Episode Show Notes
In this episode, Mike sits down with SFC’s Head of Schools, Rod Gilbert, and Middle School English teacher, Marvel Gest, for the fifth installment of the Eagle Perspective’s mini-series “A Yard of Books.” Mike, Rod, and Marvel talk about The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare and how to inspire students to read historical fiction.
Mike Siciliano, Upper School Dean of Students, has a long history with Sante Fe Christian, sitting in several roles including alumnus, US history teacher, and football coach. As a student, Siciliano felt he had teachers and coaches who personally invested in him and made a huge difference in his life. Now, he tries every day to continue that legacy for current SFC students, live up to the standard his teachers set for him, and have a lot of fun.
Rod Gilbert brings a fresh perspective as SFC’s Head of Schools. As a strong leader with a shepherd’s heart, Rod encourages SFC’s faculty, coaches, and staff to strive for excellence in all they do. At his core, Rod is an educator who wants children and their parents to see the world as something lovely, worth exploring and redeeming through Christ.
Marvel Gest is an English teacher in the Middle School, instructing American Literature and Classical Literature. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in Literature and Writing, received her Masters from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has been teaching English for 30 years, 28 years at SFC. She is passionate about igniting in students a love and connection to literature as well as giving them tools to be successful, analytical writers. Mrs. Gest thoroughly enjoys traveling and exploring, is an avid reader, and strongly desires to grow in her walk with Jesus on a daily basis.
00:00:00 – Introductions
00:02:02 – Description of The Bronze Bow
00:02:34 – Why Rod included it in his Yard of Books
00:03:56 – Overview of the book
00:09:26 – Discussion about what happens when God is not who a child wants him to be
00:13:24 – How The Bronze Bow weaves in the gospel and message of Jesus
00:20:15 – Other books of historical fiction that offer good entry points into the genre
00:21:11 – Recommendation for younger students
00:24:57 – How Miss Gest influences her students to engage with the non-digital world
00:27:06 – Where to find books that will give children a love of reading
00:27:44 – System of grading books for appropriate ages
Mike Siciliano [00:00:04] Welcome back to another episode of our Eagle Perspective Podcast. We are once again today joined by our Head of Schools, Rod Gilbert, as we continue on in our Yard of Books series. Today we’re going to dive into some historical fiction.
Rod Gilbert [00:00:18] Looking forward to it, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:20] I’m pretty excited about it because I love historical fiction.
Rod Gilbert [00:00:23] I do, too.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:24] I’m also excited about it because we have a special guest this week in the marvelous Marvel Gest.
Rod Gilbert [00:00:29] We all marvel at her.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:31] We do. She is a marvel. Yeah. There are obligatory Marvel puns, I think, that if we didn’t do, we would just not be up to the task. But first of all, welcome, Marvel.
Marvel Gest [00:00:43] Thank you. Thank you. It’s fun to be here.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:44] We are really glad you’re here. I know this is a special time for you.
Marvel Gest [00:00:47] It is.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:48] You are retiring at the end of the school year.
Marvel Gest [00:00:49] I am.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:51] How long have you been at Santa Fe?
Marvel Gest [00:00:53] All told 28 years.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:55] Okay. You have taught…
Marvel Gest [00:00:56] Thirty years of teaching but 28 here.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:58] Okay. You’ve taught in both the high school and the middle school.
Marvel Gest [00:01:01] Yes.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:01] You were a principal for a time, correct?
Marvel Gest [00:01:03] Yes, and a vice principal.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:05] Okay. You are also the punniest, funniest person on campus.
Marvel Gest [00:01:11] Oh, I don’t know about that.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:12] No, it’s unquestioned. For those of you who don’t know at home, typically, when somebody leaves or retires, Marvel writes these just hilariously funny pun poems. Is that the best way to describe them?
Marvel Gest [00:01:27] You said it. That’s a good way.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:28] Okay. Are you writing one for yourself?
