TERRY GROSS, host: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Maurice Sendak is like part of the extended family for those people who grew up reading his books or who have read his books to their children. Books like, Where the Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen and Outside Over There. Me, I was slightly too old to grow up with those books, but I came to love them as an adult and I try to talk with Sendak whenever he has a new book, which he does now. It's called Bumble-ardy.
MAURICE SENDAK: Yes. I'm not unhappy about becoming old. I'm not unhappy about what must be. It makes me cry only when I see my friends go before me and life is emptied. I don't believe in an afterlife, but I still fully expect to see my brother again. And it's like a dream life. I am reading a biography of Samuel Palmer, which is written by a woman in England. I can't remember her name. And it's sort of how I feel now, when he was just beginning to gain his strength as a creative man and beginning to see nature. But he believed in God, you see, and in heaven, and he believed in hell. Goodness gracious, that must have made life much easier. It's harder for us nonbelievers.
But, you know, there's something I'm finding out as I'm aging that I am in love with the world. And I look right now, as we speak together, out my window in my studio and I see my trees and my beautiful, beautiful maples that are hundreds of years old, they're beautiful. And you see I can see how beautiful they are. I can take time to see how beautiful they are. It is a blessing to get old. It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music. You know, I don't think I'm rationalizing anything. I really don't. This is all inevitable and I have no control over it. "Bumble-ardy" was a combination of the deepest pain and the wondrous feeling of coming into my own and it took a long time. It took a very long time, but it's genuine. Unless I'm crazy. I could be crazy and you could be talking to a crazy person.
TERRY GROSS:I don't think so.
Where the Wild Things Are
Story and Pictures by Maurice Sendak
The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind
his mother called him “WILD THING!”
and Max said “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”
so he was sent to bed without eating anything.
That very night in Max’s room a forest grew
and grew until his ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around
and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max
and he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost a year
to where the wild things are.
And when he came to the place where the wild things are
they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
till Max said “BE STILL!”
and tamed them with the magic trick
of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once
and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all
and made him king of all wild things.
“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”
“Now stop!” Max said and sent the wild things off to bed
without their supper. And Max the king of all wild things was lonely
Story and Pictures by Maurice Sendak Did you ever hear of Mickey,
how he heard a racket in the night
and shouted, “QUIET DOWN THERE!”
and fell through the dark, out of his clothes
past the moon & his mama & papa sleeping tight
into the light of the night kitchen?
Where the bakers who bake till the dawn
so we can have cake in the morn
mixed Mickey in the batter, chanting:
Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter!
Stir it! Scrape it! Make it! Bake it!
And that put that batter up to bake
a delicious Mickey-cake.
But right in the middle
of the steaming
and the making
and the smelling
and the baking
Mickey poked through and said:
I’m not the milk and the milk’s not me!
So he skipped from the over & into bread dough
all ready to rise in the night kitchen.
He kneaded and punched it
and pounded and pulled
till it looked okay.
Then Mickey in dough was just on his way
when the bakers ran up with a measuring cup, howling:
Milk! Milk! Milk for the morning cake!
What’s all the fuss? I’m Mickey the pilot!
I get milk the Mickey way!
And he grabbed the cup as he flew off
and over the top
of the Milky Way
in the night kitchen.
Mickey the milkman dived down to the bottom
Singing: I’m the milk and the milk’s in me.
His mother cried and held him tight.
His father asked, “Are you all right?”
Pierre said, “I am feeling fine,
please take me home, it’s half past nine.”
The lion said, “If you would care
to climb on me, I’ll take you there.”
Then everyone looked at Pierre
“Yes, indeed I care!”
The lion took them home to rest
and stayed on as a weekend guest.
The moral of Pierre is: CARE! IDEAS FOR YOUR LETTERS
My name is ____________.
I am a student _______________________________________
I have ____ children.
I am learning English.
I like your books because______________.
My children like your books because _______________________.
My son/daughter’s favorite book is ___________because________________.
