Friday, May 21st, 2010

how to argue with a catHOW TO ARGUE WITH A CAT
A Human’s Guide to the Art of Persuasion
by Jay Heinrichs 
Illustrated by Natalie Palmer-Sutton

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Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing and Word Hero, has introduced the art of rhetoric to a whole new generation of young people. With humor and intelligence, Heinrichs continues his work with How to Argue with a Cat. Through its spotlight on the cat, nature’s least persuadable animal, the book is an accessible and fun primer to an art that gives a shy person a voice, brings groups together, and inoculates them against the more nefarious kinds of manipulation. Students will learn the secrets to debating without fear; using body language, tone, and gesture to heighten the delivery of their argument; and to think about what their opponent wants, no matter how cat-like they may be.

Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop

by George Bishop, author of Letter to My Daughter: A Novel

In my novel Letter to My Daughter, Laura, a middle-aged mother, writes a long letter to her runaway daughter.  Early on in the story, she bemoans the fact that letter writing seems to be a dying art:  “In this hyperactive age of emails and text messages, the kind of correspondence that Tim [her boyfriend] and I shared must seem like an anachronism to you . . . But I sincerely hope, dear Elizabeth, that someday you might have the pleasure of such an anachronism; that one day you’ll experience for yourself the irreplaceable joy of receiving letters from a lover.”  Much like my protagonist, I too appreciate the value of letters as a form of communication, and for this reason I’m always looking for ways to incorporate letter-writing activities in my English classes. 

Unlike an electronic message, a letter’s a tangible thing; it’s got heft and substance.  We can hold it in our hands, turn it over, smell it even.  We appreciate the extra time it took the sender to write out their thoughts on paper, put the paper in an envelope, address, stamp, and mail it.  A letter says, Listen to me.  I’ve got something important to tell you. (more…)