19 Episode results for "Jacqueline Woodson"

Jacqueline Woodson: Live at Politics and Prose

Slate's Live at Politics and Prose

54:31 min | 1 year ago

Jacqueline Woodson: Live at Politics and Prose

"This is live at politics and prose AH program from slate and politics and prose bookstore in Washington. DC featuring some of today's best writers and top thinkers it is now my pleasure to introduce Jacqueline Woodson of red at the bone and many others Jacqueline Woodson. It's in is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award winning books including the 2016 New York Times bestselling National Book Award Finalist for adult fiction another Glenn among among her many accolades Woodson is a four time National Book Award Finalist four-time Newbery Honor winner a two-time and Alesi p image award winner and and two time Coretta Scott King Award winner. That's a mouthful and I don't think she's done so she lives with her family. In New York. read at the bone own infused with her signature insight and rich pro poetic prose opens in two thousand one in Brooklyn the occasion melodies coming of age ceremony charting the course of course of two families from different classes Woodson's affecting narrative tackles identity ambition desire and parenthood as well as exploring how the decisions young people make change generations to come Terry Jones is quoted as saying Woodson brings the reader so close to her young characters that you can smell the bubblegum on their breath and feel their lips as they brush against your ear. Woodson will be in conversation with Lynn neary longtime. NPR Arts correspondent correspondent that said please join me in warmly welcoming Jacqueline Woodson inland Neri to politics the low so so I'm going to read a short bit from chapter to of read at the bone which is told from alternating points of view and this is Aubrey Aubrey the father of melody. WHO's having her coming of age ceremony? Can everyone hear me. His daughter was descending the stairs. As the orchestra has in-laws had paid for played she was taking each step as though the world had stopped for her as though this moment where the only moment on earth with her in it and she was finest held ish girl no this woman the the seat of his this cry into the night this apology of a child Irish. I didn't mean to damn I'm so so sorry when when headed happened per with so much of Iris the cheekbones slant of the is the smile would so much what was that thing behind their smiles some long held secret about you both of them knowing you knowing what you've been up to as so they could see taste and smell it on you aubrey had seen that smile so many times over the past fourteen fifteen sixteen years where were the years and still and still this moment with melody walking toward them in this whack rendering of prince filling the house back against the wall. His hands felt unsure suddenly hey I raise have pressed hers to her mouth but what is the father of the child supposed to do with his hands his big open hands. Where were they supposed to go? When all they wanted to do was reach out for his child Hugger Hyder from the world these hands that had learned at seventeen how to snatch smelly diapers away from her tiny body rub andy ointment over harassed behind holter until the singing stopped until the crying stopped hold her over his shoulder with his massive hand behind her fragile head then on his chest in his lap in his arms on his back both shoulders his hand on her shoulder as she scooted too fast away from him? who was this now descending the stairs this child he made and raised and loved God how he loved every single cell dividing the coarseness of her hair the deep deep vulnerable hollow in her neck the half moons beneath her nails those show how many boyfriends you're GONNA have watch out world and her tears when they began to fade? Does that mean no one's ever going to love me daddy his baby girl was coming down those stairs and he was crying now outright and silently and no one had told him to do what to do with his hands as he slid them into his pockets. Irish shot him a look he pull them out again quickly wiped at his eyes class behind him against the wall arms raised fingers laced on top of his head. Her arms folded. What was the right thing how come he never knew the right thing to do? Thank you the Yankee so you have an incredible career as long career writing a literature for young people. I don't know if everybody knows but Jacqueline is the national ambassador for Young People's literature sure I think you're ten years coming to close on that you you also won the National Book Award for Young People's literature for Brown Girl Dreaming Your Memoir and a but your last book another Brooklyn and this one are written for adults so first of what made you want to make that shift so actually between another Brooklyn and read at the bone I wrote a middle grade carbon me and a picture book the day you began Dan this woman so I feel like I wanted to. I like all the world's like I like writing for young people writing picture books because as feels like I'm writing poetry. I like writing Middle Gray because I like the Voice of ten eleven twelve year olds and I like the gays that adult literature allows me the way I can kind of stand back and look at it from all these different perspectives and also the way I can play. Hey what time and the way I can move characters along the age brackets with a middle grade fiction and with picture books the characters. I tend to stay at one age of the person telling the story is ten or eleven with adult books like with another Brooklyn. The main character August list is in her thirties but she's talking about a time when she was fifteen but as an adult perspective because she's in her thirties so I just like all the world's well I think I see connection between Brown girl dreaming and these books for adults and other Brooklyn and and read at the bone. They're all stories about young girls from Brooklyn and you of course were young girl from yourself. Why do you keep returning to that territory? What are you mining in the the place and those kinds of girls? The thing about Brooklyn is you can read about it forever and it's never gonna be the same place. It's constantly changing so if I'm writing about the Brooklyn of the seventies is different than the Brooklyn of the eighties which is different than the Brooklyn of the ninety s and now I'm looking at someplace like what I write about Bush Bush Waken another Brooklyn. I wrote that book because I wanted to explore the Columbus of the neighborhood right here was this neighborhood that have been when I was growing up in black people and white people moving away so as a neighborhood of white flight and then as I at this point in time it's now the hipster neighborhood and white folks moving back into it and so I'm writing about the same space but it's very different and and that's what's interesting to me about New York in general and Brooklyn in particular that you can write about a specific place at a specific time and then write about it again ten years. There's later and be a completely different place and the people in it or different so when you look at Sylvia Angela G. G. in August and another Brooklyn. They're very different than melody in red at the bone even though they're all black girls growing up in Brooklyn so so I can explore all of these different identities and know something deep about them and then have all this information that not have all this information and know like nothing at all about some parts of their lives well. There's really two young girls in this book because we know we meet melody at the same age that we really meet her mother. The first time her mother's fifteen when she becomes pregnant with Melody Against Her parents wishes she decides to keep the baby and everything reverberates at from that from that point it really and we see how that affects everybody in the family and we learned so much about them going back in their history and then moving forward and into the present and why did you want to begin with that a fifteen year old girl getting pregnant and making the decisions she made to keep the baby. Maybe so it's interesting it. Actually I feel like an read the bone begins with the Tulsa race massacre so so and then and then the beginning is melodies coming of age ceremony this moment of arrival of having arrived somewhere and within that moment it begins in the middle of it so I don't started melody was coming down the stairs. I started but that afternoon there was an orchestra playing playing because I'm very intentional about showing the reader that we are step. I'm dropping you into the middle of someone's life right and I think that's the case for. We're we're in the middle of irises life when she gets pregnant. You know we're in the middle of Aubrey's life when he realizes that his girlfriend is pregnant and so I think all it starts at so many different places and you know I have to say hesitated to use that word begin. I think about that because it's but it is the event that we move out with. It's like a spoke that we move out from or something and then that impacts everybody in that book yeah and I just I while I love IRA so much but also I think a lot of times when people think of young people getting pregnant they see it as an ending and I I don't in that case I wanted to show Oh. This was the beginning of something else right so I was wants this baby but then once she becomes a mother she finds that perhaps it's it's more than she really took one to take on and the and the so the raising of this child really falls on the Father Aubrey and her and her parents as well but again this is not a depiction that you often see you don't see depiction of a black man as the caretaker so often and as you as you you know centers. I don't think white folk see it a lot. I think come I think it exists and I think that the narrative is that black men don't take care of their picket and they do and so I read at the bone again. I was very intentional about showing yeah. This is someone who one of many many many any black men who do take care of their children because I think the American narrative is a different story and often ally when it comes to a lot of stuff about black folks but black fatherhood in in particular well. I think you're right about that and I think that's why it's important to write that kind of character yeah and so you did do it very intently that reason and also because I wanted I feel like speak truth to power feel like it's important. It's a family saga right and I wanted to show all the characters and all their roles I I I really wanted to paint a full picture of Aubrey and show that he was a loving fabulous dad that he was a loving man and he was a hardworking man and that for him fatherhood and family was enough to be able to provide for them. It wasn't enough for Irish by for Aubrey he was he was happy you know he was he was he was a good guy and he was happy and he was a great father. Yeah you use you called ended a family saga and that's how I have described it to a lot of people. It's a family saga but I think when people hear the word that phrase they think of a big and this is not not. It's a very slender book really but that's because of the way use language at this barrenness of your language you cut so close to your bureau your poet. Your pros is so much poetry do you do you think do you think is a poet as you're writing. Everything I write. I read out loud so it has look a certain way on the page and sound a certain way before I move on and so I'm rewriting a lot and I'm honing the language a lot and I'm getting rid of a lot of adjectives to get to the essence of the story and so yeah I do. I would say that that's kind of the poetic side of my brain and it's also what I want. There's an urgency. Let's see to it right. There's an urgency to their lives that a lot of adjectives would get in the way of their yeah and I was just amazed at how much you were able to get into this story with this spare language. There's a lot of history here as you mentioned the Tulsa massacre of nineteen twenty one which I did not know very much it yeah. I'd probably knew nothing about a lot of people don't I think that's an important point. I think a lot okay. Raise your hand. If you knew about the Tulsa Race Massacre Speaker raise your hand if you did not y'all know some of you ally okay okay. But how much did you know anyone. It's you work this history into this into this book into this family saga. Tell us a little bit for those of us who don't know very much about it. Tell us about it and and how would fit into this story so Saeby who is the grandmother who helped raise melody the sixteen year old comes from a a family that whose wealth was destroyed by the Tulsa race massacre which happened in Nineteen Twenty one where white folks basically came along and and destroyed this wealthy black community and they bombed it they dropped bombs. They showed up people they set houses on fire and the black businesses they burn them down and basically ran the black folks out of town and I don't know why we don't learn about this in our history classes but it was one of the many times where black wealth are that aspirational wealth was cut off at the knee and and so he comes from her her mother almost got killed and the Tulsa race massacre and she carries that history and that story into the next generation and also she and her husband create a really kind of an upper class life for themselves when they get to Brooklyn Mhm yes and maintaining that is very important her so when her fifteen year old daughter gets and that's the most beautiful writing on her fifteen year old daughter gets pregnant and unmarried she is not happy. It was not the plan no. She's not happy at all and she stunned because has she had a narrative right she had she had a plan for who her daughter was going to become and what was going to happen and here is her daughter saying I'm GonNa keep this baby and also they were Catholic. You know they were like so many layers to it and and I think there is where there I'm talking about motherhood. I mean I think we have these plans for our children and I always think of the sweet honey in the route song they come. Your children are not your children. They come through you but they are not uh of you know they are with you belong to you and I think that's salt so true especially in that c irises like this is me and this is my baby be and you can't take it away from me and save is like what do we do with this yeah but then I is already said she goes off to college and moves the baby behind it goes off to have a life. She wants to like a lot of people would say that's a really selfish choice. What do you think I went and listened to a lot of people ah one at one point in the book? She says I was only fifteen. I wasn't even anybody yet and I think that a sixteen year old knows everything they want and very little about what they want and then they eventually discover it at sixteen. She's still red at the bone. She's still discovering who she is and and her desires are changing and I have a deep respect for that I have a deep respect for young people and the way you know eventually angelique their frontal lobes connect but you know while that process is going on. They're changing their becoming. They're they're figuring out everything about who they are and so that's who I was and and I think every teenager is selfish. We're all selfish is teenagers so it made sense to me and I think the narrative about Al Motherhood is that a mother has to be a certain way and that's not I don't believe I think there are all kinds of ways to be a mother and I think in terms of melody in the in she she had an amazing life you know she had amazing caregivers and she had people who loved her and that's what matters shed the data just adores her as you enter a grandparent and her grandparents both but I mean as you said he's he's willing to. He doesn't care about success and and there's a a lot here also care about certain I mean he's a successful. Dad knows how successful he's a successful mailroom worker occur right and he's a successful family man so he doesn't he doesn't care about the same things iris cares about and that that's the point that they grow apart which makes sense because is there fifteen when this starts and they're sixteen when they become parents which is kind of mind blowing to me but I guess not to mind blowing because I wrote the book so there's a lot here about class to which is another thing that I think you know white. America America probably doesn't know very much about either which is the differences in class within the black community and that's another thing that you really explore here that I think is interesting thing yeah yeah. Why do you think White America doesn't know about? I don't live with black people white people we it is interesting. It is so interesting because I wonder if if I don't know how white folks E. Y. fields but I wonder do they just see us. All Paul is one is black folks like depends on where they live. Honestly I think it depends on where they would have yeah. I don't know I say that because I I I live in Washington tonight you know I think that a lot of people want depending on where even live in Washington maybe more aware of the of the class differences but again I'm asking you. Did you consciously right about that because of the fact that people don't think about that about white people don't think about that okay now. I don't think about white people when I'm writing. I really am writing for myself and I'm not thinking about the white gays. I think that's a really clear point of my writing is that I am writing because I love I love black people. I really really love my people and and that's not super super pro black which doesn't mean I'm anti white but I and and and I believe that our stories matter and so I grew up in a history and a world where my stories weren't there and and my my desires desires to put those stories there so the story of the class divide within the black community is a story is a story that black folks. No you know so so in the conversation precision we're having with each other about this that white folks are invited to the Party of and and is a conversation sation that is that the black community is familiar with everything from I mean even Sabia was so funny because I was talking to a reporter today from Austin and as she was asking me about Sabeel he's talking about the goals that hidden away she's like. Is that a thing and like it's fiction here and I can't speak for the whole thing. It's not a thing in my house but but you know for my character. CBS thing it was it was so interesting and I think that when when I was writing when I was creating it create a conflict in the economic lasting created conflict and I'm also trying to talk about generational well and why black folks so often don't have it and it's not because we haven't tried to pull ls self up by the bootstraps when someone comes along and drops a bomb on your boots you have no bootstraps anymore to pull yourself up by and I think that's that's that's and so I'm having this conversation and validating it for the people who are getting victimized and having and feeling pulling lesser than and in the same way that Aubrey comes from this phenomenal working class poor family and and he's brilliant I think that's another are we see again and again and Media Myth about poor black people that they are not bright and so for me. Yes I'm intentionally finally putting on the page because I've seen this again and again I grew up in Bushwick the old Bushwick and you throw a stone you hit ten Jacqueline Watson's right and I'm the lucky one who was able to write the books and get published and get the award but I'm not exceptional and I think the world will want to look at certain people they say well. You're exceptional as a means of saying they're not and I don't I don't ascribe to that so in creating read at the bone and in talking about economic class I really wanted to be really clear about who these people were and why they mattered I was reading in his book around the time that Tony Morrison died and and I I was asked to speak about it you know for NPR certain points. I was reading about her and one of the things I came across was first of all that. She said that she had to start writing because she didn't see the books that she wanted to go to read out there so she had to write them herself and then I also read that some critics at the time that when she was starting to write K. as said there's no way people in your books and I was so struck by that because I see right now so many great black writers writing about black life Colson Whitehead Jasmine Doors Turn Asi Terry Jones. I mean all these people and I thought is that her legacy is is that partially partially maybe not only only Tony Morrison but James Baldwin Yeah Yeah. I definitely feel like I'm here because Tony Morrison was here. You're because James Baldwin was here because Audrey Lord was here. There's so many black writers and writers of Color in general so that came before for me that kind of Said Oh you can this is okay. Go tell that story you know whether I met them or not Alice Walker and and so yeah I think that's what legacy is right. Someone comes along and knocks down one door and then you're able to walk through that one and get to the next one but she definitely he began helped other writers inside the publishing world's to tell their stories you said earlier I love Iris so much watch character virus. What what is it you love about Iras? I love that she she is not thinking about how the World Caesar she's making her own choices and she's kind of forging ahead no matter what and I think that that that I want I would love some of that imme- in this way so so you you you create the world on paper that you want to see out in the world and I feel like in creating Iris I put every kind of thing that I would love Jacqueline Woodson to be and accept a fifteen year old mom aw sixty year old mom but I just loved her fire. Are you the kind of I mean. I've talked to a lot of writers now my over my career and everybody has a different approach to writing. It seems to me but are you the kind of writer who you set out you know what each character's going going to be. Did you have in mind what these characters were going to be or two characters reveal themselves to you. I mean I I hear both from writers and I was wondering did you. Did you have these family. I figured out in stone to begin with her. I know is a good question I didn't I had I had an idea of what the story was trying to say and I had an idea of who melody and Iris were and then as I wrote and rewrote and rewrote like Aubrey was on the page I couldn't figure out Cathy Marie for the longest time like what her role was in the story. I knew poboy was kind of off but I didn't know what was going to happen. I probably wrote this book about Thirty Times like it was a lot of rewriting reading it out loud and trying to figure out the timing timing and the way the characters kind of moved around each other and one certain plot points happened but then it it wasn't till I went and wrote that last seen that I came back that I kind of realized what I was really trying to wear. I was trying to go with this book and and then a lot more rewriting as you about that last thing but I as I was coming to the end of the book as I said it's it's a small slender book and I was lying it and then I was thinking I really Kinda. Don't want this to end then. I don't know how she's going to be able to end this. You know so. I'm going to be satisfied because it was a few pages of what you know. You get a few pages where you think this is going to end. I'm not quite ready for that and then I have to tell you guys nails the ending absolutely nail L. The ending. I was like Oh my God. I can't believe she did that. How did you do that? I knew Ooh if I wrote one other word after that last word it will be because I was being self conscious about the writing and so I just knew I walked away way there it is there it is the ending has literally revealed itself to me and I knew that I had to go back and figure out other stuff in other parts of the book but I knew that's where it needed to end and when you're writing your all and I'm sure the writers in the audience can speak to this when you're you're all PENSA AH pent-up frustrated and you're not sure what's happening and then when you get to that point where you exhale and you feel some kind kind of way 'cause that book is an emotional journey for me. I mean I would sit there crying as I'm writing parts of it are laughing because I thought parts of funny and then I read them to my kids. They'd like that's not funny but it was definitely like this throughout and when I got to that ending seriously excelling I am trying to imagine what that's like for ready to just suddenly to be writing and then I mean. Did you know you were going. Is that that you did you know that's where you were going. We we're ending. None of you know trying to say she got to a good place. I I felt really good about it and it was a very different feeling than when I ended Brown girl dreaming for into this because that book I I was a mess after that I I thought it was done but for the longest time I was like this book is a mess. No one's ever going to read it. Why am I writing it and you know my partner? Juliette was just like keep writing. You're going to be fine and I finished finished writing at my. I'm not fine like as no one's ever going to read this and and so when I got to the ending of read the bone was such a different feeling like I felt very insure that nothing I wanna ask you about. I've talked about this once before when I interviewed music plays a big role in your writing and I think that's part it of your writing has a lot of musicality to it as well as being poetic and yet your prose writer but an implies a pretty funny role in this book opens up with this print song at this kind of coming out party and I had to look up the song but the lyrics which are not played mother won't let them and can you explain it. It's so just feed it real okay okay. This is the opening of the book empty six thousand dollars for these leaders. I'm still AH point to Prince. I'd be really happy but it ain't is but that afternoon there was an orchestra playing playing music filling the brownstone black fingers pulling violin bows and strumming cello dark lips around horns a small brown girl with pink. The Pale pink nails on flute Malcolm's younger brother has dark skin glistening blowing somberly into her Monica abroad shoulder woman on Harp from from my place on the stairs I could see through the windows curious white people stopping in front of the building to listen and as I descended the music reuss softer the lyrics inside my head it becoming a whisper I knew a girl named Nicky. I guess you could say she was a sex fame. No vocalist the little girl didn't know the words the broad brad shoulder woman having once belted them out loud while showering was now saved and refused to remember them Iris wouldn't allow them to be sung and Malcolm's brother Sweet seven-year-old mouth was full still they moved through my head as though Prince himself were beside me met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine that's great I just love juxtaposition of this officer playing and that's the song they're play and we did last night. Before Lhasa Event went tells you Regan at Joe's pub and we had an we had a three piece ensemble two violins and a cello and her guitar and we played that song but I mean there's music in your head as you're all the time I limited. I started writing. I put my earphones on and keep the same playlist a list for years sometimes adding songs but that that's the way I race the world I put my music on the world has gone. I'm in the world of my candidate has some influence on the away right it does it does everything from Eric Garner from Yeah Garner Billie holiday. Ah Wu Tang prints all the music in that book is music. I added to my playlist to kind of not only hear here's music but to get the rhythm for the book when you look at another Brooklyn I was listening to a lot of jazz because I was trying to get to the jazzy rhythm for the telling of the story and this was because it spans nineteen twenty two two thousand I had a whole long or playlists Janine. I dream of Lilac time like most of the songs in that book I listen. I listen to get to that place. I want to leave some time for people to ask questions but I had one other question for you about being the ambassador for children's literature which is i. I gather. You're not sorry to you. I just wonder what you've I know you've probably been a lot of traveling with that memory amount of young people and what is your take corrals and there's so my platform my models Reading Eagles Hope Times change and I was going around the country the groups I chose chose to talk to a title one schools people in title one schools juvenile detention centers and I had hope to visit them in all fifty states and and I what I learned was how many juvenile detention centers exist in each state so it's impossible it was impossible for one person and there's a lot of need and there are a lot of young people who are so deeply hungry for literature and there are a lot of book desert's across this country and I wonder if that's by accident or design and that the next ambassador the next person who comes along or people have have their work cut out for them but I think it's GonNa be an easy journey because we're GONNA make some changes but it but it's amazing work and there are a lot of readers and there a Lotta kids with a lot of stories great. Thank you thank you Lyn so I want to open the Florida questions. We have microphones at the end of each aisle. There's there's an microphone right here and there's one over here K. shy people so if you don't ask me the question here you cannot ask me while I'm signing your book. I know how ED goes I got the book out of the library a couple of days ago so I started reading it yesterday. Evening I finished when I was sitting here. It had me in tears at the end but I also have to say also read the acknowledgement which are also ended beautifully thing and it was like another my heart and really if I hadn't been sitting here I would have burst into tears with beautiful thank you thanks for reading it. Thanks for getting it out of your library too. I mean I love independent bookstores and I love libraries. I was shocked. I got it so quickly. Thank thank you go ahead sir. My question is one you hear a lot here. book talks and partly because I I tend to ask that's the question read the bone and movies. Do you expect one. Are you already committed to who I asked this anytime I hear a good saga mmediately and especially if it's red in the language makes me see images MHM Ruben obvious question or my going to see these images on the emergence right yeah yeah. I don't know it's it's funny because movies in books are so different like the writing and creating is very visual experience for me. I can definitely see the characters moving along the throughout the story but I don't think about film I mean my my film. Agent thinks about film and I let her do that but I don't actively try to get something on the screen because for me so deeply satisfying to do the book have you had anything made into a film. miracles boys was made into many series and I actually writing behind you into a series which I never expect all the bucks I had never thought that was the book that would become. I'm a series but but I think I think that's it. I might be missing something a lot of writers who disappointed of course when their books are turned into Yeah Yeah Yeah I would join that they invaded. We got another question here. We got somebody who thank thank you. I'm always curious to know whenever there's an author. I love what they're reading and so what are you excited about reading in terms of whether writers of color or what's Switzerland Earth we're brief on earth where briefly gorgeous blew me away. China huskies new book the Water Dancer. I talk about exhaling because he wrote he's. He writes non fiction and he he's a friend so it was like Oh please let this book be good. Please be good and it is phenomenal. I just started an patches the Dutch house which is really great. I'm usually reading more than one book at a time. and I can't remember what else I'm reading. I think I'm rereading the Black Panther comics just like so thank you thank you great. Go ahead. I external from your work. Entitle one schools I'm interested to know how many people of Color Actually interview you and what your experiences also with interacting with a queer people in the literary community in what their reactions have been to the spaces that you're in how much you like or dislike the people who you interact with thank you know like just kind of how many queer people of Color do you actually interact within the literary scene and how has that impacted what you write and how you feel in your career steps. That's a great question. You know it's so funny I think about all the fluid people I know without going like this I I I think that our world my world. My world is mostly clear because I'm queer so but in terms of like who interviewed views me I I get a lot of interviews by black. Women not always clear women and some women I'm trying to I think I just I don't know it's so funny because it's just for me it just kind of ebbs and flows in terms of WHO's asking me what but I don't know it's such a good question in terms of interacting with queer writers there are lots of us and we're a small group you know we we tend to gravitate toward each other. I feel like back in the nineties. It would be when there was conferences like outright and places where where queer writers could gather and talk about stuff there was a lot more of that but as as the world changed we got kind of got separated from each other and so so it's kind of like you know when I'm sitting talking ocean or something it feels like home man in a very different way but I keep my circle I keep my people close and that's some of them are writers. A lot of them are artists. Many of them are queer and that's because when I go out into the world so often that's not the world I go out into An. It's important for me to hold home close. Thank you excellent so I'm reading. I'm almost done with last summer with Mazel and the two best friends I've read Bronco Dreaming Sometime before that end it somewhere in between you talked about your friend. a few doors down down from you. Maria Maria and how you guys were best friends. is that one's buyers you to make make last summer with Mazel. Definitely that's a great question yeah. Last mazing actually took place on the block. I grew up on Madison Street and Mazen. Isn't I feel like I'm both maze in a Margaret in this way but my friendship with Maria Maria who I'm still very good friends with was definitely inspired inspire that friendship the people in the neighborhood that I knew as a kid definitely inspired people like Miss Del and Margaret Mother so yeah. There's a lot of me in that book and I think that's because it was my first novel so it was I was writing what I do and of course Brown girl dreaming a memoir so that's a lot of me thank you. Thanks thanks so much right. You haven't read the book I grew up in Harlem on sugar. Hill had a lot of friends in Brooklyn. I WanNa ask you something about about the nature of black people who seek color is light like as Langston Hughes who says there's a kind of category for all of us that we have in ourselves. Have you written about that talked talked about it or been asked about it. No because I don't care you know commentary. Oh No yeah no. It's not it's not something I feel like. When I'm sitting down to write I'm writing about? I'm writing from this place of love for my people and Nat of a place of you know I feel like of all the things I can critique in the community. That's not one I care enough about to go deep into and I live in. I have my family. If you saw my family it'd be like what else at such a family that spans so so many shades and so many ethnicities and so many languages that I never want anyone in the family to feel lesser than and so to even begin to write and have people call each other out around list just it. It feels so remedial to me in this way that I it. I'm not interested so I've never written about it. Thank you so you mentioned that you rewrote this particular book like thirty any time so this kind of a process question about but how long did it actually take you to write the book is one question and also you also said you read a lot of different books at one time in writing more than one piece at the same time. I'm usually working on two or three books at the same time and not necessarily in the same genre so so if I'm writing Middle Grade I'm also working on a picture book and maybe an adult book are right now working on an article for the New York Times and I'm working on the screenplay and I'm working on a middle grade book so and I and that's what slows me down but then when I'm really really into a book that's the only thing I can work on so it gets to the point where I have to just focus on that one and in terms of red at the bone I feel like it started in twenty fifteen and I I've always been interested in the Tulsa race massacre and and the the absence of it in a narrative as especially in our daily narratives and in our historical narratives so I knew I was going to write about that some way somehow and and also the the stereotypes around teenage pregnancy I that was on my brain and when I say right because I have questions not because I've answers and I get saying what if what if what if and what does this mean and also in terms going back to thinking about generational wealth and often often the lack thereof and black communities I really wanted to speak to that and understand that on a deeper level and that's when I started where read at the bone but it started headed in different stages and I always take notes and I'm writing down character sketches though it was going to be the same book as you'd like. You're just yes yeah. I do know that those going toward that book okay okay thank you hi. I'm middle school teacher and you we are are we are planning to use after two pock Andy Foster as well. It's Brown Gore dreaming this year and I just had a parent reach out to me last sweet that she would rather her son not read after to park and d foster because she was so fixated on the subplot with one of the girls is brother being on wrongfully imprisoned that her son could not relate to that and she didn't want him to read that book so I have drafted and redrafted my response and now I WANNA do a Jacqueline Woodson unit mm-hmm so she was upset about the brother being in prison not that the brother was queer and imprison and she didn't mention that issue any concern concern about the brother being queer just that she didn't want her son Ring Reading about gangs and imprisonment gangs and that I know so I was wondering like did we even read the same book Donovan read the Books and you have to have parents read the books that we plan to use classroom so I still haven't replied to that email now and I guess but really my question is you know. I think it's so important for us to bring lots of different books into the classroom for the kids kids especially for the kids who have are used to reading books about themselves right are used to see themselves. Don't even realize that and I guess I should expect that there's going to be who you know this pushback and so I was just wondering if you had any advice or words of encouragement aw or will you just come to our school if you've noticed but she does speak her mind talk about stir from the letter A. so I am. I'm stumbling but I thank you know of course if a MOM's if the kid knows his mom saying don't read that book he's already finished it so you're reading it as a class read so we're gonNA offer that as an option along with ghost as goes it's fabulous as well as mocking bird so they'll have four choices mocking Kathryn Erskine. Oh I don't and then ghost and then the skin I'm in and then after after two pocket foster and so the idea the focus of the unit is on identity. Also we want the students writing a narrative and using the book the Reading For inspiration looking at the author's writing style and so that's you know that I love that you're giving them so many options options and I think that's really important. I don't even don't even respond. He doesn't have to read it. You know what's GonNa Happen is hopefully it will ris goes which is phenomenal right and and then they'll the kids will be talking about it and loving it and he'll wanna read it so you putting into his hands. That's a so much of that happens by word of mouth south from people their own age so I wouldn't even respond to her. Just keep on moving like there's so many times in this world we just have to push pass and keep on moving. Thank you thank you made me think of something because we're heading into banned book week. which and have you had any any uh-huh? Oh my goodness am I not I. I was talking about this and that New York Times piece I remember Judy blume calling me up and saying she's doing this anthology. Call the places that I've never meant to be about people whose work has been challenge that I'm like well. My work hasn't been challenged. He's like Oh yes. It has and a Lotta times when you're work. It's challenge. You don't even know right because it's not like they're calling you up saying saying you know I'm taking your book out of my classroom. I don't want my my my son or daughter reading your book so she of course other people know more than you do about it and so oh yeah my work has been challenged but you don't respond mean we don't know about it is really but have you ever had some people know about it. I remember when scholastic was first publishing glistening from the notebooks of Melanin which was their first queer book ever and excuse me I didn't interview in out magazine and they talked about that. Book was published yet that this was a book Scholastic Publishing and I got all these letters from six graders somewhere in Washington instate like handwritten letters where the teacher had an assignment to write to say why this book shouldn't be published and it was like we don't want Jacqueline Woodson an African American woman into publish to write a book about a lesbian mother and her aunt and there were so many misspell words and African American was miss a literally it was about thirty letters I went through each one and corrected all bent them right back so bad toys went through with a purple ten Red Ten and I just return them to them but that was when I was in my twenties now I just ignore it but then then the other questions we have time for one more question or if everybody is ready we can move to the signing. I really am. I'm not answering them. While I'm signing so serious I couldn't resist I was struck by are you saying that you wanted to write about the Tulsa Mexico because it was something that we didn't now I really start by so many African American writers of fiction. I I think fiction tells the truth that nonfiction Kant and journalism doesn't want to address and I'm wondering what you think about the kind of fiction that's being written. Particularly by writers of Color Start just was sitting there thinking about well. Jerry Jones American marriage about you know incarcerated conservation article operates about white supremacy even the hate you give you know they. All books looks like I thrust upon people because I wanNA say no. You have to read this because maybe then this will be your entry way into trying to find out about these other things I'm wondering what sort of books you've been start by. Clearly your book you want to you want people to know about wheel things right fiction. I'm wondering other books ah when I think of something like Jesmyn Ward Sing unburied sing and of course Dr Is Book and Donna Donna Hoskins and Colson and I think what strikes me about them is they're speaking truth and they're also telling amazing stories so they're really beautifully written there. There's there's there is an entry way that makes it easier on the heart right it to be able to fall in love with these characters and cared deeply for them and want to see the world changed because of that and so I think that reading bills empathy it builds understanding as Dr Ruth Dean Sims Bishop Talks about in keeping with the need to cite black women Amen 'cause we often don't get site it just have our quotes thrown around the world and not get credit for them but in keeping with that she talked about the importance of young people having mirrors and windows so MIRA so that they see reflections of themselves and windows so that they see in two other possibilities and other world and other narratives and I think that what good fiction does is it really does. Give us a window into those world. It makes the lives of those people all and makes us understand them on a deeper level and Esso bills empathy so I think the lesson I learned from writing for kids is that you can't be didactic. Nick that the minute you're didactics. Someone's going to start reading your book especially young people they right because they want to hear a good story they don't right because they want to learn they re textbooks to learn and and so and I and I bring that to the adult writing like their things I wanNA say questions. I WANNA ask their conversations. I WanNa have on the page and I I don't want it to feel like I'm trying to teach somebody something because I I'm not I'm writing to learn myself so and I feel like like sing unburied sing. Even I'm from the water dancer. I just felt like I learned so much about the

Brooklyn Jacqueline Woodson writer Aubrey Aubrey Brown Gore New York Times Washington National Book Award Tulsa New York. Andy Foster Iris Lynn neary Melody Colson Whitehead Jasmine Tony Morrison Coretta Scott King Hugger Hyder
Author Jacqueline Woodson Returns To Ghana

1A

35:02 min | 11 months ago

Author Jacqueline Woodson Returns To Ghana

"This is one A. I'm todd SWALEC in Washington. Jacqueline Woodson is the author of more than two dozen books including Brown girl dreaming which won the National Book Award in two thousand fourteen and her latest novel read at the bone while last year. Woodson travel to Ghana to participate in that country's Year of Return Initiative in encourages members of the African diaspora including African Americans to come to Ghana for a year and try to reconnect routes. That were severed during the Atlantic slave trade. Jacqueline is here with me now to talk about the experience the first time she ever set foot on the African continent. Jacqueline welcome to one. A. Thanks for having me. What is Ghana's Year of Return Initiative? Well it's as you said it's an invitation back To the motherland bat quote unquote home for people of the African diaspora a chance to reconnect with African ancestors reconnect with the land reconnect with the African heritage the various African heritage's and And get a sense of the place that we left many many generations ago. And how did you wind up taking part? How'd you get involved? I got involved because I was asked to write a piece for the New York. Times about it and I hadn't thought that would be the way I would finally get to Africa My family and I had talked about going at some point South Africa at one point. We were going to travel to Rwanda and that fell through but when this opportunity came along it felt like it was the right time to go home so at the right time to go home but as I understand it you were also somewhat hesitant to go along weren't you yes yes. I was very hesitant at the same time and mainly a kind of was side. I think the invitation was it an invitation based on The American dollar and Thinking that into African soil We had you know some of US had Exist in this country in a very Economically Sound Way and I think the invitation. It's expensive to travel to Africa as expensive to rent. A hotel is expensive to get on the plane. it's expensive to take time off and the invitation to come there and be a part of it was not to do so for free so so. I kind of side I the idea of do they want my African Diaspora. Excel or do they want my American dollars. Are they trading off the fact that I'm pretty motivated to go and have an authentic experience in Africa and I'm willing probably willing to pay for it? Is that just another just another marketplace exactly? Well I did question that and ultimately what tipped the scales for you the said okay Worth worth the money certainly but the experience trumps the the the commercial the commercial demands. Here I think a number of things tip the scales One was my children. I feel like it's important for them. I felt like it was important for them to see Africa and we had traveled extensively. You know and Europe and it made no sense that black children hadn't experienced Can soil I also given the climate in America for People of Color. You know it's horrible and so like that if we need it to go someplace else if we needed to live someplace else where would that place be? Where where could our family feel safe a spirit of maybe scouting out someplace else to go? That's fascinating Will this was your first time ever going to Africa? I mentioned so so. Take me back to that moment or maybe that I our. What was it like for you stepping off that plane for the first time it was interesting. I I mean I in terms of the plane ride itself when we transferred We had to get a flight into Ghana and we went from a really large well taken care of plane to plane to one that was really small and It just felt ignored in a way. In the way that made me nervous stepping onto that plane and flying And then getting and going from a flight that I think we changed in London but going for a flight that was predominantly white to going getting onto a plane that was predominantly. Black was amazing and then stepping off that plane into And getting into the airport and seeing so many Black and Brown faces. I think it kind of was deeply surprising for my young for my two kids but really surprising for my part and I too And felt deeply familiar in a way that it's hard to explain In terms of stepping into a country that you've never been in In this case you know Ghana and feeling like you had been there before I'm interested in the first six hours of your experience you know. You're you're feeling a sense of familiarity. There's black and Brown faces everywhere and yet urine American. You're a foreigner. You grew up in a very different place. I know that for sure. Many of the things you see and hear and smell are very different from home. I know that to take me inside those first six hours for you. What was going on in your head. Jetlag the jet lag. It was the sound of GonNa you know of across the city streets that were so filled with sound and I I think one of the first images that really stays with me was watching. African women walk through the streets with bundles on their heads. And this had almost been this kind of cliche image growing up right the minute you see some cartoon of an African woman it has something on her head. And to the point where it was almost defensive when you saw it as a cartoon and then to get into the real world of this and see the beauty and the brilliance of their straight backs and the balance and To see these huge bundles on their head as they walk through the street selling everything from plantain chips to plastic bags of water And to see you know little black kids running through the streets as well all of that Was it felt lovely in this way and also very surprising I think the noise of our really Interesting to me in that. It reminded me of course a lot of wind. My family spent time in Mumbai was the same kind of crazy traffic in the streets But but here every Person we saw was my complexion just about and every sign we saw a billboard was a black people and this was something of course we had never experienced in the US except for White Jesus which was also released. Oh so all these black and brown faces in the streets on the mopeds everywhere on boards. Yeah and still and still white. Jesus Jesus you know the missionaries did their work we did. God makes me laugh. There's almost a whole boy. There's almost a whole show there So there were you know. It's interesting even about white Jesus when When we get sober about it I talked to people about it about how they could. You know see white cheeses and in all of this black and Brown and And believe that to be Jesus and And what people said was really interesting. It's like that's just the body. That's not who we see as our savior like that that it's almost like looking at a cross right. This is just this something that represents what we believe in but is not necessarily. We don't think that a white man is going to save so so. I thought that was really interesting to really kind of investigate that because I I was like wait. A second is up with this so it was Something that was eye opening for me in the way that I went into The country thinking about Certain things one way and left thinking about them another way. That's fascinating well. There's a whole bunch of activities offered during this year of return trip that you are on. There's a natural hair expo first bath of return a naming ceremony. Were you at any point? Skeptical about some of these some of these add-ons and maybe what the point of some of these things. Where I mean you mentioned already that they weren't free and I. I wonder if some of them gave you either. Kinda hokey feeling or a feeling that maybe somebody was was taking advantage of what clearly was very deep experience for you and for your children you know I. I didn't participate in a lot of that and and I was very intentional about that. I really wanted to go to Ghana And see if it was a place I could feel that I belong to and I think in terms of the naming ceremony. I know people who participated in that and were completely moved by it I know about the African naming ceremony and and I do believe in that. I do believe that That idea of having a baby bring it into the world and waiting to see who they are before naming them and in the same way that to go back to Africa to go back to the motherland right and and get a name. There is a very moving thing But but I didn't want I didn't want to participate in it because I really went there with a certain intention and it really was not to mock what they were doing or to To say that that's not right. I again going back to capitalism. I did question that like you know. Are they trying to get my American dollars or is there some truth in this so Natural hair ceremony. I thought that was interesting because two black women. Don't get in a room and not talk about here. I mean that's what we you know. Here is a very huge part of our culture in conversation. I mean we have this amazing here. You know we have this here that can do so many things so of course you know. We make choices about what's going to happen with our hair at the workplace. What's going to happen with our hair in the public space? Who CAN TOUCH OUR HAIR? Who can't touch our hair And so so that it made sense to me but again it wasn't what I wanted to be a part of with my family on my journey back to Africa Jacqueline. I read your accounts. They reminded me you know. There are similar programmes in Israel designed to give American Jews a connection to the country while visiting for the first time in a lot of people see these trips as eye-opening some see them as inauthentic propaganda to build support for the state of Israel. I wonder if you sensed the politics are very very different but I wonder if you sense any of the a a similar or at least analogous conflict Well you know. Birthright is a much older program and And Israel is a much richer. Place I mean Africa has the rich soil but the land has been raped for so many generations I do of course there is a similarity and you know Establishing birthright program for People who might not have a connection to Africa because so many generations of their family have been in the US Are Not in the. Us outside of Africa So I I think that there is this sense that it makes sense. It makes sense to this program. And there's this idea that People are going to approach it in very different ways right. I talk to people who who would not even think about doing something like this And I've talked to people who went and did it and were changed but but I i. It's interesting because as a as someone of the African Diaspora. I do think now that every black child should go to Africa at some point And I didn't think that before I went. Now that's fascinating. Yeah you you you think. It's an experience that every black child would benefit from which which argues if that's true for a vastly expanded return initiative birthright pro birthright like program for millions of kids And I think the US should pay for. It would be amazing. The United States government. Yeah yeah that would be amazing. Isn't it you know Puerto Reparations? Just pay for that. Birthright trip birthright trips to Israel are free not paid by the government of course although maybe some people suspect that they're they're paid by private foundations who who think that it's important for young American Jews to go have that connection. Yeah well I wish we had that kind of money but we know what happened to black money in this country so You know if they're those private foundations out there. That could help make this happen. I would. I wouldn't mind that at all So so it'd be interesting to see how it happened. A fascinating argument though that to make that. There is a renewed reparations debate in this country people talk a primarily about money although it's about so much more about building wealth about wealth stolen generational wealth stolen. But here's an idea that has much more cultural currency right. I'm having all of us. Contribute to the to the return at least momentarily or spiritually of of black kids To where they're people came from It'd be amazing. I think it's I think it's a fascinating concept I had not. I had not heard that argument before. I WanNa play you just a little bit of an interview from the CBC. In Canada Ghanaian American writer. Yahya Jesse who spoke about her trip to Ghana and the transformative experience of Turing The Cape Coast Slave Castle which would become the basis for her novel. Homegoing listen so in two thousand nine I got a grant from Stanford University where I was studying to travel to Ghana and conduct research for this novel And it was while there that I took a tour of the Cape Coast Castle which is a slave castle in Cape coast in the central region of Ghana. And I had never been there before had never really heard about it before And it was on this tour that the tour guides started to talk to us about how the British soldiers who lived and worked in this castle with sometimes Mary the local women and then from there he took us down to see the dungeons and I was so struck by the idea that there could be women up above walking free kind of unaware of what was going on below them author. Yod Jesse talking about her experience visiting the Cape Coast Castle on the Cape Coast in Ghana and the basis of her novel. Homegoing I'm speaking with Jacqueline Woodson. Jacqueline hold the line for just a moment. We're going to take a pause and that I want to talk about some of your experiences Seeing similar things seeing slave castle during your trip to Ghana with your family as part of the return initiative that you went on Ghana's year return is an initiative to encourage the descendants of slaves to visit the country where thousands of Africans were sold into the Atlantic slave trade writer. Jacqueline Woodson participated in. What's called the Year of return? She wrote about the mix of emotions that she experienced during her trip much more from Jacqueline Woodson and her travel memories on. Todd's will it's wanting support for NPR and the following message come from our Sponsor Target Entrepreneur. Ray Phillips reflects on the mentorship and support. He's received from target throughout his journey really to have a company like target. Extend a helping hand and guide. Us along in the process. It makes all the difference for any striving company looking to play on a higher level. Learn more about how target supports diverse entrepreneurs at target dot com slash founders? We love do you talk about the news with your friends? Your family or perfect strangers. Get the facts. You need to be up to speed on this busy new cycle so you can share what you know on the news. Roundup find the podcast in your feet every Friday on a secret military recording a sound so haunting one scientist believed it could change the world when mind was racing as I listened to this and I thought this this is the way join. Npr's visit Delia. For the first episode of our new season speaking with writer Jacqueline Woodson about her trip to Ghana for the country's Year of return initiative and what returning to Africa means as an African American straddling the line of multiple identities Jacqueline I mentioned fellow writer. Yeah Jesse we also played some of her sound from the CBC In Canada in an interview describing visit to a slave castle on one of her trips. And you and your family went to a slave castle during your journey there. What was that experience like for you? Walking where enslaved Africans were kept for weeks? If not months you know I think if I had been in the castle alone Or in the fort's alone it would have been a diffic- Dif- different experience and I had heard from so many people about the experience that I feel like I had my cards up around it But I think if I had been alone I would have probably broke down and cried because what is true is the energy is still there. The smells are still there You know the sounds of the slamming gates are still there. You walk out into the courtyard. And the guy is telling you how the women were chosen To be raped and then B and given a bath so that they could be presented To the rapist again and again and and And you think about the hundreds of bodies piled into these very very tiny spaces and how fed it though spaces became and the deep disregard of the history of the black and Brown body and I think All of that definitely comes rushing back to you And I write about this in the Times article you see the water and the water is so beautiful in this way. And also so heartbreaking because it was the point of no return people stepped out onto those ships and never saw home again but you could really feel that deep despair in those spaces and And for me. It's also this idea that as enslaved people we were not meant to survive right so many of us died in those for so many of us died on those ships so many of us died once we got to You know the US the Caribbean to your wherever The trading took us And so many of us died during the hundreds of years of being enslaved and that In the fact that we survived is amazing. And it's what I tell my kids every single day But also standing there with my family and thinking again. Wow We survived this and therefore we are amazing So it was definitely a lot a lot of feelings going on. I didn't break down but but every sense is involved. You know you hear it you smell it you see it. You feel it You know you tasted the many you open your mouth you Feel the hunger of the people It it's just it's a lot and and I would. I would do it again. I'm so glad I went to that Ford to I'm so glad I saw the water. I saw the passage way and and I'm so glad for how evocative it was. You Know I. I had similar experiences in different places. the only thing. I can tell you is that some of them left a scar and feelings feelings. That have never gone away. And I've been in places like that for myself that I thought I would never want to go back and actually really hard for me to know that it was a better experience for you and one. That's wound up being one of connection and positively with your children. Well you know there's a saying about about people of the African diaspora and Africans in general. Is We carry with us. Our wounds and our medicine right and so that idea that you can go to these very hurt places and they can be healing. Are you know how to heal from them Because it's about survival so and I think that's why I write for adolescents. To go back to those heartbreaking places and and create something positive about it of course of course that makes much more sense I think about myself as an adult and how hard that was for many years visiting similar places that just as I said left a scar and and for adolescence it can be so much different. Especially when they're guided by an adult and by a writer but by an adult who can hold their hand Well I'm interested in in how you grew up thinking about Africa and how it was different from the Africa you saw once you found yourself in Ghana. Was there a clash there? You know I grew up with a very theoretical Africa I didn't my my family Came from the south right so they we come from a history on my mom's side of enslavement. And we come from a history on my dad's side of free blacks and and it's just interesting that in that narrative there was not Africa so the Africa that I knew I one of those people who probably as a kid. Africa was a country. Right until I learned about I learned that it's a continent and it's huge in many many countries but but I didn't have a lot of information about Africa until I started studying it and then even then like my connection to it was so far removed that even saying African American didn't feel like it was a connection to Africa if felt like it was a connection to being African American Which is complicated and hard to explain? But it wasn't until and then every you know again. I talk about this like the cartoons the racism in the cartoons the supposedly African quote unquote savages in the bones in their noses and all of these These really Destructive stereotypes of what That represented on television about Africa. Push me further away from it right And it wasn't until I really started understanding my own genetic history that I began to understand the greatness of of of that continent and The history there something that you were concerned about ahead of the trip you've written was how your family your white partner. Juliet and your biracial kids would be received and looked upon by people looking at you in Ghana. How was your family received? I you know I was often called sister. I think of the family. I probably move through Ghana the easiest and I was traveling with my friend Katherine McKinley. Who goes back and forth to Ghana and WHO's Biracial And Very Ghanaian identified I think my kids. It's so interesting because they're African people in Ghana because this is where I experienced it were so friendly and so kind to the children right. Even the other children like the minute. They saw our kids. It's like you know running to play with them and there's just this kind of openness of embracing family I think For for my partner they were. We constantly got asked if we were sisters. I mean if you saw my partner is ridiculous. But but maybe they didn't mean you know I all biologically sisters so it was It was a lovely lovely reception of course in places like the markets where people were trying to sell us. Lots and lots of stuff. I think my kids got seriously. Overwhelm US Because not only were items being pushed at them but they were being pushed at them in this very friendly way right so so so and they're they're very polite kids and then they're not going to say you know. Get that out of my face. I'm not interested. They'll engage in a conversation while walking backwards but but it but it was When we talked about it afterwards they were ready to go back you know. They're always there ready to see another part of Africa. They're ready to travel back to Ghana. So that makes me think it was a real positive experience for them. We have to take a short break. But we'll be back with more from author Jacqueline Woodson. Just a moment. Todd this is one A. From W. Amu an NGO support for this podcast and the following message come from Uber. Uber is committed to safety and to continuously raising the bar to help. Make safer journeys for everyone for starters. All drivers are background checked before their first ride and screened on an ongoing basis and now uber has introduced a brand new safety feature called ride. Check which can detective trip goes unusually off course and check in to provide support to learn more about. Uber's commitment to safety visit Uber Dot com slash safety. Hi I'm a new Rhody and I am the new host of NPR's Ted Radio Hour. I am so excited because we are working on. A bunch of new amazing episodes were exploring big ideas about reinvention making amends and the psychological effects of climate change our first show drops March thirteenth. Please join me. This is one A. Returning now to our conversation with Jacqueline Woodson and her year of return experiences Jacqueline you write about how you experienced a kind of double consciousness. While they're belonging at at the same time not belonging and I think you started to allude to this a little bit a minute or two ago. What does that feel like to you is is that feeling? That that you feel can be reconciled. Yes I think it is. I think it is feeling I have here in this country right. I am of this place you know I. I'm from this place but I really I'm in this place but my I of this place I don't know I'm very American in so many ways and in so many ways. Not You know the same with New York. I grew up in the south until I was seven. And so those imprinting years. I'm very southern so I feel kind of outside in New York all the time and so getting to Ghana and seeing everyone who is my complexion Or darker or a slightly lighter Walking like ideal you know our language the way we speak is different but the openness is the same feeling very southern to me And then it not being my place. Right it. It's kind of For me in the end it did feel like yes. This this is this is how I will always walk the world and yeah in more than one place. Talk a little bit more about that. That two feet in two places or feet in multiple places feeling because it's fascinating you know it's a it's a it's it's at once Kind of A. It's a gift right when you look at it. Positively if I didn't have feet in so many world I wouldn't have been able to write thirty two books. I mean you know it's it's kind of it. It's what bills empathy is how we begin to understand And at the same time I do wonder what it would be like to exist solely in one place in one body as one being and that's never been the case for me So so going to Africa. I didn't go to Ghana. I didn't feel like I was going to be completely outside of simply by the color of my skin I knew that some part of me was going to have a belonging there But I didn't know that I would at the same time feel This outsider ness and where the outsider would play out. It played out You know of course in economics. It played out in language. I feel like I can't I played out. I moved differently than a lot of African women even though my daughter moves like the African women so that was all very interesting to me. Will you said that there isn't enough space in the New York? Times travel section to to capture the enormity of this experience. I hope we've gotten closer in this time we've spent together On the air. But if you could go down a road that you haven't explored yet in writing about your trip to Ghana or your children's experience or your experience with your partner I don't know of. What do you think that would be I think I would. I would want to go down the road of my children who identify as black and biracial right. You know. They always say we're black and Biracial to to make sure both of those parts of themselves are are acknowledged. And what does it mean to be black and Biracial in Ghana What it mean to be completely immersed in an African culture for say five years ten years. What would that look like for them? I think there are so many roads and I also think I want to hear other voices I wanNA. There's so much room to write about this to write about our experiences. As African Americans Caribbean Americans and as Africans So so I have the roads that I would like to explore but I also am always so interested in the voices of other writers telling these stories. We've talked on this show before about how American journalistic views of Africa can be so very narrow you mentioned before the idea that Africa's one thing of course it isn't. This sounds like an opportunity to broaden that perspective make it even more granular than before to get more voices talking about the personal experiences visiting Africa exactly. Well we talked a little bit earlier about what you really wanted to get out of. This trip was some truth. I I suppose that's what writers are always looking for whether they're fiction or nonfiction writers. At least I hope so. I think the truth ultimately is what you're looking for do you. Do you think you got it. I think I got some of the truth. I think there are many of them and I think each time I go back. I'll get some more but for me. I feel like the truth that I got was that I am of that place to and And that matters that that I can go there. And and even with the sense of belonging I felt to also feel that sense of belonging and next time to go and explore what that truth means and how that truth manifest with more time there with knowing more people with doing more stuff So yeah you're it's you know I think as writers we're constantly searching for the truth that matter to us and by extension matter to a greater good in a bigger world and I'm I'm at the beginning of him and I think sometimes that that sense of belonging that you get a little bit of a sense of your first time you go to a place that can give way to a sense of longing to go back and be part of it and maybe that's in your future to Jacqueline Woodson author of Brown girl dreaming and read at the Bone Jacqueline. What a pleasure. Thank you for joining us. Thank you nice talking to you to this. Conversation was produced by Haley. Blasingame edited by Matthew Simonsen to learn more about them and the rest of the team. Visit the website at the one. Eight DOT ORG. This program comes to you from W. Amu part of American University in Washington it's distributed by NPR until we meet again. I'm todd will look thank you so much for listening. This is one A.

