The Hickory Chair

She said, “I don’t like this book.” There was a catch in her voice, and I knew she didn’t mean those words. She knew her heart was going to be squeezed tight as I read The Hickory Chair by Lisa Rowe Fraustino to a group of fourth grade teachers.

What I didn’t realize was how difficult it was going to be for me to read this aloud. I’ve read it many times . . . to myself, but never to a group. As I read, I avoided eye contact with the teachers, steeling myself for the emotional journey that was unfolding through the text. I had to take a deep breath before I could complete the final line.

Hands quickly reached for the box of tissues in the center of the table. Eyes filled with tears, noses sniffled as the teachers savored the words of this story.

Another teacher posed the question, “Do you still hate this book?”hickory chair

Now she says, “How could I hate a book that makes me cry?”

This is the story we will return to over and over as we discuss comprehension strategies.

If you don’t know this book, find it, read it, and savor the beautiful language.

Synopsis: “Lilacs with a whiff of bleach.” Gran’s smell. That “rich molasses voice.” Gran reading stories. By these things, Louis knows his grandmother. And he knows that she loves him. But when Gran passes away and leaves notes hidden in her things for each family member to find, Luis seems to be the only one forgotten. Could it be so?

18 thoughts on “The Hickory Chair

  1. So we both wrote about reading today! Go figure! Your opening few paragraphs had me intrigued and invested. I wondered if it would turn out as a win for more reader in you or the teacher. Both really! I’ve seen this book. Never read. Will pick it up on our next library outing! Great slice, Elsie!

  2. Getting it tomorrow…I love how you replayed the scene. I’m hoping the 4th or 5th grade teachers will sniffle a bit….kdg today, 4th and 5th next week…then done. I’m going to miss doing this stuff. It feels so right. IL just doesn’t seem to be able to afford much in house PD. xo

  3. “Savor the beautiful language.” You hooked me with the word savor. I’ve requested it. There’s only one copy in our entire library system, but I’m next in line. I’ll get the tissues ready.

  4. It is reading those special books that connect writer, reader and listener that are so special. When I was teaching it was books like “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” that bound us together. Will definitely have to read the book you shared.A lovely post.

  5. Elsie,

    You write about such a poignant moment as a teacher and a reader. I hope that we all take time to remember when a book has touched us so and to take moment’s for books to touch us now.

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