I’ve been doing my best not to let my summer overwhelmed me. I hit a couple of stressful patches last semester and I don’t like the person I become when I’m stressed. This semester, I’m trying to be more organized, getting as much done ahead of time as possible and staying aware of dates and deadlines. The other night, I had a dream that I was back at the University of Cincinnati for graduate school. I was busy getting around campus, carrying lots of stuff and reading while I was walking. I walked up to a table to get my schedule and although I’d been accepted, I hadn’t completed my registration, hadn’t even registered for classes. I clearly need to slow down so that I don’t miss any opportunities.
Reading slows us down. It engages our mind, body and brain in ways few other activities do. One of my projects this summer is to develop a workshop to re energize teacher’s attitudes about reading. I’m prepared to hear many of them say they simply don’t have time. I honestly believe we have time for the things we truly want to do but, sometimes after a day in the classroom (particularly if you’re an introvert) you want a mindless evening of knitting, gardening, playing games, watching television or coloring.
I’ve been trying to select books for this group to read. I picked up M Train by Patti Smith because of the popularity of this National Book Award winner. The book is set on the most exquisite paper I’ve experienced in a book in a very long time, reminding me I need to read adult more often. Not too far in, Smith is discussing a lecture she was delivering to the Continental Drift Club about explorer Alfred Wegener. Smith admitted to barely preparing the lecture, scribbling much of it on napkins. She’s recounting what she believes to be Wegener’s last expedition when mumbling breaks out disputing her ‘facts’. When she’s accused of creating poetry rather than science her retort is “What is mathematics and scientific theory but projection?” (p. 52)
It’s not that everyone in the book is white that gave be pause ( a long pause: I stopped reading) but it was the Whiteness, assuming the privilege of telling someone else’s story without assuming the responsibility to get it right. I did read Humans of New York Stories and will be adding that to the teacher’s reading list. It’s not something I would normally pick up but, it ended up being something I couldn’t put down.
This afternoon, I’ve been reading Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson. It’s my university’s campus read and the author will be on campus this year. I’m reading it to prepare a discussion guide that will build reading skills while guiding readinger through the book. This will be the second such project I’ve worked on with our Math and Writing Center and it’s one project that I really enjoy. I’m enjoying the book, too! Books rarely make me cry but this one has had me tearing up a couple of times. It’s a powerful read.
I wanted to add Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton to the #Lemonade for Girls: In Formation list, but I can’t add books to lists if I haven’t read them. So, I’m plugging away at this classic so that it can be ready for me to recommend it to another list.
Speaking of lists, we’re beginning work for the next We The People Summer Reading List. I haven’t started books reading for that one yet, it’s going to take a little while before I have time.
You may, or may not have listened to the recording of my talk a few months ago about responsible use of social media. During that talk, I mentioned that I am not and do not want to be the diversity librarian.
You know how most people who believe in magical thinking think that you simply need to speak things out loud to make them happen? Well, I’m learning not to speak out loud what I’m NOT going to do, what I don’t want because I’m getting closer to being that diversity library. I recently because a Faculty Affiliate on my campus as part of a faculty learning community to add multiculturalism to the curriculum. This effort has me piecing away at reading Small Teaching by James Lang (highly recommended to improve classroom teaching) and Personal, Passionate, Participatory Inquiry into Social Justice in Education edited by Ming Fang He and JoAnn Phillion. My friends, let me just say the key to deep reading is 20 minutes a day. Brain research tells us the brain really only concentrates for 20 minutes at time. Also, it’s much easier to set aside 20 minutes each day to read a book that to make myself think I need to spend hours doing it every evening.
I haven’t picked up Shapeshifters by Amiee Meredeth Cox or Critical Multicutural Analysis of Children’s Literature edited by Maria Jose Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rduman in quite a while, but I’ll get back to them sooner rather than later to continue my research on black girls and on critical literacy. Until then, I’m reading the articles.
I’m not left with much time to read for the blog and honestly, I’m not doing much on any of my social media sites. I think it’s best that for June and July, I take a vacation from blogging. I’ll still post the monthly releases and will post a reminder about ALA, but I don’t plan to do anything other than that.
Unplug! Go enjoy your summer! Me, I’m planning to keep stress to a minimal. I’m gone reading. See you in August!
It’s late and I’ve rushed writing this. I’ve tried to take my time to proofread, but I think there may be more errors than usual. I’m sorry for that!