Marvel Gest [00:01:31] I am.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:32] Okay. It would not be the proper send-off without an amazing pun from…
Marvel Gest [00:01:41] Todd asked me to write a couple for some other people who are retiring. Then I said, “Well, I’ll just go ahead and write my own.”
Mike Siciliano [00:01:48] Okay. Will you be available for hire next year when we have people leave? Can that be a side thing?
Marvel Gest [00:01:55] Oh, there you go.
Rod Gilbert [00:01:57] Contract funny.
Marvel Gest [00:01:57] My next occupation.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:59] Yeah. Okay. You’ve brought the book today.
Marvel Gest [00:02:01] I have.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:02] Why don’t you tell us about the book that you have chosen.
Marvel Gest [00:02:04] I love historical fiction. That’s my favorite genre. I brought The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. It is a Newbery winner. I have taught it every year. It has so much in it. There’s so much wonderful teaching tools, figurative language, all kinds of stuff I’ll get into as we’re talking. I love it. It’s a good book.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:28] You’ve taught this most recently to seventh graders.
Marvel Gest [00:02:32] Sixth graders.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:33] Sixth graders.
Marvel Gest [00:02:33] Yes.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:34] Okay, sixth graders. So, Rod, you said you hadn’t read this book, and yet here it’s on your Yard of Books podcast. Why put it in your Yard of Books?
Rod Gilbert [00:02:41] I read up to about chapter 11 over the weekend. When you’re doing the podcast, don’t spoil the ending.
Marvel Gest [00:02:47] I won’t.
Rod Gilbert [00:02:48] I don’t know what Daniel does.
Marvel Gest [00:02:48] All right.
Rod Gilbert [00:02:49] I don’t know what happens.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:50] But you were pretty taken by it.
Rod Gilbert [00:02:52] I’m very taken by it. It’s been one of the books both of my previous schools had it in the sixth grade. It’s been one of those that my children read. I’m sure it was always somewhere in my world that I should have read it but hadn’t for whatever reason. I was looking for books to be in this Yard of Books that would be entry points to connect our age groups with our moms and dads. If moms or dads could see why this makes it to the shortlist, then I think it’s good to put in the Yard of Books. I would add to it that when we pick a big book to read like one of the huge books for each grade level — you’ve heard me say this — we don’t read any good books here. Because there are so many excellent ones, we don’t have time to read the good books. I would list this based on my three schools that I’ve attended. Sixth-grade teachers always made sure this was on the list. I’ve not been as much of a historical fiction lover. I like it, but probably the best historical fiction for me was Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy.
Marvel Gest [00:03:54] Oh, I love that book. Yes.
Mike Siciliano [00:03:56] So, can you give us a little bit of an overview of what the book’s about?
Marvel Gest [00:03:59] All right. This takes place in first-century Israel. It is the time of Jesus when the Roman Empire has occupied all of the Mediterranean, including Israel. Some horrendous things have happened in the process of Rome overtaking all of the areas that it has. It starts off with our main character, Daniel, who is what we would call a freedom fighter. He’s from the area of Israel called Galilee. He is up in the mountains. He is with a band of zealots up there, freedom fighters, who are plotting and planning to get back at Rome, to get Rome off of their backs. That is a good setting for this time period. We’re talking right around 30, probably 32 or so.
Mike Siciliano [00:04:55] Jesus is still alive?
Marvel Gest [00:04:57] Jesus is still alive. He makes appearances in this book which, to me, makes it even more exciting, because it places Jesus in a historical timeframe, where kids really don’t have a timeframe to put Jesus in. We have had a historical interdisciplinary unit that we’ve started to go along with history. They can place Jesus, and they know what was happening. When Jesus is talking in the New Testament, he’s talking about when someone asks you to walk a mile. All of a sudden, they understand it from this story, because it happens in the story, where a Roman tells them to carry his pack for a mile. They had to do it. It was by Roman law they had to do it. Then all of a sudden, that part of the Scripture makes sense to them. They said, “Oh, that’s why they do that.”
