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Blackbird & Company

Cocoa and Conversation

Steaming CocoaThis afternoon, gathered round the table, stirring mugs of steaming cocoa with candy canes, my middle school literature circle prepared to discuss Avi’s, Nothing But the Truth. Whenever my students finish reading a story, I routinely begin by asking, “So where does this one fall on your list of favorites?” For the past five years the number one and two spots have been firmly held by The Westing Game and Danny Champion of the World. But today that would all change.

When the conversation began with an enthusiastic discussion of themes they encountered this past semester—from the twisting of truth in Avi’s clever tale, to self-reliance and unexpected friendship in The Sign of the Beaver, to loneliness and courage in The Mysterious Benedict Society—I simply sat back and quietly sipped my cocoa as a whole new circle of stories was introduced to the “A” list.

I remember thinking, back when my children were toddlers, that purchasing gifts was silly because the wrapping, ribbon, tissue, and Styrofoam peanuts often sparked more interest than the gifts themselves. Though I thought this magic would fade with the blink of an eye, I witnessed a glorious rite of passage when my children began to anticipate what was embedded deep within the packaging and appreciate the gift as well.

The boysToday was just such a rite. Watching this group of fine young men peeling back the inviting layers to discover the literary treasure embedded deep within the package of story was like watching my children revel in the process of receiving a gift. What began with the anticipation of the mind, joyfully sparked the imagination of the heart.


Welcome the New Year!

We would love to be a part of your 2009 curiculum plans. When you purchase any combination of three literature bundles before January 31, 2009 you can receive a 15% discount. Simply enter “New Year 2009” in the discount box when you checkout.

Have a wonderful 2009, from Blackbird & Company!

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials for knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”

—John Locke   

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We love books! Reading is a passion in our families and classrooms and we believe that great stories have the power to instruct, inspire and enlighten. With beauty and clarity, we desire to provide tools that will foster your student’s delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers!


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