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Author Jacqueline Woodson On The Power Of Storytelling

On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts

46:41 min | 7 months ago

Author Jacqueline Woodson On The Power Of Storytelling

"From NPR and Wvu are Boston I'm Anthony Brooks. This is on point. Jacqueline Woodson has written over thirty books mostly for kids and young adults. She writes about family and Friendship Love and loss all the while consistently and deeply examining the concept of race and identity in this country. She's built a career on. With kids two stories, so, how is she processing this moment in America right now? And how can we talk to our kids about it and joining me now from New York City is Jacqueline Woodson. She's an acclaimed children's book author. Her books. Include Harbor me. Brown girl dreaming the day you begin after two pack and D foster and miracles, boys. She's the twenty twenty recipient of. Of the Hans Christian Andersen Award the first American author to receive the honor in over twenty years, and among other awards. She's received the carbonic at award for Newbury honors. to Kereta Scott King awards the Langston Hughes Medal and a National Book Award and Jacqueline Woodson. It's a great honor and a great pleasure to have you with us today. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. It's good to be here. It really is and I want to start off by talking to you about the virtual. A Kid Lit Rally for black lives. Matter which just happened recently you helped organize it. It was a two hour event. And it aimed to both empower and educate children about race and racism and provide a safe space for conversations about how parents and teachers can to young people about it. Tell me tell me how you thought about this event, and it was important to set it up. I think it was important for us to set it up I. organized it with Jason Reynolds in Alexander was. We felt like young people were getting left out of the conversation, and we because we're in touch with them, and we see them we we see their fear, rec- either confusion around this, and because we primarily right literature for young people. We knew that we could have a meaningful and. Awful conversation with them through the platform of a rally. And, so we started organizing started getting other writers together. It had originally been planned that we would just do this to our rally, but then eventually we put it up online for people to continue to watch whenever they need it to. It's really an amazing thing to watch I. Guess You had some fourteen thousand people who logged on, and of course it lives on you can. You can watch it right now, but. An Amazing Response what did that tell you? What did you hear I? Guess from from the young people in in what it says about this moment that we're in. It says that people to me are are willing to learn willing to listen are hungry for information about how to move through this moment, it's it was gratifying to see so many parents watching it with their kids, and we set it up so that the early part was directed at the young people, and the later part was directed at the educators and caregivers. And and and it. Basically told us what we already knew that this is a this. We need to be having this conversation continuously. And we need to be having it on multiple platforms for multiple audiences so that the change can happen on a major level. I WANNA. Play a clip of you actually if you don't mind just because I loved the way you addressed these kids and and fellow artists and authors and publishers, because you really gave kind of a history lesson that puts the current moment I think in a in a really important context and in a in a context that I think is. Becomes understandable for young people, so here's a small snippet of what you had to say. This country has not always done the right thing from enslavement where black people were sold and used for free labor and separated from their families and children separated from their mom like all of that, that was a mess. That was this country. To having kids, little kids work in factories instead of going to school that there was something wrong with that, and we fought against it again and again there has been unfair stuff that children have had to fight against. And the people marching and fighting in trying to change the world weren't just doing it for themselves. They were doing it to make the world better for all of us, so that's a segment clip from Jacqueline Woodson the author Jacqueline Woodson. Who? Helped organize the Kid Lit Rally for Black. Lives earlier this month and Jacqueline. I I'm just struck by the way you put the current moment in a sort of broader historical context. Tell me you're thinking about that. In terms of explaining this moment to kids. We have to understand that nothing. Happening ever happens in a bubble. It's all part of something that happened before. They think it and and I think that helps us understand that this is not new, and so I wanted I think kids. Don't always get a lot of the truth about American history in schools and at their dinner tables, and and I wanted to break down so that they could see themselves in inside this history and understand how we got to this place. So I'm always thinking about the historical perspective of whatever moment where in in the way history tends to repeat itself and the way in order to break that cycle. We have to know the past Is there something I mean I can I sort of feel two ways about about this I mean on the one hand we've been here before. This has happened to us before. This has happened for a long long time. Can lead to a sort of sense of discouragement. Leads to a sense of comfort in some way and that we've gotten through it before. We'll get through it again I mean. Can you talk a little bit about? Yeah for me, the KEA survival. And I think about how people of Color. Primarily Black and Brown folks came here and we weren't meant to survive right. We were meant to work until we died. Produce other enslaved people who worked until they died. We weren't meant to become teachers and lawyers in presidents and writers and you know. Reported all the ways that we exist in the world and just knowing that small bit that we have inside of us this Survival mechanism is really important and I think that's really important for all people to know right about themselves as a means of like. Yeah, we're in a moment and we can move through this moment because people have moved through moments. Similar a worse before you know, this is not the first pandemic. This is not the first revolution. This is not the first civil rights movement. So knowing that yeah, it's hard. It's a struggle and struggle continues and each time we get a little. We become a little better off because of the struggle, important perspective Jacqueline Woodson is with us She is the author of over thirty books picture books young. Adult books and a few adult books as well listeners. We want you to join the conversation. Tell us how your talking with your kids about what we're going through in this country right now with black lives matter the protests, even pandemic. How are your kids taking it all in? How are you explaining this moment to them? Give us a call at one, eight, hundred, four, two, three, eight, two, five, five. That's one eight hundred four to three talk. One of the things that you told talked about at the kid. Let's rally is that was your own experience when you were a child for part of your childhood in the south, growing up during or a little child during the civil rights movement. So, what did you understand about that? Moment? Those protests when you were a kid. I think the main thing that I. Was I understood was that I was in love. And that I was protected and that my family had my back. And, so so I existed inside a bubble inside a revolution right. and I knew that things were going on. I knew that changes were coming in. They were scary. I knew that I knew about the kids getting fire hosed so I had like snippets come in, but the constant message was. You're going to be alright Jackie. You're going to be all right, so so looking back on it from the adult perspective. Like. Wow! I lived through that. You know I was a conscious human being through that and I'm okay, but that so that that's my memory of that. This idea of of of being safe feeling safe of feeling loved in the midst of of this kind of turmoil strikes me as so so important. It is and I think What's important? I'm sure my mom I'm sure my mom, sure uncles and cousins and aunts were afraid, but what they didn't pass on to me, was at fear, and I think, and there was also a candidness about the way we spoke about things in black homes in black and brown homes. We can't avoid talking about race. You know it's a life or death situation and so growing up knowing. Seeing that seeing that bravery seeing that like? I'm sure they were afraid but but that wasn't. What got message to me. one of the messages that you deliver. Is this decision to be anti racist? What what does that mean? Is that a decision I think for I can't imagine not being I can't imagine not not doing the work to change the world because a if we don't do it, who will also? It's how I was raised. I was raised with this idea of impacting a greater good. It wasn't just about me like nothing is just about me. It's about what what I'm GONNA. Leave behind. It's about who I'm going to help. Lift up! It's about how the world is. is going to be changed because of the work I've done individually and collectively so so an anti-racism. It's it's. It's kind of a no brainer like racism should not exist. So what's the work we have to do to make? It not exist anymore at a country that was built on racism. Right, so it's a huge amount of work to be done and of course it's not just black and Brown people. Who should be doing it? 'cause we didn't invent it. You know. So An, it's the work of the allies. And the allies understanding why this work is important, because it's not just impacting black and Brown people impacting all people and so so it was never a question for me. Listeners. Tell us how you're talking with your kids about what we're going through in this country right now. We're talking with the author Jacqueline Woodson. She's written wonderful books for kids and young adults, and we're asking about how to help our children process this moment in America take a short break. We'll be right back. I'm Anthony. Brooks this is on point. There are only five months to go until election day and week or even every few hours. There's a new twist that could affect. Who Will Win the White House to keep up with the latest tune into the NPR. Politics podcast every day to find out what happened and what it means for the election. This is on point. I'm Anthony Brooks we're talking with author Jacqueline Woodson about the pandemic. The protests in this moment in America. She's an acclaimed children's and young adult book author who has written over thirty books. She's won lots of awards for her writing. She's the author of books such as Brown girl. Dreaming the day you begin, harbor me. Feathers show way and miracles. Boys her picture book. The day you begin has been. been at the top of the New York Times bestseller lists for for many weeks and Jacqueline I'd I'd love if you could do a short reading for US I wanted to ask if you could to do that. Reading from the beginning of your two thousand fourteen book Brown, Girl. Dreaming Your Memoir. In which you look back at your childhood living in both South Carolina and New York in the nineteen sixties and Seventies. Sure I am blonde that long from the time are far from the place where my great great grandparents, the deep rich land on free dawn till dusk, unpaid Jiangkou, water from scooped out gourds looked up and follow the skies mirrored constellation. To Freedom. I am born as the south explodes too many people, too many years enslaved emancipated, but not free. The people who look like me keep fighting and marching and getting killed so that today. Twelve, nineteen, sixty, three, and every day from this moment on. Children like me in grow up. Grow up learning and boating and walking and riding wherever we want. That's Jacqueline Woodson reading from her two thousand fourteen book girl Brown girl dreaming. Jacqueline it's it's so beautiful. I wanted to ask you when you were a child in the south. What was the state of segregation? The South that you lived in as a child? I lived in Greenville South Carolina and I lived in Immunity called Nickel town, which was an all black neighborhood and even deep into the seventies. When we go back and forth my grandmother will take us to the back of the bus. I mean there was still. A serious serious segregated south happening. Through I would say to the mid seventies, and even though it wasn't of course written into law anymore it was. Kind of code of the of Greenville at that time. And how did your you're that? You're living there with your mother and your grandmother? I have that correctly, right, uh-huh and my grandfather and your grandfather. How did they explain segregation to you? And what did they explain if anything about what was dangerous about it? you know I don't remember too much talking about segregation. It just was there was just. What it was I, mean the saying when I came to New York. City and we lived in Bushwick and it was the edge of white light white. Folks are moving out. And it was a black and Latino community that was our neighborhood. Ridgewood was predominantly Italian mission Irish, and Bushwick was predominantly Latino and that that wasn't what we talked about this our. Our neighborhood these people it was more about the danger of going into white neighborhoods. It was more about the mistreatment of white people against black people, and and what stores we should, and shouldn't go into because the people in that were racist. You know my grandma. We didn't go into the dime store. Which I think might have been a woolworths. Follow you around. They're not gonNA. Give him my money and it was just kind of matter of fact. This is this is how we do it. You know if they're not going to treat US fairly than we are not going to give them our money. And so that's what I understand like. This is how you do it. Jack! We've got some callers on the line. We've got some questions for you. Let's go to Carol. Who is calling from Norton Massachusetts Carol? You're on the air with Jacqueline Woodson go ahead. Thanks for the call. Hi Jacqueline I'm a big Fan I actually teach at Lesley University in the Graduate School of Education and I'm. Teaching an online course right now actually is ending this week in the masters of Elementary Education, and ironically I say serendipitous Louis I was planning to assign the other side this week. and possibly read it aloud to my students on zoom call as a great follow up to what we've been talking about so growing up in the New York section of Brooklyn in the six fifties and sixties. It was very natural for me to be friends with children of all shapes, sizes, and colors never really made any difference to me but of course that's not the case for everyone today and I'm hearing a lot online and even on NPR about White people not wanting to be friends with black people and people of Color, and I just take exception to that It's been my. Work and my life. Whatever wondering if you would be willing to discuss the meaning of the other side at that, it has for you and how you might be able to use it in the classroom or children as a way to. This subject and thank you so much and I. Hope to meet you in person someday. Thank you so much for the call. Jacqueline Gadsden. Sure thanks so much, Carol Wing Anthony and thanks for your question I think the other side is. A very accessible tax, the story of black girl and a white girl who live in town that is literally a fence separates the town. Literal fence separates the black side from the white side in each child parent tells her. The other side is dangerous to not go to the other side, and it's book about children and activism about how sometimes we have to question the rules that are in place and. And change them. Ourselves are figure out ways around them It's actually a book. I wrote in the nineties, and it's actually based on my experience in Park Slope. Brooklyn leave it or not, I mean. I don't think that's too hard to believe I think a lot of times. We tend to believe that new. York is this huge melting pot, but it's very segregated. We know It has the highest. Has the largest amount of segregated schools in the country so. When I when I wrote the other side I I based it on. The fact that I lived in a neighborhood where they one of very few families of Color Blah, and also as you move through the neighborhood, they're blocks where no people of color live on and blocks where you know that all people of color so And then when he did the illustrations, he said it back in the past, and I was really cranky about that and eventually I realized that. That he had given me a gift because I think this country is much more comfortable about talking about segregation as a thing of the past as posted talking about what's happening now and for me, it became a doorway to talking about the president by starting with the past so I tweet the book a little bit I wanted to make sure both girls were equally empowered. I think A. Better Book for this moment actually is each kindness because I. I think that's one of the things that we're struggling with in this country. Right now is how to be kind be kind on social media how to be kind of person. How did you know how to talk to people so that they're able to hear us? without without rage. and I think you can get points across. That are very angry points, but you can get him across with kindness so so that's what I. That's my saying about the other side. Interesting I'm intrigued by what you said about Teaching kindness and trying to project kindness on social media. That's a challenge though it can be isn't. Responded this idea that social media seems like such A. an incubator in a way of rage and extreme and how we need to sort of. Of that and I don't know help. Our kids navigate that. Yeah I always say th-. Before you send out a text or a tweet, imagine it coming to you and how you would feel getting. Right, and so you hold up that mirror of to your actions, and I think it makes you think I think even if you took ten minutes and reread and revise, you can say something. That has the same impact, but is said with love and because the truth is i. know this sounds so remedial, but if we're going to do this work together, we have to be kind. That's all there is to. Know? Let's go to Kay. WHO's calling from Decatur Georgia? You're on the air. Thanks for the call. Hey. Thanks for having me. I just wanted to say. I have a grandson WHO's currently eight years old and we ended up having to have the talk with him. When he was four years old his mom had been a victim of identity theft, and so judge had given her paperwork to keep in her car at all times, because the person was still using her main. and Head of car accident at Walmart you, know. Of course you call the police. And when the police came, you know. They ran her licensed and the girl is a criminal using her name. So you know the officer, of course it. Back and she says Oh. I'm a victim of identity. Please look behind my car seat. I have the paperwork. He would not do it. He put her in handcuffs. He almost threw her in the car. People were filming and my grandson was the car with his mom and he's like. Screaming and crying so My daughter called out my own number. The person called me, said look, here's what's going on. Of course, I'm zooming the get to them. And all of it could have been settled. Had he just looked behind her seat and saw the court paperwork? So because it was such a commotion of the Supervisor Came Out the supervisor did listen to. My daughter, did toward the paperwork out did see that it was not her. but what happened to my grandson? If he was terrified of course I had to keep him. We couldn't send him to school Every time he saw police, he was ducking behind me, so we ended up having to have this conversation about people judging you by the color of your skin. That Mommy didn't do anything wrong. You know that He didn't do anything wrong and it just ended up. You know trying to explain to a four year old child. You know why why? Why did mom was treated like that was horrible? You know and it was just. US having to find a way to explain to a four year old about racial injustice and we still happen. To do these conversations so what I always do I just tell them the truth. It's their fault. Evil with evil when they did and still evil today. Can you thank you so much for that and I'm so sorry that your grandson went through this that your entire family went through this jacqueline. Do you want to respond to k? Now, it's heartbreaking. I mean bless his heart. One thing that I do love his. How resilient young people are at I'm so glad you're there for him. Kate I'm K-. I'm so glad his mom is there I'm so glad that the paperwork was there. 'cause dot forbid we seen what happens to people of Color in so many of these situations than it's terrifying in heartbreaking and and you know. I always think I talk about it in Brown girl dreaming my grandfather constantly saying you're as good as anybody. You have a right to be as good as anybody, and just the fat, knowing that it's of course, not his fault. It's you know it it it has. His not his mom's fault at this is, it's terrible. and I think you did you're doing what you can at an? It's amazing and a fabulous and just keep loving him up and. And him the right way to be and the way to justice I think there's I. The book I'm thinking of right off the top of my head. Well now he's eight, but Abram Kennedy's book I'm anti-racist. Baby was a great book, and Another book called. It's not my fault. I think which is about a kid who seeing all of this injustice in the world, and finally is like okay. What am I going to do about it i? Think that's the. The title I have to look that up but there there are so many great books. There's a book called stamps from the beginning that Abrams road, but he and Jason Renos an amazing writer wrote a middle grade version, and it would be great to do that as an audio book are to read that along with him, so he can, and he will through that book completely understand what happened, and and and how amazing magic and beautiful and strong years. Jacqueline WanNA. Ask You You made the point earlier in the hour. That black and Brown people talk a lot about race because they they have to keep themselves safe you. You talked about this at the at the kid let rally as well. The kid lit for black lives. Rally as well. How do we include White Kids in the conversation? White Kids who want to be involved in the struggle to be anti-racist. The same way. About it I mean I think everyone needs to be talking about race and I remember as a kid. you know we got slavery? People call the ICEE enslavement because we weren't slaves enslaved and and to call people, slaves take the onus off the people who wanted to own black and brown bodies so I mean starting with talking about the history of enslavement, peop- and white, wanting to own lack umbrella bodies, and really having these conversations with your kids about the truth about what white supremacy is in looks like and and and the different roles that people play in it and these hard conversations that happen I don't think you have to have them alone. Because the books are out there you know white fragility. Fragility is a great book to read their so many books that can help. People have the conversations with their young people and one thing they must not do is center black, and Brown folks as victim I think that's the most dangerous thing you can do. As a white person as a white parent, because that makes us seem less than that makes us seem like other I. Mean You have to have honest conversations about why the system is in place as it is and I'm always questioning people who live in very homogeneous communities, and and don't even have a black friend. They can ask a question to. It's just our. You know our Brown friend are queer. Like what is it that makes us live inside. Certain bubbles so I think really starting to question that really starting to talk at dinner and if you have nothing to say. Find a book to talk about that talks about these issues for talking today with Jacqueline. Woodson about this moment, America, in America, about how to have conversations about race. With young people and our conversation will continue I'm Anthony. Brooks will be right back. This is on point. I'm Gregory Warner with NPR's rough translation, so there's a holiday in the Netherlands. Where every year thousands of white folks where black face some people are trying to end that tradition, but in a Dutch way you talk, you talk you talk you talk you talk until you reach consensus. Can you fight racism in a way that brings the whole country with you. That's on NPR's rough translation. This is on point I'm Anthony Brooks on our program tomorrow. We're GONNA. Talk about Democratic nominee Joe, Biden's presidential nominee that is Joe Biden's potential running-mate Sushi pick as a vice presidential nominee, and why make your case leave us a voicemail at six, one, seven, three, five, three, zero, six, eight three again. That's six, one, seven, three, five, three, zero, six eight three today. We're talking with Jacqueline Woodson about this moment in America. She's the author of. Of over thirty books for children and young adults, and she's won numerous awards for her writing her most recent book is read at the bone. Her Picture Book That Day you begin has been at the top of the New York. Times bestseller list for many weeks and Jacqueline. We've still got some more callers. I'd love to go to a couple right away. Andrea is calling from Baltimore. Andrea, you're on the air. Thanks for the call. Thank you tell you I'm like way up in age now I was in New York in the sixties when he had the rioting and stuff like that. And you know it seems like as one conversation with all most of so called lease, and actually align yourself with the system and work with Assistant. Like you know, teach people about races. You know I am not Cathy at all, but these people already know by racism because like. I WanNa know what's the point of keep talking even marching and protesting well she for years, but this is not gonna end and the people trying to do it. Don't even want it to end I want to ask you. Don't you say we should have a different conversation now? They're wrapping a chain. It's up to us to change and by that I. Mean exactly what I mean a country country make sure with him and they should i. don't think that this is ever going to work, and we need to go through our shelves, not only do we. Get from the Caucasian people. We get it from other people in the morning. Look like them. The more they discriminate against them case in point all the people who are able genders. They take all the money so much they don't. They don't. They don't use stores. And they take all their money out. The male flies is one good example here thing. Is You all because we are so? Okay, I'M GONNA I'M GONNA jumping because I think you expressed your question, really really well, and I want to Jacqueline a chance to answer it, but the the thrust of that Jacqueline. What's what's the point of keeping the struggle going? I think that's a really great question. Angie and I'm so glad you. Raised it and I I remember some of the struggles of the sixties especially around Look free lunches in school and and people marching I remember that one of the march was no money, no food, no school, and and basically people saying you know we're going to get our kids out of the system if this doesn't work and I. Think That's what Black folks saying. Now you look at all of the You know. Hollywood black lives rallies with black lives. All of these people creative writers television people You know playwrights actors. All saying you know what if this system doesn't get six, we're leaving it and we are taking our black money with us, and so I think two things are going on right now. I think black folks are saying. We're going to give you a chance to get this right, but we're done. We're out like like we know the power. We have in this country. We know you know what blacks it would look like here and so at and saying you know, show up. Don't just throw up a black. Black lives matter sign on your website, but show me how you're doing the work inside Your Corporation inside your theater inside Hollywood inside your stores, and we do have to make those I completely agree with you. I will walk an extra. You know ten blocks to shop at a black owned store. If that's if that's what's going to make the difference, you know and I think it's twofold. What's happening right now? I think we are doing something that is different than saying. You know what I, but also look at the Montgomery. Bus Boycott. It's like you know what we don't need to read. Your buses go broke. And things changed and I. think that's what we're doing now. We're saying we're going to be out here where we're not. We're not participating in these systems that have historically not worked for us. Are you encouraged as well Jacqueline by the fact that a lot of these demonstrations were seeing all across the country seem to be a very multi racial. I am so encouraged by. I can't say this enough is young people. Young people are done. They are like what wait what? What is this country? You're trying to leave us with you know and this is across all racial lines, and that's what these demonstrations are looking like. They're looking like young. People and Young Black People Young Brown people. Yeah I, mean you know and they are queer and straight, and they are trans and they're saying you know what it stops here, Mike it stops with us like our grandchildren are not gonNa have to have this fight, so so that's very encouraging to me to the young people I say, I'm sorry and young people I say I got your back and I say get out there and do your thing and I support you one hundred percent so I am deeply encouraged by what the people are. Are doing good good I. Mean it's. It's good to hear good news. In this moment of deep deep deep challenge, I wanNA talk to you about how you talk to your own children about these issues, and there's a wonderful bonus at the end of Your Audio Book Harbor Me, which came out in two thousand eighteen. It tells the story about six kids who meet weekly in a room. They dubbed the art room. That's a RTD short for a room to talk, and they talk about their lives everything from deportation to racial profiling. But at the end of the book, you've included a short q. a with your son Jackson I believe he was ten years old at the time. He's twelve now. Is that right? S. So. I WanNa to just play a short piece because it's? It's lovely and I loved listening to this, so here's Jacqueline Woodson talking to her son Jackson. If you're in the art room. What would you talk about current events? Border Control. Breweries brutality stuff like that. What happy things would you talk about in the art room? Are they stopped ripping kid from their parents, let's that's interesting I mean that's a great thing to talk about. I know a lot of grown-ups who say oh. You shouldn't write that for kids because they're too young to hear that and they should still be reading fairytales, and they should still be living. What do you think about that? That's terrible if your kid in your parents do that then when you go out into the world, you're going to barely know anything about what's happening. That's Jackson talking to his mom. Jacqueline Woodson Gosh I just love that. There's another clip I wanNA play, but tell me a little bit about how this came to be. Did you say can I record you? I'm just curious about the dynamic that led to this wonderful moment between. So in the my daughter plays one of the characters in the audio book I play the teacher Miss. Laverne and Jacks wanted to play a role and he reads differently, so it would have been hard to give him the character of Amari because there are a lot of other line so I said how about this? How about at the end you and I just chat as we talk all the time, so let's let's just you know. Step into the studio and have a conversation and we can talk about whatever you WanNa. Talk about an and that's how that happened. At any surprise me. How what surprises! Well he you know. He called me out a couple of times because he was like at one point. I say you know you know. Some people have a mom and dad. Some people have two moms today. He's like well. WHAT ABOUT GENDER? I think? He's a non binary people. WHAT ABOUT GENDER NON conforming people? Okay. So but I love this point. He makes your kid and your parents do that. When you go out into the world, you're going to barely know anything about what's happening. If you if you try to hold back and only sort of tell them happy fairy tales I mean that just seems like such a profound idea and I think it's a mistake that parents often make with their kids. Right I mean we want to protect them. No, don't let them know about what's going on, you know. Let's read them and other fairy tale. Yeah, and let's teach him to be Navel Gazers. You know I think that that is the thing. The one thing that people who write for young people do is we do it with love. We do it with care. We do it with hope. You can't write a children's book without having hope in it. Even if there's not a quote, unquote happy ending there has to be hope somewhere in that narrative to keep. Keep that young person turning the page, and to have that young person. Walk Away from that book selling hopeful and I think that to say well. This book is to Real Life for my young person is is not seeing your young person and seeing how perceptive young people are they know something is happening. They know the world is not quite right right now and to kind of Islam. gaslight them into. thinking otherwise is unfair Jacqueline I can one more moment with you in Jackson, from the end of that Audio Book Harbor Me Here's here's Jackson with a question that I want to ask you, but I'm going to let Jackson ask you. What drove you into writing this book. You know how I always talk about I right because they have so many questions, not because they have answers and I was thinking about all the stuff, I was thinking about deportation, and what's going on with that? And what do we always talk about at home with the NERF guns don't play with them in the park. Because a kid got shot by the police because he had on Earth Gun, but it was hyper colored, and that couldn't have looked like an actual gun, so we get scared for you and I think when I get scared. Sometimes it helps to write about it and to create characters that talk about it because it helps me to understand it more. As Jacqueline Woodson talking to her son Jackson a another lovely moment. also sort of sad that a I mean. I mean lovely. He sounds so ahead of his years Jacqueline. Ten years old I'm just blown away. He's an old man. Always been like that, there's A. Go ahead. Sorry, no, no. Go ahead. Say it of heartbreaking. Guns, anyway we. We don't like him in the house kind of toy gun at anything. Just because that's who we are, but there's always some. Uncle a dad like you know giving him some present that he's ways one in, and then they get in, but it is. It is sad to have to curb the way your child plays right that way. Don't get to play for very long so. But I didn't mean to interrupt you. Didn't at all. Jacqueline what I was going to ask you about is he? Asset Great Chris Question about what sort of drove you into writing a book and you gave this really interesting answer just about how you're thinking about all the stuff in and and he used need to write to understand. I'd love it if he asked expand on that idea. I as I said to him I have so many questions and I think we can kinda lose our minds a little bit with all of the information coming at us so quickly, and no means of processing it from me. Riding allows me to process what is happening in the world what has happened in the world and to get a better understanding of it through the writing and rewriting reading out loud and researching and creating characters who can? Kind of. Beacon narrative that's hard of the question and helped me to see it better I. It's complicated. It's hard to explain, but I think of someone like Kioko, who has? he's from Puerto. Rico which makes him in American citizen. He has a monolingual, Spanish speaking parent that he has to translate for and the hatred that gets thrown at him because because his mother speaks beautiful language and the ridiculousness of that and. The fact that People's cultures constantly getting called into question and the thing about harbor me is I started writing that book a long time ago. I mean we've been dealing with mass incarceration in this country for a long time. We've been dealing with deportation in this country for a long time. We've been dealing with economic disparities for like long time, so so taking those kids and putting them in the room to talk about these questions that I've always had and that you know lots of kids have. Made Sense to me. I WanNa ask you about this particular moment, because kids on top of everything on top of these issues that we've been talking about about racial justice about the protests about black lives matter we're also they are also dealing with this corona virus and lockdown at home, and away from their friends, and all kinds of challenges that are associated with that. What are you hearing from them about this for about this sort of confluence of challenges right now? My son complains about teachers, not knowing how to use ill. I. Think that's one frustration for the young people you know. They're so ahead of us. In terms of using technology and here we come. We also like okay now. I gotta get to zoom call without like. How do we do this again? It's like. Zoo. So so I I definitely hear the frustration and the thing. My son said the other day was like I'm forgetting how to socialize with people, and that broke my heart because it is we. Are you know where pods where you know doing are sheltering where? Trying to figure out how to stay engaged, but we're engaged with a screen at the same time telling them to have less screen time you know it's it's all of these I don't know kind of contradictions going on and at the end of the day. They're like okay. So when is this thing going to be over at the same time? They're learning how to negotiate a main. Automatically! Put on their masks when we. Go into a store, and and again going back to their resilience, and their ways of being able to. kind of move like water with the Times is always. Gratifying Is that the hopeful. What's hopeful about this moment? I mean perhaps the pandemic offering them a chance I don't know to look up and see what's going on in their world. Even though that sounds contradictory, because of course, they're staring at screens the. Screens and everything, but there's something hopeful about that. I think I think there is a chance to more. There's gathering I mean even the family gathering getting around the table and having truck thoughtful conversations with your family. I think in terms of. Even engaging deeper via zoom right knowing that when you see that person, you're seeing inside their house. You're seeing inside their living room their bedroom. And you have a another kind of understanding of I think people are reading. More people are talking more, and even the marches and New York, you know people are heading to the marches and. And being allies and doing the work that needs to be done. Well Jacqueline Woodson was such a pleasure talking to this hour. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you Anthony Lewis Great. It really was. That's Jacqueline Woodson she's the acclaimed author of Brown girl. Dreaming the day you begin after to pack and D foster the forthcoming before the ever after among many other books listeners, you continue the conversation. Get the on point podcasts at our website on point radio DOT ORG. You can also follow us on twitter. Find US on facebook at on point radio. Thanks for listening I'm Anthony Brooks. This is on point.

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Trump's Unhinged Border Wall Demands | Jacqueline Woodson

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition

21:49 min | 1 year ago

Trump's Unhinged Border Wall Demands | Jacqueline Woodson

"You're listening to comedy central October second two thousand nine hundred from comedy central's World News Headquarters in New York. This is the daily show with Trevor Noah Yours. Thank you so much again. Impeccable coming out how tonight our guest is an award winning author and truly fantastic writer whose new book is called. Red at the bone. It's going to be a wonderful conversation. Jacqueline Woodson is going to be joining us also tonight. Show Oh alligators could be joining the Border Patrol Vladimir Putin exposes a secret and Donald Trump is getting impeached. Thank you thank you I have. I have lost a little weight. Thank you so. Let's catch up on today's headlines. Let's kick it off with the story that has been blowing up online today it involves zoo offense and a woman who seen the Lion Lion King Way Too many times from the category of Lucky to be alive. Take a look at this video of a woman who crossed a safety barrier at the Bronx Zoo here in New York and had a close encounter with the lion the kept to itself but the zoo said the woman's action was unlawful and could have resulted in serious injury or death. You got to wonder what the Lions thinking thinking here. I know what the lions thinking. He's thinking. What the hell you doing a lion here. Can you see it actually feel bad for that because look how confused here. He's got that look like when you're not sure if you just walk into the bathroom a Actually you know what I think. The line was really thinking lines looking like what are you doing. You're black. You don't need extra danger in your life right lady. What are you doing what you're doing right now. Technically cultural appropriation this crazy shit is for white people shouldn't be you shouldn't be moving onto some international news. Vladimir Putin Russian president and man man who thinks the notebook was a comedy he has always denied meddling in America's two thousand sixteen election but yesterday he was asked if he's going to meddle in twenty twenty and his answer was refreshingly honest is Russia as robot. Mila alleged attempting to influence the twenty twenty elections in the United States. I'll tell you a secret. Yes we will definitely Clinton needs a secret so that everybody can laugh and so we go big but don't tell anyone please. Oh you you gotTa love that classic Russian sense of humor. You know threats. We're sending to Siberia then after you live in forty years in Siberia. We'll like Douglas Funny Right. Yes actually Putin is probably the funniest guy in Russia when you think about it because I mean it's easy. It's joke around when you're the only person in the country not afraid of being killed by Vladimir Putin. If you go on Russian net flicks he's got all the top stand up specials and his standup is great though he's just like women die from empoisoned this but from poisoning this people drive curling but the black people do not leaving Russia and finally let's move on to Tesla. It's the call for people who want to save the environment but still want people to think there are assholes and and while every new Tesla is a technological one. There are still a few bugs in the system. Tesla's smart summoned promises to allow your car to drive to you or location of of your choosing from two hundred feet away with no one behind the wheel as long as the car is in sight for Tesla. The right of the future may have just hit a pothole this morning videos of the car companies economist feature failing and fuelling online criticism criticism G. What's the deal with motorists shock by near misses. ooh costly clips and potentially dangerous crashes with startled pedestrians chasing after empty vehicles. Tesla's latest cutting edge software is driving concern. Turn into high gear again that car driving itself hold on this. Is this is really really a problem. I mean I thought Uber Drivers were picking me up now. You'RE GONNA call up your own call like hey. It's me it's me. I'm at the corner just south of the people you just mowed down on the sidewalk yeah. Yeah No. That's a daycare center. Keep going like here's the big cosmonauts smart enough to give them. This feature and people are definitely not smart enough to have this feature all right because think about it. People already drive drunk now. What if you're drunk inside of like a casino and you accidentally someone you'll call. That's just not going to end well. Honestly I think we should stop giving speeches. You don't need it's cool that can drive itself but you don't need like a college hoops in the parking. Lot useless fees like when they put speakers in the trunk of a car. Why do I need my grocery bags to hear Adele. I don't I don't leave my ice cream getting that emotional leaving normal all right. That's the headlines. Let's move Ivanka trump story to watch president trump and if you've watched them lately it's clear the impeachment battle has been getting to him for one. He's tweeted two hundred seventy six times since Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry last week back and he's been in such a bad mood that even watching Fox News hasn't cheered him up. He's like yes. I am the best leader judge. But where does everyone eight be well today. Trump's rage moved from his twitter feed to real life would during a press conference with the leader of Finland. He did not react well to the barrage of impeachment. Questions is son walks out with millions of dollars. The Kid knows nothing you know it and soda we go ahead. Ask a question Sir was what did you want the president's Alinsky to do about pres- Vice President Biden and his son hunter you talking to me yeah. It was just a follow up of what I just asked you. Sir Listen you ready. Will we have the president defendant. Ask Him a question. I have one form. I just wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you. which did you hear what if you want you hear me? Ask Him a question I will but it may have been you a long answer. Ask this gentleman question. Don't be rude rude. I just want to have a chance to answer. The question asked the President Finlandia question. Wow trump was really pissed off. They one minute was the president the next second turned into a spray Tan Samuel Jackson. Ask Ask the president of Finland the question I double dare your mother. Ask him practice. It would have been amazing is if the finish president got a question but then through trump out of the bus like actually I would be interested to hear ear Joe Biden get. You screwed me again finish guy now. Please don't get me wrong. I don't want you to think that trump didn't want to answer onto questions at this press conference no. He only wanted to answer the questions that he liked okay. What's your second. Just what you shouldn't be asking to question like. You'RE GONNA WANNA ask me a favor. Ask One of the I will finish on you. WanNa ask one of the Finnish president. GonNa come back to you because I think you WanNa talk later sure sure well. It sounds like it might be a good question. Let me see if I like to question. Maybe for the first time in three years. I'll have a good question and I'll love it. There is a report. It came out just before you in President walked out here that the whistle blower met with the staff member of Adam Schiff PR. I love that question be filed. It shows that Schiff Jeff is fraud and I love that question. Thank you thank you John and has to be one of the quickest emotional u-turns I've ever seen right because one minute that he wanted nothing to do with that journalists question the next minute it was trumps. Favorite question in the entire world like trump treated that journalists the way people treat waiters. You know who keep offering the same ordos over over and over again people like I told you I don't want the Goddamn crab cakes. I don't what is that with a deviled egg. Oh Yea thank you John so the pasta weeks clearly haven't been trump's favorites. Impeachment is consuming his life. His poll numbers of dipping again and on top of all of that's the failing New York Times has reported this breaking news nine exclusive report in The New York Times documenting the lengths to which sources say president trump was prepared to go to stop migrants crossing the southern border he wanted the wall electrified with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh the New York Times reports the privately the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall within water-filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators. That's writes the New York. Times is reporting that president trump wants to build a moat along the border wall which was going to be filled with snakes and alligators which I know sounds crazy easy but to be fair. It's been very effective at keeping him out of millennials bedroom. That's probably where he got the idea. I mean it's either that was because he's talking. Immigration advisors an actual reptile great idea. Mr President could use the life according to the report trump wasn't just coming up with all the warcraft upgrades to his wall. No he was also lashing out at his aides when he felt that they weren't making progress on securing the border in late. March president trump publicly threatened to close the US Mexico border but according to the Times reporters in a March meeting the president's Nsen buys irs tried to turn them away from such a drastic move he responded. You're making me look like an idiot and shouted. Iran on. This is my issue. The president reportedly berating then Homeland Security Secretary Kirstin Nielsen saying quote Lou Dobbs hate you and coulter h you you're making me look bad wow that is so sad imagine carrying that much about what Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter think of you. I mean that's one step away from being like you better not embarrassed me in front of the booger. I swear to God ask him a question now. The The Times report that's really blowing up is that trump apparently suggested shooting migrants in the leg to slow them down as they were trying to cross the border which is not just a crazy idea. It's also illegal illegal and apparently trump had a lot of illegal ideas in fact my favorite example is when he told a room of border patrol agents to just turn away every asylum asylum-seeker who showed up at the border and then get this as soon as trump left the room. The head of Border Patrol told everyone else to ignore the president's residents while you realize the only organization with a top guy gets ignored like that is McDonald's no because Ronald is always like remember top priorities making people smile and then he leaves on the managers like forget that Shit we we hit a move beef. You hear me go kick the machine and make sure it's still doesn't work now. Some of you might be hearing these reports and thinking oh I'm sure the president didn't really mean all the stuff and maybe he was just joking about the alligators and snakes but he doesn't seem like that like the moat filled with snakes and alligators. Apparently it was real enough that his aides actually went out to seek a cost estimates. They actually got a quote for the march which also sounds like the name of the most xenophobic Dr Seuss book ever can use imagine being the trump trump aid to call around to figure out how much it would cost to Philip border mode with snakes and alligators well. Luckily you don't have to imagine because he had the daily show. We have the exclusive exclusive audio of that call. Thanks for calling PETCO. How can I help you. Can I get it quote for how much it would cost for two thousand miles of of snakes We don't really sell snakes by the mile. Okay how about alligators. I need a southern border amount of alligators picture alligators hate Mexicans but alligators think about Mexicans. We definitely don't so alligators we have birds fish and Gerbils herbals stuff like that all right fine. Give us two thousand miles of Gerbil Gerbils who hate Mexicans breaking news. We'll be right back. Hey what's up on Christmas Stephanos Aka Chrissy podcasts and I got a new podcast. That's out right now now. It's called stand up with Chris. DISTEFANO HASHTAG sucked. I'm a stand up and I like listening to stand up and have my producer here Nicole. Hey Chris absolutely she's a lesbian and I'm a straight white male so it's great and I'm bringing you this podcast. It's all about stand up and it's a stand up listening to call. We only have stand up from comedy central's library which let's be crystal. Clear is the Best Library the best expansive I mean they have everybody you name it comedian th they have their comedy self. That's what we're going to do. I'm going the player favorite bits. Discuss jokes talk about the comedy scene. Where did you get your haircut. Nicole and feel like we have to village cuts on westbound. I gotta go there. Were Great. I love this series. Does he love you. We're GONNA talk about everything stand up but only I know we just mentioned haircuts real quick but we're also gonNA talk about stand up and we'll write a joke about haircuts face beautiful listen to standard with Chris assisted every Thursday wherever you listen to your podcasts aw my guest tonight is the best selling author of more than in two dozen award winning books including the National Book Award. Her new novel is cold read at the bone. Please welcome Jacqueline Woodson the daily show thank you and can I just say as someone who grew up living in books. I like nothing. It gives me. More joy than seeing writers treated like rockstars. Genuinely I love it like like people waited love. What what you create. This book is just being met with so much praise and so many accolades read at the bone. It's a story of two families who who are brought together because of a pregnancy but it's also the story of class and race and when you compiling story like this and you and you're telling the tale it hard for you to combine all of those elements or do you just tell the truth and it comes through. I think it's a combination it's heart and tell the truth and it comes through and I think one thing that happens is the story begins evolves. The more I put those characters on the page the more I figured out about them the more complex the story becomes and that became a very complicated story. It also feels like when you tell the story you you allow the reader to do work for themselves. You know for instance if you if you're reading this book it starts in a familiar Elia place you know it's it's it's human beings. I mean that's what most stories US human beings. It's love it's family and then there's the conflict you know. There's this pregnancy what's interesting is a lot of people would would think of a world where there's a black family that doesn't like another black family and they're separated by. Klaus Yeah and it happens. I think the one thing that I was trying to read at the bone is is blackwell versus black income and Maley how this country has again and again annihilated related blackwell's and so when someone is able Oh shucks so yes. Oh My oh no no worries that's fine when someone's able to hold onto onto their wealth with us that look like when someone is not what does that look like and so it made sense to have these two families come together to create that conflict you you talk about blackwelder you till the story around it's what are you hoping the reader will take away from that you know like what are you hoping a young kid who might read the book would take away from the story. I'm hoping first and foremost that they have a good story. I think one thing that happens when you read a book. That makes you think it changes you as well. It creates empathy. It creates understanding of people who you might not otherwise meet in the world and so that's what I hope to take away is. I hope there's a great scholar. The name Doctor Who Dean Sims Bishop as she talked about the importance of kids having both mirrors and windows in their books and so this is an adult book but it creates the same thing it creates windows for the people who come to that book shelves in it and also windows for people who would never meet characters like the ones that exist in that book it is interesting because you know you're known own for children's literature and I know it sounds weird to say but it feels like you wrote this book for the Child in. It's not a difficult read but it is a difficult subject subject for many people to talk about. Some people say oh no. Why do you writes about these things and I mean it's similar topics that you read about in your children's books as well. Why do you feel it's important important to have those topics spoken about what he writes about difficult subjects because they exist and I think one thing that happens when you have a book that can tell a story this way people have someplace to go to begin a conversation and I think that's what books are so great at doing is getting us to talk and kind of taking away some of the fear about the conversation I think people it's hard for me. We'll talk about race. It's hard for them to talk about economic class sexually gender under all of these different points of views and when you have a book you can say well. Let's start by talking about read the bone and what happened in there. Maybe this happened to me or maybe this happened to my friend and so you you can begin to gather and have these conversations across difference right it really is. I mean that's. That's how I've seen the world. That's how many people see. The was like you. You read a book. You feel like you know the characters you feel like you know the world of the characters and interestingly enough you become wolf. You become comfortable with yes. You know I used to think that magic was a horrible thing and then Harry Potter changed my views on all of that now I understand. It's I genuinely more open to it. It feels like that is what you're doing with race race with sexuality with genders with identities. It's a powerful story to tell if somebody read this book and they just love the story. What is the one thing you you hope. subconsciously will happen to them when they think about the journey black people have had in America with regards to their wealth. ooh. That's such a great question. They try. I would love for there to be more empathy in this country. You know I would love for people to really see each other there and what I hope people take away again as first and foremost a good story that really makes them feel something and think something and change some kind of way and so I hope they fall in love with the characters and their and it makes them want to create some kind of change. whether that's let's change around people's economic status whether that's changed about how they look at people from different economic status whether it's changed about how you know if it's white folks coming to this book how they think about. Black folks whether it's black folks coming that they know the history of what happened in black communities around economic struggles so lots of different print stuff depending on who's coming to the narrative. I honestly think you'll achieve that and a hundred more things. It's one of the most amazing books thank you so much for being on the so aw is available now only at the book for the storage can refer the daily show. Kurbanov Yours addition watch the daily show weeknights at eleven ten central on comedy Central and the comedy central watch full episodes and videos at the daily show dot com follow us on facebook twitter and instagram and subscribe to the daily show on Youtube for exclusive content thin and more. This has been a comedy central podcast.

