One of the many benefits of the reading program I've got going in my classes is the variety of genres I require my students to read. In fact, because I will complete the goal myself, it has freed me from my own reading cycle. I trend toward fantasy mostly, especially when I need an escape (George MacDonald seems to be the best antidote).
It's true of us all - we get into a comfort zone with a certain style of writing, a certain type of story, and we stick with it. We even go back to the same author over and over, don't we? Yet another reason YA books perform so well as a series!
Like I said, it's been good to branch out a bit. I've found that I've read very few biographies, and it's a personal goal to cycle back more often. I just read a decent bio of C.S. Lewis, by his stepson Douglas Gresham.
The book is called Jack's Life, after the nickname Clive gave himself when he was a preschooler (do you blame him?). Even though I'm very much a fan of Lewis, there were quite a few interesting facts and insights I learned through this book - especially about his relationship with his brother, Warnie, his involvement in World War I, and his promise to care for his friend's mother and sister as long as needed - which he did.
In spots the book is a bit repetitive, and it felt rushed from an editorial standpoint at times. However, those things were easily overlooked by the subject matter: the life of a great writer, teacher, and Christian.
I suppose there are several biographies about Lewis that are better than this one, and Gresham does mention them, but this may be a good place to begin - especially for the younger audience.
Again, I'll share what I have my students write about when they've read either a biography or autobiography (I require they read at least one), and if you have any suggestions or thoughts, let me know. And as always, feel free to use what you find!
Reading Response: BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY
There are three root words you should know: bio, auto, and graph. Bio means “life,” auto means “self,” and graph means “write.” Therefore, your book to meet this genre’s requirement should have been a book about a person’s life – either written by someone else (a biography), or by the person the book is about (autobiography).
In this letter you will:
- STATE whether the book is a biography or autobiography.
- DESCRIBE why you think the person is important (this means you should think about why there is a book about them at all).
- EXPLAIN three things you learned about the person from your book.