Welcome to the Lizard Motel: Children, Stories, and the Mystery of Making Things Up

Overview

Welcome to Lizard Motel is one of the most surprising books about reading and writing to come along in years. Not only does this rich and wonderfully readable memoir explore the world of children and stories, it also asks us to look at how our children are growing up. Barbara Feinberg suggests that we have lost touch with the organic unfolding of childhood, with that mysterious time when making things up helps deepen a child's understanding of the world. This book will reacquaint readers with the special nature ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $8.33   
  • Used (8) from $1.99   
Welcome to the Lizard Motel: Children, Stories, and the Mystery of Making Things Up

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.49
BN.com price
(Save 32%)$23.00 List Price

Overview

Welcome to Lizard Motel is one of the most surprising books about reading and writing to come along in years. Not only does this rich and wonderfully readable memoir explore the world of children and stories, it also asks us to look at how our children are growing up. Barbara Feinberg suggests that we have lost touch with the organic unfolding of childhood, with that mysterious time when making things up helps deepen a child's understanding of the world. This book will reacquaint readers with the special nature of children's imaginations and why they need to be protected and fostered.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Fresh and wonderfully readable . . . perfect for parents eager to cultivate their kids' fantasy lives and foster a passion for literature.--Michelle Green, People

"The implications of this small book are quite large. Parents will want to read it, as will writers, publishers and educators."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"I loved this book. Feinberg is a brave woman to challenge every shibboleth of the schools of education."--Diane Ravitch, author of The Language Police

"Welcome to Lizard Motel turns out to be more than a diatribe against the dark subject matter of YA problem novels . . . Only a reader as attuned to realism as Feinberg could have puzzled out so nuanced a defense of imagination in children's lives."--Laura Miller, New York Times Book Review

"When we place the steady diet of 'problem' novels in the context of the hours children spend being electronically bombarded by graphic, unremitting trauma, Feinberg's concerns . . . become not just comprehensible, but urgent."--Susan Linn, Boston Globe

Publishers Weekly
When her son's seventh-grade teacher said a "good book should make you cry," Feinberg started to wonder. After she noticed her son's reluctance to read school-assigned novels-Newbery Award-winning books like Creech's Walk Two Moons or Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia-she read them herself and discovered the "problem novel," a "subgenre of the realistic adolescent novel," which often features a youngster facing horrible difficulties-incest, domestic abuse, rape, death or disease of parents, etc.-without the aid of any sympathetic adult, without "recourse to fantasy." Educators push these parables, Feinberg says, believing children need to abandon fantasy and learn to "cope" with reality. This campaign starts quite young, as Feinberg found when her daughter invited her to her second grade's "publishing party." Listening to these children reading their "memoirs"-as if eulogizing their own childhoods-Feinberg began to question the philosophy behind the Calkins writing workshop system used in so many schools. Why do children need experts to tell them how to write about the world, she wondered? Yes, it's good to learn to observe the world closely, but Calkins's "orchestration of the poetic moment" struck Feinberg as too didactic. Rarely can teachers reject the curriculum's "problem novels," nor can they refuse the Calkins system. But Feinberg, who's spent years working with children in a creativity workshop she designed, has the independence and experience to raise important questions. Her critique, delivered in the palatable form of a chatty parenting memoir, should stir some much-needed controversy, especially among "progressive" educators. (Aug.) Forecast: The implications of this small book are quite large. Parents will want to read it, as will writers, publishers and educators. A blurb from Mary Pipher could help sales. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Feinberg, the creator of Story Shop, a writing and arts program, was led to write this memoir by parenting two children. When she noticed her twelve-year-old son, usually an enthusiastic reader, sitting "stiffly" over an assigned middle school book and her questioning prompted him to disparage the literature, she discovered a grim variety of problem novels chosen bent on teaching life's hard realities with "traumatic themes" and with " a relentless earnestness." Her memoir mixes parenting, philosophy, psychology, reviewing and poetry in a readable book that makes you think. Feinberg gives convincing arguments based on keen observations at home, in her workshops, as well as her research and experiences with the literature. Feinberg's observations about how children create offers the most powerful arguments against a literature that force-feeds reality. She describes calming herself and her daughter with a student story about a mystical, mysterious hotel run by a lizard and contrasts with a joyless writing session she observed in her daughter's classroom. This book is strong and insightful, but not perfect. The author sometimes indulges herself in extraneous, distracting details. And while she is adamant that children find their own way in creating and reading stories, she's often invasive in asking her children's opinions. "Leave me alone!" her son cries. Reading, I felt as annoyed as he did. 2004, Beacon, Ages Adult.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
This is a sweet memoir by the mother of a 12-year-old boy who began to wonder why her son didn't want to read what he was assigned for school. These were critically lauded books like Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia and Sharon Creech's Chasing Redbird. So, with some time off during the summer, she decided to read some of them and do some research into the current "philosophy" of children's books. Feinberg started with Terabithia and discovered that although it is beautifully written, the conclusion left her with a feeling of bleakness and despair. Then a children's librarian gave her a copy of Children's Literature in the Elementary School, which says that "Realistic fiction helps children enlarge their frames of reference while seeing the world from another perspective." At first, Feinberg spends a lot of time deconstructing this concept, but she soon digresses to subjects like the after-school program she runs called Story Shop, and her daughter's ear surgery. The digressions are entertaining, and are eventually connected to the theme of children's literature, but in a wordy and roundabout way. This is a very personal story, more exploration than analysis, and though it's a quick read, it leaves readers wanting more substance.-Marlyn K. Beebe, City of Long Beach Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807071458
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,228,795
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Feinberg is the originator of Story Shop, a creative arts program for children ages three through fourteen. She has won awards for her writing, including a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Feinberg lives with her husband and two children in Westchester County, New York.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)