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What reading slowly taught me about writing | Jacqueline Woodson

TED Talks Daily

11:32 min | 1 year ago

What reading slowly taught me about writing | Jacqueline Woodson

"This ted talk features writer. Jacqueline Woodson recorded live at Ted Twenty nineteen. Have have you ever wondered how your language influences your thinking or why people pronounce the letter T in different ways. If you've ever wanted to learn more about the history of language from Indians to your guardless you can get your fill of language grammar and writing on the fun educational podcast Grammar Girl Post Mignon fogarty is sure to teach you something I knew about language find grammar girl. Wherever you get your podcasts a long time ago there lived a giant a selfish giant. Who Stunning Garden was the most beautiful and all the land one evening? This giant giant came home and found all these children playing in his garden. He became enraged. My own garden is my own garden. The giant said and he built his high wall around it. The author Oscar Wilde wrote the story of the selfish giant in eighteen eighty eight almost one hundred years later that giant moved into my Brooklyn Childhood and never left. I was raised in a religious family and I grew up reading both the Bible and the Koran the hours of reading both religious and recreational far outnumbered the hours of television watching now on any given day you could find my siblings and I curled up in some part of our apartment reading sometimes unhappily because on summer days in New York City the fire hydrant blasted into our immense jealousy we hear our friends down there playing in the gushing water their absolute joy making its way up through our open windows but I learned that the deeper I went into my books. The more time I took with each sentence the less I heard the noise of the outside world and so unlike my siblings who are racing through books. I read slowly very very slowly. I was that child with her finger running beneath the words until I was untucked to do this toll big. Kids don't use their fingers in third grade. We were made to sit with our hands folded on our desk unclasping them only to turn the pages then returning them to that position. Our teacher wasn't being cruel. It was the nineteen seventies and her goal was to get us reading not not just on grade level but far above it and we were always being pushed read faster but in the quiet of my apartment outside of my teachers gays as I let my finger run beneath those words and that's selfish giant again told me his story how he had felt betrayed by the kids sneaking into his garden how he he had built this high wall and it did keep the children out but a gray winter fellow with his garden and just stayed in stayed with with each rereading. I learned something new about the hard stones of the roads that the kids were forced to play on when they got expelled from the garden about the gentleness of a small boy way that appeared one day and even about the giant himself. Maybe his words went rage full after all. Maybe they were a plea for empathy for understanding ending my own garden is my own garden years later. I would learn of a writer named John. Gardner who referred to this is the fictive dream are the dream of fiction and I would realize that this was where I was inside that book spending time with the characters and the world that the author had created created and invited me into as a child. I knew that stories were meant to be savored. That story's wanted to be slow and that some author had spent spent months. Maybe years writing them and my job is the reader especially as the reader who wanted to one day become a writer was to respect that narrative long before there was cable or the Internet are even the telephone there are people sharing ideas and information and memory through story. Sorry it's one of our earliest forms of connective technology. It was the story of something better down the Nile sent the Egyptians moving along the the story of a better way to preserve the dead that brought King Tut's remains into the twenty first century and more than two million years ago. When the first humans began making tools goals from stone someone must have said what if and someone else remember the story and whether they told it through words or gestures or drawings it it was passed down remembered hit a hammer and here it story? The world is getting noisier. We've gone from boom boxes this to Walkman portable CD players. I pods to any song. We want whenever we want it. We've gone I'm from four television channels of my childhood to seeming infinity of Cable and streaming as technology moves faster and faster through time and space face it seems to feel stories getting pushed out of the way I mean literally pushed out of the narratives but even as our engagement with stories exchange are the trappings around it more from book to audio to Instagram Snapchat. We must remember our finger beneath the words. Remember that that story regardless of the format has always taken us to places. We never thought we go introduced us to people. We never thought we meet and shown US world. We might have missed so I'll as technology keeps moving faster and faster. I am good with something slower my finger beneath the words taste led me to a life of writing books for people of all ages books meant to be read slowly to be savored my love for looking deeply and closely at the world for putting my whole self into it and by doing so seeing the many many many possibilities of a narrative turned out to be a gift because taking my sweet time taught me everything. I needed to know about writing and writing taught me everything I needed to know about creating worlds where the people could be seen and heard where their experiences could be legitimized where my story read or heard by another person inspired something in them that became a connection between us a conversation and isn't that what this is all about finding away at the end of the day eight not feel alone in this world and a way to feel like we've changed before we leave stone to hammer Manta mummy any idea to story and all of it remembered. Sometimes we read to understand the future sometimes we we re to understand the past we read to get lost to forget the hard times we're living in and we read to remember those who came before us who lived through something nothing harder. I write for those same reasons before coming to Brooklyn. My family lived in Greenville South Carolina. In a segregated neighborhood called nickel town all of us there were the descendants of people who had not been allowed to learn to read right imagine that the danger of understanding how letters form words the danger of words themselves the danger of illiterate people and their are stories but against this backdrop of being threatened with death for holding onto a narrative are stories didn't die because there is yet another story being neath that one and this is how it has always worked for as long as we've been communicating. There's been the layering to the narrative the stories beneath the stories and the ones beneath those this is how story has and will continue to survive as I began to connect the dots. What's that connected the way I learned to write and the way I learned to read twin almost silenced people? I realize that my story was the bigger and older and deeper than I would ever be and because of that it will continue among these almost silence people will there once there were the ones who never learned to read their descendants now generations out of enslavement if well off enough had had gone onto college Grad School beyond some like my grandmother and my siblings seemed to be born reading the history stepped out of their way some like my mother hitched onto the great migration wagon which was not actually a wagon and kissed the south good bye bye. Here is the story within that story those who left and those who stayed carried with them the history of a narrative new deeply that writing it down wasn't the only way way they could hold onto. It knew they could sit on their porches. Are they're stoops at the end of a long day and it's been a slow tail for their children. They knew they he could sing their stories through the thick heat of picking cotton and harvesting tobacco knew they could preach their stories so them into quilts turn the most painful ones into something laughable and through that laughter exhale history of a country that tried again and again and again to steal their bodies their spirit and their story so as a child. I learned to imagine an invisible finger taking me from word word from sentence to sentence from ignorant to understanding so as technology continues to speed peterhead I continue to read slowly knowing that I am respecting the author's work and the stories lasting acting power and I read slowly to drown out the noise and remember those who came before me who probably the I people who finally learned to control fire and circled it's newt their new power aflame and light put in heat and I read slowly to remember the selfish giant how he finally tore that wall down let the children run free free through his garden and I read slowly to pay homage to my ancestors who are not allowed to read it all they to must've list of circle fires speaking softly of their dreams their hopes their futures each time I'm we read right are tell a story we step inside their circle and it remains unbroken and the power of story lives on thank you for more. Ted Talks Ted Dot Com.

Ted Twenty Brooklyn writer Mignon fogarty Jacqueline Woodson features writer Oscar Wilde Nile New York City US college Grad School King Tut Gardner Greenville South Carolina John one day one hundred years two million years
From The Archives: A National Poetry Month Discussion Of Brown Girl Dreaming

Diane Rehm: On My Mind

25:00 min | 1 year ago

From The Archives: A National Poetry Month Discussion Of Brown Girl Dreaming

"And. Hi, this is Allison one of the producers here it on my mind Diana's out for a voice treatment. So we're bringing you something from archives over the years. Diane interviewed poet laureates, she discussed specific poems and asked why poetry still matters April is national poetry month. So it seemed like the perfect time to go back and listen to one of these shows, we selected her twenty fifteen readers view of Brown. Dreaming a memoir in verse by Jacqueline Woodson which won the national book award the book of poems till Woodson story of growing up in South Carolina and New York City and her developing awareness of race. Diane discussed the story with Dana Williams, professor at Howard University, Jamal buoy columnist at the New York Times and David or author of beautiful and pointless a guide to modern poetry. I explain to a little bit about the structure of this book. I confess its first memoir in verse that I have ever read and one of the very few that I've read as well this book is a roughly three hundred twenty page book composed of series of relatively short poems. Most of them, you know, a page two pages largely and free verse. Although there is an exception that I want to talk about a little bit and the poems have their own individual titles, for instance, just turning the page here. One is called when I tell my family, and there are few poems that are sequenced so after Greenville and then after Greenville number two, and then there's a long series of poems ten poems. I think that are quite short that are called how to listen and Jacqueline Woodson uses those poems to kind of pace the book, you'll have these longer poems that tell a story about moving from one place to another and then you'll have a quite short poem that just captures an idea thing. The structure, I actually love the little poems. So there are again there about ten of them. And there's how to listen number one. How to listen number two and so on and so forth. What's great about these little poems is that they're all high coups? And of course, haiku is Japanese form, but it's also one of the great American forms at this point is the form that everybody uses when they're seven years old or eight years old Philomena single one out. How to listen number three. And she's writing about her grandfather who you discover over the course of the book is is getting sicker, and sicker and and dying seems possibly dying lung cancer. And here's the poem middle of the night. My grandfather is coughing me upright startled. So she breaks the line between my grandfather is coughing. And then the two words me uprights, you're expecting her to say my grandfather's coughing and very sick or something. But instead he's coughing her upright, and it really doesn't nice job of conveying how the illness of a relative when it's suddenly brought to bear on us startles us, and she leaves startled as its own word to so they're very skillfully done hin date. But what I think is especially interesting is that you have this series of poems that paces the book, and then you get all the way to page two forty four which is not listed as part of the sequence. And it's called. PS one of six haiku and the haiku in its entirety is Jacqueline Woodson. I'm finally in fourth grade, it's raining outside. Which I hope is an actual haiku that she wrote in fourth grade exactly day new way, we'd for is that very first titled where he twelfth nineteen sixty three I'm born on a Tuesday at university hospital, Columbus, Ohio USA, a country caught between black and white. I'm more not long from the time or far from the place where my great great grandparents. Worked the deep Richland on free. Dawn till dusk, unpaid drink cool water from scooped out gourds looked up and followed the skies mirror constellation to freedom. I am born as the south explodes too, many people too many years in slaved, then emancipated, but not free the people who look like me keep fighting and marching and getting killed. So that today February twelve nineteen sixty three and every day from this. Moment on Brown. Children. Like me can grow up free can grow up learning in voting and walking and riding wherever we want. I am born in Ohio, but the stories of South Carolina already run like rivers through my veins. It's an incredible poem because it's both personal and universal. Yes. I also think that it's relevant so many small ways as well. So she situates like her coming into the world and the same way that it frames the narrative, right? So here is this narrative, and here is this Jack woolen who. Yes. And we learned a couple of poems later that she gets saved from being named Jack. Here comes Jacqueline. Right. And why was she on moves named Jack? Because their father's name was Jack. And that is what he insisted on naming her. And I thought that was like really funny. My sister's name is Tommy because my father's name is Thomas, and it was a concession. I think between my mother and my father. So I really liked a girl named Jack. And so her father tells her name girl, Jack, my father said and she can't help, but to grow up strong because you'll have to defend or so he's actually, of course. And so her mother wins that war and says, not even Jackie because people might decide to drop the as she's Jacqueline. Exactly djamil. Why do you think that jackal would chose to write this memoir, inverse my hunch, and you know, I don't I don't read a lot of poetry. So this is very much laymen's. Hunch is that there's something specially readings. From the perspective of a kid and thinking about childhood memory and thinking about how when we remember our childhoods, it's very rarely in terms of explicit narrative. It's more in terms of impressions in terms of scattered memories of slices of memory of smells of feelings. And having poetry is an excellent vehicle for doing that. So just the structure of the book. I think really reflects what it is both like to remember being a kid and also think what it's like to be a kid where the world is very new in where things event experiences hit you in this very big way throughout your childhood. I agree and we've already got a Facebook comment from Joni I saw this book on is play in the library at the Eric Carle museum on raising visit unthinking it's another book described as for middle grades. When in fact, it's for all I'm sixty two. What do your guest reviewers think? Dana. Faded that the book is acceptable across ages for young readers, and for more mature readers. It's an interesting kind of complicated thing though, because I can remember one of my sisters saying Jacqueline Woodson's at the Arkansas local library, and she signing books, and I wanna get it for my knees or my cousin actually who is twelve maybe thirteen and she had some concerns about Willer mother litter read it because it has so many really complicated things about race and racism and oppression. So I thought that it was especially good because it was a good opportunity to introduce children to these stories in a safe way. But then also in a very straightforward remembered way that structured in a way that allows you to have these interesting conversations and foot saying is that she worried that the child might some hell that think of herself differently. Yes. In part because we don't have we have to remember that. We children growing up in the spaces that we grew up in right? So night in the same kind of way, I was born in seventy two. So I'm not all that. Oh, but I also grew up in a predominantly black town where you didn't have to have certain kinds of conversations they were understood and not in a discriminatory way. The town was primarily black. So the way that we sought about race had nothing to do with an engagement with textbook, which was probably more wrong than right in most instances, the extraordinary ready and conciseness. Each pawn really amaze me, and because it gave me so much information about her about the feeling she had both as a child being reared in family that's very strongly identify with Jehovah's Witness. And she has trialed is required to go from home to home selling the watch tower magazine, and she describes all that in such. That it becomes extraordinarily powerful. Whereas had written paragraphs and paragraphs at bounded some hell, it might have diluted the experience. I agree. I think the point what I believe is probably the most emblematic of that for me when she says, I believe in God and volition, I believe in the bible and the Koran I believe in Christmas and the new world, I believe that. There is good. And each of us, no matter who we are. Or what we believe in? I believe in the words of my grandfather, I believe in the city and the south in the past and the present I believe in black people and white people coming together, I believe in violence and power to the people I believe in my little brothers, pale skin and my own dark Brown. I believe in my sister's brilliance and the too easy books. I love to read I believe in my mother on a bus and black people refusing to ride I believe in good, friends and good food. I believe in Johnny pumps and jump ropes, Malcolm and Martin buckeyes Birmingham. Writing and listening, bad words and good words. Abba, leave in Brooklyn. I believe in one day and someday and this perfect moment called now there's so much in that poet. And the puck comes late in the book when she's really figured out what she does believe. And also the end of the poem the perfect moment called now. I mean so much lyric poetry is about the perfect moment called now whether the now is is wonderful horrifying or just concerning in some way. Be in that in that moment, exactly. Now, a quick break. Hi, Cogil Nnamdi here. I hope you enjoying on my mind. And I also hope you checking out the co Joel numb de show. We connect the dots between events happening in Washington, Maryland and Virginia through conversations with politicians artists. Chefs the list goes on you can listen to our podcast on demand by subscribing on your favorite podcast app. So you never miss an episode. Here's the rest of Diane's conversation about Brown, girl. Dreaming a memoir in verse by Jacqueline Woodson? Go one part that I missed was the anguish that she must have felt leaving her grandparents home and having to move to New York because her mother and father do not have a relationship, and she feels she's got to move nor. One thing though, that I liked about this book is that she is happy to underplay sometimes and two when you think the book is going to be sentimental. She backs away from it. There's a really great sequence where she's talking about one of their neighbors in Greenville who as she puts. It has a hole in his heart. This little boy that they're going to play with but they can't play to roughly with them. And she has this conversation with a little boy. And of course, the stage is set for sentimentality because it's the very sick kid, and they're all in the neighboring together. And she's telling me about New York and the little kid says, I'm going to go to New York one day, and then he points his arm in the direction and much more sentimental, author would have just ended the poem there. But then she continues it for the next line where they correct him and say, no, actually, you're pointing south. The hit midge of her friend Maria and at one point a third friend joins them and Jacqueline becomes insecure process because she kind fields those she's going to be third person out. But then it changes, well, she realizes how important it is to fine home outside of home space. So she has quite a few poems where she talks about her mother reuniting with people who are from the south, right? So she says this is home for my mother. She recognizes that because this little girl has appearance who Puerto Rican that the very thing that her mother found as home and people who were from the same place that motor you might find. But Maria assures, I quickly this doesn't mean she'll be my new best friend. So she feels comfortable I think, and then also we see her sense of courage. From one of those early points on it'll be scary, sometimes and whoever's narrating that particular point tells her listen, it'll be scary. Sometimes you'll be the only black person in the room. Some sometimes you'll be the new person. Sometimes you'll be the outsider. It'll be scary sometimes, but always remember your grandfather. So there's this direct line connection. It's not just a fairytale remember like some heroic figure. No, this is your bloodline. Remember, your grandfather? It'll be scary sometimes, but you'll be fine. There is that wonderful poem on three eleven which is fairly long, David. But I really like you to read it because I think it is a lot of out check on sure it'd be happy to it's called a writer. You're a writer MS vivo says her gray is bright behind thin wire frames her smile bigger than anything. So I smiled back. Happy to hear these words from teachers mouth, she's a feminist. She tells us and thirty fifth grade hands bend into desks who are dictionaries wait to open yet. Another world to us. Miss vivo pauses watches our fingers. Fly Webster's has our answers, equal rights. Avoid named Andrew yells out for women. My hands freeze on the thin white pages like blacks, MS vivo to is part of a revolution. But right now that revolution is so far away. From me this moment this here. This right now is my teacher saying your a writer as she holds the poem. I am just beginning the first four lines stolen from my sister. Black brothers black sisters all of them were great. No, fear. No fright. But a willingness to fight. You can have them. Dell said when she saw I don't want to be a poet. And then my own pencil moving late into the evening in big fine. Houses lived the whites and little old shacks lived the blacks. But the blacks were smart in fear. They took no part. One of them was Martin with a heart of gold. You're a writer miss vivo says holding my poem out to me and standing in front of the class taking my poem from her my voice shakes as I recite the first line, black brothers black sisters, all of them were great. But my voice grows stronger with each word because more than anything else in the world. I want to believe her. You know, a large part the tone. You just read a, and it seems to me a very amount of the book itself deals with her growing awareness, these civil rights conflict and movement to L you were parted at. Yes. Earlier in the conversation. We talked a bit about the book dealing with race this of sophisticated but way that is friendly to to younger readers that. They can understand I grew up in the nineties. I was located in the nineties and. When I grew up in a blurs -ly white area in my wariness of race. Didn't come to me like came to me like her sted and not like hers. I mean, obviously gramp in the sixties and seventies. It's going to be very different. But sort of seeing an realizing that other people are view differently in treating you differently. Like kind of growing awareness, as you, you know, you're a little kid as you become so the older kid you move into middle school and kind of really coming in terms of what that means is something that she describing experiences, and it's something, you know, in a different for my experience. And I actually think a book like this for the tremendously helpful to me as a nine year old. Interesting. It is difficult to explain what what you are experiencing took a nine year old kid and not kind of situation without scaring them about sort of what that might mean in without making them feel as if some possibilities in their lives are closed off in one thing that this book does extremely well is not do that is to provide some sort of context of explanation, and some sort of guidance that really does emphasize the weighting of it all, but but doesn't close off sort of like the tile ability that goes back to your friends feeling about giving the book to the knees. And whether in fact, that would somehow expose her to feelings, I is experiences that otherwise she might not have. Have had or that she wouldn't have until a little bit later. I think that tends to be the fear that it's too soon to talk to kids about something. But all of the research suggests that kids are aware of race difference in ways that we want to pretend that they're not. So it's important to have texts that you can give to them that introduces them to these ideas and ways that don't just focus on the difficulty. Focus on what's possible and focus on the idea of change and help us to understand how you overcome obstacles. Because the things that she goes through that aren't specifically about rays are so relatable that the kid will remember inevitably to go back to that. Text to say, here's a point of reference for me that I can begin to think about what it means to have people marching in the streets, for instance, right now, and and why it's important to be active. But thoughtful about the way that we engage and difficult takes me to those few poems written about how we listen. David you. Thought long about how we listen, but they play a big role in book their tant to listen poems. I is on page twenty. There are lots of them. Right. And they sort of they chart her growth as a writer, and as a person Jamal was saying earlier that he feels that poetry really works in this book because it helps to capture the fragmentary nature of childhood getting that regimel. Yeah. Yeah. I agree with you. I think that's a great point. We think of poetry, and I'm not saying this is how poetry is. But it's how people think of it as being intensely personal intensely emotional. So when you're working on a novel like this that's young adult novel in verse you really talking about a self that's forming as opposed to a self that's already formed as you might see a novel intended for adults. And so that I think that's one of the reasons. Poetry works. So well here are seems to work so well for so many readers, and these how to listen poems, really do chart that development that very slow development and also comment sort of gracefully on some of the social issues of the book as well on page eighty two you have how to listen number two in the stores downtown were always followed around just because we're Brown. One of the few rhyming poems in the book, and I would say it's probably sort of hat tip to Gwendolyn Brooks is poem. You know, we wrote who skip school. But it's fair powerful. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And how to listen poems. Every now, and again, she'll she'll have when that is commenting on the society around her, but they're largely concerned with her own growing ability to listen. Which she places right at the center of a writer's project, and I even think that one though the one that you read is very much about her ability to listen to the society around her. Yeah. Sure. One reviewers said that the title Brown, girl, greening was unfortunate. She thought the story was bigger with a wider appeal. What do you think it reminds me of this thing that Tony Morrison says when people ask her as she ever going to write a white novel, and she's as well, I'm not going to be white. And you don't ask white writers of their. We're going to write a black novel. Why can't this Brown girl have the titled round girl dreaming because the default position is if it were just a girl dreaming the point that Morrison was making was unless we announced the character as black the default position is white. So when she opens paradise in they shoot the way girl. I that's the only thing that we know that there is actually a white girl in the story. The point is to. Construct this notion that race matters. So with default position, she has to put that in front, otherwise, it's a white girl. Dreaming, and she's the Brown girl and has the right certainly to be that and to make the point that Brown girls have universal stores. It's not my favorite title. But it has nothing to do with that it spread girl dry. Yeah. I just might have preferred another title, but I'm not that good at titling thing. So I should probably withhold my opinion. I do think though that what's it is very purposeful. And this is one of the things that I appreciated about her even in the speech where there was the acceptance of the book award, she's unapologetic, and I absolutely love that about her. She doesn't say, well, I'm just going to keep writing and making small changes. So that I can get the awards. She stands her ground still gets the award. And then ironically, the war is sullied a little bit still with this kind of, you know, racial Monica. That's offered today. Our theme music is by Jim Bromberg van landsverk of Wunderle. The show is produced by Rebecca Kaufman. In me. Alison, Brody engineer this week was Natalie your of liquor. Thanks for listening. Now available on the what's with Washington odd cast the DMV has a lot of questions about recycling. Is it worth all the effort to recite are the items really getting utilized? Is there a market for it? And what types of materials are in higher demand. Everything getting utilized. And then how are they sorting through just mass of stuff? Plus, we've visited an artist making something beautiful out of stuff that can't go through the recycling system. That's on the what's with Washington podcast. Find it wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jacqueline Woodson Brown writer Jack David Diane Greenville South Carolina Dana Williams national book award Washington Philomena Jamal Maria Brown lung cancer New York City New York Times Allison Martin
Surprise! Youre A Genius

Nerdette

23:35 min | 3 months ago

Surprise! Youre A Genius

"Net is supported by. Fiends a new mobile game that will engage your brain with fun puzzles and tons of cute characters download best fans now for free at the apple or Google play. That's friends without the our best fiends. From WBZ, Chicago this is Internet, I'm Greta Jonsson. The Oscars may have been pushed even further into next year but I declare this time right now to be award season. The Nobel prizes have just been announced and the national book awards right around the corner and we learned last week about the twenty one people who one macarthur fellowships which are also known as genius. Grants. It is an amazing list of super smart people including two of my favorite authors and key Amazon and Jacqueline Woodson list also includes an artist and playwright and filmmaker. There are people who work in fields econometrics, whatever that is genetics, neuroscience, chemical, engineering, environmental health, and cellular biology. Today, we're going to talk to a newly named genius. Her name is Mary L. Gray and she's an anthropologist and media scholar who looks at how Labor and identity and human rates are transformed by technology. What does that mean you ask? Well, the short version is she's a huge nerd. The slightly less short version is that she is written one book about how big tech companies use an underpaid exploited underclass to make the APPS. We love so easy to use, and she wrote another book that Leans on her own personal backstory to research another underrepresented group, which as Queer, people in rural America. Most. Recently, her research is focused on the coronavirus pandemic specifically, how what we may consider to be tech solutions, Lake how your phone could help you with contact tracing are actually contributing to health disparities and systemic racism simply because they often ignore the groups who most need help Mary gray is with me now to talk about all of that Mary Hi Hello Thank you for having me. Congratulations. Thank you very excited to. Join you are you at all tempted to put genius like in the signature of your emails on Your Business Cards or anything? No not in the slightest and in fact, I thought there's like that running joke when you have a PhD that you're not really a doctor or you play doctor on TV and I thought it'd be fun to say to somebody like you know I'm no genius 'cause I'm really no genius. And now, I can't exactly make that joke without it sounding weird. Game Ashamed to take that off the table. So the Macarthur Foundation cited a couple of books that you worked on and giving you the prize One was titled Ghost Work. How. To Stop Silicon Valley from building a new global underclass, and the other was called out in the country youth media and queer visibility in rural America even based solely on these titles alone alone the content of these books these are very different topics. What unites them like how are they? How are you telling similar stories in each of those books? I, mean it's interesting because for for me there. So deeply connected and I realize. I understand why they don't seem connected but. For the most part I feel like I'm asking the same question over and over again which is. What difference does technology make and quite literally can make a difference. What are the other kitchens that constrain or can amplify the effects of of technologies in our everyday lives? How much are you drawn to this research also because it's it's stuff that isn't being done yet or hasn't been done before. Absolutely I mean the topics that I research often have connections to my own experiences or the experiences people in my life. So I grew up in a small town in Rural California in the Central Valley of California and I knew when I left for. The big city that there was something quite. Possible but living in a clearly out in the country and at the same time, I didn't really have the training to investigate what what could happen in rural places. and. So when I went to graduate school, it was out of political urgency. I was queer youth activist I've aged out of that category. But at the time I want to understand could the internet help people in places outside of San Francisco? New? York City CHICAGO be able to carve out space for themselves, and that was really the origin story of that research and. When I finished that project. The thing that was you know that resonated was that the lack of economic opportunity was exacerbating the tensions of being different of being queer in rural places. So the projects that became ghost work, which is co-authored with Sitara Surrey. Computer? Scientists. Shot outside that work was taking up a similar question there are there are people behind this thing we call artificial intelligence in. We don't know who they are and we know that they could likely be in dire circumstances so. What could make a difference here? What could technology do and what might be undoing about their experience, their economic lives? So when it comes to tech something that you've been thinking about more recently is how technology can be used to help fight the spread of Covid nineteen and you recently wrote an essay called colorblind tech is killing us. It looks at how technological efforts to track the spread of COVID are failing those people who are most at risk I. Can we talk about what some of those efforts are and then talk about how they're not working the way tech thought that they would yeah. I think you know with all good intentions when the? Pandemic hit the United States. Technologists looked to other countries that were deploying digital tracing APPs. You know phone phone applications that a person could look at that might let them know that they have passed somebody who tested positive for Kovin. Yeah. The seems kind of perfect right 'cause it's like, Hey, you are in the elevator with some you know in like based on phones you can tell, exactly yeah rive it really great exchange. Well, the problem with that approach is that it was deployed in places like south. Korea that have universal healthcare. And in a pretty high trust of the State to care for your everyday basic needs, it's real i. mean it's a very different experience to have a country. You Trust that give you free healthcare tell you that you might need to go get care. So that's that's night and day compared to what we have United States. So the contact tracing APPs, that have been built with again, the best intentions that prioritized privacy for an individual were not thinking will actually what we really need to be building our people's trust in public health. And the reality of the United States. We don't actually have a national public health infrastructure. So even if you tell somebody. Taxed, Hey, you might have been exposed covid nineteen. There's not a lot you can do about it unless you already had the means to do something about it right? Well, and the other piece piece of this puzzle that you talk about in the article is that you know it's become very clear over the course of the pandemic here in the United States that this disease is very disproportionately impacting especially people of Color. Absolutely. I mean it's a reflection of where we don't put resources and where we have not invested and care for our citizens are our neighbors. So e you know it's showing us as technology often does it's it's a mere for where we fail each other So. Yeah. In this essay you rate today's tech approaches to Covid nineteen exacerbate the systemic racism health disparities that have given the pandemic it's grotesque shape in our country what is the Solution Lake? Is it? It is. It actually is it just mitigation like it? It doesn't seem reasonable to me to expect that tech can actually solve systemic racism and health disparities. I, thank you for saying that credit because it will never solve that. Not good but I don't. Know. I think importantly, it's leading with the assumption that it will not solve those deeper issues in that it absolutely has to be assuming that it will make it worse if it is not seeing the systemic racism as part of what it needs to account for. mitigate is a strong word but I think what what I do see us doing the work we're doing through the projects I've been involved in since March the pandemic response network out of Duke Health is saying, okay we know that communities particular communities are harder hit. They should be our priority. How would we address their needs? What does that look like and to be? Frank, most of what what I'm hoping I'm bringing to this project is to say we looked at on demand labor in and platforms that are effectively distributing tasks based work, and we did see examples of telehealth in that mix that we studied for ghost work will how would we take a team approach and on demand team approach that assembles a group of people who are. Not just available but there's an abundance kind of you know what we used to think of his kind of redundant workforce the you really have this abundance of people available to serve the need of somebody who is learning. They might have covid has to figure out how to self quarantine maybe doesn't speak English probably doesn't speak English I mean I think it's really contending with Those material realities instead of an abstraction of Cova could hit anyone. It is literally thinking who do we now know as disproportionately affected and what are their material? What is their life look like? It looks like I'm living with many members of my family. I don't have a salaried position, right? A lot of those people are may be still going into high risk work environments. In many. Cases are caring for people who are sick? Yeah you know. So it's it's it's saying those those variables make all the difference in what you might design. So. What are some of the other big questions that you're that you find yourself thinking about these days? Way I mean right now I'm just putting one foot and probably other. I. Really Am I mean that's The questions again, I feel like I do ask the same question if you know for if we're going to. Have so much. Wealth and capacity wrapped up and technology. How can it be accountable to society? How can it be recognized as something other than a private consumable good and so you know really the next set of questions on the horizon for me are circling back to thinking about you know what are the ways we can quite literally build an structures of accountability when we build technology, what are the review processes? What are the regulations and what are they engineering Kind of engineering and computer science touchstones that can become the norm so that where? That we really are building with a sense that differences matter. Yeah. How much do you think it has to do with the importance of diversifying charge and tackle? So that's necessary. It's not sufficient There's just no way that you can change who's at the table and expect something different to come out the door. It's really got to be a matter of saying it absolutely matters who's involved in designing investing in deploying technologies but. To be honest at by the time, it becomes a private enterprise it. It's really too easy for all of us to lose sight of the. The huge social impact of these technologies. They're not. You know things these objects like wrapped in a box on a cd-rom anymore I mean they are. You know we we live and breathe with them. We're like actually addicted to them. Well no actually I would say, no, we're not addicted to them. They'd be we have integrated them into how we connect with each other. So you could say we're addicted to each other. That's true. We're absolutely addicted to connecting with each other that was from my earliest work was realizing Oh these young people what do they do when they go online? We'll they try to find people like them in the near you know that the county over so we are absolutely Addicted to stink connected with each other and that we've moved technologies to play center, you know kind of central roles in that connection is a statement about in the United States. We also don't fund public parks don't find public schools. Don't Pa we don't find the kinds of. serendipitous crossroads we used to. Walk down to to meet New People or to casually hang out with the people we love so. You know it's it's recognizing that technologies have become these what I call de facto public squares. There there are backyard barbecues. And knowing that means tending to them with the kind of social glue they provide. Rather than treating them as kind of these individual devices that some people have some people don't even if you don't have these technologies. Bay a fact what you can access. After the break, we're going to hear about how Mary and one other anointed Macarthur fellow found out. They even won the prize and. Do with the money they're going to get. Net is supported by best fiends a new mobile game that will engage your brain with fun puzzles and tons of cute characters. Enter the world of minutia collect characters, level up your team, defeat the slugs, and play over fourteen hundred levels for hours of fiendish fun. Best means is a five star rated mobile puzzle game that's been downloaded over one hundred million times, and you can download best beans now for free at the apple APP store or Google play, that's friends without the our best fans. After, the unite the right rally in Charlottesville critics said the president's rhetoric fanned the flames of hate that was true for at least one white supremacist I mean, I can't emphasize enough. The reason I got into this stuff was because of that man like I think that's me and thousands of other guys. My age were radicalized by president trump how some young Americans fall for the white supremacist movement subscribe to motive from Wbz Chicago wherever you got your podcasts. When I talked to Mary, I couldn't not ask about how she found out that she was a macarthur genius because I love story about complete stunned surprise and I gotta say. Mary did not disappoint. So they'd sent me an and said, we'd like to set up some time to talk with you confidentially about and athropologists that we're considering for Macarthur. Do. I know and I literally I'm like, okay I can fit this in that's. Like me. I genuinely was. On. The so-called my colleague getting this, and this is kind of like that. Yeah I'm sure there's a German term for that. So I got on the call and I was thinking like there's some really great people during this work I wonder who they're considering and I don't even remember what the person said after the first two minutes like this is a ruse, your actually the recipient, and then after that I literally was like swearing for about ten minutes and laughing uncontrollably. That's what my partner told me. I literally was just up here going shit. Doe. L. No you know and just laughing. I still actually can't believe it to be honest I. It's very where. I also had the pleasure of talking to another MacArthur winner earlier this week Dr Damian Fair he's the director of the University of Minnesota's May Sonic Institute for the developing brain and he's asking big questions about how early brain development can lead to know divergent conditions like autism or Adhd or even schizophrenia. What we're trying to do is A. Trying to bridge the type of basic science work that I do with the educators with policymakers with the community wants so that it has been impacts on folks everyday lives in two so that we're communicating with folks on the ground so to speak so that were the types of questions that were asking answering are relevant to the people. Unlike Mary Damian did not get an e mail. He got like a gazillion phone calls. Yeah. About a month ago. Okay and I was just very long workshop had given a talk and there was a bunch of others about challenges in our science and was the. Zoom or whatever. Zoom, a marathon meeting about eight hours Oh God, and I kept getting this call from Chicago and I kept hanging. Because I. Didn't recognize the number of spam. Did it start to annoy you were you like who is this was? It was very annoying and then. At at the end of the meeting the time and I I don't wouldn't normally do this I. Don't recognize my tip you don't answer. I answered in they they said. Congratulations. You. Know what that is. What? I was just shocked. It took me a second to calibrates brain. These people at exactly. Embarrassing at the time it was like Oh man. I'm going to hang up on you guys all day. Long with being called genius and being surprised apparently a major perk of the MacArthur fellowship is that comes with a no strings attached prize of six hundred, twenty, five, thousand dollars that is paid out over five years and I know I know it is extremely rude to talk to people about money especially when they are guests on your podcast, but I just had to ask. So, there's there's a cash prize with with the Macarthur Fellowship. Are you gonNa like buy a pony or anything? Well my daughter has already asked me if I could my point. Good. So. We probably won't be buying any ponies but the My wife and I have been talking about a little bit. My wife is a very successful physician scientists in their own, right. And she's now is has become the director of women's Global Health at the University of Minnesota Oh my gosh that's amazing and she's been developing some programs that she calls global local, which is. Trying to in essence build capacity in underresourced environments, including overseas to essentially spread the kind of work that we do out to folks that are often marginalized, and so we've been trying to brainstorm through a few ways that we may be able to leverage some of this money towards that effort. We haven't nailed down exactly what that might look like but that's just one one idea in the hopper that is much more virtuous than pony. It's funny. I feel like I have a completely unsophisticated sense of like hundreds of thousands of dollars. So I just tend to think of it as like well, yeah you could buy like ten thousand Corgis with that. Amazingly, getting opponent was also not part of Mary's plan for the prize money I. Mean I confess that my favorite MacArthur award winners in the past have been the writer. So Jasmine Ward I, mean you know just thinking all of these people who and even in your class we have nor K. Jemison Jacqueline Woodson who are like to amazes, ciders? Oh. My Gosh, I mean it in for writers I again, like being surrounded by people who are not in academe but right for a living and freelance it's like that. That is that that's liberation I mean that is the freedom to do your work and pursue your interests. So I feel incredibly. Lucky and and privileged in all senses of the word that I have this, and so mostly, I'm trying to think like how do I get this out in the world in a way that will support other people's work. so you're not going to buy a pony. I'm not going to buy a pony although we did get more daycare for our dog so that he's not a background with him on calls. 'cause it's a little kooky making to have a dog barking while you're trying to give public talk quote unquote on. I mean, that is an animal related expenditure did do a little math. You got a super fancy Corgi and you one, six, hundred, thousand dollars I mean he could get like eight hundred, thousand quarries which lake now that I'm thinking of all of those mortgages in my two bedroom apartment, it's a bad idea. It's a really bad idea. That's it for today tune in Friday for Book Club we're GonNa chat with an Helen Peterson she's the author of can't even how millennials became the burnout generation. The show is produced by me and Justin Bull, our interns, Isabel Carter, and our executive producer is brandon fans. So, y'all on Friday.

