This is going to be an odd little post. It’s already 7:30pm and I really should just skip this all together except that I didn’t post last Sunday.

I did finally join NetGalley and I’m in the midst of reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. I had hoped I could download it to my  Nook but the particular Adobe product they’ve adapted, the Adobe Digital Editions, only works on the Sony eReader or a PC. I really like the features on the Kindle and want to read on that, however there are a few details from the Adobe Digital Editions that I’d like to merge to the Kindle. I particularly like how it bookmarks. I think technology is spoiling me enough to think I should be able to have my preferences identified for these tools and have the ideal product I want available for me but even to me that sounds spoiled. What happened to making due?

In an email: barnes and is offering 50% off one of this weeks 20 bestsellers, ending midnight 1 Nov.

Someone’s blog mentioned the dramatization of Woodson’s Locomotion. The Kennedy Center’s performance of Locomotion is available to schools free as is performances of Ella, a celebration of the life an music of Ella Fitzgerald; the Tambuco Percussion Ensemble, a percussion quartet celebrating Mexican music and culture; Linda Sue Park telling stories; maximumINDIA and others and did I say free??!! They will be available via satellite or Internet connections just visit this site to find out the dates, times and how to sign up.

Enjoy your week!

Getting More Press

Bamboo People and Finding Family are definitely two of the best books I’ve read in a while. It took me a while to review Bamboo People, but I figure that’s OK. I’m keeping it alive on the ‘net! Finding Family is a much newer book. I was just searching to find other reviews for the book, and found but one! Bolden has written over 20 books, she’s an established author and her book should be getting a bit more attention. I don’t that my one woman crusade will do much for this book until you stop reading this and go get Finding Family!

If I haven’t managed to quite convince you, listen to this recording of Bolden discussing her book and reading a selection from it.

Is there a book you’ve read lately that doesn’t seem to be getting the publicity it deserves?


book review: Bamboo People

title: Bamboo People

author: Mitali Perkins

publisher: Charlesbridge, 2010

main characters: Chiko and Tu Reh

The hinges of the front door creak, and a rusty voice calls out, “Wei-Lin! I heard that boy of yours shouting from my kitchen. And I saw him reading a book. Outside.”

It’s only Daw Widow. Mother lets go of my hand. Quickly I tuck my shirt into my trousers and push up my glasses. Lei enters the house behind her mother, looking like an orchid in her slim green sarong. Her purple silk blouse seems to carry the sunlight into our house.

Mitali Perkins creates the layers of this scene with such great skill that it is easy to slide into the story’s space. These few sentences tell us so much about relationships, environment and culture, as does the entire text of Bamboo People. I read in one of Mitali’s interviews that Tu Reh was initially the only character in the story. We meet him in the second half of the book and learn that he has been misplaced from his native land by the Burmese army. He reluctantly saves Chiko’s life after Chiko is forced to lead troops through mine infested territory to find what they’re told is a cache of weapons.  Chiko does not seem to be an after thought in the story. We come to know his role in his family, the issues that young boys in Burma face and we see his strengths and weaknesses.

Perkins skillfully gives us two young boys who have such a complicated connection yet they manage, these children manage, to find the humanity in their situation. With little reason to hope, they manage to persevere. Chiko and TuReh as well as the other characters in the story realize that becoming educated and wise is more important than hanging onto childhood. 

While this seems to be the story of two boys, it is the story of a country that is torn apart by war. It’s the story of how families are lost and recreated, how girls lose their womanhood, how countries and ethnicities clash and how people manage to survive. Perkins doesn’t get this heavy or preachy. The issues are there, but they don’t weigh the story down.

“She asked a lot of questions about my family. And she told me about your home in the village, Tu Reh. And how it was burned. I’m -I’m sorry.”

I can’t answer. It’s a strage sensation, hearing a Burmese soldier apologize. What am I supposed to say?

“Do you have dreams for the future, Tu Reh?” Chiko asks suddenly.

“Not as big as yours,” I say. “Some land, some rice, a family, a home. That’s all.”

“That’s enough. Who needs more than that? I hope you get it.”

