Medieval Knight: Read Me a Book!

Stuart Hannabuss (The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




Hannabuss, S. (2000), "Medieval Knight: Read Me a Book!", Library Review, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 139-156.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Two things often missing from children’s reading are tapping authentically into what kids really want to find out about, and fully involving knowledgeable and committed members of the local community. This book shows how Anderson built these into a successful set of reading programmes in the USA. Anderson herself has a theatre, creative movement, and children’s education background, and her Guest Readers Program, involving members of the community in particular jobs coming to read books to kids and talk about themselves, has proved a success. She wrote Firefighter – Read Me a Book (The Scarecrow Press, 1993) for pre‐school and lower elementary kids, and this new work, Medieval Knight, is for upper elementary and middle school levels. The titles, obviously, point to the jobs people have and the benefits of getting people from various walks of life involved in reading and talking to children.

It is a practical work with advice on how to find “celebrities” and how to run programmes. Five fully documented programmes appear – for an environmentalist, sports‐person, banker, journalist, and historian. Around each a range of resources and information is provided: for the environmentalist, the book to read is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Harper & Row, 1964), followed by discussion topics (such as shade, shelter, deforestation), activities like a green diary or writing a haiku or creating a greetings card, experiments with water, magazines to read and videos to watch (Help Save Planet Earth from MCA Universal Home Video), poems and stories from ancient and modern times, fiction and fact books of relevance like Paula Danziger’s Earth to Matthew and Jean Craighead George’s The Talking Earth and David Bellamy’s How Green Are You? Each programme contains similar, helpful, co‐ordinated information. Brief outlines on about 15 other occupations appear at the end, with advice on materials and an index. This is a useful idea for children’s reading and community involvement, worth building up as a local resource in any good children’s library service, worth taking on board for schools building up projects, and of interest to anyone studying practical applications of children’s reading. All the sources are American but the idea is still a good one.

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