United States Mary Macarthur Covid apple Google Mary L. Gray Chicago Oscars Macarthur Foundation WBZ Jacqueline Woodson director University of Minnesota California MacArthur fellowship Amazon Kovin San Francisco
Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness- Podcast Episode 010: Glory Edim, #Well-Read Black Girl Ep 010, Glory Edim, #WellReadBlackGirl

Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness

52:11 min | 4 months ago

Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness- Podcast Episode 010: Glory Edim, #Well-Read Black Girl Ep 010, Glory Edim, #WellReadBlackGirl

"Search. From the journeys of belonging to Blackness Digital Media Project. I'm India Lorrie Wilmot. And you're listening to the PODCAST. Talking. Journeys out belonging to blackness. Joining us today is glory. Adam. She is a writer and founder of Bell Red Black Girl a book club whose goal is to showcase the universality of black women through literature and provide space for black women, readers and writers to connect engro in conversation. Since two thousand fifteen while red black girls reading network has steadily grown in membership to include almost two hundred and fifty thousand people online via instagram alone in two thousand, seventeen glory and her team organized its first well red. Black. Girls, festival, which featured award winning writers including Jacqueline Woodson to Jerry Jones and Renee Watson in two thousand, Eighteen glory published her first book an anthology of inspiring. By black women writers called well Red Black Girl finding our stories discovering ourselves today glory has received a host of awards recognitions including the Madame CJ. Walker award from the Hurston Wright Literary Foundation the Innovators Award From The Los Angeles Times book price and an outstanding literary work nomination from the end of Lacey Pe- image awards in addition to being a new mother glory is in the process. Of birthing to new book projects, a memoir and her second in policy, which we look forward to hearing more about welcome glory are you having me? Oh thank you so much for joining us in your kicking off our season two of the podcast series. So what a way to start the fall? Oh, this is incredible. I'm glad to be a guest I am a fan of your work. In addition to just enjoying the book itself, I'm a fan of what you've been able to accomplish with well red black girl particularly in the way of used the platform of of a literary network to intentionally highlight narratives that are often ignored or ones that disappear from her collective consciousness as to African descended womanhood, the beauty and diversity of our voices experiences I enjoy speaking to people like yourself and I often wonder how is this person get here? What was their journey like? Why do they do what they do? So you ready to get into it? Yes, I am. Act One call to adventure. As a writer entrepreneur, of course, there are paths that we take and processes that we engage in to get us to where we are today, and sometimes we do that. Emotionally, we have spiritual processes, intellectual ones, and so on. How did you become interested in doing the work you do today? Well, it was a long and Berry unexpected journey and I think it really started for me at Howard University by alumni really supported me feel seen in loves and space where black women aren't always valued our university boosted lifted me up. So it was there that I countered Zora Neil hurston and Tony Morrison and my Angelo, all incredible authors that allowed me to see myself more clear in allowed needs to really start to think about who I wasn't the world in the work that I wanted to do, and originally I majored in journalism and I minored in geology and I was always surrounded by just incredible people that motivated me whether it's my professors my best friends I just always had a beautiful reflection to someone saving mealy you can do this and whether it was reading pursuing journalism, I, always find courage is supported and I think that's the main takeaway from my spirit's is becoming not. Yet or do serve the festival and so many other names. It's having a support system being passionate and being able to identify what your vision is. Jahns I've been able to say without a doubt that my purpose to really be of service to other black women and help uplift them in a leary space yawns I gained so much joy from that. I didn't know that was what I was going to be doing when I was a freshman in college, but it just organically happened as I started pursuing my career. Network in meeting other people it just services evolved this beautiful way. So years later, we well red black girl but I know that seed was planted on campus our university I, like fat because and maybe this is just my own personal perspective of going to a Pwi a predominantly white institution that it's not to say that you don't have professors that encourage and cultivate you your skills, your interest but I wonder if if it's something about going to an HP, see you that it's like Hashtag black excellence all around and then you. Just really entrenched in that moment of Oh, you dig Tony Morrison to, and it's not like we have one week where we covered Tony Morrison then that's it. No, it's extends like it's like the whole life cycle like I think back when I was a freshman I taught at a school that was called the Maya Angelou Public Charter school and I don't think I could have done that anywhere else but in DC as a student at Howard University and those moments gave me again the sense of purpose of helping. Other children and working in space with other black students and working with black professors just around we twenty four, seven that I didn't have I didn't have a chance to second-guessed took away. Any doubt I had when I was at a randomly whites all as a high school student and then when I graduated I, just have the sense of I mean in. Regards like entitled to myself were that I felt like I do anything united feels token is any way because I knew that I was very deserving of it in Howard allow that to happen I. also think I dreamed a lot about late becoming a writer as a child and found that as I like reflect as a new mom I think sense dreaming has also at the sense of landing in my own way I was kinda planning to become a writer right in a house in a happen I just had. To continuously, we meditate on it, manifest it, and it came to fruition through a lot of hard work. Obviously, by it was a dream that I always had I. appreciate that reflection because I think as a person who also consumes internalizes and just loves to be in a space where their stories that resonate in that are cognitively where I'm like I get that. There's always like a divide I think when I speak to people who are writers versus people who enjoy reading other writers or people who just read books I. Mean by that is people who read books it's like Oh. Yeah. If you right that's almost as if it's a hobby that there's some sort of disconnect I, think in extreme when you are dealing with people who are aficionados of books and our writers themselves for them they're like, no. I just always knew that this was going to be it didn't matter what my Pagan Gig is or was I embody this identity of a writer and I think? That's really interesting that for you, you were this Brown girl dreaming of writing cats one, hundred percent. Yes I love the cheap quoted Jacqueline Woodson she's one of my favorite authors by Jacqueline wasn't so much but I was I was dreaming about what it would be like if I had my words on April I think I was not pursuing money anyway I was definitely pursuing her s in every job I from the moment I graduated now it was houses. Our purpose, how does this allow me to be a better service and I think that comes across my form he comes across the books that I because I want them to be tools, rather people to tell their own stories that's free powerful and empowering to others with the well read black girl. Network people oftentimes talk about not being able to see themselves and just only hoping and wishing that there are stories. That are being told, and then when you feel empowered, you're like ham going to raise my hand. I'm going to tell my story because I know there are other people like myself who want to see that life experience reflected back at them. Now I know that we both share the commonality of being children of Immigrants Yes in you've talked about to just at some point attending Howard University, your father's Alma Mater. To Study Journalism. So if you think back to your childhood and growing up a child of Nigerian immigrants water who motivated you to take on the path that you're on right now, I would say as a child of immigrant parents migrates motivation is my family growing up my parents really. Encouraged me to do my best in I. Always wanted to make them proud and I'm sure you have that. You want to make your parents proud that is like mandatory and a in the household of African parents in I did not become a doctor, a lawyer origin year. So I had to make sure my creative pursuits were gonNA lake a be a strong livelihood and thank goodness. And moves in a direction where my mom is. Enquiring if I can pay rent anymore, she is very excited to see the direction my career has gone in and she's been a supporter for the very beginning in for my mom I definitely get this energy, the sense of resilience being positive from my dad I get this kind of calm confidence bad habits or about him working walked into the room, you could get it done. You know and I from both of them they really inspired me to be my best self always and I think being a child immigrant parents brings across this feeling of being very solution oriented in resourceful because when they came here, why people major abated know what you know the ninety six going to be like they. Understand a whole other system in plug into a system that is racist. Yen does not tend to serve black and Brown people and they were able to accomplish so many Baynes in race three kids year in have success in their own ways, and now as a first generation child, I'm just so thankful thankful that they were able to instill these very strong values of hard work and being of service and being purpose like that line mom is very much you have to give back you have to be generous in who you are and tell people why you're doing these things things. You know like there's so much that is happening online now the infield performance. I remember doing things with my mom where it's like you you're why should be about your own self interest in your own dignity and integrity and not for others you know it's like I'm doing this because I want to help I want to see people in a better place and I tried to manifest that my day life like so five sharing something aren't talking about something it's the same thing. That I would do in person with individual just doing things just online. That's why I was so important for me to have the buck it said I emphasise as well because I want us to come in contact one another and really fellowship Fan I. Don't know how how your household is like I know did you have a lot of aunties and uncles but they weren't really on so you don't go. Absolutely you know. You can't say that like Leonti or whatever no that's Auntie. So so that's That's. Lampley in I think that's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking of kinship and I'm thinking, how can we help each other in this industry of books that is it was built or designed for us to flourish like. So the idea of us on each other's bugs in promoting one another and I have a literary agent a, you can talk to war. If I have editor that you'd be good for sharing information being transparent around resources. Feels feels are necessary and I definitely saw that within my parents, they share information with other immigrants Weber nineteen or not they were together they meet a community out of no community and so that really inspired my family, and now that I knew mother myself trying to also instill that into my child. I want him to feel like he's part of a larger community honestly when it comes the black women in general. Constantly pass now stories to one another generations after generations and I think that's also something that is so dear to me when I think about family and this idea, but we need to keep legacies alive passing sounds our children actually passed away two years ago and I would my son was born I dislike I just saw his face and I just was only dad is here like that like part of this experience even though he's not a physically here but his spirits this year to reglazed with my son. So I definitely channel that energy think about the word that. I'm doing instrumental work too. So it's very important to me that like my background in my history as a as an idea in American is shines through the work that I do even myself being a parent is so interesting where things about your children and you can see your ancestors or those that came before you just manifest in these very interesting ways and I think it's just a lovely reminder of people may not necessarily be there with you in the same sort of physical form that you may have been accustomed to but they're always there and you see that. In the world around us we see that in each other and it's very comforting I? Like the thing that she had talked about to around this notion that your parents instilled in new this this idea around just being very giving and transparent in the sharing of information and I would love for you to speak more on this yourself I. Think it's so critical because. I think about competition and you know the sector of the field of being a writer and then being a woman of writer and a person of color writer and and a black woman writer in particular just seen sly cow, the industry is set up. It's so it's such a small and finite space that as much as we want to engage in things that are. That make cultural sense to how we engage with one another like we're very much community oriented and focused, and what have you something about this space does not allow for that. So everyone's like Oh. Yeah support you. But I'M GONNA keep that agent to myself because the agent I don't want the agent to feel like I got to choose between these two great writers. As if there's not enough space for folk now, definitely a real real concern because there is this feeling of being very scarce in limited and I have found that that is actually very false. The idea of sharing information and collaborating and working together is what will move forward in only in a literary industry in every industry I think of cooperatives season I think A. Little packs a greatness happens when we are together were working in unison and there's more of US using our voice artists are political power or literary whatever it is. When we work together, we get more things done were productive and we're more powerful guns. I recall when I was studying journalism I actually studied broadcaster listen. So there is this idea that could only be one black based on TV or one black writer New York Times yet that is not accurate I've I really got to. Nicole Hannah Jones who is an incredible journalists and she kicked off the sixteen nineteen project that the New York Times does now won numerous awards in what she found the most brilliant black writers to write about the four hundred anniversary of slavery and the together made this beautiful production. Now, she has surprised and that's like an actual example of how come together actually help all of us. If I have an opportunity I, want my fellow sister a brother to come in and have an opportunity to. You have to really push back against idea that there's only one on of this idea tokenism. If we'RE GONNA work in community, we have to work together. We have to really find ways to create our own institutions or our own forms that aren't dependent dimply on someone's someone else even ask permission in it's hard because we time up against problems funding usually being the primary one it's like there's sometimes it feels like there's not enough funding around, but they're definitely isn't a talent you know. Black people are so multifaceted. So talented and we can get into the habit of incentives dean of the word competition chains that seeds collaboration how can I work with this person said Heck I learned from this person how can this person be a mentor or peer or look how can How can you reframe this idea around competition in the priority or art community because so many people come into the well read lacquer community and walk away with an agent walk away with the new air find new job. I've seen that happen over the span of five years where people they met their best friend at the book club or now they're playwright because they were able to join a writing group with other writers. MSNBC's very simple things. We don't think about our investments in one another in I. think that's very important to invest in yourself but also. Invest in your community that she wanted to for me. Personally I have this whole mantra of you win I win we win and notion of you know not to make a dichotomy where she's like there's a winner but then there's a loser but it's just like, no, we're all winning whatever that winning past looks like and then what's for you is for you what's for means for me but that doesn't mean that I can't show you on support shoe edify you celebrate shoe exactly what to say enacted lay all black folks are just like one you know. I knew on faceted. So in different ways in and I'm not simply supporting another person just because they're black and that's. Not The only thing and I think when we go into these spaces out sometimes the agents, the editors, it's like a wiry have my black editor or my bike black writer. That's ridiculous. There's not lose not only one Even within the pharmacy Asian you you're sharing your career Nigerian. Family like there's just so much fear so much the black diaspora that we can unpack and learn from NBC forged by that it's there's not only one in any regard. What's that pivotal moment that confirmed to you that you want to work in the space black people in general have an intimate knowledge of how And lack of it shows up in our daily lives and I think that with weller black girl manifesting in growing into such a powerful space. It made me feel like, okay. I have a responsibility to give back in I want to show that show others that they can do the same things whether they want to become authors themselves with whether they want to produce some kind of amazing whether it's festival or maybe a film or artwork whatever creative endeavor they. Have that they can do it they up to me as an example, and I think the moment that really changed things for me was when I did publish my book and twenty eighteen is that was a really eye opening experience. I didn't think that I was going to get a book deal from that. That was as I was building a platform and at that time offering so hot only maybe if thousand dollars, it was a it was John Eight, thousand nine. Influences, millions and millions it's all relative. I was very pleased with it. Now is excited by the respond but I did not. You would jared into a book. I. Really did it look I always thought my book writing with Tom from something from a journalism but I wasn't sure how but I didn't think it would be this and so when the agent reached out me and what I ended up connecting with my editor in finally brighty writing putting altogether together going through that whole process that was the moment the team very real to needs not just on Instagram the social media following it is a book that will live in a library on a book show in a school for rare in. Able to reference this just like I referenced. Mari Evans I reference Sunny Cable Bara in always incredible writers that I have a my shelf wrote books. Here's in years ago. But someone else had that same experience with my book in that really felt very affirming right changing. It's how I thought about the process a whole another level keyword being responsibility like how I'm working with young people. In about the future in legacy I'm excited from my son's or read the book, learn about his mom native from way now, and now I'm working on another book and I have another coming in. Now I feel very grateful to have that opportunity. It's people read my words and be inspired by them. Act to the road. Your first dodgy the well read black girl anthology premise asks its contributors to reflect on how black girls become black women writers. So I think I'd be curious to hear US speak on is how do you decide to show up in these literary spaces I as a black or African descended person than as a black woman today especially when we are in this current Hashtag climate, of Hashtag, Metoo Hashtag black lives matter? Hashtag? Site Black women movements not only here in the US but also globally, that's a brilliant question while we're black road definitely as a form of activism and there is a direct connection between language in politics for black women and I think the of journal true to Patrisse cullors who was the one of the sounders black lives matter movement. It is so important for us to have a clear appreciation and celebrate the black identity and. To See us as wind sent of people but this idea that were being there were nuance and there's context and we have a rich history and that comes in drama An art comes in. You said Yeah and I think it's really important for every once harnessed voices and I try to walk into a space in I. Think of myself as a person who's collecting incubating in China harnesses voices I really see myself as the connector Alana spaces and on introducing others, China share resources, and I've also learning in the process to one of my biggest fears around all of this the tensions entice feels a little bit overwhelming. Sometimes, I'm worried the right thing and I. have. To set aside those fears and think about how can help when I think about that I really focused on helping others being a conduit that helps me just forward in those spaces whether on the only black brown room or I'm hosting the festival and I'm surrounded by amazing women who are so brilliant. Last year we have a festival. One of my heroes offers to the Hartman and the fact that she was there yet on stage renew from books Thomas about what it means to be a wayward one man I was just so Florida enamored in there's so much that I don't know I just want to learn. I really walk into spaces like I'm open I WANNA learn. If I'm about something, please correct me if I'm right about something please give me recognition simply site me. I. Just want all those lanes to be seen that like I'm go person that's growing in wants to do my very best and I think about that when I walk into the room and I just always trying to be myself, I always wanted to be honest about the things I do enjoy it now and ask questions and I'm curious and I think of while we're back girl is a space where you could investigate learn about things that are new to you whether you're from an academic or you're reading a book. Author or you're reading a poem that motivates to your own it's a learning space Yan, its own of activism where we're like learning from one another and we're Miki community in a way that is honest and real I have two follow up questions on that. One of them is around this notion of how do you not fan girl when you have these people that you do? I for every one I'm like, I love your work. That's why I still get so. Excited and Enthusiastic about I am I like really lug everyone that I work with admire them like whether it's Jacqueline Woodson. Or Imani Very or yard Jones all these people that I really really love recall moments where I was reading their books, my dorm room or on the buzz. Going to work or someway, and now that they are part of my community in the realist too. It's not just they showed once high they have supported me and really impacted kits for me. They've really you really helped me amplify what will write background means and I couldn't do the work without their support. There's so much to say about advocating others is Jacqueline Woodson. It's. GonNa be me I I'm beat up the next person and help them feel that same magic because that's what keeps US looming I hope Monday then future a young girl was saying I was motivated by laureated did or solution row, and they'll feel that same surge of energy to ray to tell stories create whatever it is were being at Ford in our own ways me. And girl out ideologically right now. I've been reading all of Edward Standing Cats were absolutely love already rereading cry in I've been reading a actually right next to me. Great dangerously like just reading everything above that I can get my hands. All brother. I'm dying I have to everything and as I'm rereading unit unjust in all of her writing but also extending her crap out she structures percents she sells stories on I do that. So many of the people that I admire I, read alive if I tend to listen to a lot of some audio to that just helps meek seed in new way when I was working I in thought Jay Lynn nodded or this beautiful essay about the color purple and really. OUSE- Walker in reading it as a young woman, and then we reading it as a mother, half her perspective changed and how she interacted with the characters scenes and I think that's a good practice for anyone who wants to be a writer firings, the lifelong writer, and be a really great one like this idea of studying the people that you'd admire most and looking at their work with fresh eyes isn't it's really been help over me. So I encourage others to do I love that sage advice but then also gives perspective because then you're not this passive consumer of these words but not only do you see yourself maybe in the characters or situations but the timelessness of these words? How. You are when you read the book when you were twelve versus when you're twenty four versus when you're like forty eight, and then when you're seventy two is going to be very different because you're bringing yourself to the story in a very different way because now you've lived, you've had other kinds of experiences see exactly like you're bring your life experience to it. Yeah and your wish, how would you appreciation for the words as you mature? Yeah. How do you see this work translate globally particularly your first anthology because I think that even a lot of writers that included. In very interesting diverse, and you're right that laxness descended people. We're not a monolith in. So everyone's perspectives were slightly different. There were nuance in that people their ancestors came from different places whether they are based in the US or through the throughout the Americas. But how do you see sort of work sitting abroad on the other side of the pond? What's been the reception from others or people really seeing? Wow. I get what black lives matter means when I read this book and I'm in Uganda or I'm in Italy I'm in South Africa I think was agree about the Is allows you to understand blackness in a different way I. think so many bring now what the uprising and so many other protests. A lot of the book lists have been around academic books where it sleep in the entire race said, which is incredible book by Dr Evil, any things that kind of lay out the format at how to be you know it's almost like instructions in history lessons which we need are so vital but what might be offers is Emotional. Connection of of womanhood black womanhood in particular in how one discovers themselves it is almost like a interior conversation the readers having with the essays I think that is very important within the elderly essay just war talks about how she was a young girl and the book she discovered how allowed her to have the strength to write her own story and the reality how she closes essays like she didn't see her spell on those pages until she will on. She what her on book you know. So you can have these really intense emotional moments with the writers see repair trying to become their best selves or trying to understand what race class and gender how empowers or disenfranchise is them So you're like an and that's what I really strive for them. When I'm writing feel emotionally connected to the writing I want them to see the person is in you can make your own assessment on how you want to move forward after you read it and I. Hope It. Opens up there there is to discrimination and this idea that not everyone has it air I. Honestly, it's just like something's a really unfair in various in there's a reason for that because a discrimination and you know it's because of sexism's because of h. e. r. e. and I don't have to be so Layton and obviously insane those words but reading the essays and analyzing them being thoughtful with them should allow that come of across and the next time you encounter a young black woman who was trying to you know live. Our best lie you'll be more sensitive empathetic. Maybe that is my hope but I think that's why the book has been coming up on a ladder reading lists and I also offer a lot of suggestions on what's next. So tween, each of the chapters, tons of reading lists that night did that on purpose because I didn't WanNA person to say I never heard of a black Friday right I'm never read a written a science fiction written by black woman like that. That was so insane to me. So whether educator. Or just like a person who wants to expand their book, Shel- I have tons and tons of recommendations from the incredible black woman and you can't say things that can't be. You don't have a list to go to so i. mean there's just so much beauty in in a black woman and I'm so proud a young black girl who bruins who about women who really try to amplify the voices of other back momentum and now everyone has the Mike but I'm just like we've been out in the might come on. Let's. It let's be loud must be ourselves. One hundred percent. Let's not quote switch. That's the whole thing to i. hope that's what the book show at If anything that I think the biggest critique in the biggest next for me with the have more voices from across the pond, you know have more voices, reflective Nigerian Americans or Afro Latina's like they're just so much I could have added more. Caribbean. Writers vessel much. Added where I can see it now I wish I had added this essays or told the story you know I'm just always more. There's always more to be improved upon John's I'm hoping to do that with future values just make sure they're more inclusive in have varied voices. Of the writers are Black America but their benefits have more voices from other places and be representative of the whole by fast breath there are always people who are going to provide their criticism about. Well, this is what J. Hsieh done in what have you? Love the intention alien terms in terms of how you were a, you divide it up the book, and then in those transitions, you have your list because in many ways, that's what you provide online. It's part of the network we're all this month. This is what we're reading and I'm like, Oh, I heard about that. Is that coming out on our okay or? I thought it just came out. It came out six months ago. But okay, let's Meets again on on on really buying that in terms of your individual path, what failures have you experience in? How did you turn things around Oh? Wow. That's a great question failure. In the break loose Wade's I think that sometimes we can think about, hey, I intended to do this thing and it just did not work out. In that moment and then you fast forward and you realize that wasn't necessarily a failure, but it was something that I needed to experience because it brought. Clarity is helped me consider some other things that I hadn't thought about previously and then I still ended up where I needed and wanted to be but it was just something that was different. I think there was so many once I graduated there are so many different ways I thought or directions I thought my career would go in like I really wanted to. From Washington DC original any and I thought like work at Washingtonpost our work at Lake NBC's you know in the local news stations like I just had this idea and again and again out applied at Baynes and be rejected and really feel. Bad about be able to get into these institutions and I think those failures or those rejections allowed me to be more. On creating my own opportunities looking for things that were outside if you look at high resume now it is so unconventional at Sony different things at worked at startups I worked at arts organizations in a grant writer. I've producer I just have been able to use my skills and allow them to transition. It's other spaces and I think those very early rejections allowed me not to give up myself think of new ways to be innovative in myself. If that makes sense I was like like. Once. Once I got over the WHO who you didn't pick me. It's like, okay I think myself. And that has always been my Rita's Gif and again I think my Mama because she's shoot REDAC- fleet and sell the sense of resilience in me and I still even when I don't get something I still feel like, I deserve it and I think this idea like we are worthy. We deserve absolute best and we have the like wants me warned the things that we think that we want in on some things. It's like the better the dislike keep going in also working at start up spaces I have seen earth and mostly would not know what they're doing. They are constantly experimenting and then turning things over very quickly and their biggest. Advantage that they have usually capital, and if folks like ourselves get a little more capital, we could be on the same claim fields and 'cause it's just people are experimenting in Tiffany moving quickly. So the next idea failure now as like the greatest learning experience and I'm not afraid to fail also not afraid to tell folks I don't know something on any airs on that note, I will say to you I will ask questions are probably asking too many questions that's also been a benefit to our back because I did not know what the INS and outs of industry was I didn't know what I was supposed to do not supposed to do. Just do what I wanted to do, and then people come to me like did you do that I'm like I just did it. Wasn't asking anyone permission. Yeah. That allow me that my own path and have platforms and Ki Moon Sword in now when you look on instagram now there's so many amazing books grammars and be they tag. We invade not as inspiration not easy I think. It's reading. Why would I want? You know like I see them as art might try night lifting than love and I want them to have as many followers as I do I want to be so many platforms where black writers than highlighted in encouraged and loved on because that's the point what I. Don't want them to be exploited by white students that don't want that. You know I want us to be at the air inequitable in our guard. That those ideas of failure also are attributed to use the thing. That's so when you're young you're. L. That's like what is expected not surly this clear cut like it was like you went left or you went right. But there are certain situations that teaches you things about not just you but about the space in which a traversing in and things like, oh, now I know. So this is how I can move in this way or just even realizing that I'm putting so much emphasis on the external stuff. Acting away from my internal and that I am worthy of all tackling sometimes the box ready set before me isn't doesn't work for me and so. I mean to create my own box or create a different rectangle circle something else. Exactly. What was so amazing good friend where she got this amazing job. And she was there for a little bit and so she calls me and she's like I'm willing to quit. We were like. You've been there two months. You can't do it lose weight and you've been working your whole life or your your law degree, your head you're this and that, and then you get to this place and you're like a weight I don't like it in that happen suit. So many times if people where you think you want the swamp playing a game and you're like. This like what I feel like I'm not finding enjoyment this long passion and you have to learn how to sunset these or worn down by the next I think I get caught up in his idea like what I'm supposed to be this way. So I have be here for whatever reason, and that's not a real thing like you set your own boundaries standards and if you get somewhere, you don't want to do the thing anymore you can. quit we mean we were all shocked and surprised but she knew her truth and she knew it wasn't a good fit for her by all that you know that time energy invested in that time. She doesn't go anywhere. It's like still partner experience for what she said destination. She didn't WanNa be there anymore, and that's okay but those who Needs to be forgiving more compassionate when ourselves said that it's okay to change your mind it's okay to say notice on days like it's A. To change and grow and how new ideas and Greens. Act Three where we land. Glory. What are you most excited about? Personally professionally, would you have going on oh? My goodness. So right now I am planning the first ever virtual all while Red Black Girl Festival because of foreign team everything that's happening in the state of the world. We are moving the festival for twenty twenty on lines on planning at retain getting authors together figuring out how to do workshops and seminars and it's really exciting but. It's also very new. So I'm just trying to be very thoughtful about curation process in housing gauge people in a way on that. So different than being in person were so used to like sandy next to each other and giving hugs do both sidings. So this is gonna be different experience but I think it's GonNa be so incredible album to reach more people online internationally and the bigger because it won't be how many. Maybe, five hundred thousand people are room. It could be way bigger. Yeah. I'm really excited about that this year and also working on a in anthropology which is going to be published with north and focus is black girlhood in short stories. So I'm looking at a series of short stories from Dorothy. Jahns Hall Marshall in Tony. Came Baras curate unbound I'm looking at the characters as they're coming of age and who they are decisions they make. So I'm really putting together very often collection around that enjoyed stories. What might be favorite excited to share that with the world and lastly project to about thirty ships you mean, my mom than hurts Muda inspiration in her her battle with depression and how she was able to overcome that in amazing way. So it really serve as a great example for our family. So I'm working on a lot Athen's, and then I'm a new mom do invention the all these things happen during his nap time. When we're the most productive efficient no I I love that and that's exciting to hear about all the different things that you have going on in in the pot and I liked the memoir slant is well entrance of focusing on your relationship with your mother especially now in terms of where you are in your lived experiences being a mother yourself and I, think. The timeliness in terms of talking about mental health and mental wellness is well particularly amongst African descended folks were for so long even the literature you're reading things and you kind of reading between the lines like is this person struggling with particular illness or situation, but it's it's always couched as oh so and so on and so had had to lead array like. Spray. xactly in so I really do like that. You have these very interesting projects to that are happening simultaneously, but they're doing different things. One's very personal in terms of familial. But then also another one is still very much revealing about who you are your interests, the things that speak to your heart song in terms of the literature and I think my last question about your projects in particular is just How do you then go about the process of identifying even for your first anthology who's going to be a part of it, and then now with the second anthology when there's a plethora of so many different stories, like how does one narrow it down like that would be stressful. Honestly if my desk wasn't so messy right down at my desk I would I wish I could show you my desk there And Book in books everywhere big sometimes people don't realize how many books you have to re to write among. You know you have to do so much research and fighting in Jean and I'm really doing a lot of reading of books that I read as a child, and then I also have out of this running with my head of things at books that I just can't forget. You know that was sort of justice with you for years and years. That acid is that was like my story. So for example, I had here drinking coffee elsewhere easy packer is not just the queen of short story collections. That's were one book like I was always like. She's a credible accomplish academic professor. collections one of my favorites. Absolutely love her. So I do a lot of reading in right now I'm actually thinking of looking for coming of age stories that are more gender, non conforming and. How Different Lens on winning means to grow up and you know looking at girlhood is a different way I'm just rereading allow like I go to. Go to libraries I'm just digging items Amazing Collection One short story question that Rita Dove wrote a found that reading that for the first time douches so much reading that has to be done on there is an author that I read a long time that I want her to be in the collection names, Dana Johnson his Zoric in the sixth grade and talks about a young girl who has a crush on Roy like she lives in West Covina in California back. This boy was from Oklahoma and they're you know they're so different. She's new neighborhood in California. He's needs out to California general, Extreme Oklahoma, and it's like the cutest story rings up all feels like having your first crash and I don't know how many people million David jobs that are not. She's she's a great search story writer. So things like that like I just kind of US lie heart figure out. People need to be below what really speaks them how short? What gives them joy even brings you that much joy in in you can't forget it may not be a people receive the same way and he's a long time. So I trust Wisey something like I feel really often I think people need to be mindful of their tastes Good taste you can curate these no own that and share that because it does mean something in there's not it's hard to put a value on that in the corporate world emotional connection thing. But it is such a great deal set and I see that now as an adult see that as a younger percent and you've dropped so many gems throughout in terms of audience takeaways just to highlight I. Recall you were talking about the fact just this notion around community in collaboration and even though you. Learned that particular values set from your parents around houses that you engage in, see your purpose through the reading network and all the things that you do through the festival and your engagement with others. You know I think that's so important in just operating that framework and then being able to just how you show up spaces and owning it and not apologizing for it and sometimes take a path and with the pivot might create something else. It's that entrepreneurial spirit I. think is at Heart in terms of some. Practical parts of entrepreneurship that you can learn and it's you know that counting sided this not a your taxes and you even before you make the great leave do encourage votes, saves money that does work should. Be Umbro late, all those things are practical things that you can learn, and then there's also the other side of it where everyone deserves amber career that taps into their passions and allows them tap. Great. Joy A. Confined joy and really hold onto it. It makes the logistics hard work just. MAKES IT EASIER? It's always going to be days where I don't WanNa, do this or your frustrating come up against being barriers. But if you're truly truly passionate, you'll continue to persevere it'll keep growing and I think there's something beautiful about longevity things to look I'm really excited to see you know I'm I'm kidding your five soon but I can't wait to see. What this looks like in ten years, I can't wait to see looks like when I step away from it made me someone else comes in and fills a role as executive director or or maybe I go back into something with my on mater at Howard issue. So many things that I've open to them receptive that I just Kinda I I do my best to. Stay Open just whatever comes my way whatever opportunity I try to say yes. When it's when I feel like it's going to serve the greater goal McGregor mission in I think last night was acts that continuously China surround yourself with minded people that will support you in investing Mu and really will love on you train for like I just can't say enough about. Like my friends who have helped me women, the club were there. There were only ten people in a room because we don't talk about that and I really did the first year I started it was like ten of us. It really was ten of US meeting once a month talking sharing law social every once in awhile but that first year it wasn't it wasn't as In amazing as it is. Now, I mean, it was still easy like it just was different. It was a totally different as the community changes the how interact with changes too. So I, love community but I'm not gonNA share baby could use things like that. I also have the have round result shooting at keeping myself and protect my family to there's there's just like different things that I have to be mindful of when you start to get. More popularity or more visible on social media and I think if you are person where social media is an apartment horn part of your promotional just to set your boundaries backing. If you WANNA share your kids are things but you have to set your boundaries your how you interact yet always honest in that to be honest someone sees you on the street and they wanna a bigger you they want to do something you gotta be Yester- now. I'm great I'm great with in person I love talking to be relevant information, but I really want the work to be focused on in the writing and less on my personal Lebanon. Makes it greener orgnization because it's not just Gorey's organization is all of ours when I I know Oprah two seconds. It. Was Great. 'cause everybody was like, Oh, I got it feels like. To, you know and I'm like that's great. That's that's how I wanted to get one that we're all in this reunions again, there were celebrating together were now sharing information is a US things we being stopped by thankful that you're able to share so much particularly about your journey of belonging to blackness. Fun Thing. So much I think that you're doing incredible job with this podcast project as it's so important for us to. We're we're frown proud of that celebrate that I think. is going to be so important for us to leave for is a knowing our talents not downplay. You have identified your talent incredible talents writer, and this podcast does it's important for you to continue to share that with the world's share with the world. Thank you so much from your lips to the ether to the heavens. All of that think you. Fear you have it. The journey isn't over, but this episode is until next time piece.

writer Jacqueline Woodson US Instagram Howard University Tony Morrison China editor John Eight Lorrie Wilmot Howard Baynes Madame CJ Adam Los Angeles Times India US
178 Author Elizabeth Acevedo

What Book Hooked You?

37:31 min | 9 months ago

178 Author Elizabeth Acevedo

"This is what Cook to you. I'm actually and thanks for listening on this episode I'm ecstatic to have Elizabeth Vado joining me. Bestselling author National Book Award Winner and her latest book. Clap when you land is out now and we talk a lot about Verse and what is her approach to planning to write a novel in verse and one of the most interesting parts of this is when you hear her talk about her audiobooks in that she narrates all of them and how that has become an element within her writing process. So great conversation. Hope you enjoy it. Listen so Elizabeth. What book hooked you? This is really tough. I mean I've been racking my brain and I think there are a couple of books that I was really moved by. Initially I wanted to talk about La because of Winn dixie Bi Katie to Kamilo and then I was considering Jacqueline Woodson. I remember reading Miracle Boys in Middle School and it was actually a read aloud And to seen so moved by that book and then devouring every Jackie Woodson book. You know that was available but I as I kept replaying. Not just what influenced me as as a young person but then as a writer what? I aspired to create. I think the best example would be speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. And I'm sure you've probably got this answer before but I think there's something about that book that feels so special in like you've discovered something about yourself while you're reading it and it almost feels like a secret like do other people know what's in this book. Are they allowed to let them? I allow to read this As a kid I remember feeding is going to get in trouble but because of that it felt so truthful in felt so honest in a lot of my work. I think is walking in in Laurie. Steps and Jacqueline Woodson steps and Mike. How do we write honestly about characters deal with really difficult things in ways? Make kids feel like you know I'm seeing Yeah yeah that's great and I think I'm right there with you. Speak always reminds me of like an kind of what we snow. Today is why. That's like the origin book in a lot of ways. At least in my view I just with what did so when it came to reading when you were a young person. Was that like an active activity in your young adult life. It was I was a big reader And I think partly it would that we lived in a small two bedroom apartment in New York City and I mean it can't be more than seven hundred square feet. There wasn't a lot of Base to claim as your own. There you know. My parents were really strict. I wasn't allowed to just hang out outside unless I had a purpose but books were something that were really safe right. My parents were kind of like well. She's quiet she's and it almost felt really subversive. Because I would like go to the you know the library and pick out all these books. I'm like they don't even know what I'm reading like. Reading Romance novels than you know. Getting my whole life but but books were away to kind of feel felt really confining and explore you know what felt like the world and relieve in you know. That's where mom would like urge me to leave the house. Please go do something other than read but I could spend ten hours in my bed just just reading on Saturday in. That was an ideal Saturday for me. I was fine with that and I and I get the sense you know because you were living in this apartment. That reading was away to in a sense. Give you the space that you didn't physically have. It was entirely about space. It was it was about. I mean I think when we talk about books as escapism. We think almost in the psychic around like there's something happening at Escape but I think for me. It was what felt physical. I mean I would hang out on my fire escape in like sit out there like I think it was just wanting to feel free from what I was being told you know how I had to contain myself. And so even just those little. I'm GONNA sit on the stoop instead. I'm GONNA sit on the fire escape where I'm going to go to the rooftop or like I was still technically home but I could you know I could remove myself from what felt felt really tight. I think folks let me do that too. I learned how to kind of remove myself from whatever space I was actually in it and feel free and so then on top of your reading. What role did writing play in your life as a young person? I don't know that when I was young I necessarily made a link between much. I read and how much I wrote. They felt like Mary separate practices to me. I've always loved reading fiction but even at a young age I began with songwriting. And then you know rap and then poetry and so you know I kind of imagined I would go into music which didn't necessarily feel related to fiction. But but I realized I was almost like telling the stories to myself. I would read these books in door these books in love these books but I really think I I would write a fictional novel but something about hip pop in something about poetry. Felt like it could be mine and it felt like a way to communicate what I wanted to get across performing in I could carry it in my body and I could gifted on any street corner or on or at the park or at school like it felt fluid in a way. That A Y. Re because it's GonNa teach me how to write a book one day like that wasn't thought I ever conceived if I read because I love stories and the only way to tell stories are poetry so so I'm Gonna I'm GonNa tell my own story. But they're gonNA feel different than something you find on a book show. That's what I imagined and just as Jacqueline Woodson and Laura Anderson. Our inspirations in the fiction side of things when it came to hip hop artists whether y are even now what? What artist did you draw inspiration from? Oh I was really a big Fan. I loved two-pack Eve was big when I was When I was growing up so there was a woman who claimed her body in cleaned all kinds of things I just thought she was so phenomenal. in the space that she took up. Lauren Hill with someone that I really enjoyed. I got to high school in and discovered her work and so there were a lot of examples and is an amazing place to to be a big hip hop out head because all of my friends were also rappers. Everyone had school. Like music was everywhere. And so from the underground you know guys who were coming up in my neighborhood to like the big national seen it felt like I had access to music but but those four artists are for big ones. That I look to Austin and so when you started to get more into The poetry and the slam aspect of writing and performing. When did you first remember knowing that narrative works of fiction could be done inverse? Do you remember when that was something that you knew it existed him was possible? I think I was already an adult. I don't know if I read a novel in verse when I was in middle school. I'm trying to think in high school I mean. We read Greek classics in so I knew of ethics which you know one can argue would be the blueprint for the novel in verse. And so I think I remember looking at that and realizing Oh wait this is. This is poetry for Short Shakespeare. Right like they were plays. But I'm like I don't know like this. I think we linked a bunch of poems and like put in a transition between them and we call that a player or fiction or that. We called it a lot of things but and and even learning that. Shakespeare meant for everything to be heard right. Most people work that are like it just made sense to me like Oh wait. I you know we do this all the time with it. But we do this. All the time with rapper. With which we're just linking these things that we perform orally and we find the ways to create a narrative hinge between them. But I don't know that I was thinking about the novel in verse in so it must have been when Ellen Hopkins was probably the first author whose book I saw was like. Wait a minute. This is We call the realistic fiction at the time. This is realistic fiction. But it's told in a way that feels closer to what I what I've been trying to do. And so your journey lead you to getting into education and so what when you were when you were preparing yourself. Actually in front of kids. How what books do you remember Really drawing from or trying to get in front of other students That you were really excited about you know what I think. One of the funny things about being a teacher is that you so offense into the books you loved when you eight to give to your kids so my students had a lot of Jacqueline Woodson. Laurie Halt Sandison And Walter Myers with someone who? I was really interested in a lot of exciting books. I I worked at a school. That had a really low reading level right. Most of my students were in eighth grade. But we're at fifth sixth grade reading levels and so a lot of it was about a book that would catch them in. That would keep them hooked and interested and those authors mentioned were big ones but certainly I mean. I couldn't keep hunger games on the shelf. I couldn't keep divergent on the shelf and then there were books that I didn't know how they would land so many years later like some NATO's house on Mango Street. I gave to one child and I wasn't sure what she would think about it right. This is two thousand twelve in so many years after that book was published many years after I read it in eighth grade and this kid will couldn't put it down. I had at one end up getting woman Hollering Creek and You know download it. All these poems that that's messy cinematheque without kind of created a a mini collection for the student to to be able to take home and keep so. There were books that was a mix of what was current in contemporary. But also my own style. J. Wanting to like a firm in a student front of me that I could hear what they were asking for because I had had that yearning I think. Sometimes my giving books was was that and just from your experience With kids was it. Was it a wakeup call? 'cause I I was also in education that you grew up loving books and loving stories. And then you get in front of kids who didn't and don't naturally have The same love that you had in your job is to then try to get that love across did you. Did you have a hard time? Doing that are learning how to convince these students and bring them along with you. I mean I think I was. A young teacher came through a teaching program. I was twenty two years old. Mike classrooms were were full to the brand. I mean thirty four students a class in so I had no idea what I was doing and and now say that probably any teacher in that situation is going to struggle to try to figure out how to Really encourage literacy in their classroom. But I I won't say I was surprised. I mean I did it. I didn't grow up with a lot of readers. I wouldn't say my friends were necessarily readers. I wouldn't My parents always had newspapers in there. Were books in the House and we had encyclopedias and so it was clear that literacy was important. You know I didn't catch my brother's reading novels at in. My you know my home from upstairs the neighbors Reading books on the stoop and so I knew that I was a big reader but that that wasn't necessarily as common in in in that neighborhood people had other priorities and other things that they were doing Teach in a school that reflected that same community. I knew what I was getting into when I walked into the school in realized you know where my students were. And that's a lot of them. Were afraid of books a Lotta felt like they could it be good readers. It wasn't that they don't love stories. They love stories. They were just afraid of understanding it of it being too difficult being bored right like they had already told themselves myth about what they would be able to do with language and so my job was just to think through that myth and really. I was very explicit. I was very up front. With what the statistics were for the community with literacy rates for that community. How literacy rates Attach THEMSELVES TO UPWARD MOBILITY IN SOLD. Talking with thirteen year olds about. I get that this may not be a thing you want to do. I understand that this may be a skill that you struggle with or feel ashamed about. How do we talk through that? Because of the potential outcomes in terms of being able to access something like that you may not have to now but also in terms of the richness of what stories do. I know you'll love me. I know you love. Tv looks film so you are constantly engaging with narrative and so this is just going to be another opportunity to Sa- feel that same connection to two story and you know sometimes it worked sometimes. It didn't some students took longer and some students were like wait. I don't walk be years behind my reading level. I really WANNA go actor in It ranged and so from reading other interviews and information of your background in your origin story. As far as a writer is come from Being in front of these students and and wanting and them communicating Wanting to see themselves in stories. And that's kind of helped motivate you and that you had sort of this intended audience in mind and so then with that. I'm wondering then with how far reaching your first book. The poetics Became that it went well beyond well beyond what your intended audience Initially was what does that been like that. You have reached so many more people than maybe what you originally thought you were writing towards. I'm glad I didn't know like I'm glad there was no crystal ball with me like when you're done. This thing is going to be pretty big because I think I would have edited differently. I would have had a lot of I mean you already have so many doubts when you write and to know the reach would have probably scared me. And it's an odd thing I mean with the fire on hi. My second novel came a year after GLOP. When you land. My third book is coming out right outside. I've been putting out a book a year since the politics add. It is hard to sit with a story that you know has its own project and its own vision and that you love and characters you love and not second guess. Well we'll people be as mu. Well what what if you compare it to the poet x? What if they want more of that and kind of trying to quiet those voices because I think a lot of people would love equal to the products? They would love the twin store. They I get these emails all the time about those kinds of ways that people wanna stretch that world and live in that world a little bit longer and it's hard to kind of be really mindful that I don't WanNa do the same thing over and that in the same way I didn't know what the politics would do. There are other projects I have in mind that also may have Immense impact in in so. It's hard to imagine that the audience who loves this work who has shown up for this work may not know best may not know best what what I can make sure or what I can give them that they might really love. And so I kind of have to be the chef in the kitchen will. This is the daily special whether you like it or not. The only thing I'm serving and if you trust me this far and you're still showing not like I promise you'll leave nervous that's kind of high field and there's only one meal and you know it's it's only been two years since the products have with everything that has come with it and Your Second Book and just your career and all that it's brought you have you had time to sort of sit back take a step back and reflect on all of it and just The scale of everything. No no I think I think it was good that I I kind of kept working kept going. I I think I would have been really afraid of of Taurine of of doing any of the work that I had to do if if I had known and if I also stopped I think this you know when you start going to Congress as he realized that people recognize your that before showing up to your panels and are are there specifically to you have to say. I think I would have put pressure on myself that I'm glad I didn't have when I kind of walk into spaces and was like well. I was relatively unknown last week. Still relatively unknown and whether that was true or not a help my anxiety to imagine to imagine that. But you know I think we're in a current moment where the world has had a hard stop and even prior to this. I had to kind of make time Ray. You said then you have time I had. I didn't have I had to carve it out because I realized that I I had never taken a moment to regroup. I kept writing. I kept going. I finished with the fire on high turned it into my editor and the next day. I was working on the third book like I. I think I come from such a model of if you don't take advantage of it now it will be taken from you that. I I I didn't know how to To sit right I I kind of thought as well. You're just resting on your laurels. And what does that mean like you have to keep making work And I think I probably could have slowed down a little bit sooner and certainly Already knew about a month or two ago like okay. I can't I can't keep this pace up and also I need to process years worth of life Kim -solutely so as a writer in verse I've had many authors on if only a handful have been Verse Writers how I have a good sense of how your your prose novel is is set up and structured so when it comes to writing a novel in verse where. You have both both the poetry and the narrative. How do you go into the structure or the planning stages do you outline? What's your method? Also I wish I outlined. That sounds really nice. No I'm most certainly a pancer in I. I kind of delight in it. I don't want to know the story. I don't want to know what happens yet. I want to discover it alongside the character. I want to be delighted by possibility and opportunities and so I do a very when a story comes to mind the first thing is determining what what. What's the form is it verse is it? Prose? Is it a hybrid is. Is this a tweet? Maybe it's not a story at all right and so I kind of sit with what's the container and I usually have a pretty good sense of well. This has a lot of into your your body. There's GonNa be a lot of. This is a big topic that I'm going to have to kind of heal layer by layer and I don't imagine a big cast or a lot of dialogue and saw mill. Okay that's probably more diverse than and if I know it's a bigger story where there's going to be traveling adventure where I have to really detailed pages of studied. That's probably pros right so I think I have a good kind of gauge. That lets me know what kind of writing is needed for a story. But I don't plot and so. I'm glad you could find structure my books than sows grade. I'd comes later but I have a sense of. Here's a problem. And here's the thing the character wants to do and then I'm just following them. They're usually the language the verse although I'm drafting in verse. Adult put too much pressure on it being poetry or being good or bead full of images yet I think the first draft is just. How do I find the rhythm of the story? Both the narrative story the pacing but also the actual language is there a rhythm that the character speaks in voice. And if I have that that's enough for me to do the first draft if I kind of have the music of it and then I'll come in all. That's not a tight end manager. I don't think she would use that word. Or what can polling do on a page so that it's adding to the content? In the craft. It's kind of working. You know harmoniously but that'll be later on revisions With the fact that you don't outline and there's that saying you know you gotTa Kill Your Darlings when you're revising so are there. Do there ended up being a lot of Poems that you really love that don't end up fitting in any of your books that you can end up having to cast aside there are The poet actually had a a special edition that had poems that had been cut prior. Like five or six. That didn't make it In with clap. When you land I mean it was such a different novel. There was only one character. The whole story was in that one character's voice so a lot of that character's things got chopped as I introduced a second point of view right had to balance the story and so I know when I'm writing like a lot of this end up there or it's not the right story it'll be a great image or a great metaphor character would ever use and so I have to then think about who that would actually belong to But I would say I'm very spare writer. My my issues usually having some beef up a manuscript so the first draft of the poet was twenty thousand words and I was like all right. That's it that's all right. And so then I had to go in and find holes but in general I I write the skeleton of the bare bone Fleshing out in filling in but less cutting more adding I would say is what I typically right and so your newest book you've already mentioned it Clap Milan comes out on the fifth of May give me the kind of the basic summary of what the books about cloud when you land is the story of two sisters who don't know about each other one lives in the Dominican Republic. One lives in New York. They share a father and he tragically dies on a plane crash on his way to visit the one sister in the Dominican Republic and all of the secrets he held and a lot of things that Were best left cog on earth come out with with his passing. It is based on a true story or true event of flight. Eight five eight seven which crashed in New York City in two thousand and one and it was a plane full of Dominicans. It Iraq my community to you know to lose in one day. Three hundred three hundred Dominicans from New York. I mean it. We knew people on that flight. We had friends on that flight. We had neighbors on flight in and I always kind of sat with that. How do you so much loss in a single day and the little personal tragedies no one ever sees once it's no longer on CNN and so that's what that was In the back of my head when I began trying to tell this story how do you deal with loss and gain in moments of of you know both national tragedy but these little griefs that you don't know what to do with our where to put them in so these two sisters are kind of thinking through all of those questions because you're dealing with two points of view Inverse what how? How did you go about establishing each individual voice of each character Since they have to sort of be complementary and may be competing at times. Y'All had to really think through what they were sounding like. I mean there's like a marker at the top of the page and sister is written in couplets in the other ones intersted so that they're very visual ways that are reader can distinguish between the two sisters but I also really wanted to think about how they sounded rioted. So you know. I think that you hirose assistant sister lives in. New York has more of a Written shorter lines. There's a harder grittier. Sound like she uses words just have hard consonants and in that felt very New York that felt very like the neighborhood she was growing up in. And also just this quick pacing of things communal. A my head is writing her. I'm thinking about the fact that everything on writing is translated. I'm writing in English but this is a speaker who is thinking in Spanish and so there are phrases that I directly translated but didn't necessarily conjugate in a way that it fits English syntax right and so it. It was about mapping onto the story without pulling back from the fact that she has a slightly slower paced life that these are going to be longer lines. That there's a lot more Idioms that come through. Because that's a big way that Dominican speak. There's always a powerball or store idiom that we're using and so traditional idioms come through but in English which was very surprising to me when you know afraid so well you translate you realize it feels so different in a different language and so for those two sisters. It was kind of trying to find those rhythm and then. I'll say that I gave each their own what. I call language of experiences so you hire replaced chess a lot of metaphors have to do with. Chechen games in competition Camino the Dominican Republic is someone who loves to swim and so a lot of her metaphors. Her language base is coming from fluidity from the earth from being connected right like it's so I I kind of shape them based on what these characters would know and because writing in verse. It's such a vocal Method of writing. So when? You're drafting are you. I'm imagining you walking around your space. Like Sein- The poems out loud are you also saying to people. Are you having other people read them to you? How does how does that typically end up looking like I definitely read while I'm writing and will sit with with certain pieces over and over to make sure that they sound right. I'm really thankful that I get to do the audio books for my work. Which means that I have that one lasts. Sorta revision once. I think it's done in non-performing it you can hear it one more time and I can hear it live with the audiobook director in the engineer. So I'm also paying attention to whether or not it's coming across how I imagined. And they're asking questions that made me rethink right word or is this right here in. So that's one more level where I'm allowed to do those last minute changes i. It's really hard for me to listen to someone else doing my work right. Because it's like I want to enjoy it as a listener. But also I'M. I'm too hyper aware of all of the changes. I could make it but that's a interesting suggestion. That might be something. I try like caffeine. A you know with screenplays or with with stage plays people will do A. Maybe I should start doing that so I can hear it differently. So your books have changed after your audiobook recording session in some ways they change during so sometimes there will be changes that I realized half to happen or like. Oh that's not the right word or end will not so record it as As I want it to be. And then we usually try to get those notes into the editor or to my editor initial come back and say whether or not we can make those changes but because books are recorded usually on past pages right before final final. I still have a little bit of wiggle room so nothing now. I can't change the plot if I'm not all of a sudden this character doesn't work but but I can do little things like that's not the right word or I don't think she would say that or that doesn't coincide with a thing that we said to poems ago. So let's strike that line and and I I've been able to get some of those changes in and was that something. Was that kind of a happy accident that when you went into record the codex that you didn't necessarily intend to be making those changes like that or was that sort of your hope along. That's exactly it was such a happy accident. I mean I thought you know the poet X. was done and and that I couldn't touch it ever again. I think most debut author. I just didn't know what was possible so I turn the second passed out. Never see that book against let's published right. I'm pretty sure I like six more times. But but when I went into the studio with it was my audiobook director. Who like well if you're stumbling over that line and you're saying it's not coming out the way you wanted it to come out like we can cut that word and I just never being flabbergasted. Cut that word what. It's going to be different. Audiobook isn't going to Maj. She's like no. I'll email your editor and we'll see if we can get the change of prove. Let's take it both ways and that's usually what happens so. I'll take it the way it's written and I'll take it with the change. I want to add and so if things get approved will right match the text to what I did in the studio and they don't will keep it as is but after that I realized I had. I probably took advantage of the fact that it was supposed to be one or two changes in every book thereafter. I've been a count on the fact that at least I get to hear it one more time when you're kind of looking at at your career looking towards the future. Is there anything you want to explore? Grow play with that? You haven't yet gotten a chance whether that's John Raya or or medium. I have so many things WANNA do. I mean one thing I'm I'm really conscientious about is like I love writing and I love it because of the challenge it creates for me. I love pity myself against who I think I can be. It's why the second book was imposed. I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to to make sure I wasn't pigeonholed as a single kind of writers while the third book is dual narrative. Here's the challenge of okay. I've written in verse before can I? Can I slip that? Can I push? Can I try something different for me? It's a lot about play. It's a lot about experimentation. And and and yeah might fail. I might make things that aren't good and and I'm okay with learning from that. I'm okay with taking the chance right. And so I wanNA write fantasy and I had a short story that was published in the analogy of Phoenix. I must bird which came out in March and that's a historical fantasy. Short stories set on the island of respond. Ula In fifteen twenty one right and so how do we talk about America in during the early stages of Eliza mm-hmm but but also medieval times right? Because that was the mindset. People were coming from that for like new world to me. I am riding in an adult novel and have been working. The proposal is I have twenty pages of that written and thinking through. How does my voice in my registered change for adults? What what are the things that I could say? Or how? Can I say something differently? Because the expectation of the audience is different and so I'm hopeful that there will be out of pockets that I can dig into as I keep keep working. It's great there other books brock. I we'll wait. We'll be waiting salon things down and now as you said of questions. I ask everyone the first one being. What is your favorite movie? That's based on a book. Oh I recently watched I'm working on the screenplay for my second novel is watching a lot of food movies. But you know really liked Like water for chocolate. I think it's so hard to get magic across without a feeling cheesy and magical realism is almost even harder. Because there's no wand there's no special effects and that's not what the audience is expecting and so the way that movie handled magic and family and food. I thought was so special. I'll say as of right now. That is one of my favorite adaptations great and finally. What is the last great book that you've read? I've been doing some great reading recently. I've been reading mostly adult. There is a mystery series. That's called deck below stairs and the author Prior to this mystery series roll mostly romance but I just think I think she's brilliant and She's right in about a cook who is solving murders which is just pretty. That was a fun series in one that I got through relatively quickly. And I'm reading or rereading Lisa Thompson. Spires heads of the colored people which is a short story collection and his wild and weird and wondrous is a book. I am trying to learn from well. Elizabeth your newest one clap when you land comes out on. May The fifth congratulations on this book? Were excited for it. And we can't wait to see all the other ones you have planned for us. Thanks so much it was nice to speak with you and I'm glad to have been on. What Book Cookie and that does it for this episode. Big thanks to Elizabeth isolated for joining me. It was such a blast to have the opportunity to speak with her. I hope you check out her latest. Clap when you land and if you can listen to the audiobook wiring along its I think. With knowledge in verse. That's one of the best ways to experience them to hear the words spoken as you're following along. If you're a first time listener to the PODCAST I hope you will check out some of our other episodes in the feed a lot of why and some middle grade authors with some books. I think you'll really enjoy. I'm Brock Shelley and until next time keep reading

writer Jacqueline Woodson editor Elizabeth Vado Dominican Republic New York City National Book Award Middle School New York Laurie Halse Anderson director Laurie Jackie Woodson Ellen Hopkins La CNN Lisa Thompson Hollering Creek Winn dixie
Creating Spaces for Students to See Themselves Again

