It was math class and my students were diligently working their way through some operations with positive and negative numbers. I was playing with the Sony e-book reader that my colleague, Mr. Techie, had dropped off for me to explore as I continue to dither about if and what type of e-book reader I want/need.
I answered a question, handed out a few ‘good jobs’ and a ‘get back to work’ as I paged through Techie’s book selections. He had Pride & Prejudice, so I gave him + 10 cool points. He had all the Meyers books, which just made me laugh.
And then I got to last page in his catalogue and gasped: "Schmidites. Writer’s notebooks. Front rug. Nooow!"
Did I mention it was math class? And that I didn’t even have my whole homeroom and that some of the kids didn’t even have writer’s notebooks? Whatever. It’s called problem-solving.
The kids assembled themselves on our sharing rug; they were full of anticipation and questions: "What’s up?" "What’s going on?"
"I have something important I need to teach you. Now. This might be the most important thing I teach you all year."
"What is it?"
"Kiddos, get the lights. "
And then I began to read to them from: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.
"There’s no such thing as safe," I read to them, "only safer."
We read about forms of transmission: bites, an open wound exposed to the virus (this begged for the comment: "Oh, so the next time I get a papercut, I shouldn’t go rub it on the nearest zombie?"), or if a zombie explodes on you. We read about the timeline of the disease’s progression: starting with fever, eventually death, then reanimation.
And then math class was over. "Writer’s notebooks!" I announced as the rest of my homeroom stumbled back in, bleary-eyed and drained from pre-algebra. Come to think of it, they looked a little zombified until they read the buzz of excitement and ran for their notebooks.
After we’d read about how to evaluate your zombie killing weapon, how to protect your home & school, and the list of items to have on hand (our favorite: earplugs to block out zombie moans), I turned the lights on and shared their writing prompt: "In your notebook, respond to the following: Zombies, dangerous or not?"
They would’ve written all afternoon if I let them. Many of them will write all weekend and share their zombie stories on Monday.
I felt like this was a book I had to read. After all, zombies are attacking… or at least infiltrating. Prior to October I’d lived a zombie-free life.
- There’s the Austen thing
- Then there’s Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (Kiss of Life comes out in May). I read this book in one night in October. I gave it to a co-worker the next day and haven’t seen it again because it’s been passed from one reader to the next.
- And what about Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry? This doesn’t come out until March 3rd, but I was lucky enough to read it early. You need to buy it on Tuesday (along with a copy of Brook’s book).
And who would have thought I’d plan on attending a zombie night – complete with zombie movies? Now that I’ve read the Zombie Survival Guide, I know I can handle it. (I hope). If you see me there, feel free to sit next to me. I’ll gladly keep you safe… until I run from the room screaming and crying for my mom.