Mike Siciliano [00:05:59] So bringing that context to the gospel, the Bible, is a key part of this book.
Marvel Gest [00:05:04] It is.
Rod Gilbert [00:06:06] I’d love to hear your comment on this. It crisscrosses into another genre of coming-of-age fiction, where Daniel is prematurely forced into a lot more heartache and trauma because of some trauma in his life. Do you see it as a coming-of-age book, as well? That’s what’s intriguing me is his struggle from boyhood to manhood and what’s the good that he carries and what does he let go of.
Marvel Gest [00:06:34] It truly is a coming-of-age book because, as you were talking about, he suffers a horrendous trauma at the hands of the Romans in his life. His dad and his uncle are actually crucified as the Roman form of execution. His mom, then, is at the foot of the cross for a couple of days and nights. She dies about two weeks afterward. He has committed himself, he has vowed before God that he is going to take revenge, and that’s all he lives for.
Rod Gilbert [00:07:10] How old was he?
Marvel Gest [00:07:11] He was eight.
Rod Gilbert [00:07:12] I couldn’t tell. He was eight?
Marvel Gest [00:07:14] Yes.
Rod Gilbert [00:07:15] Oh, my gosh.
Marvel Gest [00:07:16] And the book opens when he’s 18.
Mike Siciliano [00:07:19] He’s had 10 years of plotting vengeance.
Rod Gilbert [00:07:22] I didn’t realize he was 18.
Marvel Gest [00:07:26] Yes. Many times in the book it talks about that’s all I live for; I’m going to get back; revenge. In fact, that is a major theme in the book is hatred and love, hatred and love. It’s interesting how he grows in this whole process. At the beginning, his big hero is a person who is the leader of the freedom fighters, the leader of the zealots up on the mountain.
Rod Gilbert [00:07:56] Rosh?
Marvel Gest [00:07:57] Rosh. He and the other people believe that he is probably the Messiah because he’s going to get Rome off their backs.
Rod Gilbert [00:08:05] At one time Daniel said, “I think he’s the one.” Did he mean politically? The zealot, to free them from Roman rule, or did he mean salvation?
Marvel Gest [00:08:15] He meant both.
Rod Gilbert [00:08:17] Okay. I could tell the political side. I couldn’t tell if they received him as spiritual salvation. Interesting.
Marvel Gest [00:08:25] It’s very interesting, because they don’t see Jesus as the Messiah, but they see Rosh as the Messiah.
Rod Gilbert [00:08:34] Why don’t they? They run into him pretty early on when he’s speaking in the synagogue.
Marvel Gest [00:08:38] Yes, he is a person of interest. But Daniel, when he listens to him, as soon as Jesus says, “The kingdom is at hand,” he’s there. He’s all excited.
Rod Gilbert [00:08:48] Let’s go fight.
Marvel Gest [00:08:50] Yes. But Jesus disappoints him because he leaves it there. He does not call them to action. He does not call them to go against Rome.
Mike Siciliano [00:08:59] Or at least in the way that they want.
Marvel Gest [00:09:01] Exactly.
Rod Gilbert [00:09:02] It’s the kingdom, actually, different than political kingdom.
Marvel Gest [00:09:05] They don’t have an understanding of Jesus. In fact, they, along with the rulers of the synagogue, are mystified by him, and they don’t really know what’s happening. It’s a growth process that happens as they discover who is the Messiah and who is not.
Mike Siciliano [00:09:26] Gosh, I was just thinking for sixth graders, there’s a whole great dialogue there — for anybody — around so what happens when God isn’t who I want him to be?
