Slice of Life Challenge day 22 #sol17

Book recommendations are seldom this easy…

Weaving my way down the bustling hallway, I spied my office door.  I was getting close – finally.  I carefully stepped past the busy sixth graders kneeling at their lockers, packing and repacking tired backpacks.  With a few brief hellos to some of my colleagues standing, arms folded, almost wilting at their classroom doors (it was the last period of the day), I picked up the pace a little.  My student was likely awaiting my arrival, and I was running a bit late.  Then I heard the voice.

“Mr. Ball!  Mr. Ball!”  Slowing slightly, I recognized this voice. I turned my head to the right, searching through the frantic line of sixth graders desperately trying to gather the necessary belongings for the final class of the day.  Hmm…who was that?  Wait! Sure enough, there stood Julian.  I  spotted him amid his daily epic battle, a battle that raged daily between him and the evil contents of his locker.  Colorful, crumpled papers strewn about his feet, it appeared his locker was winning.  Again.

There stood Julian, awkwardly listing to his right in an effort to pull something from his backpack.  Face scrunched in concentration, glasses sagging a bit down his nose, I could tell he was working to retrieve something from this pack.  Fully aware I probably ought not be stopping- I was finally so close to my office! – I whipped a quick u-turn to circle back to Julian and his colossal skirmish.

“Hi Julian! How are you?” I greeted.

“I need a book!” he bellowed, finally pulling his hand out from his backpack. Secretly, the motion reminded me of someone who had finally, after several moments of attempting, succeeded in prying the cork off a fine bottle of wine. Pop!  Out came Maximum Ride: The Angel Adventure, by James Patterson, my personal copy.  I could tell right away that Julian had spent a lot time with this book. The quality of the creases, the slightly bent corners- every one of them- the wrinkled edge of a post-it, barely visible…yep, this book had definitely been read. But was it loved?  I wondered.

“So you finished it?” I asked. “What’d you think?”

“I loved it! But now I need a new book.  Anything you think I should read, I’ll take it.”

What did he just say? Now, this situation had just officially landed in a category I would label, ‘Unusual’.  Anything you think I should read, I’ll take it?  He’s really going to make it that easy?  My heart leapt, because I knew this book was from a popular series.  I’d recommended it for that very reason. And he had liked it. Loved it!

Ah, but then I remembered I was in a hurry.  “Um, okay, Julian…I’ll get you something.  But it may not be today,” I stammered. I wanted to sprint to the library at that very moment and grab that next book for Julian.  I really did!  But my student was waiting.

“Okay.” And he was off.

EPILOGUE: I found the next book in the Maximum Ride series the following morning.  He thanked me.  Here’s hoping he likes it as much as the first book.




Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

10 thoughts on “Slice of Life Challenge day 22 #sol17”

  1. Love the epic battle against the evil locker! Wow. have I seen that one play out many times.

    Lanny, lately I’ve been thinking those U-turn moments have a tendency to be the most powerful ones, when my day, or yours, was going in one direction, but somehow those days came together and took a new turn. Those moments have been showing up a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it when my own children find a series to read. It takes the pressure off of finding that next book. That is, until the series has been completed. Then it’s back to the drawing board. It’s refreshing to hear about those u-turn moments when you stop and listen and have some of the best interactions. It would have been so easy to say you were in a hurry and keep walking but that great moment would have been missed. I wonder how many of those moments we miss and don’t even realize? Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you describe them as “tired backpacks”. It’s amazing what all can be crammed into one. The happiest time of my day is when a student returns one book I’ve suggested and asks for another. It makes all my tired feelings go away.

    Liked by 1 person

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