My Two Cents with Towanda Harris

42:19 min | 2 months ago

Creating Spaces for Students to See Themselves Again

"Hey everyone welcome to my two cents with tawanda here it. This is a podcast dedicated to educators for educators and by educators. Yes it's all about encouraging it's all about sharing strategies. It's all about going an educational journey with each other. You are not alone. And i hope that we finished listening to this podcast. You feel like you went on a journey with educators around the world. Thank you for tuning in to mind in this episode. I had the opportunity to sit down with mr julia torah in educator out of colorado. We talked about ways to create spaces for students to feed themselves again in our classroom and why that is so. How often has said students become. The teacher in the teacher becomes. Listen in as we talk about way that the balance of power in our classrooms needs to be shared different start off by just kind of sharing telling the listeners. A little bit about who you are and been sharing with us. Your teacher journey sure. So my name is julia torres and i am a librarian and language arts teacher in denver colorado. My journey to becoming a teacher really probably began before because both my parents were teachers. Might grandma there was a teacher. I come from a long line of people who have been evitable inevitable. my grandfather. was in charge of the social work programs in ohio and he was the one who pioneered the licensor for social workers in the state of ohio. Back in i wanna say the mid to late fifties so Anyway i wanna just always give credit to my ancestors in forebears because they are a large part of the reason why i am here When i was very young. I used to go to bermuda to visit my grandmother and she she lived there and she would She would often give me lessons in art and just whatever. She felt like teaching me because she was a jack of all trades of grandmothers off. Yeah yeah so i go. I was very blessed to have a a grandmother living in such a beautiful place and you know one might call it privileged spoiled to be able to do that but it was important in my family that i not lose touch with her even though i lived in california and i did leave it in texas at some times when i was very young and They'd flying out. My family would fly me out. Go and spend time with hers so my grandmother was one of my earliest teachers and when it came time for me to choose a profession. I wanted to do something that that came easily to me. That came naturally to me. So i got a bachelor's degree in english. Just because i thought okay this'll be easy for me. Let me go ahead and do something that i can. Ben hone not something have to learn from scratch and to be honest you know i originally thought it was going to be a marine biologist and then i realized how much math and science there was an. I couldn't do it nothing. Big contrast right. I've always loved the sea so You know i did originally wanna be a marine biologist and then saw how much stem was required. And it just wasn't didn't it wasn't ever something that came easily to me so changed my major to English and became an english major and finished my bachelors in three years after which my daughter was born. She was actually pregnant when i graduated from college. So I was actually pregnant with her when i graduated from college. So that was A really interesting experience to to go where and walking across the stage with her while she was in my belly. Travel is yes. She wanted traveled with you as that happened. And then i worked at a school at a high school as a college in career. Counselor for a bit and i got to work with kids and i just felt like that was released. Something that i loved and i had kind of a scary pregnancy. Because my daughter was born premature two and a half months premature so up staying home quitting my job as a college and career counselor and staying home and taking care of her for a year the first year of her life and then when i decided to go back to work i i wanted to do something. But i just didn't know what. So i became a para and i was a pair in the schools which gave me just enough exposure to see how school systems work. I thought time. I was in park city utah and in order to become a teacher you needed to get into the subsystem and start stubbing so people had to trust you and they had to know that you were going to do what you were told. Basically wow criteria right. It's very different from now. Where you can go through alternative licensure program two or three weeks and get a teaching right away teaching experience at all right yes. Things have changed definitely changed so my first teaching post one. Once i went into i was teaching doing my student teaching and my first teaching job concurrently so i actually got paid for doing student teaching which is rare right because now we need to take care of my baby I was it was a really interesting situation. Because i was teaching. Seventh and eighth graders and i was being observed lot by people and frequently found not to be the best teacher. My learning curve learning curve is pretty steep but teaching anyway but in that particular teaching post it was pretty steep I remember one time. I left the room. Rookie mistake left the room. Go and get some copies. The copy machine was just down. The hall came back into the room. The kids had lined up the desks. They were standing on them and falling off into each other's arms. All my fault. Yes yes so. That was wild wild. Oh i taught middle school for one year and then went directly to high school. And i felt like high school and older case was just my calling so was teaching at Park city high school in park city. Utah for a while and what was interesting about that. Post is that. At that time i was twenty six years old so i really wasn't that far removed from the kids though. It was very interesting. The lessons that i learned about reaching you was my friend. Mike yes but i was also the only black teacher probably the state at that time. Oh wow so. It was very odd. And i can say there were great moments and i'm still close with a few of my students from that time but there were also moments where they actually taught me really valuable lessons about what we call classroom management the truth of the matter being. You don't have control over anyone any control that you might believe you have over. Individuals is an illusion and it is only that they give you power of a variety of things. They either really like you. They believe in you make consequences for not listening to you will be worse than the consequences for listening to you But but overall i think that a lot of the struggle that i faced was just due to inexperience you know so i. I was taught a lot of lessons by those kids And i can say as far as years that have taught me the most that would probably be maybe number two in you. The top three years that taught me the most So i was like the lesson that you just said that you learn from your students. Unfortunately everyone has an arrived to that understanding bet students. You have control over your students because they allow right. Have you know for lack of a better term control but they they see that you love them that you care for them they they trust you and all of those things that is important because it goes back to just the relationship building piece student that can be compliant. I will do what you asked me to do. But when i leave from your present i will resort back to who i am versus that student agency that you can build in your classroom where this is who i am comfortable with being me in your presence as well as as i walk out of your door i am who i am and you bring value to that right right and i think that in the best scenario you would have a classroom environment where students sometimes the teachers. The student and the student is. The teacher has policy has often said those are our best moments when we realize that the balance of power needs to be shared differently. And i think that's what i really learned from that experience and others That any power. That i believed myself to have in a classroom setting was there because somebody else gave it to me Moving on i went to suburbia in colorado and i taught at a high school where everybody was required to teach a lower grade in grade. You either nine and eleven or ten and twelve or ten eleven something like that some combination so that there was accountability and i really liked that because then nobody could get into this elitist idea that they are the upper class high school teacher. You know and they have ownership over all of the the cool activities in the complex conversations. I liked it when it was divided up in every teacher had responsibility for lower grades and upper grades. Though i learned quite a bit from that experience but i think the biggest lesson was that it taught me to step into my personal power because once again i was in a situation where they were no other black women anywhere around me at all and there were really no folks soon strongly identified with ethnic or cultural or racial groups so if there were people of color the majority of them had assimilated because they did so to protect feelings of you know whatever power that they believe they had. I don't know. I can't speak for them. I don't know exactly why they might have wanted to assimilate but we know the struggle for people of color in minorities educational spaces. It often requires a degree of assimilation. Or you know. I would say making our cultural and ethnic identities smaller which is just such an awful thing. Now that i'm hearing myself say it is the reality for a lot of us who find ourselves being one of none or one of you know a very small percentage of people in the district or building. Who are who identify as people of the global majority as mosley for social justice. Also being of you being new to education being in a space i i. I need to be comfortable with being a new teacher. You know i have to figure out you know where my strengths are or where my areas of growth are as i reflect through their school year. Let alone me. Being the only person of color in that space now it becomes you know who can relate to my issue of teaching students as a person of color because there is different. There's a difference. I most of my years in schools that were title one schools with the poverty rate was ninety eight percent or higher and just being able to adjust in that setting was not hard for me because that was kind of the environment i grew up in but i transition to a role in which i supported schools that were at a higher socio economic status and it was hard for me as one black woman going into the schools to give advice or to help to support the learning when no one looked like me absolutely. I would agree that that is. What were the demographics of The school the most the school that you were speaking about a majority white students and teachers the total percentage of students of color or students who are as people of color trying to move away from using students of color but the percentage would probably have been less than twelve fifteen percent of the total school population combined house that all groups combined all eventually left just because the feeling of otherness was getting so ridiculous that i just didn't feel like i could be productive or happy as as a human being in that setting so and there were various incidences where i felt dehumanized disrespected. And you know anytime. A black woman encounters a scenario or or situation with folks where you know. I know that sometimes i come off as being really confident but i have my insecurities just like anyone else and so sometimes folks will perceive me to be this person who has this huge ego and needs to be brought down to size and i just think that that attitude is so indicative of the misogyny that exists within education. But then also you know the the real disrespect that black women get in a lot of spaces. People have no idea the fights and the battles that we have to go through to become grown women that we are and so. It's tremendously unfair to assume that anybody needs to be brought down to size. You know i definitely agree. I makes me think about The work of but tina love and so many others around just adult education young black woman. And i have a young daughter and that within itself. You know just kind of bothers me when she has to Kind of be quiet in certain spaces because her voice can be very intimidating because her personality so large and so here we are as moms saying. Be yourself you know. Walk into a room and be comfortable in your skin and all of those things that we want our young girls young black girls to do but then they go into spaces in which they're asked to be quiet right on They'll do this. And then if you don't then you're being disrespectful or you know you're not being obedient in all of these things and so i know that she has to struggle through those things of wind. Do i speak up. And when do i not speak up on and so interesting though because hearing you say that the messaging right now is yes. Be yourself black girl. Magic take up space. We love you. Black women shine and then the other side of the coin on the other hand you have so many people saying you're arrogant be quiet. you know. I'm gonna silence you or your ideas that happens. Oregon donate really disturbing the messaging. That i think the lack of self reflection there From individuals and systems and society on the whole with regard to how they perpetuate systems of oppression that keep black women feeling like we need to be small. That's that's really problematic for me. So in a nutshell. That's why i left that second position yum and if you would ask any of my co workers they would say why. I'm shocked. She felt that way of the fact that i never felt strong enough to voice how i felt. I never feel free to do that. You know or just the emotional trauma that comes along with speaking up Often times we have to go back into the very space that we have spoken up against and just emotionally. It's like a until i find something else. I'll just be quiet just so that. I can handle this in a way that i can practice self care for my sanity. Who yeah and. I think that that was very much how i felt. I needed to keep the peace by being quiet as long as possible. And i also lacked the confidence and the conversational skills to be able to stand up to people. When i felt like i was wronged. And that is you know something that. I have always endeavoured to teach. My daughter is how to stand up for herself when she feels like. She's not being treated well and You know the next environment. That i went into was the one that i'm still in and i stay because my community values me. My one of my principals just told me earlier this week. We're lucky to have you. You know in and voicing those things when somebody just voices that it goes a long way toward making somebody feel like. Their contributions matter felt like a worse teacher than i do now other than model year. One or two of teaching. You know struggles berry real right now. But i feel like my community has my back. I know that there are a lot of people in my community. Who who hold it down when i need them to. Because they know that. I'm gonna do the same when they need me. And i'm very blessed to be able to cotija with a lot of really talented people and you know. Obviously we're not perfect. We have our issues closing four of my five schools in twenty twenty two. So there's a lot of uncertainty right now but one thing i am certain of is that i've never felt more valued or respected as a professional than i do now in the community where inserting that's awesome. And you know. Just think about that feeling. You have as an adult how that is needed for you as an adult in so often are students. Don't get to experience that. And they're kind of forced to you know because they don't have a choice to leave the classroom. They have to endure a full school school year in which they may not feel valued the next year. They may experience That feeling of value. And if they don't they have to endure another school year i think about my son my My son we took him out of an old His previous school because that very thing was happening we had a child that loved to learn. I mean would score the highest percentile on standardized tests without even studying. I mean he just loved to just get more knowledge but what we noticed is in this environment. There was a decline in his excitement to learn his excitement to just go to school as well as his feeling of being valued in that space and i think the challenging park for us as parents is. We knew that this was a space. You can't see my air quotes. That was supposed to be a great education and so we put him in there in which he was the minority but he was not being valued and so as soon as we finally said. You know what it's not worth it and we hold him out and we put him in the space in which he was valued. We saw the light bulb. Just start to come back and you know. I mean i would tell the story in tears in my eyes because as a parent who wants to see this happen to their child and you're trying to figure out. What can you do to make it better. But i think of our students that don't get sometimes that light coming back on experience that some of our children do get yes. Yeah i think in an ideal world. If we're able to change things the way that that we would envision them instead of always having this you know and then a next and tomorrow and things will be better instead of always having that at the forefront that we've got a look at where we are right now and some really phenomenal educators goldie muhammed of april dr april baker bell Lose your data and Garlic's buying they have written books about empowering folks from marginalized backgrounds to be able to step into the educational. Sorry it's luzia data I forgot her second last name. But i wanna make sure that i. I'm respecting the work that they've done because they're folks in the academic spaces Are writing really important. Work about how teachers can move toward a more laboratory practice and one that doesn't produce students who feel like their voice doesn't matter no one wants to hear nothing that they could say would actually make a difference anyway. Yes i agree. I definitely agree. I one of the reasons i wanted to have you on. The show is I was listening to your conversation. Around with jack. Be jacqueline woodson. Author jacqueline woodson. An it was such a great first off. The entire thing was wonderful but the pieces that were like golden nuggets That stuck out to me was your talk around Students see themselves as authors. Think of where we are right now and what. I've seen over the past couple of years especially in georgia or states that have changed the way they assess writing all that shift in what writing instruction looks like and so we know that there are unfortunately spaces that still teach to a test win. Writing came off the table of assessing the process of writing or assessing students thoughts outside of text the way we taught writing completely shifted and so we have schools that don't teach writing unless a piece of text is present or only teach constructed writing responses and not writing as a way of reflecting and just You know creating stores using your imagination so The know the part. That really stuck out to me. As i said is student seeing themselves as authors. So my question is how can classrooms. Create this space to happen again. How can we move of that. You know. I think that one of the things that we can do is think back to just ten years ago so that would take us to two thousand ten at that time you were. It was still we. Were still free to do. Quite a bit creatively in the classroom. I was able to teach About kanji scrolls. When i was doing a world dollars a unit and I had students creating these beautiful works of art and researching conti and trying to understand how they could make sentences and Bringing in wood blocks that told stories about eastern not only mythology but history as well. It's so difficult to be creative like that in a lot of spaces and i think that administrators and school leaders need to be really reflective about the types of schools that they want to have because those that are in more privileged spaces. I think the assumption is that they have more freedom to you. Know allow students choice and artistic expression and things like that but sometimes the parents have really narrow expectations of what students will learn in those spaces. So it's not uniformly true that they will or universally true that they have more freedom if their parents are paying tuition so folks need to really look at the oppressive and restrictive systems that exist within their educational ecosystem. So what are the procedures and systems that we have within our school but then also within our district but also within our state also within our region. What are the expectations. That community members might have for a student's education that really have nothing to do with what the students themselves want to learn or feel empowered by giving the freedom to learn. And then i think also we need to be really honest with ourselves about the corporate or capitalist influence on education. Because whether you're in a private or an independent school environment or a public one there is typically some kind of money being funneled into the school because money makes things move and often the folks who have the money have their own agendas about how the school should be run because they have that financial investment and so we need to figure out healthier ways of collaborating being transparent communicating rather than manipulating data in order to get money because a lot of times. That's what happens and so then. What do we do manipulate or put pressure on teachers to give the data so that the data will look a certain way to get that money. Yes i agree i am. I was thinking as you were talking about this whole idea of creating spaces for these things to happen and so it goes back to what our values and our beliefs are as school leaders or schools. If i believe a certain thing if i'm thinking about you know my my mission my vision for my organization. Then my schedule should reflect that. Very thing i The extracurricular opportunities that i want my students to engage in. Go back to what i believe. And what i value in my organization about my students where those values are and so often our beliefs in our values. Mismatch with what we're offering to students absolutely and you know the danger in that as we say yes. I think that you know students. We want to give them a better chance at life. We want them to think critically we want them to change agents and all of that but our curriculum does not allow for that. Very thing to happen so when we say. Hey we want to create Help students to see themselves as authors. Who what space am i allowing that to happen. And what needs to change in my day to day instruction or what partners or who in the community can come in to mentor and You know motivate those that maybe just need you know to be exposer Access to that well. And here's the thing. Here's a reflective piece to back in two thousand ten ten years ago. It wasn't uncommon to have journalism everywhere to have civics education everywhere. Civics education in journalism happened systematically removed from a lot of places. Yes the what does that tell you. You don't want the students to speak because you know that you're oppressing them so you don't want him to tell the truth about that and then civics education you take away their their information about how the system can be changed or you only let a select few. Have that information. Those in independent schools are those in the wealthier upper upper middle class suburbs. Though you know your gate keeping the information about how the system can change and then your silence people and effectively. That's what happens but they will say well. We don't have money for journalism teacher or we just don't have money for us another civics teacher. We don't have an extra fte or whatever it is that they will. You know the excuse that they'll give but these are things that will have long decisions. That will have long reaching consequences. I thank you so much for the conversation that you Pointed out with jackie whitson. I love talking to her. And i think that one of the most fundamentally important things that she said that i heard was that hemingway taught her about economy of language and how useful that can be. 'cause i admire her as a writer and as a human being very very much and i think that when it comes down to economy of language. That's something that all of us can benefit from being a little bit more judicious about the words that we use when we communicate you know and you know it's it's it's very much You know it's important that we as the adult in the space model. What that looks like niane not Place ourselves higher than our students but help them to understand that the learning her doctor goldie muhammad say. It's two way the learning is to way if you walk into a space and you are distributing information and you. Don't change because of the information that you just gave. It was one way. And what value is that. When you're teaching a lesson you should gain some learning from that as well. So i'm learning for my students. As well as my students are learning from me and it becomes to weigh in very collaborative in nature absolutely absolutely and i think that that's possible in a variety of environments. I don't i would hope that ten years from now we don't we're not still hoping for more laboratory environments but that the norm has become that students are in an environment that supports their creativity and their creative expression as well as the the curiosity. The is within every child. At least i believe that. Yes i yes. I wholeheartedly believe that that is something that is crucial in that we have to think about you know ten years from now. What behaviors or things that. We're putting in place or that are shifting. How will that appear in ten years. Will we go right back to business as usual once. Were able to go back to a traditional space With the burke and mortar five days a week without mass will education go back to the same way and the hope was no absolutely not because it was not working for all of our students and that student agency was not happening. You know students weren't allowed to speak as you said some. Were being silenced. That's definitely something that something to think about. It really is. I think as i grow more into my librarian self. I can only have responsibility for so much right now. My job and my responsibility is to get everybody among bello reading and help them love books. That's my job. So i'm focused on that. The things that i do outside of the district. I've been really blessed to be able to have folks look to me as a leader in education which that's very surprising to me. Given the fact that just a few years ago. People were very disrespectful to me in the early years of my career very and they never would have put me in a position of leadership you know and so the fact that folks would look to my leadership now i take that as as a tremendous responsibility to make sure that the things that i'm sharing with them and teaching our quality and they're going to you know push them to think differently about the role that they have in education but also in children's lives but my primary responsibilities to my community and to my kids here in my house i never forget that and if it all went away and then all of a sudden folks said you know. Julia hasn't published a book by these for educational publishers. And it doesn't look like she's going to so we're all gonna move on and jump on the bandwagon of the next person who we wanna follow. I would just hope that they would know that the number one most important thing to me is that i'm always showing up austin authenticity for my community and for my students by fall off i have developed a crowd of people around me who will help. Bring me back to myself. And that's what. I hope for folks out there who are listening you know. I hope that you will surround yourself by people who will remind you of. Why are you became an educator in the first place and i hope that you will remember that your first responsibility is to your community and to the students in your school. Yes so you have given a whole lot you know. This is the type of park has. This is the episode that you'll need to listen to several times over to grab all of the nuggets that you have just dropped in here so i thank you so much for you know. Just just what you do you know. Oftentimes we look at someone's The way that they started in education and say okay. Well this is you know you have a limited impact on what where you can go or how you can shape education in that. You have just proven that that is not the case and that was of your experience. This is why you are who you are but You know can't we go on and on about how we started a thing and there were other plans for our life to make a greater impact even greater impact even thought we didn't think could happen. Yes why what. A blessing is that. You are able to do the things that you do. So i think you thank you for having me. Thank you so much. You know amplifying my voice. I really appreciate it and You know i'm. I'm very grateful to you and others in our community. Who are just doing everything they can to make sure that school is a better experience for our most marginalized disenfranchised individuals in the system. That's definitely a common goal that we share. Yes will before we get out of here. I want to ask you some rapid fire questions. Some really fun questions so listeners can kind of get to know you a little bit better just very quick questions so you ready. Okay books your. What was your favorite book to read as a child. That's a tough one i would. I would say that. I really enjoyed So many different books but the first ones that come to mind right now. Our piers anthony A lotta those Episodic series books where he would tell like the dragons of burn. Was this story about these this far away. Planet with these dragons and this this lake stuff that would come down from the sky and it was kinda like acid rain and it was. It was kind of strange type of story. i guess. If you're not a fantasy scifi fanatic. Like i am. I really liked the dragons of current anything pierce anthony. So we'll go with that today. If i asked you tomorrow okay blazes. Right like dan francis when i was a small child and may or the church is spread their wings. And then when i got junior high it was a dragon's of turn and then when i got into high school. It was historical fiction. I couldn't get enough of that so you know it changed a lot over time. The should it definitely should based on your mood okay. So who sparked your love for reading. I think i know okay. Well my mom because she's a librarian so there were book night home from the very beginning So i have to give her full credit for that. My mother okay. Your mother are right. And what is your fate. Where is your favorite place to curl up with a book in my bed. I'm not gonna lie. I i went and spent the money and got myself a sleep number at the beginning of this year. And i have zero regrets because this has been big year that you really need to be able to get sick night's sleep and the sleep number if you ask me is worth every penny. Oh my goodness. That's good to know that i'm taking notes on that. That's something i need. Okay so thank you so much for entering those quick questions so folks can get to know you a little bit more. Are there any tips that you would give to any educator out there. That's listening. Just what i mentioned earlier. Just remember you know. No matter how small you mike seal your contributions are you just never know how you might change. Somebody's life in one lesson. One day that will have a ripple effect that will change the lives of many. So you know that's for those who are feeling like they're really small and for folks who have been amplified. You know for a moment for a season for a day for year. Just know that it's important to to nurture those bonds within your community. People are actually in your real life every day. We live in this time. This tricky and confusing time of edgy. Celebs where people feel like. They need aspire to something greater all the time in the work that we do in our own communities and schools with the people who are around us. That's still the most important. I agree all right. So where can folks find you on social media usually. I'm on twitter. I am going to be taking a short break for a couple of weeks. This winter here so i will be on and off the twitter. I'm on instagram as well. It's always at julia. Aaron eighty and then facebook is. I very rarely go to facebook. But you'll free. If you friend me on facebook. I'll probably go on and then three months later i'll accept all friend requests and then i won't go on for another three months so that's kind of my facebook activity but you're welcome to you. Know to find information there. And then i always you know. I don't have a bush book and there's a reason for that. There are several reasons for that actually do have a blog that documents some really important learning that. I did from my students during a certain period in my teaching career in my life. It's juliet torres dot blog. So if you want to read a little bit more about the work that i have done are am doing then. You can always do that. There is really good. Okay well thank you so much again for chatting with me. This has been really good. And i hope our listeners have gotten a lot out of our conversation so thank you and happy. Thank you so much. You have a great line thank you.

mr julia torah julia torres colorado jacqueline woodson Ben hone Park city high school twenty six years ninety eight percent twelve fifteen percent ohio tina love three years goldie muhammed bermuda ten years park city mosley three weeks denver utah
Trump's Unhinged Border Wall Demands | Jacqueline Woodson (Rerelease)

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition

20:45 min | 1 year ago

Trump's Unhinged Border Wall Demands | Jacqueline Woodson (Rerelease)

"You're listening to comedy central October two thousand nine hundred comedy central's World News Headquarters in New York. This is the daily show with Trevor Noah ears this has been a comedy central podcast the country not afraid of being killed by Vladimir Putin if you go on Russian Netflix he's got all the top stand up specials and his standup is great though he's just like women Oh alligators could be joining. The Border Patrol Vladimir Putin exposes a secret and Donald Trump is getting impeached. Let's kick it off with the story that has been blowing up online today it involves zoo offense and a woman who seemed the twenty twenty elections in the United States. I'll tell you in a secret yes we will you gotTa love that classic Russian sense of humor you know threats we're sending to Siberia then after you live in forty years man who thinks the notebook was a comedy he has always denied meddling in America's two thousand sixteen election but yesterday he was asked if he's going to meddle in twenty twenty thinking here I know what the lines thinking he's thinking what are you doing a lion here can you see thank you thank you I have I have lost a little weight thank you so let's catch up on today's headlines Dan King Way Too many times from the category of Lucky to be alive take a look at this video of a woman who crossed a safety barrier at the Bronx Zoo here in New York and had a close how tonight our guest is an award winning author and truly fantastic writer whose new book is called Actually you know what I think the line was really thinking lines looking at her like what are you doing you're black you don't need extra danger and I'm trying to take you to get impeccable coming out actually feel bad for that because look how confused here he's got that look like when you're not sure if you just walk into the bathroom dangerous crashes with startled pedestrians chasing after empty vehicles Tesla's latest cutting edge software is driving this morning videos of the car companies Thomas Feature failing and fuelling online and his answer was refreshingly honest is Russia as robot Mila alleged attempting to influence life lady what are you doing what you're doing right now technically cultural appropriation this crazy shit is for white people shouldn't be you shouldn't be criticism g. what's the deal with motorists shock by near misses ooh costly clips and potential in Siberia. We'll like Douglas Funny Right yes spun me actually Putin is probably the funniest guy in Russia when you think about it because I mean it's easier to joke around when you're the only person and while every new Tesla is a technological one there are still a few bugs in the system Tesla's smart summoned promises to allow your car to drive to you or location Ivanka trump story to watch president trump and if you've watched encounter with the lion the kept to itself but the zoo said the woman's action was unlawful and could have resulted in serious injury or death you gotta wonder what the Lions leaving Russia and finally let's move on to Tesla it's the call for people who want to save the environment but still want people to think there are assholes of your choosing from two hundred feet away with no one behind the wheel as long as the car is in sight for Tesla the right of the future may have just hit a pothole McCoy's evening like this but men die from poisoning this people drive Kurla gifts but the black people well today trump's rage moved from his twitter feed to real life would during a press conference with the leader of Finland he did not react well to the barrage lately it's clear the impeachment battle has been getting to him for one he's tweeted two hundred seventy six times since Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry lost trunk of a car why do I need my grocery bags to hear Adele I don't I don't eat ice cream getting that emotional leaving normal all right that's the headlines it would have been amazing is if the finish president got a question but then through trump out of the buses like actually I would be interested Clinton needs a secret so that everybody can laugh and so we go big but don't tell anyone please of impeachment questions is son walks out with millions of dollars the kid knows nothing and soda we go ahead asking the question was what did you it came out just before you in President walked out here that the whistle blower met with the staff member of Adam Schiff prior I love that question be filed it shows Finlandia question wow trump was really pissed off they one minute he was the president the next second turned into a spray Tan Samuel Jackson to have this feature all right because think about it people already drive drunk now what if you're drunk inside of like a casino and you accidentally someone you'll call that's just not going to end well yeah no that's a daycare center keep going like here's the big cosmonauts smart enough to give them this feature and people are definitely not smart enough so the pasta weeks clearly haven't been trump's favorites impeachment is consuming his life his poll numbers of dipping again and on top of all of that that he wanted nothing to do with that journalists question the next minute who was trumps favorite question in the entire world like trump treated that journalists the way people treat waiters you know who keep offering the same Ordos reports the privately the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall within water-filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators was prepared to go to stop migrants crossing the southern border he wanted the wall electrified with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh the New York Times really a problem I mean I thought Uber Drivers were picking me up now you're gonNA call up your own call like hey it's me it's me I'm at the corner just south of the people you just mowed down on the sidewalk the failing New York Times has reported this breaking news nine exclusive report in The New York Times documenting the lengths to which sources say president trump trump wasn't just coming up with all the warcraft upgrades to his wall no he was also lashing out at his aides when he felt that they weren't making progress writes the New York Times is reporting that president trump wants to build a moat along the border wall which was going to be filled with snakes and alligators which I know sounds crazy ear Joe Biden get you screwed me again finished guy now please don't get me wrong I don't want you to think that trump didn't want and said visors tried to turn them away from such a drastic move he responded you're making me look like an idiot and shouted Iran on this it's my on securing the border in late March president trump publicly threatened to close the US Mexico border but according to the Times reporters in a March meeting the president wow that is so sad imagine carrying that much about what Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter think of you I mean that's one step away from being like you better back and he's been in such a bad mood that even watching Fox News hasn't cheered him up he's like yes I am the best leader Judge Beretta's everyone eight B Jeff Fraud and I love that question thank you thank you John and has to be one of the quickest emotional u-turns I've ever seen right because issue the president reportedly berating then Homeland Security Secretary cures to Nielsen saying quote Lou Dobbs hate you and coulter h you you're making me look bad asylum-seeker who showed up at the border and then get this as soon as trump left the room the head of Border Patrol told everyone else to ignore the into high gear again man that car driving itself hall this is this is we hit a move beef you hear me kick the machine and make sure it's still doesn't work now some of you might be hearing these reports with snakes and alligators apparently it was real enough that his aides actually went out to seek a cost estimates they actually got a quote residents yeah that's wild you realize the only organization with a top guy gets ignored like that embarrassed me in front of the booger I swear to God ask him a question now sure well it sounds like it might be a good question let me see if I like to question go there maybe for the first time in three years I'll have a good question and I'll love it there is a report of snakes we don't really sell snakes

Vladimir Putin New York Donald Trump Border Patrol Russia Trevor Noah Siberia Bronx Zoo Tesla United States America writer Thomas Feature Douglas Dan King Mila two hundred feet forty years
Bonus Top 10 Books of 2020

The Ten News

02:51 min | 3 weeks ago

Bonus Top 10 Books of 2020

"Twenty twenty has been a crew razi year but some cool things happen to so as we close out this year. Let's take a look back at some of our favorite favorite things from twenty twenty because who doesn't love ending on a positive note. I'm bethany van delft. And we're sharing our favorite books twenty twenty. It's the ten news top. ten number. Ten from the desk gives zoe. Washington by janine marks a captivating debut novel tackling topics of family love and justice in smart and compelling fashion number nine clap when you land fi elizabeth a vado a novel packed with the exploration of imperfect nece forgiveness loss and grief number eight. We dream of space aaron and try to kelly set in one thousand nine hundred six. This middle grade novel does a fantastic job of blending. The exploration of friends family and science number seven class act by jerry craft a funny powerful companion book to new kid. Class act follows drew's experience is one of the only people of color in an esteemed. Private school number six tristan strong destroys the world by kwami. Malaya the second book and the tristan strong series is an action packed adventure from start to finish and written a page turning style. The both young and older readers can enjoy number five. The tower of narrow by rick bearden this action packed spinelli of the number one bestselling trials of apollo answers. All the questions fans of the series have been dying to discover number four the silver arrow by lev grossman. This one is a timeless fantasy. Perfect for fans of role doll and the chronicles of narnia number. Three stamped racism anti racism in you. Buy candy jason reynolds. The title says it all here. The authors explore racism in anti-racism. At a time when people are more ready than ever to begin talking about these topics number two before the ever after by jacqueline woodson told in lyrical verse. This novel takes a look at a family past their prime and explores professional sports. And toll on black bodies and the tens number-one pick go squad by clara belle ortega a fun filled supernatural fantasy. That's been described as coco. Meet stranger things with a hint of ghostbusters favorite book of the year. That didn't make our list. Email us at hello at the ten news dot com and tell us all about it.

bethany van delft janine marks fi elizabeth jerry craft kwami rick bearden zoe Malaya jason reynolds aaron tristan spinelli kelly Washington lev grossman drew jacqueline woodson clara belle ortega coco
Teaching For Better Humans