Marvel Gest [00:09:34] Exactly. That’s one of the other things I love so much about this book. It lends itself to so much discussion. Just the themes itself, the freedom and chains, those are two big things. Metaphorical language. This is a lot of times the sixth graders’ first really deep dive into metaphorical language. He says that he is chained to his forge — he’s a blacksmith — because he must stay there to support his family. At one point in time, Speare says he’s home taking care of his grandmother and a sister, and the bars slide into place. We talk about are those real bars. It’s this walk into what metaphorical language is. Some more figurative language that the author excels in is personification. They have some great examples. Fear retreated into the corner, or he looked at her eyes, and they were like windows. You have the simile. They were like windows, and only fear looked out. It’s some really dramatic, wonderful personification there that they use. Great foreshadowing. Many times in this book different pieces of Scripture are brought in. One of the Scriptures is from John, no greater love has this than a man lay down his life for his friend.
Rod Gilbert [00:11:06] Oh, wow.
Marvel Gest [00:11:08] We talk in class about what Jesus calls us, his friend, and what an amazing comparison that is. That’s another thing I like about it. It brings up Jairus’ daughter in the Bible. It brings up the Good Samaritan story in the Bible. It’s interesting because I will say, “How many of you know what the Good Samaritan story is?” I go through that story because about a third of them don’t know that story. We talk about that in context. Daniel goes at one point in time… He follows his group. He’s looking for Jesus. He’s trying to find Jesus. Can’t find him. He follows all these people. You find out it’s the feeding of the five thousand. He’s on the end of this crowd. He says, “What’s going on? What’s happening here?” Somebody goes, “What’s wrong with you? Did you lose your wits? What’s wrong with you? He’s feeding us.”
Rod Gilbert [00:12:10] At one point they called him the carpenter from Nazareth. The historical license that the author took, which helped me from the humanity of Christ, was he said, “What’s he doing in town?” “Well, he’s teaching, but he’s doing some woodwork, too.”
Mike Siciliano [00:12:30] He got a job. He’s got a contract with Paul’s tentmaker.
Rod Gilbert [00:12:34] He’s doing some woodwork on the side. That’s probably true.
Marvel Gest [00:12:37] That’s probably true.
Rod Gilbert [00:12:38] I’ll give Speare that line because it’s probably true.
Marvel Gest [00:12:42] He’s staying at Bethesda with Simon. They often find him down at the shore, fishing at the shore, talking with the fishermen there, laughing and talking with them. It gives an interesting and good description of Jesus, and their perspective of him is so real. Even the Pharisees and the rulers in the synagogue… Jairus is one of the rulers at the synagogue. They’re like, “Oh, get out of his way. Don’t let him see us here talking to Jesus,” and he’s the one who wants something. That’s also fun to see that.
Mike Siciliano [00:13:24] Well, I can see just by watching you talk about it, it hits on so many things, both from English, academic, language, learning standpoint, but has so beautifully woven in the gospel and the message of Jesus. It must be fun to get to walk your students through this.
Marvel Gest [00:13:43] Oh, my goodness. And to have license to do that, to talk about it so freely, that’s a wonderful thing. It’s interesting. One of the things they are talking about, Jesus is telling Daniel about the rich young ruler that comes to him. He says, “Just yesterday I had somebody who came up to me and said, ‘What should I do to follow you?'” He said, “Give up all you own and give it to the poor. Then you can follow me.” Daniel, who has not a penny to his name, says, “Well, I’ll give you everything I have.” Jesus has this little humorous twinkle in his eye. He goes, “Oh, no, that’s not what I would ask of you. You must give up your hate.” That’s such a teaching moment to us that’s so fun in class. They take it from this that anything that comes between us and God. I share with them. I said, “You know I love my husband so much. Do you think I’m ever tempted to put him in the wrong place, to put him before God?” They’re looking at me like, “Is this a trick question?” I said, “Yes, I am. Or my daughter. Am I tempted to put her in the wrong place? I love her so much. Am I tempted to do that?” To each one of us… It could be soccer. It could be anything. You can see why I like it so much. It’s so rich in discussion, rich in thematic parts to talk about the language itself, the devices that she uses.
