Smack-Dab-in-the-Classroom: Encircled by Books, by Dia Calhoun

As children and adults we are often asked this question, if you were on a desert island (I can dream, can’t I?) and could only have one book, what would it be?

Let's pose a fresher version of this question. If you needed protection, guidance, and comfort—whether for heart, soul, or body—what handful of secular books, would you place around you? 

The books could be fiction or non-fiction. At this stage in my life, the books in my circle would be:

New and Selected Poems, by Mary Oliver
Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Reader, by Joseph Campbell
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DeCamillo
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

All of these books are currently “face-out” on my bookshelf.  And I own the most beautiful editions I could find.

Wouldn’t this be a fun and thought-provoking question to ask kids? Depending on their ages, after choosing their books, they could sit on the floor with the books in a circle around them. That's one way of knowing if their choices feel right. Older kids could spend a week with these books prominently featured in their rooms.

We draw different strengths from different books. Some of the books in our circle may change over time, some may not. Why not have kids do this twice—at the beginning of the school year and the end, to see how they have changed?

Smack-Dab-in-the-Classroom is posted by Dia Calhoun on the 23rd of each month.


  1. I love the "fresher version" of that old question. And I'm totally with you on JANE EYRE.


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