Memory Boxes

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge was published in 1985, when I was in third grade. However, my third grade teacher never read it to me, nor did my fourth or my fifth. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of this Mem Fox Book until last week when my mother-in-law, a former first and third grade teacher who is now a Literacy Coach, mentioned it to me as a wonderful book to use when creating memory boxes with primary grade students in Writing Workshop. She told me about the text and it immediately brought a smile to my face. I had to get my hands on it.

It arrived from yesterday, but I didn’t have time to read it until today. My face lit up as the young boy went in search of artifacts to help Miss Nancy find her memory. But first, in case you’re unfamiliar with the book, Wilfrid Gordon has to figure out what a memory is. He asks some older, wiser people. This is the essence of their response:

A memory is…

  • something warm.
  • something from long ago.
  • something that makes you cry.
  • something that makes you laugh.
  • something as precious as gold.

Imagine reading this book and sending students home to look for something warm, something from long ago, something that makes them cry, something that makes them laugh, and something as precious as gold (or at least a photo of the “something as precious as gold”)… Imagine a class full of these special items that could be loaded inside of a memory box… Imagine the stories that would come from each of these ‘somethings’…