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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Could you check out some gross, disgusting books for me, too?

That’s how one of my teachers greeted me last week. Turns out Susan Norwood and I had chosen some truly gross books for Susan’s students to read as part of a temporary classroom collection. They were so popular that even her non-readers were reading. This other teacher came to get her own collection.

“Send me some books on boogers, vomit, feces, bugs, everything nasty,” she said. “Books that show the effect of drug usage, meth bugs, rotted teeth, all of that.”

While she was asking me for more titles, the principal popped in. She told him straight out that her non-readers needed these books and that she would do anything to get them to read. Do you want to see the titles we chose? Stay tuned. I’m going to have some of the students tell you about them this week.


  1. Awesome! We have a list we titled “Boy Books”, which is totally sexist, but it just fits. This is the list we hand to Moms who come in saying they just can’t get their son to read. It will be interesting to see how our lists overlap – and I will have order cards ready for those we’ve missed!

  2. My boys – especially the reluctant readers – love Ryan Mecum’s Zombie Haiku and Vampire Haiku. I booktalked them to the 7th grade last month to match up with the poetry unit they were doing in English class. It’s great to see the boys that tell me they don’t like to read or who testify that they have never read a book they liked reading passages aloud and having such a visceral reaction to what they are reading that they can’t help shouting, cringing and making noises of disgust. I love it! As I tell my students: “Love what you read and read what you love!”