Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration at her blog. I appreciate this reminder to reflect on the positives of my week.
1. My week kicked off with the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements, which I watched live. I was so excited that librarians heeded the call of #weneeddiversebooks and recognized the power they have in “blessing” diverse books with lots of shiny stickers. This year, the awards lists were not the usual “whitey whitey whiteville” (to borrow Betsy Bird’s phrase). There were some bold and exciting choices, and diversity of format was also honored for the first time (graphic novels won Newbery, Printz, and Caldecott honors; a verse novel won Newbery gold; memoir took two of the three Newbery slots). I loved following the conversation on Twitter and sharing the #booklove excitement with many other readers.
2. On Tuesday, I booktalked the awards winners in Children’s Lit class. We kicked off class with Alan Rabinowitz’s Schneider Family Award winner, A Boy and a Jaguar, as our read-aloud (such a good readaloud!), then I booktalked a big stack of winners. Most of the picture books were checked out and read during our independent reading time, and a student who claims to hate reading hustled to be the first to borrow The Crossover! It was lovely to be able to pull so many award-winning titles right from my very own bookshelves without any trip to the library needed–or any delay trying to purchase titles that are currently “temporarily out of stock.” There’s no way I would have read so many of the winners already if it weren’t for my wonderful nerdy online reading community. #imwayr rocks!
3. Frances discovered some new high places this week. For the first year or so of her life, Frances was not much of a jumper. She had weak, floppy back legs that could barely support her. The vet considered her mutey toes (she’s a mitten kitten) to be a sign of inbreeding and compromised genetics. Deeply offended on Frances’s behalf, I took it upon myself to perform kitty physical therapy and stretched and exercised her back legs every day. And now she has grown up into the perfectly vigorous little hybrid I always knew she was.
4. I shared the picture #booklove in a colleague’s course on the Theory & Practice of Teaching Writing. We were supposed to talk writing. But I don’t know how to talk about writing before we actually write together. I read Patricia MacLachlan’s What You Know First and asked students to freewrite about what they knew first. That’s one of my favorite prompts for writing classes. Most of these students are strong writers anyway, but I was still stunned by the beauty of what they came up with when invited to write through a very powerful prompt.