February 18, 2010

I Admit: I Am a Big Crybaby

So Betsy Bird has outed me. She runs the fantabulous Fuse #8 Production blog and is in the process of publishing a great series on her reader's picks for the top 100 children's novels of all time. Here's the link to today's post about #55-51.

Yes, that's me she's quoting (right at the top of the post!) in reference to Katherine Paterson's The Great Gilly Hopkins. Actually, Katherine Paterson has much to answer for. When I was in fifth grade my teacher read aloud both Gilly Hopkins AND Bridge to Terabithia. So the tears flowed freely that year.

It's true. When I read Gilly out loud to my students, I'm always sniffly at the ending. It gets me every time.

Are there any books you read out loud, just knowing you're going to cry? And you do it anyway?

One of the few things my fifth graders don't get sassy about is how I get a little teary when I read Pink and Say. They get so into that one, and have so many questions when it's over, they don't have time to tease me about it.

It's been a while since I read Charlotte's Web out loud to a class, but that one does it too. I don't read books that all of their classroom teachers read to them and since Charlotte is a favorite, I skip that one. I'm sure I'll be blubbering away when I read it to my daughter one day soon. Oh, and don't even get me started on Dobby the house elf...


klonghall said...

I saw your name there this morning when I read Betsy's list! I can also still remember when my 4th grade teacher read Gilly to us. (& I cried.) I dressed up as Gilly when I did this novel (in character that particular day) during my student teaching. My oldest devoured this book in 5th grade, which kind of surprised me since he was very concerned at the time about reading "girl books" and a girl is on the cover. Kudos to his 5th grade teacher for getting them past that. He still talks about Gilly. She is the kind of character that sticks with you for life.

I'm still thinking about books that make me cry. I lost my mother to cancer nearly 3 years ago, so I've avoided sad books since then. I've needed books to make me laugh. (I did blubber an awful lot at the end of Deathly Hallows, though. I think I blogged about that one.)

'Hope your lovely wife is feeling better. I have the Kindergartener home sick with me today. 'Must be something going around that school!

Jim said...


One of my professors lost her husband quite suddenly to cancer and said she has always found comfort in the book Tuck Everlasting.

A. is better, thanks. Still tired, though and apparently her class did not do well with the sub, so they're in for it. Think is was a stomach bug of some kind.


Juliet And Sasha said...

I remember my mom crying when she got to the end of Little Match Girl; it was the first time I saw her cry like that.

I wouldn't last a second if I were to read it to my kids today. I think the memory would would overwhelm me.

MotherReader said...

I've read Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson to a few classes and I always get choked up at the end "she loved that baby up, yes she loved that baby up." It's such an amazing story of Black history and family and Black Family History.

Tricia said...

William's favorite phrase is "Mom, are you crying?" Oh yeah, it happens all the time. I am a huge sap! I cried when we got to the end of the first HP and the banners changed from Slytherin to Gryffindor.
And have you read Eleanor Pinczes book A REMAINDER OF ONE? I get teary when I read it to my preservice teachers!

"I'm sorry, Private," said Joe's Sargeant Steven.
"You must stand aside, so the troop will be even."

Bring out the tissues. *sniff, sniff*

Jim said...

Juliet and Sash,
Oh, that Match Girl is a killer. Good one. I'll be sure to avoid reading that to a class!

I have a bunch of her stuff, but I'll have to see about that one. Thanks!

I haven't read that. Great. Now everyone is recommending sad books for me to read. I'll have to read them in between something like Wimpy Kid so I don't get all despondent.


tom said...

I used to get really choked up at Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch, although I have gotten tougher with that one over the years.

Nancy said...

Yeah, my copy of Love You Forever is all water-damaged from my copious tears. It took me at least twenty times to even get through it once with my little boy. In fact, I developed a Pavlovian type reaction that even the sight of it would activate the "choked up" response. I can't think of anything else I've read out loud that's made me cry. Although he was reading a Horrible Harry story the other day that involved the death of a fish, and a certain paragraph about the dead fish made him cry. He kept trying to recover and finish the paragraph, then he would lose it again. And he said, "I have to skip these words. It's like they have magic."

Peaceful Reader said...

Pink and Say does it for me every time as well. Polacco's Betty Doll as well!

Beth said...

My mom was the parent-reader to a lot of our elementary classes (why don't my kids's classes have parent readers? No fair). We still remember her crying so hard during "A Day No Pigs Would Die" that she had to hand the book off to her daughter to finish.

I figured out I was pregnant with boy #2 when I almost broke down reading "Are You My Mother?" to boy #1. That poor little bird, searching and searching...

Jim said...

tom & Nancy,
Ok, but just because a book makes you cry doesn't mean it's any good. I love Munsch, but that book gives me the creeps.

Peaceful Reader,
Yeah, she's good.

Here's to more parent readers!


Christine said...

"A Day No Pigs Would Die" gets my waterworks flowing as does "The Velveteen Rabbit." When my daughter was seven she read "Heidi" and was so sad that she cried until she broke out in hives. I started to cry for both her and Heidi. We stayed up late reading together to get past the sad part.We still laugh about it a few years later. Although it was traumatic, or at least dramatic, I LOVE that she cared enough about Heidi to get hives for her. Oooh, "The Giving Tree" gives me a lump in the throat too.