TED Radio Hour

52:35 min | 1 year ago

Teaching For Better Humans

"Support for this. NPR podcast and the following message come from Chevron innovating to meet the energy demands of today and tomorrow chevrons digitizing the way they work and and exploring ways to use renewable energy in their operations to help meet growing demand learn more at Chevron Dot Com. This is the Ted Radio Hour each week round breaking Ted talks technology entertainment design design. Is that really what I've never known the delivered at Ted Conferences around the world the human imagination we've had to believe an impossible thing that's true the nature of reality beckons from just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio from NPR NPR. I'm a new summer. Od Stepping in for Guy Roz this week. Maybe you've heard one of my podcasts note note to self or Zigzag also been a guest on this show. Thanks so much for having me so a couple years back Olympia Della Flora Flora had a job as a principal at an elementary school in Columbus Ohio and he had this one student there who was really not doing well yeah I. I spent a lot of time with this kid and a really got to know him. On a personal level that's Olympia as for the kid will call him D. Can you tell me about him. Yes Oh Wendy came to us. There were just some behaviors that that we were not used to seeing and things that were abnormal like what what would he do. He would do things like throw chairs. He would flip tables also he would scream there was one time he climbed up in the window sill and Jake's. I think the first time that I witnessed ernest this type of behavior. I resorted to strategies that I used which was tell them to stop. Stop was a word Olympia was used to saying the school where she worked. One of the lowest rated in the state she describes it as a high needs school about ninety eight percents Ed students were in poverty which means they qualify for free or reduced lunch. We also had students that were homeless and didn't always as have stable housing and many of them had been in several different schools because of this which made learning a challenge but D- D he was especially challenging and the schools initial approach get down. Don't flip the does that wasn't exactly working. Sometimes sometimes these fits of anger would put the entire school into lockdown mode. It could take an hour or more to get things back to normal no one in the school knew knew how to help d here's Olympia on the Ted Stage and though we didn't come up with a fail safe solution we did come up with a simple idea idea that in order for kids like D to not only survive in school but thrive we somehow to figure out a way to not only teach teach them how to read and write but also how to help them deal with and manage their own emotions and in doing that we were able to move our school from one of the lowest performing schools in the state of Ohio with an F rating all the way up to a see in just a matter of a few years yeah. I have two kids but you don't need to be a parent to want all children to thrive and we need today's kids to grow up into adults adults who can cope with the challenges of our fractured and frenetic world and find solutions to the big problems will be inheriting from us but kids kids these days they still go to school to learn to read do math now though there are also grappling with how to face issues like inequality and racism them head on their put into fierce competition with each other and they're under intense pressure to manage themselves emotionally and academically so today on the show we're asking what do students need to learn to prepare them for the future and how can we teach for for better humans so let's back up up to Olympia de la Flora and the idea that turned her school and her student D. completely around. We told you it was like at school will at home and he had a whole different set of challenges you know his mother in Him and his younger brother and she was really doing the best that she knew how I mean she was a working mom uh-huh and she worked very long hours so I'm pretty sure she was tired by the time she got home so he did pick up a lot of responsibility with his younger brother meaning in playing with him and probably helping him with his homework and those types of things that you typically would think adults would be doing but D- of course wasn't an adult not even a teenager. D. was six years old. Yeah he was six and he was a little. I know he was a very mature six and I think this is another challenge that we have with teachers now. Is You know we look at a kid and we assume that they are a kid and that they have kid responsibilities responsibilities but many of our kids now have pretty big adult responsibilities outside of school and school is really the only place place they can unwind and be a kid but in many schools we still are not really allowing them to do that. So here's what I learned about the first we had the figure out where he was struggling the most and like most young kids arrival at school can be the tough transition time as they're moving from a less structured home environment to a more structured school environment so what we did for D. was we created a calming area for him in our timeout room which we had equipped with rocking chairs and soft cushions and books and we allow D to go to this place in the morning away okay from the other kids allowing him time to transition back into the school environment on his own terms transitioning positioning I have to say when I became apparent I was like what is this thing that everybody's talking about. How he's he's struggled with transitions transitions? Yeah I think this is so imperative not just for kids in poverty more imperative for kids in poverty but for all kids and so there was a lot of conversation John and experience that we did with teachers we went out into the neighborhoods we had staff meetings in some of the local businesses or the churches and we would walk to that location as staff and then we would say like how did you feel about walking through this neighborhood you know and they're like Oh. I was really scared or you know there. There's really tall all-grass. They don't even cut the grass I said so imagine if you are a five or six year old that has to walk to school through this every single day how how are they feeling by the time that they get to us and sell aside from those transition rooms Olympia school did other things to take into account on what was going on for students and home and help their kids be kids for instance in class instead of telling them to say stop fidgeting and teachers gave kids away to do just that what people call fidgets but they're basically just little things you can hold in your hand but they look like toys. It could be a ball or it could be something you can hold in your hand and fidget with that was on top of the desk underneath. We have these like little all elliptical machines that go under the desk. They're quiet. They don't make noise by kids can move their legs while they're sitting at their desk they it could be reading a book but they could be pedaling. The school also experimented with playing soft classical music during class. We also had a lot of discussion like Kim McCain's concentrate if there's music but it Kinda just calmed the air and helped kids be able to address so that they would be able to retain and learn new information and here's the magical thing. It didn't cost us a whole lot of extra money we simply thought differently about what we had. As part of our personal professional development plan we studied the research of Doctor Bruce Perry and his research on the effects of different childhood experiences experiences on the developing child spring and what we learned was that some of our students experiences such as an absent parent chaotic home on life poverty and illness create real trauma on developing brains. Yes trauma and those difficult home experiences uses created real barbed wire barriers to learning and we had to figure out a way over it so our teachers continued to practice with lesson plans plans doing shorter lesson plans with a single focus allowing kids to engage and continue to incorporate these movement breaks allowing kids to jump up and down in class and dance for two minutes straight because we learned that taking breaks helps the learner retain new information. I saw teachers say and what happened to you. Instead of what's wrong with you or how can I help you instead of get out and I wonder if some of the methods you are using in your school are actually becoming common in practice what I've seen like in my kids school for example is my daughter came home and like we head Yoga in class today that would never have happened when he who's growing up in the eighties. Yeah I think schools across the world. It's not just in the United States. I was in China last summer. Are there experiencing some of the same issues that we're seeing here in the United States and I think that we just have to reframe our vision and our are thought of teaching to be more holistic and for example you even see in the workplace now people are coming up with meditation rooms and quiet rooms and I was just privy to another business that actually put in like a punching bag so if you'd rather go in and like pointed pointed out you have the option to do that or the exercise bike to see people are putting in workout facilities in their places of business because they recognize is that people being able to relieve stress in a healthy way is going to benefit their organization. It's going to benefit the culture and the climate so you'll see several states have actually come out with social emotional learning standards to help kids and to help teachers. No you know what skills skills they can help develop. I'm happy to say that when you got the fourth grade he rarely got into trouble. He became a leader in the school and this behavior became contagious with other students and we saw and fell our school climate continue to improve making it a happy and safe place not only only for children but for adults despite any outside influence fast forward to today I now work with an alternative education program Eh with high school students who struggle to function and traditional high school setting many of them exhibit the same behaviors that I saw in six year old a you so I can't help but wonder if these kids would have learnt healthy coping strategies early on when times get tough would they now now be able to survive in a regular high school. I can't say for sure but I have to tell you I believe it would have helped and it's time for all of us to take the social and emotional development of our kids seriously. The time is now for us to invest in our kids. They are our future citizens. It's not just numbers that can or cannot pass the test. Thank you Olympia Della Flora. She's now an associate superintendent for school development in Stamford Connecticut. You can see her entire talk about her work in Columbus Ohio at Ted Dot Com we'll be right back with more ideas about teaching better humans. I'm a new summer ODI in for and you're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR. We are a everyone just a quick. Thanks to two of our sponsors. You help make this podcast possible. Bill I two traderjoes podcast inside trader. Joe's takes you on a journey through world cuisines innovative takes frozen foods fresh approaches to plants plants and flowers new ways to think about produce and everything you ever wanted to know about wine and cheese and then some you'll find new innovative astonishing and fascinating being episodes of inside trader Joe's wherever you get your podcasts more at traderjoes dot com and at traderjoes on instagram thanks also to Mitsubishi. She Motors Director of Product Planning Nate Berg was part of the team that developed a plug in electric hybrid. SUV The outlander P. H. E. V. So aw goal when we develop the outlander was to make a unique vehicle to give an electrified plug in hybrid suv with all of the features that people would expect in a SUV vehicle but combine that with a electrified drive train in the system to learn more good Mitsubishi cars dot com what happens when Ronald McDonald walks into a poor emigrant neighborhood in the south of France and sets off a super sized revolution the story of how company slogan to sell Wash Shakes and Burgers became a rallying cry for Workers France. That's on NPR some rough translation. It's the Ted Radio hour from NPR. I'm a newsom Roti infor Guy Roz and on the show today ideas about how we can teach for better humans so school is where kids still learn spelling and times tables but these days it's also where they have their first conversations about big topics that even we grownups struggle with topics like inequality and race. I mean think think about how much media and how many messages adults soak up every single day and kids are exposed the exact same stuff that adults are exposed to this teacher Liz Kline rock she she developed school curricula before that she spent a decade in the classroom it we have this misconception that kids tuned outs or don't care or kind of glass over when we have those conversations at the dinner table or when like the radio is on in the car kids pick up on all of that Some of Liz's students were interviewed for a mini documentary specifically about how she helps them think critically about our history and how it relates elites to today people actually liked having slaved to own slaves because they worked for them and some people were just afraid to speak Pekao for them or do anything to help them. I can't imagine how it would be like if my family was it like if you just separated I made like you're separated. I have these kids who would never raised their hand and like a traditional reading writing math lesson but if you ask them about black doc lives matter or what's happening government they all know something and they all want to share. I mean seeing all these videos of people getting discriminated because of of their race religion orientation it really changes my perspective of wife actually safer to have those conversations up front but having tough conversations upfront with kids is totally different than having them with adults in lots of unpredictable and cringe-worthy ways was Kline rock tells the story from the Ted Stage though a few years ago I was beginning a new unit on race is with my fourth graders. I had the type of moment that every teacher has nightmares about one of my students had just asked the question why are some people racist and another students. Let's call her abbey had just raised her hand and volunteered. Maybe some people don't like black people because their skin skin is the color of poop so as if on cue my entire class exploded half of them immediately started added laughing and the other half started yelling at Abbey and shouting things like Oh my God you say that that's racist so just take a second to freeze the scene in your mind. There's the class of nine and ten year olds and half of them are in hysterics because they think abby has said something wildly funny and the other half are yelling at her for saying something offensive and then you have Abbey's sitting there completely bewildered because in her mind she doesn't understand the weight of what she said. NY everybody is reacting this way okay and then you have the teachers standing there in the corner like about to have a panic attack. Now schools are often the only place where students can feel free and comfortable dribble to ask questions make mistakes but unfortunately not all students feel that sense of security so as a classroom teacher I have to to make split-second decisions all the time and I knew I needed to react but how consider your fight or flight instincts I could a fight or just change the subject and quickly start reaching for another subject like anything to get my students minds off the word poop so after outstanding therefore what felt like an eternity I. Unfroze turn to face my class and I said actually abby mix the point. I loved being in your head as a teacher like I kind of felt like Oh. Maybe that's what my teachers were thinking. How do you take an extremely uncomfortable moment and in a split second decide what to do with us like what what were the options? Did you think inc I could chastise her and say like that's just incredibly inappropriate like you never ever say something like that which is definitely part of the conversation that needs to be had about why that language is harmful but if you don't explain why it's harmful it doesn't really do any good all the kid has learned as Oh if I ever talk about this that it's bad and and something I didn't share in the talk. Is that student who made the comment isn't white. She's actually a student of color. and I thought a lot in that moment about the way that I now interact with her is really also going to show a model for the rest of the kids to I definitely I don't think it's okay to shame people for where they're at but it's absolutely necessary to question why people are at a certain place and of this was truly her first time talking talking about it yelling at her was going to leave a really really big imprint like I even think about how I view myself as a math student because I had one teacher an elementary school who like made me cry when it came to math because I didn't understand in how I then internalize. Why must be a really bad mass student in this has a lot higher stakes aches than whether or not I could understand like in multiplication algorithm you know this is something that could really continued to follow her and determine whether she was going to be willing to engage ager disengaged from these conversations moving forward so in that five seconds the weight of this girl's relationship to talking about race is on your shoulders you reflect on hat and then you look at the kids in your classroom and you look at her and what do you say send and this is a really important teachable moment because there is some truth invalidity into what abby is saying that people have believed this and some MM components of racism are fueled by thoughts and beliefs just like this and that's why we have to talk about it? It's meaningful it's terrifying and deeply personal by it. We have to take these opportunities to learn as I watched the conversation conversation really marinate with my students. I began to wonder how many of my students have assumptions just like Abbie and what happens when those assumptions go unnoticed and unaddressed is they often do conversations around race for example have their own specific language in students need to be fluent in in this language in order to have these conversations. Now I also know that these types of conversations can seem really really intimidating meeting with our students especially with young learners but I have taught first through fifth grades and I can tell you for example that I'm not going to walk into a first grade classroom sermon start talking about things like mass incarceration but even a six year old first-grader Ken understand the difference between what it is fair people getting what they need an equal when everybody gets the same thing especially goodie bags of birthday parties now first graders can also understand the difference between a punishments and a consequence and all of these things are foundational concepts that anyone needs to understand before having a conversation about math incarceration in the United States. Some people might think that kindergarteners first graders are too young to have conversations around racism but also tell you that young kids understand how people are similar and different and what it means to have power when other people don't it's one we have these conversations with students at a young age. It actually takes away some of that taboo feeling when those topics come at a later age. It's almost like you just make space in your classroom for things that are often shoved under the rug things that we don't make space for because it makes us feel feel uncomfortable because we don't necessarily have the answer of how to make it better but you you try to make space and try and I try to also be very three authentic with my students when they ask a question that I don't know the answer to to be very honest with them and not make something up or that. I'm the authority on all things things related to race and equity because I'm not there still so many things I'm learning new things that I need to understand because it's hard to navigate by yourself and I think there's a lot of self work that teachers need to be doing it unpacking their own identities and their understanding of what it means to have an anti-racist classroom and if you're not doing that self work having the conversations with kids is going to be a lot harder because these are definitely parallel tracks of work that needs to be going on at the same time I mean I gotta say I feel for Teachers Right now. Now not only are they pretty poorly paid at least here in the United States but they don't get a lot of respect from parents from municipal governments. They work so whole hard. How do you even begin to say to teachers? Yes so also exploring your own sense of identity Could you do that. Please lease while you're also grading all the papers for tomorrow. Like how do you even start to have this conversation with other teachers. It's really really hard but I think that the curriculum and the lessons that I've created really tried to embrace diversity equity inclusion as a lens not as a separate component of the day like I'm not writing social justice time from nine to ten o'clock on the agenda. It can really be something as simple as who are the authors and the stories in the voices that you're amplifying in class like an example that I like to give is one of our curricular units supposed to be about opinion writing and the sample unit that comes with the curriculum you're supposed to structure this lesson about what's your favorite ice cream flavor and why which for fourth graders to me that just seems like such a waste of an opportunity to have them write about something. That's more important than that bats but I think it also takes a lot for adults to be brave and those conversations will yeah which makes me wonder. Do you ever get pushback from parents who maybe be feel uncomfortable with your methods or maybe like listen just stick to like reading writing and arithmetic okay. I all handle the other stuff for my kid Ya yeah I mean I get a lot about education not being politicized and my response to them is usually education is inherently political school funding. How much teachers get paid which textbooks we use which holidays we celebrate like who is visible in the classroom and who is those are all political decisions yeah ah I mean it's really like you said before the kids already pick up on all of these ideas political or not yup? I had one student who said that but we have the right to have these conversations because it's going to be us. It's going to be our life in the future now. How can we be prepared if we can't even have these conversations or we don't even we know what's going on and he's right? He's absolutely right and that wasn't like an eighteen year old he nine. That's lose Kline Rock. She's an educator and diversity coordinator in Los Angeles and that documentary about how she teaches is is called News Liz allies and you can see her full talk at Ted Dot Com so as as we heard earlier from Olympia and Liz sometimes a teacher's ability to create a customized approach is the best way to help a child thrive at school but ultimately that teacher will need to prove to their school district their state and the whole country that they're actually getting results says the saving four standardized testing and twin tau. Do we measure those results standardized standardized tests standardized exams testing of course pass and you move onto the next grade fail and you still have some work to do in two thousand fifteen by the time the typical high school senior graduated they would have taken a hundred and twelve valve standardized tests ready Delaware comprehensive assessment say language arts testing getting school. Getting a metric integrate is very useful way to organize right says students from the best to the worst and everywhere in between that's Thomas Curren. He's a social psychologist to research is young young people and perfectionism in the U. K. U. S. and Canada and you begin you can begin to see how that creates a reliance therefore on objective outcomes on outcomes in tests and schools and you can extend not to spoil in other areas of young people's lives were ranking categorization now Loyd Thomas says tests sports social media and a winner takes all culture puts a lot of pressure on kids to constantly compare themselves to others and so once people start to define themselves in those terms and we're on an interest in how we do relative to others then we're GONNA set hoist on this Russel's because the only way in which we're able to succeed in societies to achieve high school is high grades high performances the consequences of not doing that is not only do we feel for back in school but has implications for our college which has implications for our future market price and the job market so you can begin to see how with teaching kids almost every level do they need to succeed. They need to do well and that's one of the reasons why we think young people are beginning to internalize perfection tennis perfectionist tendencies. Thomas says all of this has made young people more and more anxious they want to be perfect and wanting to be perfect is not only impossible possible. It can be dangerous. Thomas Curran continues. This idea on the Ted stage is remarkable. How many of us are quite happy to Hold hands up and say we're perfectionists but there's an interesting and serious points because our begrudging admiration for perfection is so pervasive that we never really stopped a question that concept on terms we know from clinician case reports that perfectionism conceals a host of psychological difficulties in Clinton's like depression anxiety Anorexia Bulimia and even suicide radiation and what's more worrying is that over the last twenty five years we have seen perfectionism raise at an alarming rate suicide in the US alone increased by twenty-five percent across the last two decades and we're beginning to see similar trends emerge across Canada and in my home country the United Kingdom in my role as mentor to many people I see these defects of perfection firsthand. I'm one student sticks sticks out in my mind very vividly John not his real name was rbis hard working and diligent and on the surface he is exceptionally high achieving often gaining first class grades for his work. No matter how well John achieved into recast successes as abject failures and in meetings with me he would talk openly about how he'd let himself down. Jones justification was was quite simple. How could he be a success when he was shrinks shrinks so much harder than other people attain the same outcomes see Jones perfectionism his unrelenting work ethic was only seven to expose does what he saw as his inner weakness to himself and to others it's interesting when I was growing up it was cooled would be a slacker but now I meet college students people in their twenties all the time who are even starting their second or third business? I kind of think of it. As the Mark Zuckerberg effect this idea that inside of you is an entrepreneur who can just kill it Zuckerberg and musk I mean they seem like perfectionists perfectionists and that seems to be something really worth pursuing. That's a really good analysis image because we live in an individualistic courtroom world were essentially with the masters of our own destiny okay it used to be the case particularly in the UK but also also the US just after the war while those are kind of collective active sense that together we can prosper right. That's very different today where the success or failure is owned by ourselves an an how wealthy we are how much material advantage we have is down to ourselves. That's why you start to see a lot of a lot of young young people engaging more entrepreneurial tendencies because frankly they have thirty if they don't there is no job with prospects the future that they can just walk into from college it's a post graduate degree and then it's internships and then it's extra little bits and pieces on the CV that we you can pick up and and this is this this would mean about pressures and expectations on young people have risen so much that it's understandable that they begin to engage in these behaviors them worry about the consequences because whereas before there was a safety net now there isn't there's a have a lot of pressure to succeed and not fear of failure we think infant is going on underneath this Rosen perfection coming up we hear more from Thomas Curran on perfectionism affectionate and embracing our imperfect selves on the show today teaching for better humans. I'm a NEWSOM Rhody in in for Guy Rodgers and you're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR. Hey everyone just a quick thanks to our sponsor the Financial Times in a world of innovation fragmentation the FT not only helps you to thrive and business it looks at topics such as whether Silicon Valley is falling short on climate change and whether the US EU or China will be writing the new rules of tack the the world is changing fast. The Financial Times wants you to keep up with the new agenda Visit F. T. DOT COM to learn more support. Also comes comes from Exxon Mobil the company that's working to bring affordable scalable carbon capture to industries around the world. It's one of the few technologies that could help decarbonised industrial Israel plants by capturing. Co Two at its source experts agree that it will also play a critical role in reducing global carbon emissions find out more at energy factor DOT COM Malcolm glad well as one of the most well known thinkers in in the world but he says a lot of fans don't know that he's black white people don't know black people always how do you feel about that as I thought it was a rare glad well on race pop culture and a whole lot more next time on it's been a minute from NPR. It's the Ted Radio hour from NPR. I'm a new Morosi in for Guy Roz on today's show how we can teach for better humans humans and we were just hearing from social psychologist Thomas Current about perfectionism how young people are taught pressured and influenced influenced to try and be perfect and I'm just going to say what everyone is thinking right. Now I mean social media right that must be playing a huge huge role here. I mean social media is pervasive particularly visual media forms of social media things that instagram and snapchat for instance a very very laden with images of the perfect life images of the perfect lifestyle of course young people internalize tried to recreate tried to live up to social perfectionism associate described perfectionism which is a sense that the external environment or over the next on expect us to be perfect ethic in nineteen thousand nine just nine of young people report clinically relevant level associate ascribed to fix but twenty seventeen that figure go to eighteen percents by twenty fifty projections based on the models we tested in the almost one in free and people were report clinically ed relevant levels of socially prescribed perfectionism. This is the element of Perfection House large correlation with serious mental illness and that's a good reason so she expections feel a unrelenting need to meet the expectations of other people and even if they do meet yesterday's expectation of perfection then raise the bar even higher degree because these folks believe that the better they do the better that they're expected. This breeds a profound sense of helplessness and worse hopeless listening to you makes me feel as apparent kind of hopeless. It's really hard to know how to help your child have some fever parents because it's so so tough like it's so so tough to not engage in over monitoring surveillance because essentially in in this in this culture if if if kids fell is not just their furs failure to do do take on their kid successor fairies and that naturally leads to more controlling for parenting and there's a lot eight to support that is on the Roy that said there are ways as in which you can do that but don't necessarily emphasize perfectionist tendencies okay so I want to hear them. What do you think parents should do? They try not to focus on the outcome so when kids have done a task of they've got a metre school is important too much can downplay imply that score particularly where in terms of where it sits relative to others and ask your kids more about well. What did you learn and then the second one just just quickly clear I think is is how we deal with value? Not Being afraid. The Fed is really really important in particular making sure that when we do encounter the setbacks that compassion on ourselves. How would you talk to a friend for instance who came with the same issues? You'd rationalize with them yet. Empathize with them you you. This actually tried to show them that. You know it's not the end of the web dine. Apply the same rules to ourselves and say talking to kids in those times you you know. How would you treat other people if they if they came in at home without grade would you you'd be very different to your friends as you would be itself? Says is really self compassionate. I think is is really really important and teaching them. There is their assignments. Julian failure joined imperfection. You know we're not we're not built to be perfect if we were it'll it'll be very but I wonder how much you think vulnerability and and being able to laugh at ourselves matters this conversation to the heat haege everybody. Every one of us has some areas allies that we feel we're not quite as good or we might they might be specific. CIVIC TRIGGERS FOR US in some way shape or form actually almost celebrating imperfection and celebrating mistakes and setbacks because their opportunities to learn and develop develops it is really really important lesson Thomas Current teaches at the London School of Economics and Political Science Watch his full talk and check out his research on perfectionism at Ted Dot. NPR Dot Org okay for the past hour or so we've been hearing about the formal and informal ways that we teach and how we can reassure kids that it is okay to look is beyond academics and value more than good grades and I want to end the show on a little personal note my nine year old daughter my daughter loves to read but she's not quite as fast as some of the other kids in class and she was feeling bummed out about her slow reading until the day that author Jacqueline Woodson visited her school our help yeah and you talked about slow reading and she came home and she said not me it's fine. It's just me it's how I read and I love reading and it's fine and she just sort of skipped across the room and looked later. The burden was lifted because you told her it was okay to be different so i WanNa thank you personally personally for giving her that. Give thank her for hearing me. That completely makes my day. It's so jacqueline has dozens of books for children and young adults including luding award winners like miracles boys and Brown girl dreaming and my daughter's story reminded jacqueline of her own slow reading you know my sister was brilliant. My brother was brilliant. They were off the chart readers in here. I was coming along and they're like okay. What's wrong with this would say Why is she reading differently why she's struggling with reading and I read slowly with my finger? Following beneath the words I read the same passages over and over again and really just inhaled narrative in this way that it it was part of all my senses and I never saw it as a struggle. It was how I read yeah but you know when you're a child then someone is saying this is how one should do this. You Begin to question because as adults and it's it's their gaze. That's the mirror for you at that age. Inch here's Jacqueline Woodson on the Ted stage the deeper I went into my books. The more time I took with each each sentence the less I heard the noise of the outside world and so unlike my siblings who are racing through books. I read slowly very very slowly slowly. I was that child with her finger running beneath the words until I was untucked to do this toll kids don't use their fingers in in third grade we were made to sit with our hands folded on our desk unclasping them only to turn the pages then returning them to that position. Our teacher wasn't being being cruel. It was the nineteen seventies and her goal was to get us reading not just on grade level but far above it and we were always being pushed read faster auster but in the quiet of my apartment outside of my teachers gays I let my finger run beneath those words with each rereading. I learned something new years later I would learn a writer named John Gardner who referred to this the fictive dream are the dream of fiction and I would realize that this was where I was inside hi this book spending time with the characters and the world that the author had created and invited me into as a child. I knew that stories were meant to be savored. That stories wanted to be slow and that some author had spent months. Maybe years writing them and my job is the reader especially as the reader who wanted to one day become a writer was to respect that narrative. Do you think like I mean obviously you are in touch with a a lot of teachers and you do work in schools and it is that something that you're seeing being taken on board this idea of reading slowly of savoring savoring words of not rushing kids. I wish I was seeing it more but when my kids were in fourth grade their fourth grade test scores determined where they go to middle school their seventh grade test scores determined where they go to high school and even now with with a specialized schools and all the work we have to do around that kids are stressed out and I think that it's hard for teachers who have have this curriculum that they have to adhere to to then say well. You know what they'll take an hour with that ball so I think that reading slowly needs to be expressed at home. More and kids should know that at the end of the day they can linger and they can relax somewhere aware but I know a lot of those young people are reading slowly and probably getting flak for it and to just kind of show up and be a mirror and say look I read slowly to yeah and I'm here and they're going to be many many people saying this is not the way and push push through that my finger beneath the words had led me to a life of writing books for people of all ages books meant to to be read slowly to be savored my love for looking deeply and closely at the world for putting my whole self into it and by doing so seeing the many many many possibilities of a narrative turned out to be a gift because taking my sweet time taught me everything I needed to know about writing and writing taught me everything I needed to know about creating worlds where people could be seen and heard where their experiences could be legitimized hit a mine and where my story read or heard by another person inspired something in them that became a connection between us a conversation and isn't that what this is all about finding away at the end of the day to not feel alone in this world and away to feel like we've changed it before we leave. Sometimes we read to understand the future. Sometimes we read to understand the past we read to get lost the forget forget the hard times we're living in and we read to remember those who came before us who lived through something harder. I write for those same reasons before coming to Brooklyn. My family lived in Greenville South Carolina in a segregated neighborhood call nickel town all of us there. They are the descendants of people who had not been allowed to learn to read right. Imagine that the danger of understanding how letters form words the danger of words themselves the danger of illiterate people and their stories as I began to connect the dots that connected the way I learned to write and the way I learned to read twin almost silenced people. I realize that my story story was bigger and older and deeper than I would ever be and because of that it will continue we come from a history as African Americans of people who are not even allowed to read in this country right right and then there was a high rate of literacy because of that not being allowed to read and then slowly people came to reading and we're hungry for are we stole reading right. We we read even under the threat of death we taught ourselves even under that threat so it makes so much sense for me to take the time and presumably the way that someone who comes from a very different history or background can empathize eiser imagine or connect to what you went through and what your ancestors have gone through is through story and frankly those books didn't really leagues exist. When I was growing up the books like the ones I right yeah and that's part of the reason I write them because they didn't exist? When I was growing up either you know I grew up in Bushwick and it was like where were the books about a black girl growing up in Bushwick and in the home of a single mom and whose best friend was Puerto Rican and and who so who grew up speaking Spanish and English like I wanted to tell those stories I I was indignant like how dare the world might have my narrative in it? I'm impressed that you were indignant that you were that. Who gave you that sense of like hello? You all need to hear my story too. uh-huh I think I think what it was was my family saying you matter yeah. I mean I came out of Jim Crow South right so I came from South Carolina to New York City and so so I think somewhere along those lines people were saying you matter and then to hear all your life that you mattering you're amazing in you're you're brilliant and your beautiful and then did not see that in the world it's like wait a second like I know my people weren't lying so America must be so as technology continues to speed ahead. I continue to read slowly knowing knowing that I am respecting the author's work and the stories lasting power and I read slowly drown out the noise and remember are those who came before me who probably carried with them. The history of a narrative new deeply that writing it down wasn't the only way they could hold hold on to it knew they could sit on their porches are they're stoops at the end of a long day and spin a slow tail for their children. They knew they could sing their stories through the thick heat of picking cotton and harvesting tobacco knew they could preach their stories as so them into quilts turn the most painful painful ones into something laughable and through that laughter exhale the history of a country that tried again and again and again to steal their bodies their spirit here it and their story I read slowly to pay homage to my ancestors. Each time we read right are tell a story step inside their circle and the power of story lives on Jacqueline Woodson. She's a novelist and she's also the national ambassador embassador for Young People's literature. You can find her full. Talk at Ted Dot Com in the morning in and out to the teacher is teaching the American history and practical man. He's done right down and thanks thanks for listening to our show on teaching better humans this week. If you want to find out more about who was on it go to Ted Dot. NPR Dot Org to see hundreds more ted talks checkout Ted dot com or the Ted and you can listen to this show anytime by subscribing to our podcast. Ask do it now on apple podcasts or however you get your podcasts our production staff at NPR includes Jeff Rodgers Sanaa's is Michigan for Neva Grant Casey Herman Rachel Faulkner Debate Motor Sham James Delicacy and JC Howard with help from Daniel. Your shoot Brent Bachman Teini Monteleone and Emmanuel Johnson. Our intern is Kiera Brown. Our partners at Ted are Chris Anderson Colin Helms Anna Phelan and Michelle quit. If you WanNa let us know what you think about the show please go to apple podcasts and writer review

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Teaching For Better Humans 2.0

TED Radio Hour

51:26 min | 10 months ago

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0

"This is Ted Radio Hour each week. Groundbreaking Ted talks are dream. Big delivered at Ted Conferences to bring about the future. We want to see around the world to understand who we are from those talks. We bring you speakers and ideas that will surprise you. You just don't know what you're GonNa Find Challenge. You have the acts ourselves like why's it no worthy and even change you. I literally feel like I'm indifferent. I do you feel that way ideas worth spreading from ted NPR. I'M A new summer. Odi and I think you'll agree that life as we used to know it 'cause plea much disappeared for now. At least almost all of us have in some way been affected by the Kovic nineteen crisis for me. I've been home splitting my time between hosting this show and helping my kids adjust to a world where they only see their classmates on a screen. And it's made me think a lot about the episode that the Ted Radio Team and I need last year. We called it teaching better humans. And it's about how we can help kids learn to cope with life's ups downs and deal with an increasingly complicated future because now with cove in nineteen it feels like that complicated future is here and with it. Virtual schools remote learning for the past few weeks just about every kid. Parent and teacher has had to do their part to usher in an abrupt but necessary new era for education. Hi My name's Tanya Leclair. I am a digital learning coach at Seoul Foreign School in Santa. I'm pre kindergarten teacher out of school in DC Michael Hernandez a high school teacher in the Los Angeles area. We put out the call to educators to tell us how it's been going there have been a lot of challenges. This all came on really fast. We basically got together and started drawing policies and guidelines and kind of trying to draw everything from scratch. My dining room table is not my classroom and I miss my classroom highlighted. The fact that we've been caught flatfooted and haven't really evolved. Maybe as much as we could have had some ridiculous moments as the teacher would be like one of the kids muted me. I can't tell who it is. The number one thing that they had some incredible bright spots every day at closing meaning use that as an opportunity to just have a moment of positive affirmations off kids like repeat after me something like I am creative and telling their caregiver. You're being so creative taking care of me. They've also had some interesting breaks. Really impressed with how teachers have taken this on Actually really excited about this disruption. That's happened to the education system and I know it's frustrating for a lot of one of the great innovations. That's GONNA come out of this is we will never go back to school. The way it was that last teacher is Richard Kuwata and actually. He doesn't teach in a classroom anymore. He's now the. Ceo of the nonprofit Itchy the International Society of Technology in education. There's a time as we adjust to this new world. That can be stressful. And that's just GonNa take some hand holding in some some getting through but another thought to just just something to keep in mind here is I think it's going to be super exciting because all of a sudden we're going to have this conversation about What what expectations are from students? When they walk back into the classroom and I think some things that they have just put up with for years and years because they never knew the difference. may suddenly feel really strange. And that's the model of Education for the future that we really need to get to and have needed to get to for many years. It can be hard to think about the future when you're just getting through today so we want to revisit our episode teaching for better humans and take this moment to consider how we can change the way we educate to help kids and young adults thrive. You'll hear some of the conversations we recorded last year but also new ideas that reflect our strange new circumstances and we're going to start with virtual learning because think about it. Millions of teachers were recently asked to take what they were doing in the classroom and translate it for the screen within days. Many of them. Richard says are now figuring out how to make school work online on the fly. Yeah and they're scrambling I mean. Learning is an inherently social Activity and so often when we start to move over to online learning we look at the learning process and we just immediately think of the content. And we you know scan the content we make it available online but content that is it's just a really thin veneer of the overall education experience and that's the only part if the content is the only part that we're making available it's just not effective learning. You have to think about. How do you make sure there's still times where everybody can get together in the life space? How do you create activities? That are not just reading a worksheet that you've uploaded online. Okay so can you give me an example of what online learning looks like at its best? And maybe how we parents can help. Yes so kids can be interviewing each other or their family members and editing and creating videos. They can designing campaigns to help Addressing an issue in their community many of them have a yard outside or a park next to their their house. Might Kid the other day. My eight year old Found a bug In his room and this moment of Oh we got this bug here and we could just throwing it out but instead I said you know what type of bug is that. I don't know well. How do we look it up? And so we took a picture of it. We went online search and found out it was a brown mom rated stink bug and we learned that the bad version of that. But I mean it's fascinating we learned. There's so many things about stink bugs. I never knew that moment. That's silly moment one is it? It became a learning moment. But it also taught my kid at modeled that this device that I hold in my pocket. It's not just playing games is not just for calling people communicating. It's a tool to make more sense out of the world around us but those are the types of activities that we have to be starting to plan now because they take some thinking so my concern has been as tech journalist. The human component right and a lot of teachers told me that as they've brought more and more screens into the classroom that they have actually had to start teaching human things that they've never had to teach before in the past like Tattoo. I contact with someone how to listen to someone. And so how do we teach those human competencies if everybody's not together so there's a couple of things here that are important to talk about. One of them is what those competencies look like. They still exist right. Those human competencies how to be a good engaged human being it's still exists in a virtual space. We just have to teach it a little differently So we talk about five critical qualities of digital citizens and we say that we need to teach kids to be inclusive informed engaged balanced and alert. It's knowing how to you know. Help make your community a better place when you're online it's it's knowing how to create an environment that is inclusive of people with a variety of different viewpoints and backgrounds online. It's knowing how to recognize information. That is true information that has biopsies in it and make decisions about what information is more valuable in what circumstance. Those are the types of skills that we need to be teaching and if we do then our virtual environment becomes a community that is rich and engaging and supportive okay so Richard going back to this idea of whether there's a silver lining that can come out of these bizarre days and weeks when this is over and kids go back to school. Do think that the classroom experience will be dramatically different. Oh Yeah so you know. We'll go back to school. Of course in school is critically important. But we'll go back to school with the realization with a reality that the world is a virtual world that these kids are dual citizens. They live in two worlds at all times and they always will in the future and if we can recognize that and we can leverage that To make school engaging rich meaningful environment that empowers kids not just to soak up information that we give them but to solve problems and to communicate collaborate with their peers around the world. That's the exciting part and we are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we're GONNA do. Teachers are the most creative people on the planet and once they get the tools in front of them and they know and are comfortable with the tools. The amount of creativity that we're going to see is just going to be unbelievable. That's Richard Kuwata the CEO of Itchy. And thank you so much to all the teachers who shared their experiences with us. We also want you to know that. Ted Ed has a new initiative for learning at home. Find out more at Ted Ed at home dot Com. Okay so this. New Corona virus means that teachers are using new tools to teach. But what about what they teach while along with math and grammar? Some are trying to help kids understand what cove in nineteen is adding pandemics to a list of other tough topics that affect kids like inequality and race. How do we even begin to talk about these heavy subjects that we grownups often struggle with? I mean think about how much media and how many messages adults soak up every single day and kids are exposed to the exact same stuff that adults are exposed to. This is teacher. Liz Kline Rock. She develops school curricula before that. She spent a decade in the classroom yet. We have this misconception. That kids tune it out or don't care or kind of glass over when we have those conversations at the dinner table or when. The radio's on the car like kids. Pick up on all of that. Some of Liz's students were interviewed for many documentaries specifically about how she helps them think critically about our history and how it relates to today some people actually liked having slaves to own slaves because that were they worked for them and some people are just afraid to speak out for them or do anything to help them. I can't imagine how it would be like if my family's dog like like if you just separate savvy like just your separated. I have these kids. Who would never raise their hand and like a traditional reading or writing math lesson but if you ask them about black lives matter or what's happening our government. They all know something and they all want to share. I mean seeing all these videos of people getting discriminated because of their race religion orientation. It really changes my perspective of life. It's safer to have those conversations upfront. But having tough conversations upfront with kids is totally different than having them with adults in lots of unpredictable and cringe-worthy Ways Liz Kline rock tells the story from the Ted Stage. Though a few years ago I was beginning a new unit on race with my fourth graders and I had the type of moment that every teacher has nightmares. About one of my students had just asked the question. Why are some people racist and another students? Let's call her abbey had just raised her hand and volunteered. Maybe some people don't like black people because their skin is the color of poop so as if UNQ- my entire class exploded half of them immediately started laughing and the other half started yelling at Abbey and shouting things like God. You can't say that racist so just take a second to freeze the scene in your mind. There's the class of nine and ten year olds and half of them are in hysterics because they think abby has said something wildly funny and the other half are yelling at her for saying something offensive. And then you have abused sitting there completely bewildered. Because in her mind she doesn't understand the weight of what she said. Ny everybody is reacting this way and then you have me the teacher standing there in the corner like about to have a panic attack when we come back what Liz said to her. Fourth graders in that moment and also how she's talking to kids about one of the toughest things that we are all dealing with right now. The Corona virus. I'm a new summary on the show today teaching for better humans. You're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR. Everyone just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who helped make this podcast possible I to zoom zoom phone is a top tier cloud phone solution with the same ease of use reliability. That you've come to expect from zoom meetings. Zoom phone works seamlessly within the zoo APP. As Your Business phone system to make and receive phone calls capture call hoardings and easily escalate video if the need arises and it works wherever you are in the office more on your mobile device sign up for zoom phone online at Zoom Dot Com and meet happy with next also to legalzoom legalzoom makes it easy for Americans to set up their estate plans without leaving. Their homes. Don't know the difference between a last will or living trust what about in advance. Healthcare directed. Legalzoom can help. They're not a law firm but you can get started quickly online and also get advice through their network of independent attorneys. Learn more about estate plans. And how you can speak to an attorney for advice at legalzoom dot com when the economy goes Haywire Planet. Money is here to make sense of it for you. From the big bailouts to the tiny details of vaccine stockpile. One of the first thing we did was secure a large number of chicken flocks so these are like hard working government chicken hard-working government chickens that's NPR's planet money. Podcast listen now. It's the Ted Radio hour from NPR. I'm a Newsom Rhody on the show today teaching for better humans before the break a fourth grader called Abbey had just said something that half of her class found wildly funny while the rest founded extremely offensive and their teacher. Liz Kline Rock was on the verge of a panic attack. I loved being in your head as a teacher like I kind of felt like. Oh maybe that's what my teachers were thinking. How do you take an extremely uncomfortable moment and in a split second decide what to do with us like what? What were the options? Did you think I could chastise her? And say like. That's just incredibly inappropriate like you never ever say something like that which is definitely part of the conversation that needs to be had about why that language is harmful. But if you don't explain why it's harmful it doesn't really do any good. All the kid has learned as Oh if I ever talk about this that it's bad And something I didn't share the talk. Is that student who made? The comment isn't white. She's actually a student caller And I thought a lot in that moment about the way that I now interact with. Her is really also going to show a model for the rest of the kids to. I definitely don't think it's okay to shame people for where they're at but it's absolutely necessary to question why people are at a certain place and this was truly her first time talking about it. Yelling at her was going to leave a really really big imprint. Like I even think about how I view myself as a math student because I had one teacher an elementary school who like made me cry when it came to mouth. 'cause I didn't understand in how I then internalized. Why must be a really bad mass students in this has a lot higher stakes than whether or not I could understand like in multiplication algorithm? You know this is something that could really continue to follow her and determine whether she was going to be willing to engage. Or disengage from these conversations moving forward So in that five seconds the weight of this girl's relationship to talking about race is on your shoulders. You reflect on hat and then you look at the kids in your classroom and you look at her. And what do you say send? This is a really important teachable moment because there is some truth and validity into what Abbas saying that people have believed this and some components of racism are fueled by thoughts and beliefs. Just like this. And that's why we have to talk about it it's meaningful it's terrifying and deeply personal by. We have to take these opportunities to learn as I watched the conversation. Really marinate. With my students I began to wonder how many of my students have assumptions. Just like Abbie and what happens when those assumptions go unnoticed and unaddressed is they often do conversations around race. For example have their own specific language in students need to be fluent in this language in order to have these conversations now I also know that these types of conversations can seem really really intimidating with our students especially with young learners but I have taught first through fifth grades and I can tell you for example that I'm not going to walk into a first grade classroom and start talking about things. Like mass incarceration but even a six year old first. Grader can understand the difference. Between what is fair. People getting what they need an equal when everybody gets the same thing especially goodie bags of birthday parties. Now first graders can also understand the difference between a punishments Anna Consequence and all of these things are foundational concepts that anyone needs to understand before having a conversation about math incarceration in the United States. Some people might think that kindergarteners first graders are too young to have conversations around racism but also tell you that young kids understand how people are similar and different and what it means to have power when other people don't when we have these conversations with students at a young age it actually takes away some of that taboo feeling when those topics come at a later age. It's almost like you just make space in your classroom for things that are often shoved under the rug things that we don't make space for because it makes us feel uncomfortable because we don't necessarily have the answer of how to make it better but you you try to make space and try and I try to also be very authentic with my students when they ask a question that I don't know the answer to to be very honest with them and not make something up or that. I'm the authority on all things related to race and equity. Because I'm not there still so many things. I'm learning new things that I need to understand. Because it's hard to navigate by yourself and I think there's a lot of self work that teachers need to be doing it unpacking their own identities and their understanding of what it means to have an anti-racist classroom and if you're not doing that self work having the conversations with kids is going to be a lot harder because these are definitely parallel tracks of work that needs to be going on at the same time. I mean I gotta say I feel for Teachers Right now. Not only are they pretty poorly paid at least here in the United States? But they don't get a lot of respect from parents from municipal governments. They work so hard. How do you even begin to say to teachers? Yes so also you need to be exploring your own sense of identity Could you do that please? While you're also grading all the papers tomorrow like how. Do you even start to have this conversation with other teachers? It's really really hard but I think that the curriculum and the lessons that I've created really tried to embrace diversity equity and inclusion as a lens not as a separate component of the day like. I'm not writing social justice. Time from nine to ten o'clock on the agenda. It can really be something as simple as who are the authors and the stories in the voices that you're amplifying in class like an example that I like to give is one of our curricular units supposed to be about opinion writing and the sample unit that comes with the curriculum You're supposed to structure this lesson about. What's your favorite ice cream flavor and Y? Which for fourth graders to me that just seems like such a waste of an opportunity to have them write about something. That's more important than that but I think it also takes a lot for adults to be brave and how those conversations will. Yeah which makes me wonder like. Do you ever get pushback from parents who maybe feel uncomfortable with your methods? Or maybe like listen. Just stick to like reading writing and Arithmetic. Okay I all handle the other stuff for my kid. Yeah I mean I get a lot about education not being politicized And my response to them is usually education is inherently political school funding. How much teachers get paid which textbooks we use which holidays we celebrate like who is visible in the classroom and who is those are all political decisions. Yeah I mean it's really like you said before the kids already pick up on all of these ideas political or not yup. I had one student who said that. We have the right to have these conversations because it's going to be us. It's going to be our life in the future now. How can we be prepared if we can't even have these conversations or we don't even know what's going on and he's right he's absolutely right and that wasn't like an eighteen year old he nine? That's Liz Kline Rock. Since listen I spoke last year. The Corona virus has of course totally changed the education landscape. So I called her to ask how she thinks. We should talk about the pandemic with kids while also dealing with our own anxiety. There's this aspect of caring for the people in our lives but also the self care part is so important to at my school. We always talked a lot about emotional contagion. And that's a good phrase emotional contagion recognizing that kids are extremely intuitive. They're very sensitive. They're really going to pick up on the energy. That adults are putting out even if it is unspoken. If it isn't verbalised thinking about how as a classroom teacher I would try to conduct myself during fire drills earthquake drills or active shooter drills like you one kids to take it seriously. You don't want to panic them or overwhelm them. Let them know. This is something that we do. Have you take seriously and we're not playing around. It's like I feel like I'm an airplane. And we've hit turbulence and I'm watching the flight attendants for clues. I feel like that's the situation. Kids are in watching the adults. Like we're in this airplane together and they're watching us. Should I be worried about this? You seem calm okay. Then I'll become. It's just normal turbulence. You know it's hard though. Yeah it is and again. Like having no precedent. It's really challenging like the closest comparison. I I wasn't a teacher then was nine eleven and just being very uncertain about what was going to happen and I know that schools were really scrambling back in two thousand one. When this happens like are we going to continue classes? How can we best support our communities? How could we directly support families who might be very much directly impacted by everything happening but something of this magnitude? It's totally uncharted territory. The garage trying to figure it out as we go and just trying to be the best models students as possible. My husband and I really had a debate over whether to be reassuring and say you are safe. You are fine order to acknowledge like yes. You're scared and that's a normal feeling to have right now. This is a scary time. Yeah I think there's definitely both that need to happen. You know I don't think it's appropriate Light to kids and you know. Give them false reassurance about things that we really don't know about but also we can be really careful about what information we volunteer to them willingly. Something really important to keep in mind with kids is that there's no one right way to feel about everything. I've talked to students who are incredibly calm and seem even somewhat oblivious to everything happening and then students who have really been panicking and experienced a lot of anxiety because school represents very different things to different students. Some might really view this as a vacation has a break in for some kids. This is the only place of consistency in their lives. And keeping him out. Abby the student who you talked about when we first spoke a couple months ago and you kind of had the weight of her relationship with talking about race on your shoulders kinds of things might be weighing on teachers and parents trying to address corona virus. Right now I think trying to balance like gaining new information while being selective about what is being shared with kids kids. Are you know picking up like the BITs and pieces of conversations or crashing glimpses of headlines Online and there is a lot of great information out there and there's a lot of really awful misinformation to and we're trying to just stay up to date about everything that's going on and giving our students and families who might not have the access to that information letting them know what's happening in the best way possible? Liz Kline rock is a writer and educator and that documentary about how she teaches is called Ms Liz's allies and you can see her full talk at Ted Dot Com right now. Kids are finding out where they got into college. But don't know if they'll even be able to attend this fall and seniors in high schools and universities. They don't know if they'll have graduation ceremonies. This spring. Life is on hold and a lot of these students may feel like they're not equipped to cope with the current situation. One that's completely out of their control because up until now to succeed needed results in the form of hard numbers to the season for standardized testing twin tau do. We measure those results. Standardized tests entered standardized exams testing. Of course pass. Then you move onto the next grade fail and you still have some work to do in two thousand fifteen. By the time the high school senior graduated they would have taken a hundred and twelve standardized tests. Ready Delaware comprehensive assessment language arts of couse testing getting a school getting a metric. Integrate is very useful way to organize right to students from the best to the worst everywhere. In between that's Thomas Current. He's a social psychologist who researches young people and perfectionism in the UK US and Canada. And you can. You can begin to see how that creates a Reliance therefore on objective outcomes on outcomes in tests and schools and you can extend not to spoil and other areas of young people's lives where ranking categorization and now Roy Thomas says tests sports social media and a winner takes. All culture puts a lot of pressure on kids to constantly compare themselves to others and so once people start to define themselves in those terms. And we're only interested in how we do relative to others then we're GONNA set hoist on this for so because the only way in which we're able to succeed in societies to achieve high schools high grades high performances. The consequences of not. Doing that is not only be filled for back in school but has implications for our college which has implications for future market price in the Job Market. So you can begin to see how with teaching kids almost every level. That ain't to succeed. They need to do well. And that's one of the reasons why we think. Young people beginning to internalize perfectionist tendencies perfectionist. Tendencies Thomas says all of this has made young people more and more anxious they want to be perfect and wanting to be perfect is not only impossible. It can be dangerous. Thomas Curran continues this idea on the Ted stage. It's remarkable how many of us are quite happy to what hands and say we're perfectionists but there's an interesting and serious points because our begrudging admiration for perfection is so pervasive. That never really stopped the question that concept in his own terms we know from clinician case reports that perfection conceals a horse or psychological difficulties including things like depression anxiety on erection. Bolivia and even suicide radiation. And what's more worrying? Is that over the last twenty five years. We have seen perfectionism rise at an alarming rate suicide in the US alone. Increased by twenty five percent across the last two decades. We begin to see similar trends emerging across Canada and in my home country the United Kingdom in my role as mentor to many people. I see these defects of affections and I am one student sticks out in my mind. Very vividly John not his real name was ambitious hard working and diligent and on the surface. He is exceptionally high achieving than gaining first class grades for his work no matter how well John achieved always into recast successes as abject failures and meetings with me. He would talk openly about how he'd let himself down. Jones justification was was quite simple. How could he be a success when he was trying so much harder than other people just attain the same outcomes see John's perfection? His unrelenting work ethic was only serving to expose what he saw as his in a weakness to himself and others. You know it's interesting. When I was growing up. It was cooled slacker but now I meet college students people in their twenties all the time who are even starting their second or third business. I kind of think of it. As the Mark Zuckerberg effect this idea that inside of you is an entrepreneur who can just kill it Zuckerberg and musk. I mean they seem like perfectionists and that seems to be something really worth pursuing really. Hit ENOSIS IMAGE. Because we live in an individualistic culture and world. Where essentially with the masters of our own destiny okay used to be the case that the the UK but also in the US just after the war while there was a kind of collective sense that you know together we can prosper right. That's very different today. Where the successes and failures are owned by. Aso's an how wealthy we. Oh how much material advantage we have is down to ourselves. That's why you start to see a lot of a lot of young people. Engaging more entrepreneurial ten this is because frankly they have to if they don't there is no job with prospects of future that they can just walk into from college. It's a post graduate degree and then it's internships and then it's extra little bits and pieces on a CV that we can pick up and and this is this. This is what I mean about. Pressure AND EXPECTATION THAN YOUNG. People have risen so much that it's understandable the begin to engage in these behaviors and worry about the consequences because whereas before there was a safety net. Now there isn't a hell of a lot of pressure to succeed and that fear of failure. We think is going. On underneath this rise in coming up we hear more from Thomas Current on perfectionism and embracing our imperfect selves on the show today teaching for better. Humans I'm a new summer ODI and you're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR. Support for this podcast and the following message come from the American Jewish World Service working together for more than thirty years to build a more just and equitable world learn more at. Aj Ws Dot Org right now. Every household in the country is being asked to fill out the. Us Census is the form that helps us determine how voting districts or redraw to build public schools and hospitals spend federal money. So why are some people afraid to fill it out? We're getting into all that this week on. Npr's codes which podcasts. It's the Ted Radio hour from NPR. I'm Newsom Roti and on the show today how we can teach for better humans. We were just hearing from social psychologist. Thomas Curran about perfectionism. How young people are taught pressured and influenced to try and be perfect? And I'm just going to say what everyone is thinking right now. I mean Social Media Right. That must be playing a huge role here. I mean social media is pervasive at securely visual media forms of social media things that instagram on snapchat for instance a very very laden with images of the perfect life images of the perfect lifestyle of course young people internalize try to recreate troy to live up to social perfectionism associate described perfectionism. Which is a sense that the external environment or others next on expect us to be Pathak in nineteen thousand nine just nine percent of young people report technically relevant levels associated script but twenty seventeen that figure had doubled to eighteen percents by twenty fifty projections based on the models that we tested in the kid. Almost one in free and people were report clinically relevant levels of socially prescribed perfectionism. This is the element of perfection has a large correlation with serious mental illness. And that's with good reason. So she fried factions. Feel a unrelenting need to meet the expectations of other people and even if they do meet yesterday's expectation of Perfection. Then raise the bar even higher degree because these folks believe that the better. They do the better that they're expected to. This breeds a profound sense of helplessness. And worse hopeless. Which you know listening to you makes me feel as a parent kind of hopeless. It's really hard to know how to help. Your child have a fever parents. Because it's so tough like it's so tough to not engage in over monitoring surveillance because essentially in you know in this in this culture. If Kid's fellas not just deaf as our failure to an unsold so parent do do take on their kid successive fairies and naturally leads to more controlling for parenting. And there's a Lotta data to support. That is on the Roy. That said there are ways in which you can do that. But don't necessarily emphasize Perfectionist Dick Tennis. Okay so I want to hear them. What do you think parents should do? Try not to focus on the outcome. So when kids have done a tasks They've got two metre. School is important too much you can downplay that school particularly where in terms of where it sits relative to others an. Ask Your kids more about will. What did you learn emrich on own in on the actual purpose of education that is the topic and the source of learning itself? And then the second one just just quickly. I think his is how we deal with Valya. Not being afraid to fat is really really important. I an an in particular making sure that when we do encounter setbacks that we've compassion on ourselves. How would you talk to a friend? For instance who came with the same issues. You'd rationalize with them empathize with them. You essentially try to show them that you know. It's not the end of the world but we don't apply the same rules to ourselves and say talking to kids in those times you know. How would you treat of the people if they if they came in at home with that great would you? You'd be very different to your friends. You BE SELF SAYS. It is really self compassion. I think Is is really really important. On teaching them there is. There is Siamese Julian failure on the summit's doing imperfection you know we're not we're not built to be perfectly worried over in variables. I wonder how much you think vulnerability and and being able to laugh at ourselves matters in this conversation to the heat heat everybody. Every one of us has some areas allies that we feel. We're not quite as good Oh we we might. They might be specific triggers for us in some way shape or form and actually accepting vulnerability can be an excellent antidotes a perfectionist tendencies. And so I think you're absolutely right. Vulnerabilities really important not fearing failure or a celebrating imperfection and celebrating mistakes and setbacks because there are opportunities to learn and develop accessories. Signature is really really important. Thomas Current teaches at the London School of Economics and political science watches. Full talk and check out his research on perfectionism at Ted Dot. Npr Dot Org. Okay for the past hour or so. We've been hearing about the formal informal even virtual ways that we teach and how we can reassure kids that it's okay to look beyond academics and to value more than good grades and I want to end the show on a little personal note. My nine year old daughter nearly ten loves to read. But she's not quite as fast as some of the other kids in her class and she was feeling kind of bummed out about her slow reading until the day author. Jacqueline Woodson visited her school. Yeah and you talked about slow reading. And she came home and she said to me. It's fine it's just me. It's how I read and I love reading and it's fine and she just sort of skipped across the room and looked later. The burden was lifted. Because you told her it was okay to be different so i WanNa thank you personally for giving her that. Give thank her for hearing me. That completely makes my day. It's so. Jacqueline has dozens of books for children and young adults including award winners like miracles. Boys and Brown girl dreaming and my daughter's story reminded jacqueline of her own slow reading. You know my sister was brilliant. My brother was brilliant. They were off the chart to readers in here. I was coming along. And they're like okay. What's wrong with this would send Why is she reading differently? Why she's struggling with reading. And I read slowly with my finger following beneath the words I read the same passages over and over again and really just inhaled narrative in this way it was part of all my senses and I never saw it as a struggle. It was how I read. Yeah but you know when you're a child and someone is saying this is how one should do this. You Begin to question because as adults and it's it's their gaze. That's the mirror for you at that age. Here's Jacqueline Woodson. On the Ted stage the deeper I went into my books. The more time I took with each sentence the less I heard the noise of the outside world and so unlike my siblings who are racing through books I read slowly very very slowly. I was that child with her finger running beneath the words until I was untucked to do this toll. Big Kids. Don't use their fingers in third grade. We were made to sit with our folded on our desk. Unclasping them only to turn the pages then returning them to that position. Our teacher wasn't being cruel. It was the nineteen seventies. Her goal was to get US reading. Not just on grade level but far above it and we were always being pushed to read faster but in quiet of my apartment outside of my teachers gays I let my finger run beneath those words with each rereading. I learned something new years later. I learned a writer named John. Gardner who referred to this fictive dream are the dream of fiction and I would realize that this was where I was inside that book spending time with the characters and the world that the author had created an invited me into as a child. I knew that stories were meant to be savored. That story's wanted to be slow and that some author had spent months maybe years writing them and my job is the reader especially as the reader who wanted to one day become a writer was to respect that narrative. So what's the fictive dream for those who haven't heard of it so the fictive dream as one you slip inside a story so deeply that you become a part of it and you don't even know anymore that you're not in the world and the outside world the quote unquote real world is not a part of your consciousness and I think what the really good narrative with a really novel poem or even graphic novel you can go into that world and believe that you are part of it walking with the characters do you. Do you think like I mean. Obviously you are in touch with a lot of teachers and you do work in schools and It is that something that you're seeing being taken on board this idea of reading. Slowly of savoring words of not rushing kids. I wish I was it more. Let when my kids were in fourth grade? Their fourth grade test scores determined where they go to middle school. Their seventh grade test scores determined where they go to high school and and even now with them the specialized schools and all the work. We have to do around. That kids are stressed out. And I think that it's hard for teachers who have this Curriculum that they have to adhere to to then say well you know what they'll take an hour with that ball So I think that reading slowly needs to be expressed at home more and kids should know that at the end of the day they can linger and they can relax somewhere. I know a lot of those young people are reading slowly and probably getting flak for it And to just kind of show up and be a mirror and say look I read slowly to. Yeah and I'm here and they're going to be many. Many people saying this is not the way and pushed through that. My finger beneath the words had led me to a life of writing books for people of all ages. Books meant to be. Read slowly to be savored. My Love for looking deeply and closely at the world for putting my whole self into it and by doing so seeing the many many many possibilities of a narrative turned out to be a gift because taking my sweet time taught me everything I needed to know about. Writing and writing taught me everything I needed to know about creating worlds where people could be seen and heard where their experiences could be legitimized. And where my story read or heard by another person inspired something in them. That became a connection between us a conversation. And isn't that what this is all about finding away at the end of the day not feel alone in this world and away to feel like we've changed it before we leave? Sometimes we read to understand the future. Sometimes we read to understand the past. We read to get lost. Forget the hard times we're living in and we read to remember those who came before us who lived through something harder. I write for those same reasons. Before coming to Brooklyn my family lived in Greenville South Carolina in a segregated neighborhood called nickel town. All of us there were the descendants of people who had not been allowed to learn to read or write imagine that the danger of understanding how letters form words the danger of words themselves the danger of illiterate people and their stories as I began to connect the dots that connected the way I learned to write and the way I learned to read twin. Almost silenced people. I realize that my story was bigger and older and deeper than I would ever be and because of that it will continue. We come from a history. As African Americans a people who are not even allowed to read in this country right right and then there was a high rate of literacy because of that not being allowed to read and then slowly people came to reading. And we're hungry for our. We stole reading right. We we read even under the threat of death. We taught ourselves even under that threat so it makes so much sense for me to take the time and presumably the way that someone who comes from a very different history or background can empathize her. Imagine or connect to what you went through and what your ancestors have gone through is through story and frankly those books didn't really exist. When I was growing up the books like the ones I right. Yeah Yeah and that's part of the reason I rate them because they didn't exist crying up either You know I grew up in Bushwick and it was like where were the books about a black girl growing up in Bush an in the home of a single mom and whose best friend was Puerto Rican and so who grew up speaking Spanish and English? I wanted to tell those stories right. I was indignant like how dare the world might have my narrative in it. I'm I'm impressed that you were indignant that you were shut. Who gave you that sense of like? Hello you all need to hear my story too. I think I think what it was. Was My family saying you matter. Yeah I mean I came out of Jim Crow South right so I came from South Carolina to New York City and so so I think somewhere along those lines. People were saying you matter and then to hear all your that you mattering. You're amazing in. You're brilliant and your beautiful and then to not see that in a world it's like wait a second. I know my people were at lying. So America must be so as technology continues to speed ahead. I continue to read slowly knowing that I am respecting the author's work and the stories lasting power and I read slowly to drown out the noise and remember those who came before me who probably carried with them. The history of a narrative new deeply that writing it down wasn't the only way they could hold onto. It knew they could sit on their porches. Are they're stoops? At the end of a long day and spin a slow tail for their children. They knew they could sing their stories. Through the thick heat of picking cotton and harvesting tobacco knew they could preach their stories are sold them into quilts. Turn the most painful ones into something laughable and through that laughter exhale the history of country. They try again and again and again to steal their bodies their spirit and their story. I read slowly to pay homage to my ancestors. Each time we read. Write or tell a story. We step inside their circle and the power of story lives on author Jacqueline Woodson. You can find her full talk at Ted Dot Com. Thanks so much for listening to our show on teaching for better humans this week. If you want to find out more about who was on it go to Ted Dot. Npr DOT ORG and Z. Hundreds more TED talks checkout Ted dot com or the Ted APP our production staff at NPR includes Jeff Rodgers Saunas Michigan. Poor Rachel Faulkner Diba Motor Sean James Della Hussey JC Howard Katie Monteleone. Maria Paz Gutierrez Christina. Kala Kierra Brown and Hannah Bolanos with help from Daniel Shchukin. Our intern is Matthew Kutai. Our theme music was written by Rahm teen our employees. Our partners at Ted are Chris Anderson Colin Helms and a feeling and Michelle quint. I'M A new summer. Odi and you've been listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR.