Rod Gilbert [00:15:25] You feel like you’re there. Joel and Thacia, when they first see Daniel, and they have the food they decided to share with them, there’s some sentence like, “They offered him food, and he was shocked.” Then when they divided the portions, they divided them up equally. Then he was even surprised that they were sharing the food. There was some phrase like, “It was the first time that his muscles begin to relax.” I thought there’s some kind of human magic about hospitality. It was just beautiful. They didn’t know how uptight he was. They didn’t know what he was going through. But she let us see how awfully upside-down he was.
Marvel Gest [00:16:08] Yes. There’s a lot to that, too, that it brings in. Jesus was such a lifter of women in the culture. I was telling the girls that it was a patriarchal society. They were somewhere around livestock, below, or right above, or somewhere around there. We talk about a dowry in here, and we talk about the Roman customs versus the Jewish customs and how in that sometimes they would skimp with the woman. Even in that example that you give, it was three equal portions.
Rod Gilbert [00:16:48] Oh. I didn’t pick up on the paternal side of it. When you’re teaching the book, is it all where the kids read it at home and come back and talk about it, or do you do read-aloud sometimes with this age group?
Marvel Gest [00:17:01] You know what? This age group and this Lexile is a little too difficult on the average to read it on their own.
Rod Gilbert [00:17:10] I know what you mean, but Lexile, explain that. Difficult vocabulary. There’s a Lexile score for every book of literature.
Marvel Gest [00:17:17] Exactly. They take the vocabulary, the comprehension of it; they put it into a formula, and then they put it in hundreds. This is about a 900 on the Lexile, 900 to about 1,000. I find that you could always read to your children at a higher level than you could have them read.
Rod Gilbert [00:17:38] Oh. Voice inflections and where to emphasize.
Marvel Gest [00:17:41] Absolutely. Context and the whole thing. I have a whole thing about reading with your children as far as the benefits of it, all the way from the emotional benefit of them climbing up in your lap when they’re little, being close to you, all the way through to listening to your parent do their phrases even, and the context, the inflection they use. It goes all the way to family jokes, inside jokes. I cannot tell you how many inside jokes we have to this day with my 29-year-old daughter that we still do. Just the other day she said, “What did you make, calf’s-foot jelly?” We all laughed. When she was little, we read all the time as a family. Not just one of us; we read as a family. In Pollyanna, one of the things she does is she makes this calf’s-foot jelly, and she starts giving it to everybody. I had this idea that with every book we would do a project. With Little House on the Prairie, one of those books, we made candles. On this one we went to the grocery store; we found these little calf’s feet. I didn’t even know they had them. I took it home, and I made calf’s-foot jelly. We all took a spoon after it was all set up and everything. We all took a bite at the same time, and then we all spit it out at the same time. She would always tell her friends. “Oh, my mom made this disgusting thing.”
Rod Gilbert [00:19:21] But what you did is you took the value of cultural fluency, and you added it to the thumbprint of you into your children with an active memory, right?
Marvel Gest [00:19:33] Yes. Oh, she will never forget.
Rod Gilbert [00:19:34] We all do that in different ways. We all do that. We all have different thumbprints. You used a cultural fluency point to put a deep thumbprint on it. That becomes…the fancy term is the liturgy of life. You’re giving them a rhythm of this human journey. It’s beautiful.
Marvel Gest [00:19:53] It is, it is, and it’s so fun.
Rod Gilbert [00:19:54] Except that it’s disgusting.
Mike Siciliano [00:19:57] Yeah. I’m grateful for traditions, but I’m glad my family didn’t have that one.
Rod Gilbert [00:20:01] I think we made Turkish Delight one weekend.
Marvel Gest [00:20:04] We did, too, with Narnia. Oh, my gosh. That was so good. Does she bring that up? No.
Rod Gilbert [00:20:15] As a genre, historical fiction, you started the podcast by saying it’s your favorite. If you were trying to win me over to it more, are there other books of historical fiction that are just good entry points for other readers?
