T.O.T.Week: play on words

I’ll keep this b-r-i-e-f because in between spring narratives and student essay edits, all I’ve focused on lately are w-o-r-d-s. A huge aspect of my love for literature is tied to my love for words. Whether I am selecting my latest S-c-r-a-b-b-l-e word, smiling at a m-e-m-o-r-y unlocked by a turn of p-h-r-a-s-e, pointing out a homonym to fourth graders, or furiously annotating a Shakespeare sonnet (yes, I do that for fun, don’t j-u-d-g-e), I think words are endlessly fascinating. Here are some of my favorite stories that have word play at the c-e-n-t-e-r of its narrative. Also, if you like a little g-a-m-e to go alongside your Sunday blog post, can you unscramble the bolded letters?

Peter Reynolds wrote The Word Collector for young readers to understand that words are theirs to keep, to cherish, to collect, and to use responsibly. You Go First is an old favorite of mine by Erin Entrada Kelly that shifts perspective between Charlotte and Ben’s long-standing online Scrabble game. Queen of the Tiles takes a darker turn on the game, when Najwa finds herself de-coding Instagram messages that come from an unlikely source… that of her best friend who has recently passed away. We conclude with an uplifting rom–com-esque story called Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberly Allsopp who allows a NYT Crossword puzzle to dictate her life decisions for the week. There’s no way that can go wrong, right? Wordplay is most definitely intentional there…

The Word Collector by Peter Reynolds (picture book)

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly (middle grade novel)

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf (YA book)

Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberly Allsopp (adult novel)

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