United States NPR Jacqueline Woodson NPR Liz Kline Richard Kuwata Thomas Current Ted Dot Ted Dot Com John Ms Liz United Kingdom ted NPR Ceo Ted Conferences writer Abby Ted Ted Ed
167 Author Juleah del Rosario

What Book Hooked You?

26:27 min | 1 year ago

167 Author Juleah del Rosario

"This is what book do you. I'm Brian and thanks for listening. It's one sixty seven and I have Julia Lia del. Rosario one whose newest book turtle under ice comes out from Simon Pulse on February eleventh. So it's out now and can we talk a lot about reverse writing tonight. Something that is obviously common in writing so as great picking her brain seen how Calleja got into writing in verse. How she's inspired by how she goes about doing it and talk about her first book? Five hundred words or less and so overall really a great conversation. Hope you enjoyed soliciting so Julia. What cookbook hooked you the book? That hooked me Is Brown girl dreaming. I on Jacqueline Woodson. Listen and I think I. I chose that book because when I read it I was working on. And my what is now my first novel novel. Five hundred words or less and it really wasn't where I was going with that novel just didn't really feel like the novel on the story. I wanted to tell but after reading Brown girl girl dreaming which is another which is a novel in verse That really sort of opened my eyes to the power of language rich especially in condensed in verse form and so I was initially writing five hundred words or less not in I four and it was is just regular pros But after reading that book and I love Jacqueline Woodson's work I really it just was so so emotional throughout the whole reading experience and I was like I love this experience of reading and this is the type of experience I'd want to give to someone to another another reader so then from there. I started experience experimenting with diverse format. And so with this book. Then being sort would of that Gateway into writing in verse. Was it kind of a complete left. Turn for you to do that. Or how'd you any any kind of experience with reading lots of or writing lots of poetry or verse in the past. Yeah I mean I always have have had an appreciation for poetry And I had read I novels in the past. I think it just never really thought ought of myself as someone who quote unquote could be a poet or could write poetry. It's just not something that I was giving myself permission to think about and I. It might have been because I've read a lot of Jacqueline Woodson's work that I could see she. She had written novels. And then this work and and I sort of thought as you you don't have you you can choose the best format for your book and whatever it is will work with Whether it's first or pros it's okay to sort of experiment and to try to get at. What quality really want out of that book? So how did you so when you kind of. Go down that path when Your first book five hundred words or less your you decide. That verse is really the way to tell that story How do you check for that quality that you were looking for like? How did it take some confidence building in you you to feel like you could really control that form of storytelling? Yes so what. I mean what I told myself myself was just experiment and try to maybe rewrite the opening rewrite rewriting a specific section the book and I said just try it see how it Reads and then. I took that specific section to I a couple of critique groups and Critique partners that I had at the time and sort of asked for their feedback specifically about the emotion and I'm so they had read previous drafts on that were in pros and I really wanted to see. Does this style Bring up more emotion for you as a reader than the previous drafts that I've submitted and when the response response was like yeah I could really feel more than I was like okay. This is really what I. I've been wanting out of this book and maybe I should continue this USC experiment and so I just I always told myself that it was just an experiment and if it didn't work out I always had the the previous draft that I wrote route. I could always go back to that but then I just kept going and and by the end I felt like Oh. This is really the book that I've been wanting for the sorry. I've been wanting to tell. And this is the format that it needs to be told in and so what backing up than before this time before reading Brown girl dreaming you. Obviously we were already sort of in the thought process of the path of into be a writer When did that start for you? This this dream this idea I was started writing in high school and like journaling and I think at that time I was writing like really angsty poetry as a teenager and just really loved engaging with writing insertive what experiences that could bring up so I always knew that I wanted to write eight something From High School. But I think it really wasn't. Yeah I think I still had to give myself permission to be a quote unquote writer and that didn't happen until After College in my mid twenties when I basically it was like hat Added a regular day job and just wanted an outlet to explore myself elsewhere. And that's really when I started on sitting down and trying ain't to write stories and novels and finding critique partners to help me third just the the active writing and we talked about Brown dreaming were there other sort of maybe even pre that point your life When you were kind of already sort of down a path to be writer kind of before that time? We're their books that you really kind of look back as bean kind of ten poll books books. That really are monumental Whether they've influenced you in a certain way or just kind of memorable for where you found them in your place in life. Yeah I think the want the other book that I was also thinking about bringing up Is Looking for a lot John. Green's looking for Alaska so that to to me was the book that really solidified me as a y a reader and a why writer And and I read that in a shortly after it was published around that time I think that was published around two thousand four. Two thousand five and there wasn't you know the way market really isn't what it is today and at least for me in my life there wasn't a lot of people who were I still felt the pressure guests that I was supposed to read these like highly literary and when I read Looking for Alaska. I felt that it had. I thought it was way better than any literary book that someone was trying to tell me to read Because it really had the more of a human experience to it and I was like this is what I want to read. This is what I want to write. I want to write about the human experience and as it is not necessarily have to have Not that the you you know why isn't literary but I think there's this at least in my circle at the time I felt like there's a lot of pretension around what people read and who people read and that was something that wasn't making reading fun for me and was also turning joining me off as a writer but Looking for Alaska really showed like it doesn't have to be that way so so you have your first book hundred words or less That is written in verse. WAS IT I. I've talked to some Writers of Verse Novels In the past. But I don't get to talk to many because there aren't many out there as it. Did you find that because you are Oregan verse. It may be made it easier or harder like through the quarrying process through being on submission things like that because it's it's not a widely Louis style of writing. That's out there usually. Yeah I do think it it kind kind of honestly like lowered expectations for an still sort of lowers. My expectations of you know yes. It's IT'S NAUTA format in people ride in a lot And it also is something that agents and editors may might not be as familiar with so they might have less or more apprehension in taking on that work However the way that I found my agent was his Bren Taylor? He had a tweet a managed. The script wishlist tweet asking for novels and and I and I was like. Oh there's an agent that's the specifically interested in this type of book that I just finished writing and I was. It's like I should just submit to him. You know if it doesn't work out or go but here's someone who actually is wanting us and so then he read it and connected with it and and that has proved to be sort of all the difference of finding someone who really he was a champion for first novels and being supportive throughout the process. After that and then you know really trying to find the best home. Mm for that book which ended up with Simon Pulse and Simon Schuster does have a history three of having published previous first novel. I did feel That my first novel was going to be taking care of Throughout the process this just by finding the right people for it. So five hundred words or less was your debut back in two thousand eighteen So now You have a new book turtles under ISOS start talking about that and tell me what this book is about sure. Yeah so turtle under Isis Another novel in verse But told dual perspectives from Two sisters and it takes place over the course of about a day when there is a snowstorm and One sister leaves in in the middle of that snowstorm and the other one is home. And it's about their journey of reconnecting each other but based on past experiences of their their mother having passed away a few years earlier and a a more recent experience of their stepmother who they really do. They care for a lot Having a miscarriage carriage and so it's it's more of a story about Sisterhood and the experience of Grief Reef and so what I really wanted to sort of highlight in. This is some some of the questions were like. What does it mean to be in older sister Or what does it mean to be a younger sister. And what do those roles in a family particularly when A mother passes away or theories the prospect of a new sister. How do you find your place place in family and where? Where was the initial idea that got you started in this book? Yeah the initial idea was was twofold. I did really want to tell a story about sister. I I'm I'm I have an older sister and a younger the younger sister and I I think that relationship is just so special but if something I wanted express so I'm honored to tell story about sisters and then I also came to this from what is essentially a a metaphor throughout the novel about turtles under ice. So what I learned I this fascination with Turtles Charles and I I really loved turtles. And there's this pond that I sometimes in the summer that had turtles basking in the logs Augsburg and I always wondered what happened. Where do they go in the winner and so I started googling and finding out that there are some types of turtles that they're able to survive in their same pond under the ice for the duration of the winter and that sort of image image? Really resonated with me and I want to explore sir. What story could come out of that type of metaphor and so As you mentioned turtle under Isis another up converse and because it's dual. Pov and going from one book that was in verse to another book with when it comes to these characters and the main characters do. Does it take you awhile. Because you're writing in verse to kind of find the voice the style all the cadence that kind of rhythm for that character That you wanna tell their their feelings and their their story through I think for made the characters really drive diverse Because I guess I approached bursts from that emotional perspective however the storyline and the plot is what it's a significant challenge for me so I tend to write about various characters emotions oceans and thoughts and snippets of their life. But then when I tried to make that into a cohesive story with an arc mark that is a big challenge especially in the burst format. So yeah so I have a hard time putting all the snippets that I've written about a character Into something cohesive and so is it do you do you almost call like When you're kind of working out a story and it's really kind of in the first canal development stages is there kind of a character? Sketch are almost. You know somebody that you're you're kind of filling out and just kind of playing around with until you kind of understand the problem and the character and then try to stick it on that structure of plot and and and that outline is that sort of your approach you found. Yeah I mean I I think between the two books I've found yod process differs for each book but I would say for total under ice. That was more of the process. Where and I'm a a pancer meeting? I really have a hard time with the structure from the get go so yeah I had Rough ideas of of characters and wasn't quite sure what their actual story was going to be for a good portion of writing riding turtle on race. There's some drafts that I that will never see the light of day that were so radically different from what ended up in the book that it's it's yeah it's pretty funny and I think after having those traps what I think I realised is Sometimes you just have an urge to tell the different story and so I I one point when I stopped doing that version of the story I recognized. Okay there's a different story I wanNA tell. Well it's not going to be about these characters to set it aside and maybe you know new characters will take on that plotline. That's happening over here ear and when you're sort of in that writing process is especially during those times when you're when you're really sitting down and trying to get the words out on paper the what. What have you found helps you? Are you big into to music to sounds to unique complete silence. What kind of hacks do you half For yourself that you feel like you can get in the zone writing. Yeah I'm definitely a complete silence person. no no distractions. I think it really for me. It means That's the best way to get into that characters in the mind is to to have nothing around me. So that when I'm thinking I'm actually trying to channel the thoughts emotions and Story of that character. And you think if you had music because you're writing in verse kind of throw off any rhythm that you would that character might naturally have by having some sort of competing background rhythm to it. Yeah I've never thought about that but it's definitely possible that I could see that happening where yeah I have a idea of. Yeah the rhythm else of what the lines are supposed to be. And then some other distraction might throw that off and so what other books What do you typically gravitate towards in your own sort of free time your free reading What type of of John Categories do you find yourself Typically enjoying the most. I I when I'm writing. It's interesting because I for me. I need to read something completely different from what I'm writing so often. gravitate towards mysteries and thrillers I tend to only I tend to read pretty much within the WAIE WII a market however it might be a different genre within the WII market so reading outside of the type of book that I'm I'm trying to write And I yeah. I love mysteries and thrillers. I love the peach turning aspect Annette. The the feeling of accomplishment just when you get through a book really quickly and yeah it just. It's really enjoyable. So trying to find books that Make the reading experience fun and different and so now. This is your second book that you've that you've written in verse. Is that sort sort of what you feel. Is Your your home now your style. Do you always see yourself sort of staying within Verse Novels Probably Not Exclusively. I think I tend to write verse. turtle under ice definitely started from page one as averse novel whereas five hundred words or less did not however. I'm slowly working on something new and it's starting right now as pros so who knows what will be by the end. But I I'm sort of open to just letting the story Fall onto the pages that needs to and you. How'd you you get the sense to know how the story needs to be told You obscene smart by Brown girl dreaming Initially but you know with what you've already knew how to. How do you know basically how does it not automatically at this point start off for you? inverse yeah. I think the thing about this other book that I'm trying to write is I'm trying to be a lot more intentional about structure And so I think part of it is giving myself permission to write really loosely with the actual language and the quality of the writing and focusing on MM-HMM ARCS in structural elements which is an area of I I want to improve in and I think that I have a lot to learn in that. So it's more yet. It could turn into a personal but it's currently more freeing for me to not have it be inverse is that maybe because there's just more because you are starting with structured. There is sort of that discipline that you have yeah interesting yeah I think so interesting. Well let's wind down here as we do ask you a few questions the first one being. What is your favorite favorite movie? That's based on a book. Yeah So one that I love to Rewatch is crazy rich Asians. I it's so fun and delightful and I I love all the books but I think the movie it. It's just something that we don't have a lot of romantic comedies. That are fun right now and I just really liked that. Yeah that romantic to next question then. Is there a book or series of. You're willing to admit you've either never read or never finished. Yes I have not read the very first Harry Potter. I read all the others in the series but I saw the movie I before getting into the series and so I saw that first movie and then just never went back and read the book and at this point. I'm like I should but the movie might have overtaken what I perceived the book and finally. What is the last great book that you've read? Yeah I read. I recently read Cara Tom Thomas's the cheerleaders. which was just really fun to read? It was one of those books spat. I stayed up late trying to finish really quickly just because I wanted to know what happened and I really liked that Those the types of books when you can when you get hooked and you just want to keep breeding in too late late hours of the night. WE'LL JULIA EH. Turtles and rice is your latest release. Congratulations and we look forward to see. What else for us? All right. Yeah oh thanks. This is so much fun. And that's it for this episode. I WanNa thank delay for join me again. Her Newest Book and Colonel Under ice is out now also check out her debut. Five hundred words or less I think verse writing is something we should definitely be reading. More of US will be short Shor to start that initiative by checking out her books. Hope you also check out some other great episodes subscribe to the podcast to others. I'm Brock Shelley and until the next time keep reading.

writer Brown Jacqueline Woodson Simon Pulse Alaska Julia Lia Calleja Brian Rosario High School US Grief Reef Bren Taylor John Cara Tom Thomas Brock Shelley John Categories Green Charles Annette
Best Books Of The Year!

Nerdette

19:49 min | 1 year ago

Best Books Of The Year!

"From WBZ CHICAGO. This is nerd. I'm Greg Johnston and our guest. This week is books. My Top ten favorite books have twenty one thousand nine. Welcome to the studio. Nobody's GonNa say anything Okay well well then I guess I will tell you about my ten books of two thousand nineteen so far as of December twenty four th. I have read it seventy books this year. And I'm bringing you my top ten and I am actually going to have a little chat with the author of my favorite book a little later on in the episode. Just a quick warning. I'm not going to get super into plot because I and that person who's like so worried about spoilers that I don't even read the Synopsis On the back of the book. This is just about what made me feel great and it'll probably make you feel good too two so don't worry too much about the details so over. Do let's get started. Shall we number ten. Evie Drake starts over by Linda Holmes. We actually interviewed Linda. Honored at because of you drake was so great. Let's listen to a little bit of our chat. I always try to find a way not to sound like an old person when I say this to people but when I talk to people who are like in their twenties and they're genuinely upset about the fact that they feel like I don't really know what my direction is and I'm twenty seven. I'm twenty eight. I mean it's incredibly privileged to be able to say you still have a ton of time time right because you don't have a ton of time to pay your rent and do things like that but you have a ton of time for your identity particularly as a creative person to develop and you have a long time for your particular set of talents to mature and that I do feel really really strongly about their is time for who you are to change at literally any phase of your life since she delightful late ful. So every drake the first couple pages. She is getting ready to leave her husband. She's got like cash in the suitcase. She's in the car. She's pulling out of the driveway and and she gets a call that he has just died in a car accident. It's about how grief is complicated. And what it's like to rebuild your life and it is just gorgeous and you're GONNA no love it. Number nine is the secret Commonwealth. By Philip pullman this is the sequel to the book of dust. which is this new trilogy? That's kind him based on the same world as his dirk materials for those of you who have been listening to nerd at recaps his dark materials. You know I am obsessed with this world and I am so so happy to spend more time at the secret Commonwealth is Great. It's not to spoiler you to tell you that at this point Lyra is twenty and she's in college and she is just is Sassy is you would want her to be number. Eight is the most fun we ever had by Claire Lombardo. This is my first book and I'm so impressed with it. It's more than and five hundred pages. It's super complicated with a lot of different characters and character dynamics but it's done so well but it's such a pleasurable read. Chicago magazine called it big global lies in the Midwest. And I kind of love that even though it's not quite as murdering as big little lies it's got so many secrets and salacious details and so much heart and it's great great number. Seven is Miracle Creek by Angie. Kim This is a book that I had gotten an advanced copy of earlier this year and I brought it with me on the flight from Chicago to Seattle. I got about two thirds of the way in and then I left it on the plane and I spent the entire weekend with my friends in Seattle complaining complaining that I didn't have this book anymore and I was so devastated about it. Angie Kim used to be a lawyer and this is an amazing courtroom drama where the first chapter there is like this horrible explosion and then through the course of the book you get to know all the different people who were impacted by and maybe even caused the explosion. You don't know who did it. Somebody's been charged. Was it that person. This book is so number six is read at the bone by Jacqueline Woodson. This book is less than two hundred pages but it evokes so many powerful feelings and senses of place and beautiful relationships chips. And it's one of those books where like finished it and I was just like. How did she do that like you can? I think you can just tell that. She's opponent because she uses her words so so beautifully so this is a short one but it's so evocative enrich and it's just excellent number. Five is wolf pack pack by Abby Wambach this is the first nonfiction book on. This list is not the last. So Abby Wambach is this like Olympic gold gold medalist women's soccer player. She is awesome. I think it's fair to call her boss. Bitch and Wolfback is really interesting. It's all the lessons she learned from. The soccer occur. Field that you can apply to your life as many of you probably know. I'm not a super huge sports fan but I was blown away with how relatable this book is and I highly recommend it especially for people in your life who are like young ladies or maybe women about to graduate from school who like are aspiring boss bitches because because this is just a really good number for as little weird spy jenny slate. You probably know Jenny slate as a comedian. NJIT played Mona Lisa Sapper Steen Parks and REC. That amazing scene where she's like money believes she also did the voice of Marcel. The shell L. with shoes on which is one of the most enduring things existing on the Internet and we had her under a couple years ago because she's obsessed with plants which is also lake like each harming as hell interview so I wasn't really sure what to expect with little weird's right. This is her first book. She's a stand up comedian and I was just blown away away with how amazing this collection of short stories. I like to call it a magical realist memoir because it definitely is all about her. But it's got these amazing like like magical hughes sort of imbued over the wolf thing and it's so entrancing and lovely this kind of book where you want to read a chapter captor and night so that you can save for it because it's amazing or like me you could just read it on an airplane and then Saab your eyes out like whenever works number three is she said it's by Jodi Kantor and Megan twohey. Those are the two Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporters who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein and the sexual abuse that in his company kind of covered up for a very long time. This is a story that I was worried would be like hard to reach is because you know I mean sexual. Abuse is not a light the topic at all but I was really impressed with how much this story actually doesn't focus on that at all and instead is about the power and impact of journalism and to that that end. I think of it as kind of like a feminist. All the president's men so if you like those stories about how awesome the First Amendment is and you know that just have really great characters actors. This is definitely one that you should read number. Two is nothing to see here by Kevin Wilson. Just last week when I was traveling to Alaska I saw somebody. He's standing in the Water Fountain Line Holding this book and accosted her because I was so excited to see it out in the wild. This is a book about a woman who is asked is to become an anti for two children WHO and they get really upset generate fire out of their skin. It is so charming and funny and weird I and intense and I just think everybody should read it. Okay so those are my favorite nine number. One one is coming up right after this. My favorite book of the Year Hands Down is debut novel called such a fun age. It comes out unto summer thirty first. Which means that like? It is almost technically actually not a twenty nineteen released but whatever it's twenty nineteen the last day still counts. Were calling it. It's story about race and class about implicit bias. And the assumptions people make it is intense and I would call it a book that is like important with a capital i. It is also hilarious and charming and so much fun. It's written by highly read. Who is here with me now Kylie? Hello Hi thank you so much. That's really nice favorite word. That's so sweet. I mean it's it's true it's always like it's tough right like it takes a while to decide what the favourite is but this like just without a doubt was such a great book. I I'm so glad that exists in the world and I'm so grateful that you made it thank you thank you so much. I'm really excited to chat. Yes okay so I think we should start with the opening scenes because I think this book does such a good job of establishing like the action from which everything results and what we have essentially is a meera who is like recently graduated from college. She's still kind of like trying to find her groove in the world and she's a black girl. She graduated from Temple in Philly and she's a nanny for like a very well off white family. Yes and it's like ten thirty one night and she's at her friend's birthday party and the nanny calls and is like hey. Our House just got vandalized. We have to call the COPS. Things are going to get weird. Is there any way you could come pick up the two year old and just like hang out with with her at the grocery store for a couple of hours will pay double right and she's a little bit broke from birthday night. So she's young and a position to say no and she and she even warns the mom she's like. I'm wearing like party close. Yeah you know and I've had a drink but if it's you know if that's okay with you then shirl come to it so she comes and gets the kid who's named brier her and they go to the swanky grocery store and the like rent to cop accuses this girl of kidnapping this white child right and that's kind of all I like to tell people and then like it's just how all of these different people who were either present at that moment comment or who are involved in some way deal with it essentially I love when books have a big opening scene. That really hooks me and then kind kind of shows me the fallout from it. I don't know if you read Leyla Simonis the nanny which is a very different ooh interesting. Yeah but you learn that. There's a murder in the family in the very first chapter and then we go back. I kind of love. That style. Mine is not like that but I definitely love giving readers something to hang onto in the first chapter. Yeah that's really fun so yeah tell me more about how this book came to be what what are what are you. I know what I got out of it but I wonder what you were trying to accomplish with it. Yeah I in the beginning always start with character. If I don't love the People Kinda like a job I love the people I'm working with. I'm out of there. I can't do it anymore. It's funny hearing from you as a writer later. 'cause it's like you're just hanging out with yourself these days now right right right. I've terrible core off of them are awful. I wanted to have a three-person awkward relationship. uh-huh that's all I really knew going in and then with the backdrop of babysitting I got two of them. There's so many things of ownership within Senate that are sometimes really petty. And then you get an unreliable Narrator from Brier of one the moms her favorite and one day Amir is their favorites and so so then you have all of these layers of ownership and he comes to the history of black women raising white children in this country and and actually being owned by another other family and those kind of come running back to the forefront even though you know Amir as a paid working woman yeah. It's interesting to hear you talk about ownership because they think the other layer of that plays into it a lot to entitlement rate. I think so too and like who's allowed to claim what. Alex is a really interesting mother because because she means well right like she doesn't think she's racist or whatever. I found it to be so rewarding to read not only because it was so entertaining and fun fund but also because there were these moments where I was like. Oh okay I need to check myself. You know like it was. I think it's a really great opportunity of a book especially for white people to read and be like you know. Maybe I shouldn't offer the paid staff to like help clean. Because that's like a weird thing to do. You know I mean those little weird things are so delicious to me because it's like when I was working I would've loved a mother to call me. Offer me more money to clean up or whatever for it if I needed the money but I also would have been offended if she you know I've had people call me articulate and they're trying to complement me but why wouldn't you you think but I think that most people like Alex and color of skin often doesn't have to do with this very often. Just don't think they're racist bassist and the language of the US. Is You know all. I want my kids to go to a really safe school or I saw this thing happening in a grocery store and I just got nervous or are this restaurant. Seems Sketchy to me. All of those words are implying raise in class but they just aren't saying a lab. Yeah there's a lot of are those sort of Lake subtler things going around that anything you do such a good job of bringing a light to and I don't know like I just love the fact that you've pulled it often a book that doesn't it's not like super shaming necessarily if that makes sense totally. It's my favorite thing ever to dive really deep into these is petty domestic instances. I just love it at the same time as soon as you are critiquing. The manners of wealthy people. You're saying that the system that allowed them to be wealthy are okay and that there's a good way to be you know. Making millions means of dollars a year. And then there's a bad way and I just don't believe that there is a good way at all so Alex is not going to change racism by being the perfect mother and the perfect like employer. That's just not going to happen. Yeah but it's really fun to watch. All of these people both black and white freak out about their individual actions throughout throughout the book though. Is there like one thing that you really hope people take away from this book and it's is not the first time I've gotten it but every time like what do I I mean. Yeah and maybe. That's maybe it's an unfair question. Just as address thing is where it's like no. It's a great question. There are a number of different morals in it and get salacious. It's got that Lake soap opera vibe to it you you know. I'm sure you wanted to write a fun book. But how much are you hoping to like subtly brainwash obnoxious way people. I mean I don't like to Romanticize what what I'm doing as a writer I'm doing my number one dream job. Yeah everyday and I wrote a book that I really really hope. People orders gripped by the story and and can't stop thinking about it when they're done. Yeah that is the most realistic goal that I can have like. They're like there's no redistribution of power when people enjoy my book and and I think that that's an important thing to remember On the other hand I love when books make me think differently about the world that we live in kind of make me zoom out a bit. Yeah and I'm not a sci Fi writer but I really admire the restrictions that those books put on its characters and in this book. Amira doesn't Have Health Insurance when she turns twenty six and she works her butt off and she is just as deserving as anyone else in the book. Doc and I don't think it's a spoiler to say you know at the end of the Book Amirah doesn't win the lottery and live in a house just as pretty as Alex says in so I would love for readers to look at systems that are put in place that often keep poor people poor from this book and think about what that means for someone other than them selves. That's a great goal. Okay good so some of the feedback you've gotten is like white people just coming up up to you and and telling you they're not racist one hundred percent and and I I can't stop thinking about that for a number of reasons partly partly just because it's so difficult for me to fathom reading a book like this and then feeling like I need to tell the author because I'm willing to acknowledge the fact that I grew up in a racist society in like do my damn best but like you know we're all learning here and and I don't know I just like how. How do you respond when people say like do you give them a little badge girl I should? I should print some I I just I it. It is a very strange thing but I think that it I think it's a reflection of how uncomfortable. The people are with their own wealth and status and coming up to me stranger and saying just a you know like we're very close close to our nanny or you know I actually nannied for an African American family. I think those are prime. Examples of people both thinking their individual actions are going to cause any kind of change which unfortunately they are not and I don't think it's their fault that they think that I think that we live in a world that really pushes individual actions. You know we live somewhere. We live in a place where people say. Oh you should shame people for not bringing a reusable bag and it's like well how `bout stores this. You know. Cancel plastic bags. That would be one thing. But it's the individual action that looks like it's most important thing And so I think it. It is wild when that happens which has happened many times and I do not have a proper response other than like you go girl. I don't really have to say in that situation situation and I'm sure it will happen more often but I really so far. I love that the book can kind of meet people where they're at and if it still makes them come out even even though they feel uncomfortable. That's that's great. Yeah no that is really wonderful. I mean I do think like something else is how much you just kind of revel in like weird awkward moments anyway where I love when they're not helping me but yes. That is the goal. I do a little bit. I think the awkward moments typically reveal something about ourselves that we're not ready to share at that moment yet and I also think that it typically brings a lot of history right back and I just think that it's interesting to see a history repeats itself so so as much as those moments make me cringe. They'll probably end up somewhere in a novel down the line. I should hope so. Gosh how great was Kylie. I hope you enjoy that chat and I can't wait for you to read such a fun age. It is such such a great book. And Hey don't worry. I hope you weren't like frantically trying to write down all of those titles during this episode we will have them all in our newsletter this week which you can sign up for when you go to. WBZ DOT ORG slash Internet. A half the show is produced by me. Johnson along with Justin Bowls special. Thanks this week to our are in turn our co-creator Tricia Bogota and our executive producer is Brendan van. Izaak all right. I'll see you next decade.

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201 Author Kara Lee Corthron

What Book Hooked You?

30:49 min | 3 months ago

201 Author Kara Lee Corthron

"This is what book hook you I'm broke Shelly and thanks for listening on this episode. Kerrilee course, is joining me as we talk about her sophomore why release Daughters of Jubilation and we get into her background. She is also a playwrights. We talk about influence on that to her writing her journey of being a novelist so great conversation. Hope you enjoy it and listen it. So Kara, what book hooked you I chose to interpret this as the book that sort of made me Ever Raised just reader and get sort of addicted to ring and that book was are you there God, it's me Margaret the classic. I was recommended this book by a classmate in my third grade class. So I was eight a little young for it off, but I was reading it and I a lot of things I didn't understand and I asked her to clear it up for me and she gave me a lot of beautifully wrong information later. I found out made no sense. But what really hooked me was it was the first time I read a book where I felt like I could talk to the characters like these were kids that I could talk to and I understood their voices. I liked that they had attitude about things. They weren't always well-behaved and I feel like I was getting a lesson sure. So I think that's what really drew me and then I started reading All of the Judy blume's books, but that was and there, you know, there are other books that I liked a lot but that was the first one that really stuck with me and I've actually read it several times over the course of my life's just why now, like looking back like, oh I was I was a little young to this sure. It's really it's pretty funny. I was funny. I was at a conference and Judy Blume was there and she was signing books. There were two books. I forget what the other one was the and the only one she had left was are you there God and she was personalizing them and I was like wage here. I am like I was in my late 30s at that point. I'm like, I can't have her put subscribe this book to hear brought to Brock whatever whatever Judy Blume so I took like had her just signed a generally cuz I I couldn't bring myself. So that's my Judy Blume story. That's really funny. So, You read this, you know, you said third grade. So when you were were you a kid that read a lot. Was it easy to get you to read by your parents or grown-ups or teachers? Whoever I wasn't I wasn't resistant. I don't feel like anybody was really kind of forcing me. I just I really liked books and it started off as long I was really into picture books. And then I also just liked drawings and looking at images and then very quickly. I realized I liked words as well. But but yeah. No, I actually it was always kind of interested in Reading. I just point out that book because that was the first time when I felt kind of addicted to reading I guess I would say but yeah, I was always I was always sort of like, oh, what's this and I was always curious about books in general when did like wanting to be a Storyteller really hit you in your life at what time. Wow, that's such a good question. Yeah being a Storyteller. It's so funny because I feel like that urge has always has kind of always been with me how long it took me a very long time to realize that that was something I could do as a career and it's a life choice, but this is my funny stories. Oh my god. I think I'm also in the third grade. I did a lot of weird things in the third grade. I wrote a horror book. It was it was about the story of Bloody Mary that you see her in the mirror and she comes home and I I did it with like illustrations and I stapled it together. It was like my book and I and I being obnoxious. I told people in my class and oh, yeah, I'm writing a book. I mean there's you're not writing a book. I guess I am. I wrote a great book. I was being obnoxious and then later I was going to bring it to show them and I got like really self-conscious like oh what if it's not that good. This is the stumbling-stone. No, wrote by Stephen King on but so all that's to say that I think I've always kind of wanted to tell stories but it was more like play for play time for me for a very long time and you know, then as you grow older kind of in your kind of why age your adolescents of what what things and doesn't necessarily have to be books, but it could be what like Out there in pop culture in art in any medium. Did you really gravitate towards what were you kind of obsessed with as a teenager? She's so funny. The first thing I immediately thought of was the real world on MTV. I watched all of those like the first several seasons for some reason she got really into it to the point where like I wanted to contact them. I didn't know how cuz I felt like I would be their friend. It was yeah, I was a little obsessed and not many that I saw like multiple times. I would watch the marathon's but yeah, I think there was something about that like people but obviously were older than me but they felt it felt off like it didn't feel like they were so much older than me and they didn't really have their lives together yet like oh, okay. You can figure this out for a while. I feel like that was kind of hopeful cuz I didn't know what wage On in life, but and also, you know the soap aspect was great cuz it was like, oh are they going to kiss what's going to happen next? But but yeah, I think that there was something where I've felt like that kind of life felt attainable in a good way. Even though I had no idea that like they had a giant luxurious apartment in Manhattan. Like I knew I didn't understand any of that. But other than that like just just kind of being young adults sort of figuring it out. I think that's what I was really really drawn to hm. And so at that time then cuz I imagine you still have thoughts of of story of like a story of waiting to tell story of wanting to be an artist in some way. When you thought about pursuing that what Avenue did it seem most logical for you to take at the time? I have not taken any normal trajectories at all. Like they're just so random and all over the place and I originally even you know, but I loved reading and I read all through like middle school high school and college. I originally was planning to be a dancer because I had like these years of Dance Training and immediately when I got to college I realized that I just didn't have the discipline for it. It's like I said, I can't do this. So then I actually started studying drama performance and I really liked acting I like being in plays it took me a while to realize my favorite part of that was reading Place actually and I was like, oh I'm really would like to play this part but it was mainly because I was so drawn to somebody's language or point of view that I wanted to like express it off. So it took me kind of a while to figure that out and then I came to New York when I was pretty young like right out of college and I was doing all these auditions and you know, it wasn't I wasn't really getting much traction and then I started getting called in to audition for really bad things like plays that I was I thought were terrible. I I actually was callback audition for a movie where I was going to play and this is so embarrassing they'll tell you the character's name was Cracker and I like wasn't the nineties anymore. I'm just like and I I don't I don't like this this doesn't it feel right? And I know I can do better and so my original idea was that I was going to write material for myself to perform and that's a one-person show Soul performer. Ask and the more I got into that the writing I thought you know, I feel like I'd much rather hear a better actress say these parts and that's when I log Oh, I'm a playwright. So that was the first time I really was like I am a writer. Yeah, but before I had any traction in playwriting, I did write a young adult novel that nobody has seen and nobody will ever see and that purely was this random inspiration. Like I had this idea for a story was about these teenage girls and I felt like I want to know more about them. I don't want it to be a play. I want to know what's going on in their heads. I want to actually see scenes that wouldn't maybe be that interesting on stage so that so it kind of organically became this like mess of a novel but I'm really glad that I had that experience because it helped me so much later when I was when I was being more serious. I would tell you a funny story about that book. I like was green as I don't know what I didn't know anything and my older sister who was also a writer. She was trying to be very supportive. She knew someone else. That worked at it was Simon & Schuster actually Simon and Schuster and she's like why don't why don't you just get her opinion if I flick I would love that. It was such a mistake thought it was an end up being a friend of a friend which is even more disturbing but she read it as like an official submission. Not somebody saying Hey kid try this try this and months later. I received a two-page single-spaced rejection letter from her breaking down everything that was wrong with it. And by the end of it she was like, maybe you should pick a different field. Wow. It was it was rough. So that made an impression took me a while to get back to sure sure. So when you were drawn to play a game word there. Plays that at a script level a book level like really kind of Drew you to them that really kind of when you started writing your own plays were really striving to capture what you like so much in these other in other works. Yes, totally. One of my favorite examples is Faye House of a negro by a tree and Kennedy just written in the early sixties. Very avant-garde very strange play. It's only maybe only about 20 minutes or 30 minutes when you see it cuz it's it's a one act and it's kind of short but really dense and it's all of these different parts of this young black woman's mind as you sort of lose it it's sort of like seconds before her suicide, but it was done in such a way that I was like, oh, I didn't know you could do things like that. I didn't know you could say this is a character his name. Just Jesus Christ and he's a hunchback dwarf. Like I didn't know you could do things like that. And that is a character. So I think that really opened my imagination to what was possible just like in general but I also kind of really opposite reason. I was really in love with this play still am called Mud m u d by Maria Irene Flores who's a beautiful playwright rest in peace. She passed several years ago, but the play that play is so spare that it would be easy to read it and have no idea that there's any meaning almost because all of the factors say exactly what they're thinking there's no subtext and you realize as you're reading it in context it's because they've been so isolated. They've had no real socialization no real education wage, but they don't really know how to speak to each other with nuance and it's actually really fascinating but you can read it. If you really don't know cuz the words there's nothing there. It's so like thin dead. You have to actually really read beyond the words and I kind of loved that too. There's something really mysterious about about work that you have to that. You have to be a part of so it's a collaboration. It's like it's not done when she wrote our brains are actually part of filling that in and I thought that was really awesome. And so you're so you're writing plays you're working on Productions of those plays after that kind of rough initial run in with your first why a book what kind of Drew you back in and wanting you to keep writing in the novel medium wage? Well, you know, yeah it was I was writing doing plays having some Productions and I was teaching a lot kind of around the country and I was hired to teach birth minister at Ohio University, which I planned back a few times they were lovely and but I had to I lived in New York at the time and I had to go out to Athens Ohio for the spring semester and so other than teachers might three classes. I have a lot of down time and it's just so happened. It was a point where I didn't have a production coming up. I didn't have a play. I was particularly interested in them. Working on and I was like, you know, I need to start something new and then I thought about that rejection had gotten almost a decade before and really I took all that time. I had been reading why I still like a temporary why cuz I loved it. I loved the genre but just feeling like well, I can't do that. I was told I can't do that. So that's for someone else and I got took place. I guess the age where I was like that I can do that if I want why shouldn't I so I was like, I'm just going to try it. I'll see what happens. I have this time. I'm in this small town where there's nothing but the college so that was when I started writing the first draft of my first novel the truth of right now, right and When it comes to writing because you are a playwright and being a playwright while you are the right of there still some collaborative aspects, especially when you put on that production went working with the actors off and you work as a writer and television where you're in rooms and and collaborating that way when it comes to then writing novels, which is very a very different opposite experience from those collaborative creating spaces is is refreshing to have that change. Is it more of a challenge to have that change? How have you found it? I loved it. I think it's pretty awesome. But I will say there is more responsibility in a different way that I had anticipated. I guess what I mean by that is when you're on a dating, you know, I feel like everything is as good as your weakest link in a way so which is why you're trying to like lift everybody up and I say that as far as like working in tea rooms, but also when you're dead, Putting on a production of a play when it's my book. It's me. Like I'm the only one out there and and and even if with like the you know, the other things that's an illusion because people will say your names on that episode you're responsible writing that episode and that's fine. Even though I know secretly it's not exactly how it works. But with the novel, nope, I am the author page editor and then you the reader so it's really kind of exciting to kind of be able to go into a cave of my imagination and just pump out Pages knowing that God. I don't I don't have to worry about with someone's going to tell me tomorrow because I have the swap of time to get this finished. But then at the end of the day, I know that I am the only person to be held accountable those words. So that's an interesting kind of responsibility that I have to Grapple with sometimes and then The the the skills the format, however, you want to think about it of playwriting or of writing for television writing scripts and just the organization and the beats that you're kind of off of hitting especially when it comes to television does that practice and discipline that you have in that area of your life help you when it comes to your novel writing month? Yeah actually in a way probably mostly though because I feel like telling stories just telling stories I think of it in the same way kind of No Matter What genre I am and there's just different rules per genre that sort of just the way that I see it. And the thing is with a TV script, you know, you can write out your beads throughout line do all you know, all of the collaborative work I have to do and that's great. But if the story isn't that interesting if the protagonist doesn't want something interesting, I mean if you the simple rules that are the same for like any story then the script is a failure birth. I kind of feel like bringing the basic like what do I need from a story? What what is what is an audience need to find a story satisfying? I think those instincts are going to actually they actually fit in no matter what Jesus I'm writing in so I feel like whatever makes me a stronger Storyteller is always going to help my other my other writing so your newest book comes out on October 13th Daughters of Jubilation. So let's start talking about that one and give me the synopsis of what this book is about Sher daughters. Each Appalachian life is about a family of magical black women from the south that have these very special specific powers that off that can be dangerous if not under control and this book is specifically focuses on the character Emmeline who's sixteen and it takes place in nineteen sixty two years. Carolina and while these burgeoning Powers should coming out of her and she doesn't really know exactly what's happening or how to control it. She's obviously living with you know, Jim Chrome so not you know, not you know what I mean the system. So what's interesting with her is that she starts to realize she has this formidable power she teams up with her her strange grandmother who actually she kind of Becomes Her Mr. Miagi if people know The Karate Kid and trains her and she starts to understand and realize what she can do is a lot there is that that challenge of well, do I use it for only good or do I use it for bad? Do I need to punish people? That should be punished should I took the other way should I take the high road and I think that that's a difficult question. I find it hard to answer so it's mainly about her her journey. Also, there's a pretty intense. Love affair. She has with a musician and and she's being stalked by a very scary white man from her past. So she's got some things off the deal but but yeah really in Jubilation is the name that's been passed down for this specific magic that they know dates at least back to slavery could go back even before that and as it was been developed as a tool of survival particularly when you're being mistreated by a master or mistress and it's page keeps coming down and it seems to keep being relevant no matter what which is what's interesting. And what was the initial idea that got you writing Daughters of Jubilation. What was that initial Spark? Well, I first started thinking about it in like late 2015. I didn't start writing it until 2016. I think my original idea was weirdly inspired by a Gordon Parks photograph. Actually. Mm Parks the photographer African American photographer did this series that was in Life magazine in the late fifties about every everyday life for people living under Jim Crow in the South and there was one picture that really stayed with me of these little black children outside of the gate looking into this really nice park slash playground where these weight children are playing and it's clear they're not allowed in and there's kind of like and it's interesting watching them just feel like we can't be a part of that world, which is very painful. The other picture was more bizarre and interesting. There's a picture of a little black girl and she's kind of in the foreground just the sort of like mischievous smile on her face. But way in the background in the distance, you can see plumage like smoke or an explosion or maybe a twister like it's really not clear. But what's so cool about it, but my brain when I saw it was that I thought but if she had the power to make that shit happen, would she do it could she do it to you know, get rid of her substandard school? I don't know maybe but but yeah, so it was something about his eye and those photographs the started me thinking one about the time. But then to about what would happen if there was a certain magic added to that time. It was kind of where it started. So you mentioned earlier how you like to read a lot of why contemporary books and your first book The Truth of right now was wage a contemporary why a so when you got into writing dollars of Jubilation clearly, there are some Supernatural elements in that some speculative elements at what time? Hesitation there or did you kind of Jump Right In It wasn't until you know, I was deep into it and realized. Oh, this is quite different than the first one I wrote but you know in both of those cases I started with sort of a protagonist in the case of trees were right now, there's two protagonists, but with what they were struggling with grappling with in their particular environment and went from there. It just so happens that the right now doesn't involve anything Supernatural but this book does so yeah, it didn't feel like some great leap. But once I was in I was like, oh, yeah, I have to think about Sean Bryan a little or what genre this is and wage and it's a little yeah, it's an interesting thought process. But but it organically just felt right to do it that way. So as you describe the premise of the story when you were kind of developing that idea was there any thought of putting it in modern times instead of the fifties just because what you're describing and obviously the events of society today, it would have fit may be dead. Yeah, that's such a there's been a long journey with this book. So the very first draft was that the first draft I actually had two protagonists and was set in two different time periods. It was set in 62 and present day in the book. There's a character name is Adi wage. She visits evelyne and we clearly realized that she's her granddaughter from the future, but they have scenes together in this sort of Nether world where they're they're exactly the same age and kind of dickering just like teenage girls. But really this is her future granddaughter in the original draft of the book her future granddaughter had her whole own story. That was actually there were kind of in conversation with each other. It was big it was it was a lot and and you know through many discussions a couple of painful ones with my former editor. It wrong seemed clear that simplifying was kind of the way to go and it felt like it just felt at that time and I agreed that more of my passion was coming out in the past story was like, okay, I think that that makes sense. It'll just be historical novel but the funny thing is and actually in the process of developing Daughters of Jubilation for a series and wage in doing that and talking to several professionals my team included. We do want to have a contemporary aspect. So so I've been thinking a lot about that and sort of bringing back that old mobile was interesting cuz I was like, oh so it I didn't just throw away to paste. I cannot use this but no, but it's a great question. I mean, I mean My Hope Is that The events in the book will feel resonant and not so like far away even though it's place in sixty-two. But but yeah, no, it's definitely a good question and one that I'm thinking about right now. So you were saying you were a big fan of why a what were some of the writers some of the books that you have read over the years that have really stayed with you, I really loved just listen by Sarah dessen. It was one of the first ones that of of kind of like the new voices that I discovered. I was like, oh, oh, this is really really lovely. I loved speak by Laurie halse Anderson, which yeah really struck me and in multiple ways off and also some books that got a little in touch on like I'm a fan of Nova read Asuma like I love her book 17 and gone. That's like one of my favorite books and wage. On her most recent one a room away from the Wolves is really gorgeous. I love how she she's so focused on girls and ghosts and like how they cut and I'm just like yeah, that's there many stories. Let's just keep going and I think is pretty fun. Jack Jacqueline Woodson. I loved. Oh, well, I love brown girl dreaming, which is exactly why a it's very beautiful. I'm so embarrassed if you speak softly. It's a book of hers is why a that I really adore and I'm so embarrassed that I can't quite remember the title. But yeah that one really stayed with me. I mean what I kind of was realizing which is strange to say, but I think I was just more interested in the way storytelling worked in why a than in contemporary adult novels where I feel like it's a lot more acceptable to be kind of ponderous a little more sort of metaphorical poetic and thought it was dead. Great and beautiful, but I think I found myself being inpatient and I didn't feel that in patients when I would read ya because there's something about that age group. That's so immediate. If you come softly wage, like I know I'll find it my Goodreads but yeah, right so let's wind down and as we do ask you a few questions. I asked all the guests the first one being what is your favorite movie based on a book The Shining hands down the Stanley Kubrick version. So there's no confusion. Excellent. So next question then is there a book or a series you're willing to admit you either never read or never finished. Oh, yeah. I have never read more than one page of the Harry Potter series. I read the first page and I was like, wow, it's not for me. I didn't feel intense hatred. I just like know and that is most popular answer this question. Is it off? Oh, yeah. Yeah plenty of people they all never want to admit it cuz they think it's secret or something everybody in the world has read about me. Yeah, and a lot of people that have told me they don't like it. They always say I got me through the first chapter of the first page and then just put it down so funny. Yep. There's a whole bunch of you. Hi. Yeah. So next question. What is the Glass Great book that you've read? I read this book and full disclosure because I'm I've just been moving from TV show to TV show lately. And right now I'm working on a show by M Night Shyamalan, which is a lot of em, but because of that I just haven't had as much time to read as I would like I do miss it. So this is actually from a couple of months ago, but I read this book called the days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante dead. But she wrote this beautiful my my beautiful friend like that series the the the Italian books and this book was recommended to me by my husband and I read Thursday night at first I was like well, okay. It's a divorced woman who's depressed but it was so compelling and so weirdly thrilling even though it was sort of a simple type of story but I was so in this characters corner, like I found myself being angry at everyone in her life, including her children, sometimes like don't you know, your mother's going through wage. But yeah. No, I think she's a wonderful writer and that was yeah. That was a great book. Well, I want to thank you for joining us your newest book Daughters of Jubilation comes out on the 13th, and I wish you and this book all the best. Thank you so much. And that does it for this episode? I want to thank Carly correspond for joining me again. Her newest book daughter of Jubilation comes out on October 13th. And also check out her other book The Truth of right now. Hope you'll look at our library of different episodes right interview off of other way and middle-grade authors. I'm broke Shelly and until next time keep reading.