“I hope so, too.”



This copy is from my school media center.

Bamboo People: Background

I was recently speaking with an ENL teacher who referred to one of her classes as a ‘refugee class’. I thought that was, well interesting, so I questioned her further to find out exactly what that meant. It seems it meant she has a class of Burmese students who are refugees and who speak very little if any English. I did a quick web search and found that in the past year, the number of refugees in Indianapolis has risen more than 30%  with the refugees coming mainly from Burma and Iraq. The news article written this past March anticipated about another 1,100 more people to migrate to Indianapolis this year .

Why are they leaving Burma?  This article on Mitali’s blog has answers to that.

Knowing that there are people escaping the Burmese regime and heading here to this city brings more depth to my reading of Bamboo People.

Are people moving to your city seeking refuge?




It’s noon and I’ve been online too long already! I have a couple of issues with my neck that lead to awful pain if I’m online too long. Sometimes, a good set of exercises can work it out. If I’ve progressed into a headache, ice does the trick and as a last resort, there are pills which I really hate to take unless I have to. There is just too much good information, fun activities, people to chat with and things to watch online!

I took a break to cook breakfast this morning and that moment of stepping away brought me the clarity to compose a post for today. I used to save stuff for Sundays, then edit and refine it however the last time did that and attempted to save my materials as a draft it actually posted! I haven’t tried saving since.

While I was cooking, I began thinking about things that have happened at school this week. I try not to give to many specifics here about my own school, that’s not my purpose. I know some of the things that happen at my school are quite typical and while educators know and understand these things, not everyone does.  Like bullying. We all know it has always happened. I don’t know what it is about human nature that requires us to find those who are is some ways different than us, those we perceive to be weaker and pick on them. It seems that bullying and racism would have to the stem from the same gene.

At its best, bullying is forcing someone to be like everyone else. At its best!  During those years when we begin to explore and understand who we are, we get bullied into being like everyone else. I don’t think we always recognize the tiny ways bullying happens. I’ve been missing it in my own library.

I’ve know the most popular books have been the more urban tales and that boys will ask for guns and gangsters while girls want ‘drama’. While my library is heavy in these books, I do have Riordan and Snickettand Green  and Collins and all the mainstream stuff you find in any library. And, the mainstream stuff just sits there. What I’ve finally noticed is that students pick up the mainstream stuff but between the shelf and the checkout counter, their mind is changed. This thuggish culture that is dominating schools, my school, bullies students to not value education, not maintain a greater interest in the world, not to succeed in school. It’s a bullying that’s so hard to fight! Talk about Black on Black crime!

At the same time, I do get students before and after school! The manga and Kimani Trus are going like crazy as is the fantasy, romance and mystery! I checked out over one book per student weeks ago and look forward to breaking all kinds of records this year. I’m going to reward students every grading period this year and that will really be tough with no budget to do so. I’ll be sending out letters to local businesses this week and if my readers can suggest donors, I’d really appreciate hearing about them!

Budgets are cut everywhere. Politicians can say what they want, the economy is bad and has been bad for a long, long time. It’s sad that the press wants to make us think the economy can bounce back overnight. It didn’t collapse overnight!!  Angel, the Itinerant Library finds these signs of a poor economy. You really should click the link to see what universities are doing in the name of budget cutting. Do you have things you watch to tell if the economy is any better? I watch the movement of students. The more I see students come and go, the worse the local economy is. And, it’s still bad. I’ll be glad when they can settle down and stay a while!

Ari needs your help! She’s got to memorize 100 lines of  British poetry and she needs suggestions. Ari, the best I can do is to get suggestions for you. Poetry is not my thing.

Two cool maps

Too cool!

Do you really get how big Africa is?

Would you be interesting in using a map to locate news?


I’ll be reading Bamboo People this week so check back for resources over the next few days.

author: Mitali Perkins



“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
~Pablo Casals

I think I’m going to make CrossingBorders a (fairly) regular feature here on Crazy Quilts. When you think about promoting literacy for teens of color, there are many, many ways we can consider crossing borders!

Like with classical literature.

Call me Edi.

