Showing posts from November, 2011

when I'm not reading, I notice that it's fall

I started taking pictures on trips and of special events, as people do, but then awhile back noticed that I could create desktop art for myself from my walks and adventures.  Here's some of what I found outside yesterday at my house, just me and my camera: The one of pine needles shows where the squirrels are stashing stuff for winter.  It takes a lot to get through winter, and it's certainly a perennial midwestern metaphor.

national book award

Loving the diversity of this honored group of authors! I've just requested Inside Out and Back Again by Lai, the young people's winner, from the library.  That plus a few recent YA novel to come.

a handful of young adult novels

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler  It's 1996, and when Emma gets a computer, something weird happens.  Within her AOL account she finds a strange place called Facebook.  In it, there's a page showing that she is fifteen years older and in trouble.  So, along with her neighbor and lifelong friend Josh, she starts to change the future, to write a better ending for herself. And things really begin to change.  She and Josh have been estranged ever since he tried to kiss her a few months back, and of course that changes dramatically.  Josh is perfectly happy with his future, but when Emma changes hers it impacts his as well and causes renewed tensions in their relationship.  Somehow, Asher and Mackler manage to stay on the relatively light side of how decisions today impact one's fate tomorrow, and it makes for a fun and engaging read. Although marketed to young adults, this is a book best suited for my generation, for people who came of age in the 90s or so

explicit instruction in the culture of power

Professor Emeritus Chip Bruce wrote/compilled the following graduate student survival guide awhile back, in 2008, but it's relevant again thanks to another engaging discussion at the Reading Around Race group today (Thanks to Sharon Irish for pointing Chip's blog post out to me!): The discussion centered around two articles that I selected as early works of two major scholars on race and education, Lisa Delpit and Beverly Daniels Tatum.  Delpit in particular pointed out in her 1988 article in the Harvard Educational Review that there's a real need for direct instruction in how to engage with academic institutions as a student and attain the highest levels of success.  As she put it:   "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that   culture makes acquiring power easier."  When issues of race are at hand, it's worth remembering that stu

The First R

The First R:  How Children Learn Race and Racism by Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin Ausdale and Feagin together do a nuanced job of analyzing interactions among young children related to racial identity, showing that children as young as three years old see how racism operates in their worlds.  They show how these children learn to avoid the topic of race around adults, just as adult avoid the topic around them.  And yet young children are willing and able to engage in discussions of race among themselves, as long as they are outside of the earshot of adult authorities.  They find that white children will be insistent about regulating how black children define themselves, looking at an example of an African-American girl who chose to represent her skin color with both brown and pink paint, which was met with vocal protest from several White girls.  The African-American girl, however, was painting an image of both sides of her hands, and so defied the typical self-representation

CCB Brownbag Recap: Fantasy and Race

On Thursday 11/3, I gave a Brown Bag presentation on Fantasy and Race.  This interest stems from at least two directions.  One of those is the relative lack of authors of color writing fantasy literature for youth as well as character of color represented as more than tokens in fantasy and sci fi.  A big shout-out is in order here to the ways that former students have called that syllabus out for these big gaps. So I used the word "represented" above, and it the idea of "representation" that was key to my talk yesterday.  I take it as a given that youth advocates, librarians among them, want youth to know that they belong in all things literature, literacy, and library-related.  One way to assure this is to be sure that racially and ethnically diverse authors and characters are represented in library collections and if you're reading my blog at all you probably ascribe this notion as a fundamentally good idea in library services.  Of course there are limits of

this sure looks interesting...