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

by Sam Swope

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I LOVED, Love, loved this book! If you are a home schooler, teacher, writer, lover of books...you should read this book! Inspiring! ( )
  BoundTogetherForGood | Jan 25, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805078517, Paperback)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"When worn-down and somewhat cranky children's-book writer Sam Swope agreed to give a writing workshop in Queens, he became so energized by his twenty-eight students that he "adopted" the class. For three years, he became their writer-in-residence, guiding them through cosmic adventures and too-real troubles as they began to compose the crazy, magical, and often moving stories of their lives. Almost all the students were new Americans - there were kids from twenty-one countries, who spoke a total of eleven different languages - and Swope was drawn deep into their real and imaginary existences, their problems, hopes, fears, and fantasies." "In I Am a Pencil, Swope follows his troop through all the trials and triumphs of their days together, coaxing out words and feelings; watching talents blossom, explode, and sometimes fizzle; holding his breath as the children's families brave new lives in the big, strange city. Moving from nature poems, to metaphors, autobiography, and beyond, Swope shows the children how to deal with their experiences by being creative." "Along the way we meet MeiKai, whose mom is a Taoist priest, ruled by the dictates of the Queen Mother of the West; Aaron, who charms Swope with his sloppy handwriting and loose grasp on literal truth; Noelia, a chubby Dominican chatterbox who becomes the chief suspect in the great report card heist. Some of the children have problems, such as Miguel, an Ecuadorian boy who must cope with a Pentecostal father who puts strict limits on his activities. Or Su Jung, who mystifies Swope with her sudden silences - until he discovers that her mother has left the family. But, whatever their difficulties, all of the children have big dreams." "Preparing his students for a world of adult challenges and dangers, Swope is continually astonished by their courage, humor, humanity, and most of all by their creativity and strength."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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