My favorite book is ________________because____________________.
We read your biography.
We looked at your website.
Your books are _________________. (interesting, colorful, beautiful, fun,……..)
Are you writing any new books?
What do you like to do in the winter?
Have you visited Boston?
How long does it take for you to finish a book?
Thank you for writing books for us and for our children.
I wish you good health.
I enjoyed learning about you and your work.
I hope you will continue to write books.
Approach #3: Deep Reading: Book of the Month:
How to Actively Engage with a Book Note: This approach in the parent ESOL context has been developed by Alice Levine,
Family Education Curriculum Specialist in Boston Public Schools’ Department of Family and Student Engagement. The essence of the approach is to talk, talk, and then talk some more about one book—making predictions, changing predictions as you go along, interpreting metaphoric language, making personal connections to the text. This deep reading approach is very similar to the training BPS teachers are now receiving in “close reading” to help meet new Common Core standards in which students are expected to be able to do close textual analyses. Levine developed this deep reading approach based on research done in the 1980’s on what makes a good reader. As summarized in 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It! By Susan Zimmermann and Chryse Hutchins, investigators found that reading is an interactive process in which good readers engage in a constant internal dialogue with the text. A second key component of Levine’s approach is to use the one book you are reading as the core of all the ESOL skills you want to address over the course of the month—pronunciation, grammar, spelling, conversation, writing. Grandma’s Records, by Eric Valesquez, is used below to demonstrate this approach. Generic discussion questions you can use to promote dialogue with any text, sample materials specific to Grandma’s Records, and an annotated list of other possible books to use have been included at the end.
For more information on close reading, go to the Keys for Literacy spring 2014 on-line newsletter http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs186/1102000925312/archive/1116975164842.html Learning Objectives: Students will experience the process of getting deeply involved in
and excited about a book so that they can share this same process with their children. They will learn what it means to be an active reader—making personal connections to the story, asking questions, making predictions and reading between the lines. They will build core ESOL skills around the content provided by the book.
Grandma’s Records, by Eric Velasquez. In this memoir, the author describes how every summer, a young Eric goes to live with his grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) while his parents work. She shares her love of the music she grew up with in Puerto Rico with her grandson in this celebration of music, memories and a grandparent/grandchild relationship.
Go over Handout: Be An Active Reader! Give examples. This will frame the approach students will use as they read Grandma’s Records. Tell students to save this handout and have it in class with them. Then refer back to it frequently. For example, when students are asked pick something that made them think about an incident in their own lives and then to write about it, go back to the handout and point out that this is one part of Active Reading—e.g. making a personal connection to the text.
Introduce book, explaining that the class will be reading the book together over the course of the next month. Have students predict what they think the book will be about, based on the cover. Note these predictions on an easel pad so you can go back to them periodically and get parents to check their own predictions.
Begin to read the book aloud, defining words as you go. Because you want to encourage as much conversation about the book as possible, it helps to stop every three or four pages and divide students into small groups or with partners to discuss the book so that all students are actively engaged. In a multilevel class, there can be an easier and a harder set of discussion questions. Students can answer these with each other orally, or can discuss them and then write their responses.
Every time you begin to read aloud a new section of the book, re-read it from the beginning so that students gain increasing familiarity with the book.
Have students do two or three writing assignments as they progress through the book in which they make personal connections to something the characters do, say or feel, or make a personal connection to an illustration. Always have them share their writing (or in the case of Grandma’s Records their singing of a favorite song) with their classmates. Encourage them to share these personal connections as stories with their children.
Encourage a close reading of the text. For example, have students find phrases or sentences in the book that they especially like, mark those with Post-its, and then explain their choices.
Create word lists from the book as appropriate. These could be verb lists, expressions, feeling adjectives, Tier 1 and Tier 2 sight words. Relate the words back to the text and have students practice these words.
