Thursday night we had our first "Boys Love Books" club meeting at school. Our PE teacher spearheaded the effort to get boys and their male role models to school to read together. The turnout was great and will hopefully continue, or grow, for future meetings. I was allowed to attend even though I am a girl.
We wanted to have a theme each month, partly to have a focus, partly to come up with a hook to get people there for this first meeting. We chose comic books and graphic novels because we knew it was something that the kids would get excited about. It just so happens that one of our parents knows someone who draws for comic books so the artist came to speak briefly before we let the boys and their dads/granddads/uncles/friends/mentors loose with the books. The boys loved hearing him talk about his work and I got a couple of questions afterwards about how long it would take to get a book published.
I shared a picture with the group that Matt had torn off the back of a Reader's Digest years ago. It depicts an African-American boy standing on a street corner, book opened, oblivious to the world around him, while in the background a group of people pushes at each other to see the latest gadget in the technology store window. I love this picture. If anyone were to ask me what my vision would be for my students, this would be it.
Meetings like this are energizing rather than exhausting, especially since I fill a supportive role rather than having to lead. I am reminded of what the real purpose of my job is - to bring books and kids together.