Sunday, June 8, 2008

My latest reading...Late Nights and Reading Photographs...

I am currently reading two books, one professional and one novel. I find myself going back and forth between the two. The trade book, Late Nights on Radio by Elizabeth Hay, won the Giller Prize in 2007. I had read a couple of her other books which I had enjoyed so when I spotted it on the fast reads at the nearby library, I decided to give it a read. I somehow thought it was set in Hay River (guess I heard northern and then there is her name) but it is actually about Yellowknife in the early 70's about a group of people who work in the local CBC radio station which Hay herself did.
Just as I began to read, I thought of a friend in university in 1970 who had told me about going there to visit her sister. It sounded quite interesting to someone living in southern Quebec.
Soon after I began reading, one character tells that the reason she wanted to go north was due to a CBC radio documentary drama about a group led by John Hornby of who died from overwintering in the Barrens, "Death in the Barrens." Harry, the acting station manager goes on to say, "George Whalley wrote the script" Then later he says, "Whalley's daughter lives here you know. Just down the road from me on Latham Island." Well, this shows the interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction in this book. Emily Whalley was my friend who visited her sister in Yellowknife.
I am thoroughly enjoying the book for its picture of life in Yellowknife and in a small radio station in the 70's. I find the characters interesting , and I love the well written prose. I am transported to a place I haven't been back to a time I remember in a different place.

It strikes me that blogging is a bit like working late night radio, "No one was watching, few were listening, the light was entirely different."

The other book I am reading, is one of the latest book club selections from the International Reading Association, Reading Photographs to Write With Meaning and Purpose, Grades 4-12. I am also really enjoying this. As part of the multiliteracies research project, I saw students working effectively with photographs to write and describe their worlds at Begbie and Seymour Elementary Schools. I also saw students using family pictures and archival documents enthusiastically at Moberly in seventh grade presentations telling their family histories. This book by Leigh Van Horne is great in giving me lots of ideas that I would love to try. She gives excellent suggestions for resources. Living in Texas she uses some materials from Texas history but I have been thinking of how we can use BC history and First Nations literature effectively to get powerful writing and thinking from our students. It also inspires me to want to share wonderful work I see in our schools. By the way if you don't know about Historica, you should.

Enough blogging, off to Granville Market. Will the sun ever shine?

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