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Mem Fox & How This Blog Evolves

Mem Fox & How This Blog Evolves

March 8, 2020

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Sometimes I am asked how I write this blog, WinkWorld.  The truth is that it just sort of evolves from something which interests me. I like to think that my blogs might stir some thoughts for families and/or teachers who are interested in literacy.  For example, WinkWorld this time will focus on Mem Fox, a writer from Australia.  I love her stories for children and her books for teachers.  I was thinking about Mem, so I drove to Atall School (50 m. away) to share Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge with the kids. For those who are new to my blog, Atall is a one/two room school on the isolated prairies of South Dakota.  One teacher–11 kids–all grades K through 8. 

On YouTube I found a video of Mem reading Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.  I hope you enjoy.

After reading Wilfrid, the kids wanted to hear Possum Magic.  In this book, the possum can magically make herself invisible, and when I last saw the Atall kids, they were drawing various “invisible” animals.

Here is one example of how the illustrator, Julie Vivas, drew the invisible possum.

Below here I am posting a photo of 4 of Mem’s books which we used that day in class.

This experience made me realize that I no longer had all of my Mem books–I am sure that I have passed them on during the years. 

I then flew to Tucson for the Tucson Festival of Books, and the first thing I did was go to my all-time fav used-book store, Bookman’s, which I see is now called Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange.  I asked an employee if he could help me find any Mem Fox books for kids. He crawled around while searching the lower shelf and found a treasure trove of Mem Fox books, which you can see below.

He even found a copy of my fav Mem book.

Thank you, Mosby!  You were terrific.  Without you, I never would have found all of those Mem Fox books to take home to read to the Atall kids.

This is not the first time that Booksman’s has helped me.

In the 1970s, when I started teaching middle school kids in Benson, AZ, a book I found (Hooked on Books by Fader & McNeil, 1966) on the floor of the gardening section of the original Bookman’s on Broadway, saved me.  Before Benson hired me, they asked me if I could teach language arts, and I said yes, since I had majored in Spanish and English lit.  Turns out that I knew nothing about language arts.   However, Hooked on Books and those Benson kids saved me from myself.

So, in answer to my original question: How do I put WinkWorld together?  You can see that I just live and write about it.  This particular issue of WinkWorld took several decades, but when I saw Mosby crawling around on the floor of Bookman’s, I immediately knew I had a story, which you can read below.

Critical Pedagogy 4th Ed – The Benson Kids

4 Comments

  • HOOKED ON BOOKS!!!! YES!!!!

  • Great wonderful story. Particularly love the last paragraph about how you put WinkWorld together. “This particular issue of WinkWorld took several decades. . . ” One might say you don’t write too fast. And I say, thank God. We all make too many mistakes by not taking the time to focus closely on the ground beneath our feet, the clouds high in the sky, and music finding a way into our ears.

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