Marvel Gest [00:20:34] Oh, my word. Well, historical fiction, the reason it’s one of my favorites is like this. I learned so much about the time period. It just takes you through so much. She wrote a lot about New England and the historical fiction of…
Rod Gilbert [00:20:54] The Witch of Blackbird Pond?
Marvel Gest [00:20:55] Yes. Whether you’re reading about the Underground Railroad, or whether you’re reading about Greece back in the time period or one of my favorite areas. I love British lit. That too, I learned so much.
Mike Siciliano [00:21:11] Do you have a historical fiction book for younger students that you could recommend?
Marvel Gest [00:21:15] The Little House on the Prairie is a great historical fiction for…
Rod Gilbert [00:21:20] Yes, like my Farmer Boy.
Marvel Gest [00:21:21] Yes. Farmer Boy was one of my favorites out of that.
Rod Gilbert [00:21:25] I remember where I was, where I was sitting when I read it in third grade.
Marvel Gest [00:21:30] Oh, do you really?
Rod Gilbert [00:21:31] I do. I can physically see myself reading Farmer Boy in our friend’s huge RV at a big Fourth of July Air Force Thunderbirds air show with a bunch of people on a picnic out at the airfield. I crowded in there. I had to finish Farmer Boy to see how it ended up. My dad was like, “Come on. The Thunderbirds are coming.” But I have this imprint of Almanzo that’s just so beautiful.
Mike Siciliano [00:22:03] I have a memory like that, too. What’s the book? Gosh. We read it in fourth grade. It’s called The Great Horned Spoon. It’s about the gold rush.
Rod Gilbert [00:22:14] Oh, really?
Mike Siciliano [00:22:15] Yeah. I remember in fourth grade the assignment was to read the first chapter. I was sitting in my dad’s study at night, and I read the entire book. He let me stay up until like one in the morning finishing this thing. I was just so captivated. It was the first time I was ever captivated by a book. That was it. I remember going to school the next day very tired and proudly telling my teacher, “I love this book.” That was the beginning of reading for me was that piece of historical fiction.
Marvel Gest [00:22:44] I always tell parents to get a blanket flashlight book, and I tell the kids that. All right. Now, I don’t want you… A blanket flashlight book. I don’t want you to get a book that you go, “Oh, this one’s a snoozer.” I want you to get a book… There are great books. I want you to get one that when your parents tell you to go to sleep at night, it’s so good. I’m not telling you to disobey your parents, but I am saying that I have heard of people who put a blanket over their head and have a flashlight because it’s that good.
Rod Gilbert [00:23:17] Oh, my gosh. That’s a great description.
Mike Siciliano [00:23:20] Of course, if any of Rod’s kids would have done that, they wouldn’t have been in trouble; they would have gotten extra Christmas presents.
Marvel Gest [00:23:25] That’s right.
Rod Gilbert [00:23:26] I would have gotten in there with them.
Marvel Gest [00:23:27] I’ve even given that as the present — a little blanket, and a flashlight, and a book.
Rod Gilbert [00:23:33] That’s beautiful. Do you have students that come into sixth grade as haters of reading?
Marvel Gest [00:23:40] Absolutely.
Rod Gilbert [00:23:41] Then you get to see the conversion. You get to see the conversion sometimes. I hated it till fourth grade, until really, fourth grade or third grade. Between Farmer Boy and Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, I was awakened. That one I read in Washington DC on a family vacation. I remember where I was — in the Smithsonian.
Marvel Gest [00:24:07] Wow. I remember telling my sixth-grade science teacher, “I just read The Story of Albert Schweitzer.” I said to my science teacher, “I think I’m going to be a doctor because I want to do what he did.” I remember it having an impact on my mind.
Rod Gilbert [00:24:28] But you see kids that go through a conversion?
Marvel Gest [00:24:31] Oh, absolutely. One of the best things for that is to have — not from me but to have other kids — “What is the best book you’ve ever read?”
Mike Siciliano [00:24:43] And to have kids share that with you, too.
