Learning from Rejection

Wendy Shang tipped me off to this Tedtalk by Jia Jiang about learning from rejection. I’ve made my kids watch it. Now I’m making you watch it, too:

 

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Achievement Unlocked

I got to spend Read Across America Day the way it’s supposed to be spent — reading to kids. But I also got the added bonus of meeting LeVar Burton, who has been a hero for many moons. Roots, Reading Rainbow, Star Trek … and did I mention Reading Rainbow? My author friends at the event, which was sponsored by the National Education Association, were huge fans as well. We HAD to meet him. We explained this to our hosts, who were equally big fans. It was tricky, given that he was scheduled for two events at the same time. But we caught him on the way out. I think we look quite composed, don’t you?

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From Left to Right: Me, Mary Quattlebaum, Erica Perl, LeVar Burton and Calef Brown.

Here’s a photo taken by Kevin Lock from the event:

Read Across America! Photo by Kevin Lock

Read Across America! Photo by Kevin Lock

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Georgia on My Mind: ALA Recap

My acting history is fairly short. I was a box of granola in a play about the four food groups. (I know there are more food groups now; I’m old.) I was a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was Jill in an updated play based on nursery rhymes. And that pretty much covers it. Our high school did mostly musicals, and I learned long ago that if I sing like a bird, it’s probably more magpie than nightingale. That kept me in the audience.

Until last month, when Scholastic put on a Reader’s Theatre for librarians at the ALA meeting in Atlanta. For the event, they divided us up, seven authors for six books (I cowrote my upcoming novel with Wendy Shang, which makes for fuzzy math). We performed scenes from our own books, and from other authors’ books as well. I was the narrator for Natasha Tarpley’s just-released Harlem Charade. I was the mom in Gordon Korman’s upcoming Restart. And I was one of the grandmothers in my book with Wendy, This is Just a Test. (Gordon played the main character, David, in that one, making me both his mother and his grandmother in a span of 15 minutes. Wendy played the other grandmother and Natasha played the mom.)

We had a full house. I did not pass out from stage fright. All in all, a success. Plus? It was so much fun. I loved being able to present our work that way, and to make the characters sound a little bit the way they sounded in my head. I loved hearing people laugh in all of the right places. And I loved hearing Wendy sound like a trouble-making football player for Restart.

For part two, the other three writers/readers mixed it up on stage, including the stellar Emma Donoghue, (The Lotterys Plus One), Kathryn Lasky (Night Witches) and fellow Virginian Lamar Giles (Overturned).

I don’t have any photos of us reading (if I get some, I’ll add to this post) but I do have these:

Pre-reading: Some coaching from the pros who make Scholastic move and shake: David Levithan, Emily Heddleson and Lizette Serrano.

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Our script!

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Me and Wendy in front of the Scholastic booth. (Photo credit: Lizette Serrano)

 

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Books about the Refugee Experience

The news is filled with stories about refugees: what’s happening to them and the debate over them. There are citizens who believe it’s our moral obligation to give them safe harbor. There’s a new president who has barred many of them from entering the country. In our newspapers and on the internet, there are drawings of the Statue of Liberty crying. There are signs in the streets and at airports. As parents try to give their own children context, a number of authors and educators have compiled lists of books about refugees.

Aside from calling my representatives, I have little influence over public policy. The least I could do is compile some of those lists and add them to this page. I’ll add more as I see more.

I’m also putting in a link for the Kidlit Cares Fundraiser that Alex London put up on Crowdrise. All money goes to CARE.

For Kids:

From Booklist, a list for kids showing the world and all its complexities.

From Great Kids Books, a list that will help kids understanding why they’re marching — or why they should.

Books that promote understanding about the refugee experience from Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich.

From Big Blue Marble Books, a list, and then another list of lists.

The Radius of Us and Something In Between: Authors interviewed on NPR

Here’s a list of 20 books from our friends at All the Wonders.

For Adults:

25 Great Books by Refugees In America from the New York Times

Top 10 Refugee Stories from The Guardian

These are more books about the Muslim experience than the refugee experience, but I know there are people to understand more here, too, so here’s a list from Smithsonian Bookdragon.

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First Day Hikes

I love any idea that will get people outside more. Just thought I’d share this post from Virginia State Parks. The initiative is nationwide.

Hoping you get outside — not just Jan. 1 but all year!

Christmas Day Hike

Christmas Day Hike

 

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