Book review: On teaching, writing & learning

The Travelling Bookbinder book review: Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, by Kate Clanchy, published by Picador

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy, is ‘the best book on teachers and children and writing that I’ve ever read’ claims Philip Pullman, who wanted it to be a bestseller, which indeed it has become.

The power of language, and poetry in particular, is illuminated over and over in examples drawn from Kate Clanchy’s thirty year teaching career.

A sense of identity and belonging can be both expressed and found, if you’re given a way to put words together.

Although schools are the focus, the book holds universal messages about the value of writing, and compassion, that we can all apply.

At the start of every academic year, the author is seduced afresh by the potential of blank smooth pages of exercise books, and wants to carry us along with her enthusiasm. She compares the process of writing to building a bridge in thick fog, stick by stick, when the other bank of the river is invisible. A student describes how reading with her opened up the world for him.

Kate Clanchy is a tremendous advocate for unheard voices.

You can read an extract here.

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, by Kate Clanchy, is published by Picador.

4 thoughts on “Book review: On teaching, writing & learning

  1. Rachel,
    Your mail comes like a ray of sunshine: there it is, a thing of beauty, lovely photographs, inspiration and instructions to go with it, and today not only a handmade letter envelope, but a poem in the mix. I am filled with with awe.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Dear Karen, How kind of you to leave this message – means a lot. Thank you X

  2. Oh Rachel, thank you so much for sharing Kate and her students work! I sit here, in my New Jersey home filled with emotions and wondering about the world’s children and the uncertainty in their young lives a the start of the school year. I think of all the teachers that are trying to find a way, to connect across the digital divide. Kate has found a way to give children a voice, a way to create a psychological distance between themselves and their heartbreaks through poetry. That is the beauty and power of the arts. She writes beautifully about her teaching. I am grateful for this gift.

    1. Dear Pat, Isn’t she wonderful? You can follow her on twitter too, where she shares student’s poems…all incredible. The book is astonishing – I hope you can get hold of a copy XXr

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