Keeping Afloat with Books by Debby Smith

A beautiful and important post about the power of sharing stories.

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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