Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading by Lawrence Goldstone (Paperback)
“Books are like puzzles,” write Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. “The author’s ideas are hidden, and it is up to all of us to figure them out.” In this indispensable reading companion, the Goldstones–noted parent-child book club experts–encourage grownups and young readers alike to adopt an approach that will unlock the magic and power of reading.
With the Goldstones' help, parents can inspire kids’ lifelong love of reading by teaching them how to unlock a book’s hidden meaning. Featuring fun and incisive discussions of numerous children’s classics, this dynamic guide highlights key elements–theme, setting, character, point of view, climax, and conflict–and paves the way for meaningful conversations between parents and children.
“Best of all,” the Goldstones note, “you don’t need an advanced degree in English literature or forty hours a week of free time to effectively discuss a book with your child. This isn’t Crime and Punishment, it’s Charlotte’s Web.”
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Reading Level: For Parents & Teachers
"I cannot recommend Deconstructing Penguins highly enough. I am a mother of three children and Penguins is the first teaching/parenting book I've seen that has offered me such fun and easy tools with which to analyze and share literature as a family. The Goldstones' conviction that even young children are quite capable of and even excited about discussing serious ideas through critical reading is refreshing and right on the money. Children relish meaty moral conundrums. They love to have long discussions on ethics with their peers and parents or teachers (particularly when those discussions pertain to fictional characters rather than to themselves). The Goldstones' book looks at plot, setting, antagonist and protagonist in a way that will have most parents thinking "I had no idea it was so simple," and most teachers and librarians thanking their lucky stars."
"Deconstructing Penguins" empowers parents to believe they can have real debates about literature with their children right now, even as early as second grade! This is very exciting stuff. I can't wait to revisit some of the classic titles on the authors' reading list, such as Babe and Charlotte's Web, from a totally different perspective. For anyone who wants to start a parent-child reading group, this book is a god-send. Moreover, "Penguins" presents the most cogent approach to reading groups for adults or kids. In the years I've participated in book groups, including Great Books, I've always felt something was lacking from the discussion despite lots of bright people asking bright questions. After reading "Penguins," I now know what was missing: a unifying theme or framework for analyzing the book's true meaning. "Penguins" gives you that framework and a whole lot more. The authors show they understand great literature, as well as the minds of children. If only more libraries could be as leading edge as the authors' library in Westport, Conn.!!"
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