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I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories

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I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories Cover

ISBN13: 9780805073348
ISBN10: 0805073345
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A teacher discovers how reading, writing, and imagining can help children grow, change, and even sometimes survive

A few years back, children's-book writer Sam Swope gave a workshop to a third-grade class in Queens. So enchanted was he with his twenty-eight students that he "adopted" the class for three years, teaching them to write stories and poems. Almost all were new Americans (his class included students fom twenty-one countries) and Swope was drawn deep into their real and imaginary lives, their problems, hopes, and fears. I Am a Pencil is the story of his years with this very special group of students. It is as funny, warm, heartbreaking, and hopeful as the children themselves.

Swope follows his colorful troop of resilient writers from grades three to five, coaxing out their stories, watching talents blossom, explode, and sometimes fizzle, holding his breath as the kids' families brave new lives in a strange big city. We meet Susie (whose mom was a Taoist priestess), Alex (who cannot seem to tell the truth), and Noelia (a wacky Dominican chatterbox). All of the children have big dreams. Some have big problems: Salvador, an Ecuadorian boy, must cope with a strict Pentecostal father; Soo Jung mystifies Swope with sudden silences-until he discovers that her mother has left the family. Preparing his students for a world of adult dangers, Swope is astonished by their courage, humanity, but most of all by their strength.

Review:

"Children's book writer Swope (The Araboolies of Liberty Street, etc.) was in a slump. And what better way to liven things up than by accepting an offer to teach a 10-day writing workshop to a class of third-graders in Queens, New York City, a prime destination for immigrants to the U.S. and one of the world's most ethnically diverse areas? Swope became so intrigued by the children, he devoted himself for the next three years to teaching them, unpaid. This delightful, sometimes heartbreaking work relates how, as Swope taught, his writing lessons extended into story-writing collaborations with his students, lessons in how to draw a tree and assignments to play in the snow and write about it. Swope's affection for the kids involved him deeply in their lives, which were often ridden with familial stress. His teaching (and writing) approach is seriously playful; he bestows on his students the power of words (as when Miguel, infuriated by his home life, uses the word 'stalwart' to keep himself from giving up during troubled times). Swope shows how children flourish when their imaginations are nurtured and they are challenged to find inner discipline and write what they see as truth. He also reveals the painful seesaw of hope and limitations in their lives. Agent, Gail Hochman. (Aug. 3)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Swope tells the story of how a reading, writing and imagining workshop he gave to a third-grade class in Queens turned into a three-year project, as he was drawn deep into their real and imaginary lives, their problems, hopes, and fears.

Synopsis:

"Swope's marvelous, moving book revives the teaching memoir . . . And takes it to new realms of tenderness, insight and humanity." -Phillip Lopate

In 1995, writer Sam Swope gave a workshop to a third-grade class in a Queens school bursting at the seams with kids from around the world. So enchanted was he with his twenty-eight students that he "adopted" the class for three years, teaching them to write stories and poems. I Am a Pencil is the story of his years with this very special group of students. It is as funny, warm, heartbreaking, and hopeful as the children themselves.

Swope follows his colorful troop of resilient writers from grades three to five, coaxing out their stories, watching talents blossom, explode, and sometimes fizzle. We meet Cindy (whose mom was a Taoist priestess), Brian (who cannot seem to tell the truth), and Lourdes (a wacky Dominican chatterbox). Preparing his students for a world of adult dangers, Swope is astonished by their courage, their humanity, and most of all, their strength. I Am a Pencil is a book about the power and magic of imagination, providing a unique window on the immigrant experience as seen through the lives of children.

About the Author

Sam Swope is the author of several very well-received children's books, including The Araboolies of Liberty Street, The Krazees, and Gotta Go! Gotta Go!, and of the soon-to-be-published Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants. He lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Karin, April 21, 2007 (view all comments by Karin)
Swope's time with these kids is life-changing for them. His interaction with them and his teaching techniques are fine examples for all teachers.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805073348
Subtitle:
A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories
Author:
Swope, Sam
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co.
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Educators
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Teaching Methods & Materials - Language Arts
Subject:
Multicultural Education
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Education, elementary
Subject:
Children of immigrants
Subject:
General education.
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
01-03
Publication Date:
20040803
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
1400x1200 1

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Related Subjects

Education » General
Education » Multicultural
Education » Teaching » Reading and Writing

I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805073348 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Children's book writer Swope (The Araboolies of Liberty Street, etc.) was in a slump. And what better way to liven things up than by accepting an offer to teach a 10-day writing workshop to a class of third-graders in Queens, New York City, a prime destination for immigrants to the U.S. and one of the world's most ethnically diverse areas? Swope became so intrigued by the children, he devoted himself for the next three years to teaching them, unpaid. This delightful, sometimes heartbreaking work relates how, as Swope taught, his writing lessons extended into story-writing collaborations with his students, lessons in how to draw a tree and assignments to play in the snow and write about it. Swope's affection for the kids involved him deeply in their lives, which were often ridden with familial stress. His teaching (and writing) approach is seriously playful; he bestows on his students the power of words (as when Miguel, infuriated by his home life, uses the word 'stalwart' to keep himself from giving up during troubled times). Swope shows how children flourish when their imaginations are nurtured and they are challenged to find inner discipline and write what they see as truth. He also reveals the painful seesaw of hope and limitations in their lives. Agent, Gail Hochman. (Aug. 3)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Swope tells the story of how a reading, writing and imagining workshop he gave to a third-grade class in Queens turned into a three-year project, as he was drawn deep into their real and imaginary lives, their problems, hopes, and fears.
"Synopsis" by ,
"Swope's marvelous, moving book revives the teaching memoir . . . And takes it to new realms of tenderness, insight and humanity." -Phillip Lopate

In 1995, writer Sam Swope gave a workshop to a third-grade class in a Queens school bursting at the seams with kids from around the world. So enchanted was he with his twenty-eight students that he "adopted" the class for three years, teaching them to write stories and poems. I Am a Pencil is the story of his years with this very special group of students. It is as funny, warm, heartbreaking, and hopeful as the children themselves.

Swope follows his colorful troop of resilient writers from grades three to five, coaxing out their stories, watching talents blossom, explode, and sometimes fizzle. We meet Cindy (whose mom was a Taoist priestess), Brian (who cannot seem to tell the truth), and Lourdes (a wacky Dominican chatterbox). Preparing his students for a world of adult dangers, Swope is astonished by their courage, their humanity, and most of all, their strength. I Am a Pencil is a book about the power and magic of imagination, providing a unique window on the immigrant experience as seen through the lives of children.

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