Do paired dictations from the text. Again, there can be an easier and a harder set of dictation sentences. (See Activity #4: Big Dreams, in this same unit for a description of how to do paired dictations).
Encourage story telling throughout. Have students tell a related story (similar to the writing assignments) to a partner or to the class as a whole. Or have partners tell each other’s stories. Encourage students to tell these same stories at home with their families.
Wrap-Up Assignment: Parents take the book home, read it with and to their children, practicing active reading, and are given a Parents and Children Reading Together activity to do at home.
Be an Active Reader!4
Make personal connections to the story.
Be curious, ask questions, and search for answers.
Predict what you think will happen—and check out your predictions!
Read “between the lines” to understand the deep meaning of the story.
Have a continuous conversation with the text and the author as you’re reading!
¡Sea un Lector Activo!5
Haga una conexión personal con la historia.
Sea curioso, haga preguntas, y busque las respuestas.
Prediga lo que usted piensa va a suceder—y compruebe sus predicciones.
Lea “entre líneas” para un entendimiento más profundo de la historia.
¡Tenga una conversación continua con el texto y el autor del libro que usted está leyendo! Sample Questions to Promote Dialogue with the Text6 Making Connections and Utilizing Background Knowledge
When you look at the cover of the book, what strikes you?
Does this picture or the text on this page make you think of anything or remind you of anything in your own life?
Who do you identify with in this story?
Has anything similar ever happened to you?
Do you know how this character feels? Can you give an example from your life where you felt similarly?
Based on your own experience, why do you think this character responded the way she did?
Making and Checking out Predictions
What do you think the book will be about?
What can you tell about the characters in the book, based on the picture and words on the cover?
Next look at the title page and the dedication. Do these pages offer evidence that confirms or changes your ideas about what the book will be about?
As you read the book, keep going back to your initial predictions. Do you think you were right or do you want to change your predictions? Why?
Look carefully for clues as if you were trying to figure out the solution to a mystery on a television series. What do you think is going to happen? What clues are you noticing?
Is there anything that surprises you in the plot or in the behavior or attitude of one of the characters? Can you think of any clues that this surprising plot twist would happen?
Making Inferences (Reading Between the Lines)
How do you think this character is feeling? What makes you think that?
Who is speaking here? How do you know?
What do you notice about how the colors are different on these two pages? What do you think the change in colors means?
The book begins with the sentence, “No one expected such a tiny girl to have a first birthday.” What do you think is meant by this sentence? Why wouldn’t people expect a child to have a first birthday?
Why do you think the author chose the title s/he did for the book?
The best way to model the process of asking questions when reading
with a child is to continually make “I wonder….” statements (in a
natural and curious tone of voice), For example:
I wonder why she did that.
I wonder what’s going to happen next.
I wonder why they call this area the West Indies if it’s nowhere near India.
I wonder if the two of them are going to become friends by the end of the book.
2. If you had an opportunity to talk with or write to the author, what
would you want to ask him or her?
Is there anything you’re curious about from reading this book that
you’d like to look up on the internet?
Is there anyone we know who you think could help us understand what it was like to live in this time or place?
Grandma’s Records7 Questions to discuss with your partners
1. How old do you think Eric is? Why do you think that?
2. What are some things Eric likes to do?
How would you describe his personality?
3. Who does the grandmother remind you of? Describe this person to
4. What is your favorite page of the book? Why?
Grandma’s Records: Questions to Discuss8
Where was grandma born? How do you know?
Where do you think the grandson was born?
What are some things that the boy likes to do?
What are some things that the grandmother likes to do?
Why did the parents leave their child with his grandmother for the summer?
How do you think the parents felt about leaving him there? (Use the text, the pictures, and your own experience to answer this question.)
In what ways do you think that the grandmother and her grandson are similar?
How did the grandmother feel when she listened to her special song? (Use the text, the pictures, and your own experience to answer this question.)
Why do you think that sometimes the boy would “sneak in Grandma’s special
song just to watch her put her hand over her heart and sing?”