> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: What a difference a decent book makes: Buddy

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What a difference a decent book makes: Buddy

Just have to post about my current experiences in teaching English using the novel 'Buddy' by Nigel Hinton. We use 'Buddy' with s2 -and I think I can safely say that all of the teachers in our department enjoy teaching it.

The story is set in the UK -and although it was published a while ago it manages to remain up-to-date and interesting for our pupils.

'Buddy' has a great central character, and looks at themes like racism, family breakdown and teenage anxiety in a sympathetic, but thought-provoking way.

'Buddy' also provides a way into the whole issue of parenting and fatherhood -which, to my mind anyway, doesn't really get enough coverage in a secondary school!

Buddy's dad, Terry, is a 'teddy boy' who uses the music of Buddy Holly and his era to communicate. His character develops alongside that of Buddy. The kids love it! It's the sort of book you have to count back in at the end of each lesson, as they are always sneaking it home to read it...

Nigel Hinton has a website (www.nigelhinton.net) with some useful background to his work on it.

Finally, there is a brilliant TV series which goes along with the book. I hope that the BBC run it again. Email Nigel Hinton via his site for details of how to get a DVD of the series should you require it. Our school copy has been used so often it's starting to sag a little.


Neil Winton said...

Another susprise hit that I've found and used is Holes by Louis Sachar.

There are several ggod units of work available, as well as a really good Disney adaptation with Sigourney Weaver and John Voight. I've used it to great effect with lower ability classes...

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Neil, it's interesting that you mention using 'Holes' with lower ability. I've used it once with a Foundation class - who liked it a lot. I think we've got it in as an Access course text at the moment.

Can you see it being used with a bright 2nd year -possibly exploring the extended metaphor of the 'holes' or the 'gaps' in life stories? Or is there not enough apart from this? It is a lovely example of that kind of understated American writing style
that is a little difficult to characterise.
Interested to hear what you think
about it.

Anonymous said...

I work in KS3/4 and I have used both books. I work as a Learning Support Assistant and have enjoyed both titles. I am desperte to get hold of a copy of Buddy, without it costing me too much. Both books have been enjoyed by the students, but Holes is a little long for reading especially when you can watch the film in less time. Glad t find someone else enjoying them

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Thanks for your comment. Kids really like 'Buddy', don't they? Pity books are so expensive..