April 25, 2008

hail the unshushables

So Andrew Clements has written a book about my class: "[N]one of these kids really meant to be disrespectful or disobedient or discourteous. But none of them wanted to stop talking. Ever." I sat down and consumed No Talking in an hour ... and thought, what would it take for Real Live Children to be galvanized into a movement of self-imposed silence?

The phrase "you have the right to remain silent" takes on a whole new meaning (and is shouted quite poignantly) in this book - which I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who's ever been a kid who would or could not shut up, and any parent or teacher who's ever fought (and even succumbed to) the urge to bellow, Kindergarten Cop-style, "SHUUUUUUUUUT UUUUUUUUUUUP!" at their own unshushables.

I laughed at Mrs. Hiatt, the administrator with the bullhorn, because she so reminded me of a principal I once worked under. She measured her success as an administrator by the volume of her cafeteria at lunchtime. She, too, carried a bullhorn. She, too, was slightly off her rocker. But unlike Mrs. Hiatt, she retired before ever realizing that she was a bully with a bullhorn and a worthless mission.

Like The Last Holiday Concert's Hart Evans, No Talking's Dave Packer is creative, perceptive, and willing to provoke and challenge authority figures for the sake of defending a principle. Like Frindle's Lorelei Granger, I hug my dictionary and lie in wait for the day my kids figure out that this is what I want from them.

Mayhaps I'll pick up Lunch Money again. My faith in Andrew Clements has been restored.

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