Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 23

Today, March 23rd, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

“We want to read this book!”  I stood in my dining room, now alit with bright sunlight streaming in through the sliding glass door.  Taking the book gently from my oldest daughter’s hands, I read the title: Bed-knob & Broomstick, by Mary Norton.

I felt my eyebrows raise, just a bit.  This is the book you want to read aloud?” I asked, placing great emphasis on the first word.  I had tasked my two oldest daughters to run upstairs and, among the hundreds of books we own, to choose a book Papa would read aloud to them while schools remain closed.  I expected the girls to select something . . . well, more modern, perhaps?  But I suppose this made sense since our previous read aloud (last summer) had been The Phantom Tollbooth, another older title.

Looking up from the cover, I saw two two hopeful faces. I could tell there would be no changing their minds.  I flipped quickly to the copyright date, and a new worry suddenly arose.  1957.  Hmm, yikes.  Now, I had heard of this book but had never read it.  What if it didn’t pass muster in regards to cultural sensitivity?  What about representation?  Or diversity of characters?  Now I could feel my eyebrows furrowing.  Back up to their faces.  “You’re sure?” 


Well, I thought.  These are my children.  I’ll navigate this with them.  Try to address whatever comes up.  The book is a bit of a ‘classic’, isn’t it?  

“Okay, girls,” I said.  “You want to start right now?”  They did.


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,

6 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 23”

  1. I have never read this book. Still, I think that there is value in reading so-called classics together. It gives us the opportunity to share our thinking as we read (or after a reading session). The girls seem excited about it as you describe their faces. They and you will enjoy the experience no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the movie, not the book…but I believe in the value of revisiting classic stories, if only for the opportunity to discuss how things are different these days. I’m a sucker for any book that has a bit of magic in it, so I would dive right in!


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