: I think that kids need to see that talking about books is cool and that it is what is done in a classroom of readers. In my class we don’t talk much about things like sports, television, or music. We talk about books. They have so many other places in their lives where those things are the center of attention. I want them to know that it is cool to talk books.
JEN: It is cool to talk about books! That’s what Nerdy Book Club is about, too. There seem to be a lot of blog posts lately about finding out someone you know is reading the same book as you and how excited people get when they find that out. It’s fun to share reading experiences.
COLBY: Books are so much more fun when you can share them and talk about them. This makes me think a lot about how important it is to read aloud to your students. It gives your class that foundation of books that you’ve shared together. I find my students often comparing books we’ve read in class together to books they are reading independently. They do this a lot when the are book talking books to the class.
JEN: I realized when I started reading like crazy (which was about five years ago), that the more I read in general, the more I was able to make connections and notice what an author is doing. So often, kids struggle when it comes to making text to text connections...and I think that’s because they need a huge background of books first. If they have only read a few books it’s harder to see how elements of a book can connect with another book.
COLBY: The whole read aloud piece is giant. Some of my readers have a hard time reading the books that other kids in class are reading, but their issues with reading the book on their own almost disappear when the book is read aloud to them. It gives them that background of books you talked about and it gives them the opportunity to have shared reading experiences with readers in the classroom that are at a different place as a reader than they are.
JEN: My students are rarely at grade level when it comes to reading and some of them are English Language Learners and some of them don’t have parents who read to them at home. One of my students was in fourth grade and reading more and more in English but no one could read aloud to her in English at home. Read aloud is so extremely important. I started sending her home with one of my old iPods loaded with an audiobook and the book so she could read the book and listen at the same time. I love the power of read aloud to be able to move kids ahead in their reading because they have heard words that are above their reading level. Love it.
COLBY: I love the idea of sending home old iPods. My students are starting to get into audiobooks and it really helps level the playing field for some of my readers, and it’s a great way to help develop fluency. You are so smart.
JEN: I am really excited for Jon Klassen’s book That’s Not My Hat. The cover looks like there is a fish wearing a blue bowler hat...and in I Want My Hat Back the snake says, “I saw a hat once. It was blue and round.”
COLBY: I’m so excited for his next book. As a result of the conversation we all had about I Want My Hat Back I will forever read everything Jon Klassen. I think that when we can get students to connect with an author they feel the same way I do about Jon Klassen. I MUST READ EVERYTHING HE EVER WRITES!
JEN: Agreed. It’s a great way to choose books, if you like an author, try another book he or she has written. It’s so cool that he’s an author and an illustrator...I want to read everything he has written but I also want to read anything he has illustrated, too. I love Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. I picked up The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood just because he did the artwork on the covers.
Uh, Colby, we didn’t really talk about the book itself...just that we love it, it’s amazing, it’s awesome.
Maybe even more people will go read it just to know what we are talking about...we’ll get those few people who haven’t read this if they are out there. Be sure to tell us in the comments which team you are on! I’m #teamrabbit and Colby is #teambear.