By Christina Stuart, AmeriCorps Member serving with Curley K-8 School
Author John Green said, “Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.” I believe these types of connections happen at a young age, even when children do not realize it. I see many of the 4th-grade students I serve reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries. Like these books, my students enjoy reading realistic fiction novels. They are able to relate to the experiences of the characters in his book by reading the humorous thoughts of the protagonists.
When I was their age, I liked realistic fiction also. My favorite book was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. The protagonist, Peter, is a 4th-grade student with a younger brother, Fudge. Peter feels invisible, a nothing, because Fudge captures the attention of his parents. Fudge is only 2 ½ years old and he does the strangest things, such as dumping food on his head in public. The adventures of this book go through the ups and downs of life as a 4th-grader.
My students would enjoy reading this book because they would be able to connect with the characters. Peter and Fudge are two differents characters, but the dynamics between them are very similar to that of other siblings. My students will be able to read about another 4th-grader who sees the world in a very similar way. They will be able to laugh and cry and understand the feelings of themselves through Peter and his peers. Through the reading of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Peter my students will be able to read about an alternate reality.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first book of the Fudge series. I continued reading more about the adventures of Peter and Fudge. As a result, I was able to grow and mature with Peter by reading the subsequent books in the series. I believe this a “great book” because of the connections my students and I could make to the characters. I also think my student will be able to grow from the experiences of Peter and his friends. For my students who enjoy reading realistic fiction novels, I am always apt for recommending this book.