Keeping Afloat with Books by Debby Smith

A beautiful, touching post from @debby623 about the power of books.

Nerdy Book Club

Each school year has its own personality, its own way of being remembered. Last year was like trying to maneuver a raft through whitewater while blindfolded without paddles. After two decades in the classroom, I thought I knew what to expect and what to do. But when one of my students died unexpectedly, standards and curriculum gave way to my greatest responsibility­ ­— responding to the children in front of me dealing with traumatic grief. During this life-changing time, we found much-needed comfort and guidance from characters, books, and authors.

We navigated the beginning of the year smoothly with the help of Gertie and her desire to be the best fifth-grader ever. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness, our first read aloud, engaged my students and helped us create a community comfortable having hard conversations. With the help of Kate Beasley’s writing, we explored our own identities, friendship, fitting in, and…

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