It’s the best of times, it’s  the worst of times!

I’ve been reconsidering the classics lately. I know there was a time when colleagues would tell me they were teaching “the classics’ as a way of saying they were sticking with well accept, well written books by White authors. I see teachers now who are willing to teach a classics from a wide variety of authors while refusing to teach any young adult lit. They don’t read it and consequently don’t know young adult lit.

All I read these days is MG and YA lit. I’m getting tired of it! While the topics and themes can be quite varied, there are elements of YA books that can be found across the genre. A large portion of these books are written in first person, making the teen central the story and a more pronounced main character. Adults have very small roles which are often poorly developed. Teens rule in these books, it’s their world. Books for teens of color too often have the teen as a victim.

In all these books, young adults don’t often get a picture of problems that are part of the adult world. They don’t examine how adults react, respond or live and they don’t confront issues beyond teen issues. Classics are tried and true ways to nudge students into the adult work and to get them to see outside themselves. So tried and true that their stories are often re-formatted into other, newer stories. Some of them need to be taught for the sake of cultural literacy. I don’t think we need to feed a steady diet of classics no more than one consisting only of YA novels. In our global society, students need to examine a wide variety of literature the prompts them to think critically, recognize needs beyond their own and to act with compassion. Students need books that comfortably engage them as much as they need books that shake them out of their comfort zone and urge them out of their adolescence. I don’t think we’re fully educating students by providing a steady stream of books with characters like them in the classroom.

Library doesn’t equal classroom! Libraries promote a love a reading and for this to happen, students need to enjoy what they’re reading.

Though not classics (yet) I do think there are contemporary adult books that should be brought into teen libraries.  I think they’ll help our teens of color cross into adulthood. I know this is nowhere near a complete list, so I’m hoping to get more titles.


The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

The Namesake

The Other Wes Moore

Black Mamba Boy

We had sneakers, they had guns

Left to tell

books by Walter Mosely, Toni Morison, Amy Tan, Toure, Richard Rodriguez, Junot Diaz

ALSC, YALSA launch new youth literacy program with grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded $210,000 to two divisions of the American Library Association. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Services Association (YALSA) will receive funding to support Everyone Reads @ the Library, a new youth literacy program.

“The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to helping improve educational opportunities for children and teens in our communities,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “By partnering with ALA, we are proud to offer these additional literacy opportunities in local libraries.”

YALSA will use the funds to develop materials and programs to support summer reading programs for teens, Teen Read Week™ and materials in Spanish for teen readers. In 2011, YALSA will offer mini grants to libraries for summer reading programs and Teen Read Week. In addition, YALSA will distribute sets of the 2011 Teens’ Top Ten nominees to libraries in need and develop Spanish-language materials, including a website and reading pamphlets for Teen Read Week.

“This grant will be a tremendous asset in YALSA’s efforts to provide mini grants for Teen Read Week and to support our development of materials to assist libraries in promoting summer reading programs for teens in communities across the nation,” said Kim Patton, YALSA president. “This funding means more teens will have the opportunity to participate in Teen Read Week and summer reading programs on the local and national level. On behalf of YALSA, I would like to thank the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for supporting literacy initiatives for teens.”

Beginning now through June 2011, ALSC will significantly expand its El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día), also known as Children’s Day/Book Day, program to include and celebrate a wide variety of cultures. Mini grants will be awarded to libraries that demonstrate a need to better address the diverse backgrounds within their community.

ALSC will enhance Día’s resources on the Día website, create marketing materials for the libraries to use in their children’s rooms and provide a Web-based program to library staff that will train them in the selection of multicultural titles.

“As we recognize the growing cultural diversity of the communities our members serve, we thank Dollar General for helping us to expand Día’s reach,” said Julie Corsaro, president of the Association for Library Service to Children.  “With this grant, we expect to provide resources to libraries so they can offer more culturally relevant programs and services year round.”

The Día celebration was founded in 1996 by children’s book author Pat Mora, who proposed conceptually linking the existing Children’s Day with literacy. The founding partner of Día is REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.

ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,300 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, visit, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,