New Book: Commando Classics: A Field Manual for Helping Teens Understand (and Maybe Even Enjoy) Classic Literature

Shakespeare and poetry – probably two of the most reviled words in the English language. Why do these words engender fear and loathing in a large percentage of the population today? They are seen as inaccessible and irrelevant, to many students and even to many highly educated adults. That attitude often is generalized to all classic literature, the mention of which can elicit groans and moans. What to do?

Send in the commando teachers and commando librarians with Daria Plumb’s Commando Classics. Help teacher and librarian work together to present classic literature to teens in an irresistible way by using what they already know: graphic media, pop culture, and traditional literature. Mythology, American literature, British literature, and Shakespeare — the high school English classes many teens are prepared to resist — will become intriguing as teens discover that it is all in the plot, and classic plots and references are in books, movies, cartoons, and even music. In Commando Classics you will learn how to present the classics to even the most reluctant teens, gain an extensive arsenal of resources and references, and realize teachers and librarians make perfect allies.

Each chapter in the book includes what Plumb calls an arsenal — a large collection of resources and tools to help make classic literature relevant and exciting. Popular songs, websites, videos, movies, and games are accompanied by assignments, tests, puzzles, worksheet, and more, all reproducible for easy use. While Commando Classics is ostensibly for use in the school library and classroom, it is a great tool for programming ideas in public libraries.        

Plumb, Daria. Commando Classics: A field Manual for Helping Teens Understand (and Maybe Even Enjoy) Classic Literature. VOYA Press, 2012. 300 pp. VOYA subscribers $40.00; all others $50.00. 978-1-61751-008-3

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