Readings Worth Some Time

via GIPHY

As we are leaving town (and leaving the country – hello, Spain!) I am trying to clear out some tabs. Leaving things as nice and neat as possible for when we return is one of my goals and, apparently, it extends to my browser.

I met Paul at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ conference, Teaching and Learning, several years ago and have been reading his blog ever since. This piece struck me not only for the challenges about which he writes but also because I just happened to read it right before the next piece I’ll share. They made such an interesting pair to me that I had to stop and reread them. Paul writes about teaching an LGBTQ inclusive lesson and being penalized professionally for doing so. It hurt to read.

Then I happened to read this Nerdy Book Club post next. It is written by Rachel Scupp and is about having 8th graders in a human rights, social justice, LGBTQ book club. The post shares things these students believe about the importance of the books they read. I know many schools would not allow this and that pains me. But seeing it happening gives me hope.

Pernille Ripp has written a number of pieces lately that have really struck me hard. This one, about the messages we send students about what it means to be a reader and what books are worth reading, hit me personally. My youngest just finished fifth grade. Her teacher would not allow them to read graphic novels at school. My kid survived that just fine but I wonder about others in her class. Others who have less solid reading identities. Others whose parents reinforced that rule rather than ignoring it (because many parents trust the teacher to make the right decisions).

I just checked out a good number of books for my kindle for our trip. The diversity of the authors was something I thought about, often with frustration. I got a couple of Roxane Gay’s books, which I want to read, even though I know they will be difficult to read. I also checked out one from Maya Angelou that I have never read. The majority of the books I checked out are by women. But the other seven books are all by white folks. Some of that is on me and some is that the library didn’t currently have any by N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, or Chimimanda Ngozi Adichi available at the moment. Anyway, long way to say that this piece from Sherri Spelic, reflecting on tweets from Tricia Ebarvia, gave me a lot to think about. I’d seen the tweet thread and it was definitely thought provoking. Sherri pushed me to think even more deeply about it as she reflected.

I love every time Fawn Nguyen writes something. It doesn’t matter what it is, I am happy when I see something new from her show up in my RSS reader. This time she’s writing about her arrival as an immigrant in the United States. It is just as beautiful as I would have expected. Enjoy. I’m jealous of you getting to read it for the first time.

I have donated to try and help reunite families who have been separated at the border. And I know that matters. But sometimes doing something active, rather than just giving money, feels necessary but it can be so hard to know how to begin. Glennon Doyle has collected an amazing list of ways various folks can volunteer and help.

Looking back over this list I am thrilled. There is a pretty good range of diversity here. It suggests I may be doing a better job reading widely than I was before.

2 replies on “Readings Worth Some Time”

  1. Two things: one, this is a wonderful sampling of readings which I look forward to investigating soon. Two, I appreciate the insights you offer about your own path of widening your reading choices and those of your family. It’s disappointing that a teacher would dismiss graphic novels as part of a well rounded reading diet. With my 10 y-o I am just beginning to appreciate the variety and depth to be found in this area. If your daughter hasn’t read *Awkward* or *Brave* by Svetlana Chmakova yet, she might really like them.
    Thanks again for curating and sharing! Enjoy your trip!

    • jenorr says:

      Sherri, as always, thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Our frustration this year with our youngest’s teacher was quite significant. We’ve been lucky that our girls have had so many fabulous teachers and this is the first really rough year.

      She actually did just read Awkward and Brave and now I need to!

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