Friday, August 15, 2014

My John Green Bulletin Board

If John Green had been around when I was a teenager I would have been obsessed.

Oh wait, he's around now... and I'm 27... and obsessed.

So I read all of his books this summer (well, more like, sobbed my way through The Fault in Our Stars) and after each one I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can't describe it, but this picture can:

I think fellow avid book readers can completely relate. 

Anyway, the main reason why I connect with John Green is because most of his books not only have a great story with incredibly witty, round characters, but they always some philosophical edge that shines a light on some aspect of life. And it's not crazy deep. It's the perfect amount of depth that teenagers, who are starting to question the world and beginning to see it for all the ugliness and beauty it can reveal, just buy in to. And let's face it, I buy in to it.

I also want to elaborate on the fact that yes, while I am playing on John Green's immense popularity right now, I also find him an incredibly influential and positive role model for teenagers. Here are some reasons why I embrace him wholeheartedly:

   1. His teenage characters are easy for students to relate to. While there is a time and place for drug addictions and suicide novels (trust me, I embrace books with these themes just as wholeheartedly) it is refreshing to read a book where the teenagers are just normal, middle-American teenagers figuring out normal teenager things.

   2. His parent characters are actual parental figures. So many young adult books don't even mention parents, or the parents are terrible, selfish people and the root of all the teenager's psychological parents. Maybe it's just a sign that I'm getting old and perhaps on my own path to parenthood, but when I read John Green books I find myself nodding my head enthusiastically during the parents' dialogue. 

   3. His teenagers make normal teenager choices and mistakes but are still clearly intelligent kids that can pick themselves up and make the right choice in a non-traumatic way. 

   4. SO many references to great literature. As a Book Worm and English Nerd, I can't help but smile dorkily when catching each reference.

   5. He's just a cool guy. I've used his Book Talks on several occasions and students respond so positively to them. I used his "Catcher in the Rye" book talk as an impetus for a student-led discussion and it was enough of an ignition to keep my students talking for the entire class period.

And that's why I decided this would be the best choice for one of my three bulletin boards.

So, I gathered up my favorite quotations from the 4 books he wrote solo (he wrote 2 with other authors; I haven't read them yet), plopped them in PicMonkey and cut them out carefully. The background is a piece of fabric that I matched to TFIOS cover and the stars are from some doodle clip art found online. The only challenge was mimicking the giant clouds. Luckily I still have access to an overhead projector (yeah those still exist!) and traced the shape on to black and white posterboard. I found some inexpensive chalk markers for the black cloud. Then I arranged and rearranged and rearranged until I was happy with the result...

I'm hoping the quotes will spark some curiosity and hopefully inspire a few to take a look at his books. I'm going to buy those clear plastic book holders to display the 4 books below it for kids to check out from me. If nothing else, at least it's pretty!

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