Posted in The 12 Books of Christmas Break

12 Books of Christmas Break: The Matchbox Diary

“Pick whatever you like the most. Then I’ll tell you its story.”

          Ladies and gents, not only did I make it to 12 books before the final semester of my graduate school begins (in like, 8 minutes), but I even managed a little bonus 13th book. It’s cute and deserving of a recommendation, because the title and cover art isn’t that flashy, but the lesson is very worthwhile. Happy reading in 2016!

Title: The Matchbox Diary
Author: Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Genre: Picture book
Erin’s teaser synopsis: A young girl meets her great-grandfather for the first time ever in his bookshop and he uses his childhood diaries to forge a bond with his tiny relation. It’s absolutely adorable, and beautifully illustrated. Not only that, but it’s also a brilliant way to introduce the concept of storytelling outside the traditional written word. She chooses a box of memories to unpack, when she selects a cigar box filled with even smaller matchboxes. In each matchbox, there is a story – one that her great grandfather put together before he could read or write – each one is explained as the boxes are opened.
Why I relate to it: Storytelling is one of my passions, as is collecting stories from my own memories, as well as from those around me. In addition, I’m a teacher, so I feel very strongly that everyone should know how to read and write, and that they should value their opportunities. Therefore, the two main messages of this book are close to my heart. 
Judgement call: In this narrative, there are many messages: the lengths that someone will go to for freedom, the importance of education, and the value of a shared history or heritage. The overall truth that it teaches, however, is that we are, more than anything else, the stories we tell. Stories build bridges, across many divides, including generational differences. For all you teachers out there, you could use this as an introduction to a personal narrative, or even visual storytelling for an alternate assignment.

Interested in the quick read? Find it at the local library, or at Amazon.



We seek to learn, and when academics do not present the answers, we look inside our own beautiful imaginations for the key.

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