Marvel Gest [00:24:45] Then they start talking. “Oh, yeah. I read that.” Then, other people, you could see… I said, “Did it give anybody ideas?” He said, “You know, I want to…” This guy said he’d never read a better book in his life.
Rod Gilbert [00:24:57] I have another question. Optimistically speaking, we live in a digital world, where everything’s coming so fast. More and more, a higher and higher percentage of the kids that come into your room every day actually have a smartphone. They can get to the whole world and all this nonsense in their pocket, which is a crisis. Do you find it harder to get kids to just go to a paper book? Not a digital mechanism, but an actual paper book that smells like a library, and turn the pages, and lose themselves in the pages, where it’s a slower pace in this new digital crisis? I love technology, but we’re all learning how to manage it. How are you using your class to try to win them over, to not forget the paper world?
Marvel Gest [00:25:49] What’s interesting to me is that when it happens when I see that come into my classroom, I can tell there are parents who are very involved in keeping them in a book or not.
Rod Gilbert [00:26:04] You can tell which children…? Okay, we got to get this right. You can tell, Miss Gest, which children live in homes that promote books and put aside the digital world?
Marvel Gest [00:26:16] Yes. I can tell it just in our conversation. For instance, the one I was just… I said, “Okay. Now, I don’t want just some book; I want the best book you’ve ever read.” I can tell, of course, in the conversations that come out — well, I had that one, I had that one — who even has them. One of the things is some of the parents are really good at making really good books available to them. They make a concerted effort to go and get the ones that they really feel would be of interest so that when they walk by the table they go, “Wait. That looks interesting,” type of thing rather than…
Rod Gilbert [00:27:01] The parents are promoting and making it available, making it easy for the kids.
Mike Siciliano [00:27:06] I’m sitting here listening to you say this about parents. I have a six-year-old who’s finishing kindergarten. My first thought is, “Where do I go to know where those books are, those great books?” I’m sure there are lots of parents listening. How do I find these books that will captivate my kids and give them this love of reading?
Marvel Gest [00:27:26] Well, there are several places. One, I have a lot of people who just will follow a Newbery list or something. They call them good books for a reason. They have all kinds of lists. There’s a lamplighter list; there’s a classics list; American library. You do have to be careful what you’re presenting.
Mike Siciliano [00:27:44] Are they aged…is there anywhere that’s like first, second grade, here’s the right…?
Marvel Gest [00:27:51] Yes. They’re all graded. For instance, if you go into Barnes and Noble… My favorite section in Barnes and Noble is the little kids’ section. I go in there, and I see what’s available. They have it graded as far as have they gone from picture books now into the next books, the next, and the chapter books. Some are tried and true. I remember talking about a book of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. That’s a little kid’s book, but oh, they just love that. Anything that has humor in it. He ends up by saying, “Or I’ll just go to Australia.”
Mike Siciliano [00:28:32] Well, Marvel, thank you so much for being here. Thank you beyond that just for your amazing contributions to this community over so many years. It won’t be the same without you.
Marvel Gest [00:28:42] Oh. Well, that’s kind of you to say. That’s very kind.
Mike Siciliano [00:28:44] You are leaving quite a legacy.
Rod Gilbert [00:28:47] Yes, you are.
Marvel Gest [00:28:47] Well, thank you. That’s very kind.
Mike Siciliano [00:28:49] Rod, of course, thanks for joining us again. Looking forward to whatever book we have next time.
Rod Gilbert [00:28:54] I’m enjoying this so much.
Marvel Gest [00:28:56] I can see why.
Mike Siciliano [00:28:57] Yeah. My reading list is getting pretty long here.
Rod Gilbert [00:29:00] Learning how to look at books through a different lens. It’s been a lot of fun.
Mike Siciliano [00:29:03] It’s been great. We’ll continue again. Thanks to those of you listening, wherever you are. This has been another episode of our Eagle Perspective Podcast. If this is your first one, you can find other episodes on Spotify, Apple Music, or other places where podcasts are available. We will join you again soon.