Book Love Summer Book Club: Dictionary for a Better World Reflection

What an eye-opening first week of the Book Love Summer Book Club! I am in awe from our first book study and all of the valuable discussions that surrounded this outstanding book. If you did not catch my Book Love Summer Book Club post first, do so before you dive into this one.

I am going to give you a brief overview of Dictionary for a Better World and my review. Then you can peruse the valuable discussions and resources we created surrounding this book. In two weeks I will discuss our next book Cultivating Genius, so be on the lookout. Enjoy!


Summary:

How can we make the world a better place? This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a try it prompt for an activity.

This second poetic collaboration from Irene Latham and Charles

Waters builds upon themes of diversity and inclusiveness from their previous book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. Illustrations from Iranian-British artist Mehrdokht Amini offer readers a rich visual experience.


My Thoughts:

I have not read something so impactful and potentially world-changing as this book. There is so much wealth in conversations, learning, and application that can be applied. Both poets wrote their own set of poems and then collaborated on a few of them too. You can look at the table of contents to see which is which. What I loved the most was the way each poem was crafted.

First, you learn what each type of poem is being shown, then you read the poem based on the alphabetized word, and lastly you have three other important features: art/illustrations, a personal narrative explaining a connection to the poem, and a “Try It” section which implements an action into achieving the purpose/intent of the poem.

I found so many poems that pulled me in and I know there will be special ones that speak to students too. There are so many ways to incorporate this book into the classroom: for example—build social emotional literacy and skills, voice and amplify social justice issues, and ways to connect it to what we are learning in class. If your school uses Epic, this book can also be found on there which is wonderful so they can have their own digital copy! Every teacher and library needs this book. No doubt about it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Discussions and Resources

Throughout the week we were given discussion questions, writing prompts, action steps, and even got to hear from Charles Waters and Irene Latham through Facebook LIVE. Below is a mix of discussions, writing prompts, and resources that were created during this week. To start, Fran McVeigh created an abecedarian before this began and I want to share her blog post with you all:

Screenshot 2020-06-22 at 9.07.41 PM
Fran McVeigh can be found at Resource Full – Sharing Ideas, Strategies, and Tools

Discussion Prompts & Responses

In Dictionary for a Better World the authors wrote different types of poems for each letter of the alphabet. Is there a poem or word that you connect with? Why? How could you use these poems in your classroom? How could you use the vocabulary (not just the titles of the poems but also the specific words the authors used in the poems) in your classroom?

In Dictionary for a Better World Irene Latham and Charles Waters both wrote personal narratives after each poem and how they connect with the word or poem written. These narratives give us a peek at the “behind the story” story of the poems and draws us closer to the authors. Do you connect with a particular poem? How? How could this be used in your classroom? How do you make sure that each students’ voice is heard and validated for how they feel?

Reread the poem Belonging on page 12. In the poem the author says “I know it can’t begin until someone bends.” How can you make sure that other teachers, students, etc. have a sense of belonging in your school? How can you “bend” and make sure you are the key to having a sense of belonging? In your notebook write your response and if you like share in the comments.

Inspirations and Creations from the Book Love Book Club

During this time we were asked to share some of our prompts and creations via Padlet. Take a peek!

Password: Book Love

Text Set Ideas

Poetry Time Series with Charles Waters

Charles Waters created a Poetry Time series on Youtube, here’s the first video. Check out the rest here!

Other Work by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

This is the first book that these two collaborated on. What is interesting to know if that they both wrote this book together mainly through Microsoft Word, but did NOT meet until after it was published. How crazy is that? Add this one to your library, it is extremely valuable.

Also available on Epic! books

Teaching Guides and Authors Q&A for Dictionary for a Better World


There was a lot of rich conversation about this world-changing book and I hope that you learned a lot too. Make sure to order this one and get a copy for a close teacher friend too. How will you make the world a better place? Share with me below!

Xo, Sierra

7 thoughts on “Book Love Summer Book Club: Dictionary for a Better World Reflection

Add yours

  1. This book sounds excellent, and I’m so glad your book club had such an excellent discussion! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. I am beyond touched your by review of the book. Super comprehensive and done with such care and depth of feeling. Many thanks for all you do for children’s literacy. I wish you had been my teacher when I was a young lad. Perhaps I would have gotten into children’s poetry sooner had that been the case. Continued success to you and your colleagues!

    Like

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