Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's a Book by Lane Smith

There’s not much more to share about the book that isn’t available in my first or second posts, so I’ll just tack on my review here.  I think the book is absolutely hilarious, and I’m talking about the pages between the introductory Jackass and the concluding Jackass.

Are we really living in a world where some people have forgotten about books?  People certainly haven’t forgotten the importance of reading.  Try taking away someone’s texts or tweets or blogs.  That’s reading.  People read more today than ever before.  But there’s still value to books - the plain old, hard bound, paper and ink book.  Maybe I’m just biased … okay, I am definitely biased … but I think everyone should see the importance of books.  Even a Jackass.

Of course Lane Smith and Roaring Brook Press knew exactly what they were doing.  First, the book is a spot-on commentary on technology in today’s world and perfectly illustrates what happens when a great book grabs the attention of the reader.  Second, using Jackass in the manner they did guaranteed publicity and sales.

And there’s the rub.  I believe most teachers will find the book a great tool to use with students to spark discussions on technology, books, and reading in today’s world.  I believe most teachers will find it entertaining.  At the same time I also believe that most teachers will hesitate or flat-out refuse to use the book.  So while I highly recommend the book and think it’s hilarious, the choice to use it (and potentially defend it) is yours.

I find it extremely frustrating that a book with so much potential for classroom use will simply not find a home in classrooms, not because it doesn’t belong there, but because some people will think it doesn’t.  In the end it’s the teachers and librarians who will need to defend their use of the book to parents, principals, and school boards.  And at the end of the day, most teachers will simply say:


  1. Are you planning on using it, and to what extent?

  2. We don't have it in our school library, it is in none of our classroom libraries, and the copy I have is due back at the public library tomorrow, so [shrugs] I guess I don't have to make a choice.

    How's that for an elusive answer?

    Honestly, up until now I've been like the kid Lane Smith described in one of his interviews (sorry, don't have the source) who hands it to friends - other parents and teachers - and giggles in the back of the class. To a person, those that I've shared with have loved the book, laughed, commented on it's relevance, and then asked the same thing you did.

    One commenter on the survey said it would be a great middle school or high school discussion starter in a technology or literature class. I think that's a great idea.

    If I was to use it in class of younger students, I'd probably skip the introduction page, let kids catch on to the repeated "No" and "It's a book," and allow them to finish the read aloud with an enthusiastic "IT'S A BOOK!" on their own.


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