writer Judy blume Daughters of Jubilation Shelly New York editor Kara Stephen King MTV Night Shyamalan Elena Ferrante Simon & Schuster Life magazine Brock Laurie halse Anderson Manhattan Avenue Ohio University Jack Jacqueline Woodson
Episode 77: Virtual school visits with Valerie Bolling

Book Echoes

43:55 min | 2 months ago

Episode 77: Virtual school visits with Valerie Bolling

"Hello and welcome to book. Echoes the podcast. On making great books while making creative lives that work for us. I'm your host author editor and book coach. Connie dowell and today. I have a great interview coming up with author valerie bowling and she is going to talk to us about virtual school visits. Now we've all had some really promising news about a potential vaccine this week so we're hoping that virtual will not be the only option but honestly it does look like it's going to be a long time before that's readily district distributed so for a long time. Virtual visits are really going to be the way that things have to go. But even beyond the pandemic. I think that virtual school visits or visits to book clubs for For book stores other kinds of virtual events. That's not going to go away. Because as we discussed the episode what one of the things that virtual events can do is that it enables authors. who can't travel to reach greater destinations in enables schools. Who maybe don't have the budget to fly somebody out to get somebody to travel a longer distance to still get school as it. So virtual has a lot of that we're going to see beyond the pandemic. And whether or not you want to do school visits right now whether or not you even want to do. School visits understanding how to do a virtual bizet. Is i think a really beneficial thing for a lot of authors in many different generous. So whether you right kit blit or right for adults. This is still one not to mess. So i hope you enjoy the episode. That is coming up Before we launch in one quick announcement actually two quick announcements. Twenty twenty is wrapping up mayor on in the home stretch of what seemed like the longest year ever. But it means to fix. It means that my planner is coming very soon. I will soon be getting some feedback from beta testers for the messy author planner Still penalizing that name But probably messy author planner so stay tuned for that coming out very suit so that it's out in plenty of time crab ruined to He was interested to order and get it before. Twenty twenty starts at the second thing it means. Is that if you are a potential editing client. If you are looking editing services from me you better book soon or better The okay starting in january twenty twenty one because my calendar is almost full so If that is something you're looking for reach out eight Still have just a little bit of room left Connie advocate goes dot com now announcements over on it to the end right today. We have on the podcast author valerie. Bowling has just produced a lovely children's book all about dancing and culture fun and i'm sure she'll tell you all about it. Thank you so much for coming on the show valerie. Thank you so much for having me. Connie i'm very very happy to be here As you said. I am the author of. Let's dance and let's dance came out march third which you know what else happened right around that time We were quarantined about a week or so. After the book came out. I was fortunate enough to have been able to have a launch event that saturday march seven and then the following saturday libraries in everything were shut down. Let's dance is a book that celebrates dances from around the world and the divers children. Who enjoy them. Heck sweats great book for Wiggly kids like mine so So valerie can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with. School visits because that timing man that could that could really cause a children's author to panic. Yes it could. And quite frankly i was on such a high. After my launch event there were over two hundred people there and i had other things already booked. I was supposed to be all day in a school in another district. Diamond educator as well but i had put in for a personal day because they chose. Let's dance as their town wide. Read for all students in grades k. to the adult read Was all that jazz by f scott fitzgerald than they choose a. That's for high. School is well in the may choose the middle full tax. A third to fifth grade tax and mind was for k. Two so that got canceled. Also supposed to be on our local tv channel. I had an interview scheduled with gwynedd words to Does her who has her own show and that was cancelled. So i sort of did go into panic and thought. Oh my gosh. This book came out just came out. And how are people going to hear about it. And so i said i have to do something. I have to get the word out and it became something that for me. Connie was mutual listed. I it really was not about getting the word out about my book. But it as about giving something to children at this time and i sort of looked at it as a pandemic treat especially because it does get the wiggles out and kids were doing distance learning and they were inside more than they were outside and i thought this is a great opportunity to sort of You know promote the book in this way and quite frankly i also got a lot of joy out of it. Presenting two groups of kids really energizes me and so bad my soul. I mean the first day that i did. An event that i visited with a group of students i was on a high for the rest of the day So it was. It was very important to me to be able to do that. Yeah yeah so. It's a great way to reach out and and you're right mutual benefit for her heads as well as for the other. So could you tell us a little bit about the technology you use to do. Your author visits sure. So i have done on. I have done. Facebook live. I have done. Instagram live. But i have never been in charge of the technology. I'm always hosted by someone. I know there are some authors who may do their own And it's not that. I would not feel comfortable do that. I know how to use of those platforms. But i like the idea of being hosted by someone Who already has for instance in an audience. So whether it's at a school the teacher is hosting if it's at a library obviously there's a librarian hosting and at bookstores. We have a bookstore owner. Or you know a bookstore employee. Hosting so i think it just Instead of if. I were to try to just advertise in my own silo on social media and say i'm author doing visits and come see me particularly as a new author. I'm not really known. People don't really know who i am. They don't know if they should trust me or spend their time with me. But if i am hosted by is asian. That seems to make most sense to me. Yeah so it's important. I suppose for a for authors doing author virtual author visits to be pretty adaptable to whatever technology whatever system but the institution or the organization. That's hosting them. It's gonna want to use because their options out there. Yeah exactly so but you know. People are very kind. Connie and they will show you. If you don't know. I mean my very first author visit was with main street books in davidson north carolina. And again. I live in connecticut but burchell you can go anywhere. And it's an interesting story they are. They actually contacted my publisher. They have a program on saturdays. Called moving stories. And there is a dancer. And choreographer cameron watson who leads the story time she reads a story she takes kids through movement and she was requesting permission to read my book and this was at the this was I think they wanted to do it. March twenty first. And if that was a saturday could check our calendars. And i said i wanna be the one to read my story. You know since my launch event. I haven't shared my story with kids. I'd like to be the one to read. It and i actually had other plans. That saturday i was actually attending my first virtual conference and so they agreed to have me read the story. I did following saturday. And it was on instagram live. I have an instagram account. I'm much more active on twitter. That's probably where i'm most active. I also do have a facebook account and at this point i pretty much just go into Writing and author groups but So i'd never used instagram live. And so i have a practice session before the actual event and they were very patient with me and what was so interesting is during the event. I kind of froze. Because i wasn't sure if people could see hear still and they could but cameron's technology had failed on her end So and what is wonderful about that too. Connie is cameron in. I have maintained a relationship. We have done a recording of me. Reading lets dance while she is dancing And we've collaborated for other events We continue to stay in touch. I actually texted her. I don't know it was yesterday or the day before just to check in and see how she is. So it's it's really been It's been a lot of fun. Yeah grave So so that is. That's so great info. There's a lot to learn with technology but people are patients they beg you can make it work But perhaps more important than technology is particularly since your children's author. You're doing out there visits with kids. How do you engage. The kids aren't physically product right. So one of the things i do. Is i address the children by name. I can scroll through. I can see who's there. I shout them out particularly Kids that i know because they're you know children of friends or you know. I just know them. You know from school or other places and they are so excited in parents. Have you know texted or emailed me afterwards about how special gile felt because he or she was shouted out. So that's you know. I always scroll through. I also. my book is about dance. Connie so i encourage kids to dance along with me. So that's you know that is something that is quite easy for me to do. I have also done things. like invited. Kids either to amuse themselves to tell me or to raise their hands or to write in the chat their favorite dance and i often Do this before. I even start reading and then after i read i may say okay. Now what was your favorite dance in the book and you know we sort of see if it was the same as the first one or maybe they have a new one or you know maybe they still have their own favorite dance but they also now have the favorite from the book. Probably based on the amazing illustrations of maine diaz She just did a wonderful job. Illustrating this book and i should also mention our editor jasna grown. Whose idea was to elevate the diversity in the book to make it about cultural dances and the book is published by boyds mills. cain So i thank you know. Kids have a lot of opportunities to come in personally with daylight. Also what they like in the book. I've also Two of the programs. I did we actually had children. Draw themselves or draw their favorite dance and so for some kids to this works nicely because they could even. It gave kids something to do. Even as i was reading could continue to draw. They wanted to and then look up and we also had. Children share their drawings. Su there are a number of ways to engage an audience. And you're so right. Connie that is bad as key I took a workshop about author. Visits with kate. Messner and i recommend to check it out. I'm sure you can find it on. Line she'll probably offer the class again. Or you can go through. Julie hedlund who heads twelve by twelve and perhaps know if you join twelve by twelve next year because she'll be taking new memberships in january you would probably have access to it for a small fee and one of the things. Kate says. i'm quoting her here. Is she says when you plan your author visit. This is her mantra something to see something to do something fun something true. I'll say it again. Something to see something to do something fun. Something true so the idea is that we engage students and children in those different ways so the other part of something to see that i have discovered as that some people prefer to actually have me hold the physical copy of the book and read from it and others prefer me to share the pdf on the You know to share my screen. Share the pdf of the book. And so i always give people a choice and one of my most interesting experiences was a school librarian. Who said to me. The reason i specifically shows to have you read from the book is that i wanted the students to see you. She said i'm at a school where there aren't a lot of children who look like you. There are not You know certainly faculty members who look like you. And i think they need to see an author who looks like you and just touched me so much. Connie i just thought. Wow that is really That's that's amazing so But anyway i do offer the two but whenever anyone says to me you decide i think about what amy said and i always read from the physical copy of the that is a really excellent point and something. I wouldn't have thought about the way that author visits can increase the visibility of diversity. Yes absolutely and even this year. I have gone into. Excuse me. Middle school classrooms in my district. Because i'm a middle school. Instructional coach and i haven't gone into read my book but i have done lessons around revision that are centered around my book or collaboration where i talk about the process between author editor illustrator and also Idea generation. And so i talk about you. Know some of my manuscripts in how i got the ideas and so You know we decided dat for those visits. I will go into those school buildings. Of course i have my mask on. And i keep distance in all of those things. Connie decided that as long as schools are open. It is better for me to go and physically than to come in through google meet. Yeah absolutely so one foot before. I got like two things in my mind once footnote because we mentioned you mentioned twelve by twelve a little while ago some of my listeners might not know what that is So i did want to clarify for them. Sure happy to do that. Do you wanna ask me the other footnote now to or you want me to answer. That will let let us answer that. And you're not least so. Twelve by twelve was founded by julie. hedlund This year is the first year. I've been a part of it. But i think i if i'm not mistaken next year is either going to be her ten or fifteen year and What she offers is amazing. You sign up and for a full year. You have access to webinars and if you can't see the webinar at the time it shown you can get the replay. She has agents coming in and talking to To published in pre published authors. She has People coming in talking about kraft and there's this whole forum where you have access to get in critiques being in discussions with people and it's just incredible and the reason it's twelve by twelve p b so it is for picture book writers. That's what the pb is for and twelve by twelve. Is the idea that you will write one picture book a month now. You don't have to. There's not the picture book police or anything like that. But it is to motivate you and encourage you and to know your with a community of others who are writing and You can also just revise. The idea is to keep writing and even the one story a month even if you do that. It's not expected to be a polished manuscript. Which is something that you know you have in that you can continue to work on so it's really great. There's a facebook group as well so you know. A lot of information is shared in that facebook group. I know when. I've had quite frankly certain visits that are not You know school visits because those are really private in libraries bookstores. I don't tend to post those in twelve but when i've had larger events like Recently you know. Last month. I was in conversation with jacqueline woodson at mind. Local library which was absolutely amazing. I shared that. They're just thursday night. I moderated a kid lit panel Which had authors educators and the editors and so. I shared that. Because i thought that that might be of interest to people in the group. So it's it's a that's another. It's just i highly encourage people to participate For the entire year. And i'm sure her costs will go up a bit next year but for this year i remember it was one hundred seventy seven dollars and for all you get all of that information it is well worth it. I mean you definitely get one of those rare instances. Connie where you get more than your money's worth. Yeah absolutely for a year. Long program really. Yes absolutely yeah so Getting back to the topic of school visits. And how that that can promote diversity when we had our little prerecord chat you mentioned some of the panels that you had participated in warlike publishing panels focused on anti-racism. And that you you how you bring that into your school visit touted. Those two things align for you absolutely. That's a great question. And i think for me because this is always at the forefront of my mind and i feel that whenever i'm with a group of students i have the opportunity to have them question and thank I'm able to sort of bring those those ideas forward to them. I think it also i. I talked about earlier. That initially when i first started doing author visits it was really about. You know let's get up and move you know because you're inside all day and you're probably on technology too much and so let's have distance learning movement rake and let's move and you can certainly read. Let's dance an only focus on that but you can also talk about the diversity. The the different countries that are represented in the book You can talk about the different children in the book There are children in this book of varying shades of brown which a lot of children don't see we have You know children in the book who have some physical challenges like they're someone who is blind and they're someone who is in a wheelchair and if you don't mention those we can kinda just skip over it and quite frankly sometimes it's fine just to show like they're part of the you know the the babri of normalcy this is. There's you know how this is wonderful but to sort of also clue children and have you seen other people walking with a walking stick. What do you think that might be like. If you weren't able to see what other things might you might be difficult for you. Fortunately you can still dance and dancing swan but what other challenges might you have or you know seeing someone in a wheelchair dancing. I know that there are children. Who sometimes are you know. They've had an accident. I see them in schools all the time and their walking around on crutches and so forth but if they wanted to they could sit down and they could still dads and so i think it's You know challenging Challenging students perceptions Even on the ballet page one of the things that i asked students to do to think about before i show them the ballet spread is to say when you think about someone who dances ballet. Who do you think of. And they're very honest. They'll tell you a girl you know someone with a bond someone who's white someone who's skinny and then we look at that picture and that's not who you see in the ballet spread and so it's it's those kinds of things and and that you know the idea of the book too is that we're all connected dances something we all enjoy and it doesn't matter who we are. We can all dance together. We can dance are separate dances. That may reflect our culture. We can come together in dance. And i want them to to see that and and to embrace that absolutely. Yeah there is. There is a lot of that they can get out of this spark So let's talk maybe about some. Kind of general do's and don'ts for authors who are thinking about jumping in to virtual certainly so the first thing i think i have to say up front is operate self care measures. Everyone is very different. I am someone i mentioned before. I get energized by this. I can do event after event after event. And i love it. There are authors though who are self admitted. Introverts and doing one event is absolutely draining for that. And so you have to be true to yourself. You own your schedule you own your time so you just have to be mindful of that. I mean even for me. I was doing so much during the spring and summer. Partly because i felt i had to because my book had come out in the midst of a pandemic and if i didn't work my tail off to try to get the word out there about it. I felt no one's going to know about it. So i really felt the onus is on me because who else is going to do it but me and also as an educator. I had the summer off. So i really had you know june half of june and july august. Two to do this and again because we're in a pandemic. My husband and i did not travel this year. You know i had more time available to do it. And so i was happy to do it but i knew that once i returned to school i would be slowing down and that is what i've done so even though i i've been so in terms of school visits i can't do school visits at other schools now because i'm in school. So that's why. I've been visiting classrooms in my district and then i had done some panels and so forth in the evenings. And even you know you an icon ear doing this podcast interview on a saturday morning so But i'm selective about what. I'm i'm more selective now about what i'm choosing to do. And so that's the first tip i think that's the most important tip and then if you do want to sort of get out there and you're wondering where should i start. I think we all should start with our contacts. So if you're a parent you and you have kids. Who are school age. Maybe see about getting into your kid's school If you're part of a moms group that might be something that you can Think about connecting to if your kids. Are you know in boy scouts or girl scouts. So i think start with who you know if you have a relationship with your local your local bookstore. These are places to again and you don't have to begin with all of them. Maybe if you feel you have enough contacts in in school. Maybe you have three children in three. Different schools are three different levels of schools. Or you also. Have you know your nieces or nephews who live nearby and you have. You can connect with their schools. Maybe you just wanna stick with schools Or you know you're someone who visits different libraries with your children and you may have sort of three or four libraries in your circle. Maybe that's where you want to start so pick what works for you. I think that's most important. There are no rules about doing bizet author visits. You don't have to do them I think he would be missing an opportunity of you. Didn't but i think to you have to realize some people say i only want to do an author visit if i'm paid and you have every right to say that or i only want to know do authors visit with the bookstore library that i know a lot of people are going to show up. Otherwise it's not worth my time so those things are all fine. Do what works for you just because something works for someone else. It does not mean that It has to work for you. So that's probably the the biggest thing i i would say the other thing Other sort of tip side would say It's good to know your audience so each audience is different each group of children. And so you want to know that. I think now to we're all used to being on zoom so we don't have problems with most people keep themselves muted and you know you just want to check for things check for things like that and again just appeal appeal to your audience and appeal to your group. Some you know younger. Kids for instance. If i seda kindergarteners before i start to read okay. Everyone stand up. We're gonna dance. They will dance if i say to. Third graders everyone stand up. We're gonna dance not necessarily relate so It just it really. it really depends and then also You know social media's a place to Sometimes you can put something if you really want to get out there a lot. You could put a blast on social media in say. I'm willing to do author visits contact me or sometimes you may see people looking for authors to come into their classrooms. So that's something That's something as well now. Excellent excellent actually addressed a second question. I had for you about like trying trying to get started. Very very good points to remember is well as as i'm listening to all of this great advice Even though we we're focusing because your children's author on Visits for children i can. I can see how this could work for authors who write for adults as well and foot clubs for libraries for bookstores. Absolute thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah i think again our visits and you're connecting with people and you're connecting with your audience so whether it's an audience of children or an audience dot of adults and as i said even with children you have such different ages as i said when i go into middle classrooms. I'm not going in to do a story time. i'm going into a lesson. I showed them when. I talk about revision. I showed them the first draft. That i wrote of my book and the draft that i submitted. So i have another one where i show them the illustration notes that i wrote that jess asked me to write. And how the illustration notes changed so You know i make more of a more of a lesson out of it. So it really. It really depends on on the group. I spoke to a group of retired teachers this week. And i had to come up with an entirely different presentation for them. So again you have to know your audience and then based on your audience than you You know you have sort of a base. I would say of how you generally do an author visit but you tailor it for the audience. So rarely are mine. Exactly the same. Yeah that's a very good point points. I'm so it all this great advice. Is there any other things that maybe you wish you'd known when you started out you know quite honestly connie. I don't think i had time to think about what. I wish i'd known i 'cause i just jumped in So i really. I really was in a position to figure out as i went. I mean it was very interesting. I noticed that. Throughout sort of may in april and may i was describing it as. Oh my goodness. I've had to reinvent myself as a virtual author and then i realized excuse me you never got to invent yourself as an author period. Your book just came out in the midst of a pandemic. So at the beginning of the shutdown. So all i've done is virtual visits. And so for me i can't think of. I guess i would say just everything that i'm sort of sharing if people haven't started yet take what i've learned in what i've done but i don i think for me. The journey has been so pleasurable and so invigorating. That i was fine. Not knowing certain. Things You know as i say when i think back to that instagram. The first instagram live. I might have said well. Gee if i knew how to use instagram live. That would have been more helpful. But it really didn't matter because ada was so kind to join me before the event and go over it with me so therefore it didn't even feel as if it was a deficit so Yeah i wish i could say oh. I wish i'd known this. Or if i'd known this i would have an. I think to quite frankly. Because i am an educator very comfortable in kids spaces. I'm very comfortable with kids. And so a lot of things. I just did naturally like i know i have to connect with kids and i know i wanna know kid names so i realized on zoom i can scroll through. I can see names. I can shout kids out. That's just who. I am So the things that i would normally do. If i was with kids in person i just transferred that to what it would look like virtually. Yeah yeah so At is a it is important for listeners. To remember we are all still kind of figuring this out. Yeah we did not live in nearly such a virtual worlds just seven months ago which is wild. Today's it is wild to think about it. but What occurred to me as we've been chatting away You wrote a book all about dance and movements. And i have not yet asked you. What inspired it. You must really love that right. I do. I absolutely loved to dance. I love to be an audience member watching any type of dance and when music comes on i do love i. I love to dance in. Actually the original title of the book was. I love to dance and i had that You know sort of inbetween. H line so like the book. For instance starts out of the tap finger snaps. There was a line the original of that which was actually further down on the first page. Was i love to dance. Tap tap i love to dance finger snaps And then i got a suggestion from a friend to remove the. I love to dance that it wasn't needed and she was absolutely right. But i also notice that at most people love to dance. You can never say everyone I love you know. I've been in middle. School classrooms as. I said this school year when i asked who loves to dance. You know you get a few hands. I'm like yeah you do. You're just too cool to admit it. Oh my goodness. But i said if i put on the right music and people start dancing. I know you'll start dancing and even little kids you know my nieces you know ages. Two and four. They were dancing around. They love to dance. So that's really. What inspired it is sort of. Just me loving it and what i saw around me and as i said wanting to write a book about that exemplified joy and connection and that it doesn't matter who you are you can join in this activity You know together so that was really the inspiration. Connie crates sufficient been a wonderful interview happening parting thoughts or words of advice. Driverless starts thank you. I appreciate you asking. Is i said i think just enjoy it. And so whatever enjoyment means for you if it means doing a lot of events if it means doing a few visits if it means you know really not doing many at all do what makes you happy. That is you know. That's that's what i would say and And then you'll enjoy it and your audience will enjoy you and the book or the books that you share. This has been a wonderful chat valerie. so can you remind listeners where we can find you and your book online sure so my website is my name valerie. Bowling dot com. Bowling is spelled b. o. l. l. i. n. g so valerie bowling dot com. And if you go to my website you'll see many options for For purchasing the book. If you're interested in that they're also coloring sheets there that your children may be interested in. There's also a youtube channel. I worked with some high school students. this past summer to create a youtube channel which teaches different dances and also had some activities in lessons Related to dance. So that's probably the best you can also find me on twitter at valerie Underscore bowling and or i don't even know if there's an underscore there. I honestly can't remember but you can find me on twitter. You put in valerie bowling and you can find me on instagram. At valerie. Bowling author right. Well thank you so much for coming on the show today valerie. Thank you so much for having me. Connie i really appreciate Being here to chat with you. And i hope that your listeners have gotten some ideas if they you know are interested in author visits that they feel inspired to Go forth and if they have any questions as they're out there thinking about it they can certainly Feel free to email me. They can email me through my website or And then As i said. I i wanna give another plug for kate. Mess nurse author visit workshop. It is absolutely amazing. I mean she's much more pro than i am. She's been at this a long time. She has many many books out. So it's definitely worth your while great. Great well thank you again. Thank you connie thanks again. For listening to the book echoes. Podcast i hope you enjoyed that chat with valerie as much as i did. I really interesting that she mentioned. Virtual visits as encouraging diversity representation and in what students see and the way that that can go hand in hand at something. I wouldn't have thought about but is a really fascinating. An important point Now one thing. I forgot to mention in the introduction. Is how we actually connected. Valerien right through a chats. A twitter chat called queer. Kid litz It's a weekly. Were both square folks and who are interested in queer issues and children's literature and it happens every wednesday at eight thirty pm eastern. So if you are interested in those topics a really hope that you will join us. We've had some great chats so far including the week. Where valerie was a guest Expert for our twitter chats. So that has been this week. Stay tuned for more episodes and as always i'd love to hear from you You can leave rating or review on apple podcasts. You can find us on stitcher spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And as always. I'd love to hear from you can find the show. Notes book echoes dot com slash show. That's another way to leave the feedback in the comments or drop me an email. Connie at book echo dot com until next time happy writing.

Connie instagram valerie valerie bowling Connie dowell f scott fitzgerald facebook cameron watson gile maine diaz jasna grown boyds mills Julie hedlund cameron fifteen year jacqueline woodson one hundred seventy seven doll Bowling burchell Messner
Teaching For Better Humans 2.0

TED Radio Hour

51:26 min | 10 months ago

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0

"This is Ted Radio Hour each week. Groundbreaking Ted talks are dream. Big delivered at Ted Conferences to bring about the future. We want to see around the world to understand who we are from those talks. We bring you speakers and ideas that will surprise you. You just don't know what you're GonNa Find Challenge. You have the acts ourselves like why's it no worthy and even change you. I literally feel like I'm indifferent. I do you feel that way ideas worth spreading from ted NPR. I'M A new summer. Odi and I think you'll agree that life as we used to know it 'cause plea much disappeared for now. At least almost all of us have in some way been affected by the Kovic nineteen crisis for me. I've been home splitting my time between hosting this show and helping my kids adjust to a world where they only see their classmates on a screen. And it's made me think a lot about the episode that the Ted Radio Team and I need last year. We called it teaching better humans. And it's about how we can help kids learn to cope with life's ups downs and deal with an increasingly complicated future because now with cove in nineteen it feels like that complicated future is here and with it. Virtual schools remote learning for the past few weeks just about every kid. Parent and teacher has had to do their part to usher in an abrupt but necessary new era for education. Hi My name's Tanya Leclair. I am a digital learning coach at Seoul Foreign School in Santa. I'm pre kindergarten teacher out of school in DC Michael Hernandez a high school teacher in the Los Angeles area. We put out the call to educators to tell us how it's been going there have been a lot of challenges. This all came on really fast. We basically got together and started drawing policies and guidelines and kind of trying to draw everything from scratch. My dining room table is not my classroom and I miss my classroom highlighted. The fact that we've been caught flatfooted and haven't really evolved. Maybe as much as we could have had some ridiculous moments as the teacher would be like one of the kids muted me. I can't tell who it is. The number one thing that they had some incredible bright spots every day at closing meaning use that as an opportunity to just have a moment of positive affirmations off kids like repeat after me something like I am creative and telling their caregiver. You're being so creative taking care of me. They've also had some interesting breaks. Really impressed with how teachers have taken this on Actually really excited about this disruption. That's happened to the education system and I know it's frustrating for a lot of one of the great innovations. That's GONNA come out of this is we will never go back to school. The way it was that last teacher is Richard Kuwata and actually. He doesn't teach in a classroom anymore. He's now the. Ceo of the nonprofit Itchy the International Society of Technology in education. There's a time as we adjust to this new world. That can be stressful. And that's just GonNa take some hand holding in some some getting through but another thought to just just something to keep in mind here is I think it's going to be super exciting because all of a sudden we're going to have this conversation about What what expectations are from students? When they walk back into the classroom and I think some things that they have just put up with for years and years because they never knew the difference. may suddenly feel really strange. And that's the model of Education for the future that we really need to get to and have needed to get to for many years. It can be hard to think about the future when you're just getting through today so we want to revisit our episode teaching for better humans and take this moment to consider how we can change the way we educate to help kids and young adults thrive. You'll hear some of the conversations we recorded last year but also new ideas that reflect our strange new circumstances and we're going to start with virtual learning because think about it. Millions of teachers were recently asked to take what they were doing in the classroom and translate it for the screen within days. Many of them. Richard says are now figuring out how to make school work online on the fly. Yeah and they're scrambling I mean. Learning is an inherently social Activity and so often when we start to move over to online learning we look at the learning process and we just immediately think of the content. And we you know scan the content we make it available online but content that is it's just a really thin veneer of the overall education experience and that's the only part if the content is the only part that we're making available it's just not effective learning. You have to think about. How do you make sure there's still times where everybody can get together in the life space? How do you create activities? That are not just reading a worksheet that you've uploaded online. Okay so can you give me an example of what online learning looks like at its best? And maybe how we parents can help. Yes so kids can be interviewing each other or their family members and editing and creating videos. They can designing campaigns to help Addressing an issue in their community many of them have a yard outside or a park next to their their house. Might Kid the other day. My eight year old Found a bug In his room and this moment of Oh we got this bug here and we could just throwing it out but instead I said you know what type of bug is that. I don't know well. How do we look it up? And so we took a picture of it. We went online search and found out it was a brown mom rated stink bug and we learned that the bad version of that. But I mean it's fascinating we learned. There's so many things about stink bugs. I never knew that moment. That's silly moment one is it? It became a learning moment. But it also taught my kid at modeled that this device that I hold in my pocket. It's not just playing games is not just for calling people communicating. It's a tool to make more sense out of the world around us but those are the types of activities that we have to be starting to plan now because they take some thinking so my concern has been as tech journalist. The human component right and a lot of teachers told me that as they've brought more and more screens into the classroom that they have actually had to start teaching human things that they've never had to teach before in the past like Tattoo. I contact with someone how to listen to someone. And so how do we teach those human competencies if everybody's not together so there's a couple of things here that are important to talk about. One of them is what those competencies look like. They still exist right. Those human competencies how to be a good engaged human being it's still exists in a virtual space. We just have to teach it a little differently So we talk about five critical qualities of digital citizens and we say that we need to teach kids to be inclusive informed engaged balanced and alert. It's knowing how to you know. Help make your community a better place when you're online it's it's knowing how to create an environment that is inclusive of people with a variety of different viewpoints and backgrounds online. It's knowing how to recognize information. That is true information that has biopsies in it and make decisions about what information is more valuable in what circumstance. Those are the types of skills that we need to be teaching and if we do then our virtual environment becomes a community that is rich and engaging and supportive okay so Richard going back to this idea of whether there's a silver lining that can come out of these bizarre days and weeks when this is over and kids go back to school. Do think that the classroom experience will be dramatically different. Oh Yeah so you know. We'll go back to school. Of course in school is critically important. But we'll go back to school with the realization with a reality that the world is a virtual world that these kids are dual citizens. They live in two worlds at all times and they always will in the future and if we can recognize that and we can leverage that To make school engaging rich meaningful environment that empowers kids not just to soak up information that we give them but to solve problems and to communicate collaborate with their peers around the world. That's the exciting part and we are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we're GONNA do. Teachers are the most creative people on the planet and once they get the tools in front of them and they know and are comfortable with the tools. The amount of creativity that we're going to see is just going to be unbelievable. That's Richard Kuwata the CEO of Itchy. And thank you so much to all the teachers who shared their experiences with us. We also want you to know that. Ted Ed has a new initiative for learning at home. Find out more at Ted Ed at home dot Com. Okay so this. New Corona virus means that teachers are using new tools to teach. But what about what they teach while along with math and grammar? Some are trying to help kids understand what cove in nineteen is adding pandemics to a list of other tough topics that affect kids like inequality and race. How do we even begin to talk about these heavy subjects that we grownups often struggle with? I mean think about how much media and how many messages adults soak up every single day and kids are exposed to the exact same stuff that adults are exposed to. This is teacher. Liz Kline Rock. She develops school curricula before that. She spent a decade in the classroom yet. We have this misconception. That kids tune it out or don't care or kind of glass over when we have those conversations at the dinner table or when. The radio's on the car like kids. Pick up on all of that. Some of Liz's students were interviewed for many documentaries specifically about how she helps them think critically about our history and how it relates to today some people actually liked having slaves to own slaves because that were they worked for them and some people are just afraid to speak out for them or do anything to help them. I can't imagine how it would be like if my family's dog like like if you just separate stab me like just your separated. I have these kids. Who would never raise their hand and like a traditional reading or writing math lesson but if you ask them about black lives matter or what's happening our government. They all know something and they all want to share. I mean seeing all these videos of people getting discriminated because of their race religion orientation it really changes my perspective of life it's safer to have those conversations upfront but having tough conversations upfront with kids is totally different than having them with adults in lots of unpredictable and cringe-worthy Ways Liz Kline rock tells the story from the Ted Stage. Though a few years ago I was beginning a new unit on race with my fourth graders and I had the type of moment that every teacher has nightmares. About one of my students had just asked the question. Why are some people racist and another students? Let's call her abbey had just raised her hand and volunteered. Maybe some people don't like black people because their skin is the color of poop so as if UNQ- my entire class exploded half of them immediately started laughing and the other half started yelling at Abbey and shouting things like God. You can't say that racist so just take a second to freeze the scene in your mind. There's the class of nine and ten year olds and half of them are in hysterics because they think abby has said something wildly funny and the other half are yelling at her for saying something offensive. And then you have abused sitting there completely bewildered. Because in her mind she doesn't understand the weight of what she said. Ny everybody is reacting this way and then you have me the teacher standing there in the corner like about to have a panic attack when we come back what Liz said to her. Fourth graders in that moment and also how she's talking to kids about one of the toughest things that we are all dealing with right now. The Corona virus. I'm a new summary on the show today teaching for better humans. You're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR. Everyone just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who helped make this podcast possible I to zoom zoom phone is a top tier cloud phone solution with the same ease of use reliability. That you've come to expect from zoom meetings. Zoom phone works seamlessly within the SOOM APP. As Your Business phone system to make and receive phone calls capture call hoardings and easily escalate video if the need arises and it works wherever you are in the office more on your mobile device sign up for zoom phone online at Zoom Dot Com and meet happy with next also to legalzoom legalzoom makes it easy for Americans to set up their estate plans without leaving. Their homes. Don't know the difference between a last will or living trust what about in advance. Healthcare directed. Legalzoom can help. They're not a law firm but you can get started quickly online and also get advice through their network of independent attorneys. Learn more about estate plans. And how you can speak to an attorney for advice at legalzoom dot com when the economy goes Haywire Planet. Money is here to make sense of it for you. From the big bailouts to the tiny details of vaccine stockpile. One of the first thing we did was secure a large number of chicken flocks so these are like hard working government chicken hard-working government chickens that's NPR's planet money. Podcast listen now. It's the Ted Radio hour from NPR. I'm a Newsom Rhody on the show today teaching for better humans before the break a fourth grader called Abbey had just said something that half of her class found wildly funny while the rest founded extremely offensive and their teacher. Liz Kline Rock was on the verge of a panic attack. I loved being in your head as a teacher like I kind of felt like. Oh maybe that's what my teachers were thinking. How do you take an extremely uncomfortable moment and in a split second decide what to do with us like what? What were the options? Did you think I could chastise her? And say like. That's just incredibly inappropriate like you never ever say something like that which is definitely part of the conversation that needs to be had about why that language is harmful. But if you don't explain why it's harmful it doesn't really do any good. All the kid has learned as Oh if I ever talk about this that it's bad And something I didn't share the talk. Is that student who made? The comment isn't white. She's actually a student caller And I thought a lot in that moment about the way that I now interact with. Her is really also going to show a model for the rest of the kids to. I definitely don't think it's okay to shame people for where they're at but it's absolutely necessary to question why people are at a certain place and this was truly her first time talking about it. Yelling at her was going to leave a really really big imprint. Like I even think about how I view myself as a math student because I had one teacher an elementary school who like made me cry when it came to mouth. 'cause I didn't understand in how I then internalized. Why must be a really bad mass students in this has a lot higher stakes than whether or not I could understand like in multiplication algorithm? You know this is something that could really continue to follow her and determine whether she was going to be willing to engage. Or disengage from these conversations moving forward So in that five seconds the weight of this girl's relationship to talking about race is on your shoulders. You reflect on hat and then you look at the kids in your classroom and you look at her. And what do you say send? This is a really important teachable moment because there is some truth and validity into what Abbas saying that people have believed this and some components of racism are fueled by thoughts and beliefs. Just like this. And that's why we have to talk about it it's meaningful it's terrifying and deeply personal by. We have to take these opportunities to learn as I watched the conversation. Really marinate. With my students I began to wonder how many of my students have assumptions. Just like Abbie and what happens when those assumptions go unnoticed and unaddressed is they often do conversations around race. For example have their own specific language in students need to be fluent in this language in order to have these conversations now I also know that these types of conversations can seem really really intimidating with our students young learners but I have taught first through fifth grades. And I can tell you for example that I'm not going to walk into a first grade classroom and start talking about things. Like mass incarceration but even a six year old first. Grader can understand the difference. Between what is fair. People getting what they need an equal when everybody gets the same thing especially goodie bags of birthday parties. Now first graders can also understand the difference between a punishments Anna Consequence and all of these things are foundational concepts that anyone needs to understand before having a conversation about math incarceration in the United States. Some people might think that kindergarteners first graders are too young to have conversations around racism but also tell you that young kids understand how people are similar and different and what it means to have power when other people don't when we have these conversations with students at a young age it actually takes away some of that taboo feeling when those topics come at a later age. It's almost like you just make space in your classroom for things that are often shoved under the rug things that we don't make space for because it makes us feel uncomfortable because we don't necessarily have the answer of how to make it better but you you try to make space and try and I try to also be very authentic with my students when they ask a question that I don't know the answer to to be very honest with them and not make something up or that. I'm the authority on all things related to race and equity. Because I'm not there still so many things. I'm learning new things that I need to understand. Because it's hard to navigate by yourself and I think there's a lot of self work that teachers need to be doing it unpacking their own identities and their understanding of what it means to have an anti-racist classroom and if you're not doing that self work having the conversations with kids is going to be a lot harder because these are definitely parallel tracks of work that needs to be going on at the same time. I mean I gotta say I feel for Teachers Right now. Not only are they pretty poorly paid at least here in the United States? But they don't get a lot of respect from parents from municipal governments. They work so hard. How do you even begin to say to teachers? Yes so also you need to be exploring your own sense of identity Could you do that please? While you're also grading all the papers tomorrow like how. Do you even start to have this conversation with other teachers? It's really really hard but I think that the curriculum and the lessons that I've created really tried to embrace diversity equity and inclusion as a lens not as a separate component of the day like. I'm not writing social justice. Time from nine to ten o'clock on the agenda. It can really be something as simple as who are the authors and the stories in the voices that you're amplifying in class like an example that I like to give is one of our curricular units supposed to be about opinion writing and the sample unit that comes with the curriculum You're supposed to structure this lesson about. What's your favorite ice cream flavor and Y? Which for fourth graders to me that just seems like such a waste of an opportunity to have them write about something. That's more important than that but I think it also takes a lot for adults to be brave and how those conversations will. Yeah which makes me wonder like. Do you ever get pushback from parents who maybe feel uncomfortable with your methods? Or maybe like listen. Just stick to like reading writing and Arithmetic. Okay I all handle the other stuff for my kid. Yeah I mean I get a lot about education not being politicized And my response to them is usually education is inherently political school funding. How much teachers get paid which textbooks we use which holidays we celebrate like who is visible in the classroom and who is those are all political decisions. Yeah I mean it's really like you said before the kids already pick up on all of these ideas political or not yup. I had one student who said that. We have the right to have these conversations because it's going to be us. It's going to be our life in the future now. How can we be prepared if we can't even have these conversations or we don't even know what's going on and he's right he's absolutely right and that wasn't like an eighteen year old he nine? That's Liz Kline Rock. Since listen I spoke last year. The Corona virus has of course totally changed the education landscape. So I called her to ask how she thinks. We should talk about the pandemic with kids while also dealing with our own anxiety. There's this aspect of caring for the people in our lives but also the self care part is so important to at my school. We always talked a lot about emotional contagion. And that's a good phrase emotional contagion recognizing that kids are extremely intuitive. They're very sensitive. They're really going to pick up on the energy. That adults are putting out even if it is unspoken. If it isn't verbalised thinking about how as a classroom teacher I would try to conduct myself during fire drills earthquake drills or active shooter drills like you one kids to take it seriously. You don't want to panic them or overwhelm them. Let them know. This is something that we do. Have you take seriously and we're not playing around. It's like I feel like I'm an airplane. And we've hit turbulence and I'm watching the flight attendants for clues. I feel like that's the situation. Kids are in watching the adults. Like we're in this airplane together and they're watching us. Should I be worried about this? You seem calm okay. Then I'll become. It's just normal turbulence. You know it's hard though. Yeah it is and again. Like having no precedent. It's really challenging like the closest comparison. I I wasn't a teacher then was nine eleven and just being very uncertain about what was going to happen and I know that schools were really scrambling back in two thousand one. When this happens like are we going to continue classes? How can we best support our communities? How could we directly support families who might be very much directly impacted by everything happening but something of this magnitude? It's totally uncharted territory. The garage trying to figure it out as we go and just trying to be the best models students as possible. My husband and I really had a debate over whether to be reassuring and say you are safe. You are fine order to acknowledge like yes. You're scared and that's a normal feeling to have right now. This is a scary time. Yeah I think there's definitely both that need to happen. You know I don't think it's appropriate Light to kids and you know. Give them false reassurance about things that we really don't know about but also we can be really careful about what information we volunteer to them willingly. Something really important to keep in mind with kids is that there's no one right way to feel about everything. I've talked to students who are incredibly calm and seem even somewhat oblivious to everything happening and then students who have really been panicking and experienced a lot of anxiety because school represents very different things to different students. Some might really view this as a vacation has a break in for some kids. This is the only place of consistency in their lives. And keeping him out. Abby the student who you talked about when we first spoke a couple months ago and you kind of had the weight of her relationship with talking about race on your shoulders kinds of things might be weighing on teachers and parents trying to address corona virus. Right now I think trying to balance like gaining new information while being selective about what is being shared with kids kids. Are you know picking up like the BITs and pieces of conversations or crashing glimpses of headlines Online and there is a lot of great information out there and there's a lot of really awful misinformation to and we're trying to just stay up to date about everything that's going on and giving our students and families who might not have the access to that information letting them know what's happening in the best way possible? Liz Kline rock is a writer and educator and that documentary about how she teaches is ms Liz's allies and you can see her full talk at Ted Dot Com right now. Kids are finding out where they got into college. But don't know if they'll even be able to attend this fall and seniors in high schools and universities. They don't know if they'll have graduation ceremonies. This spring. Life is on hold and a lot of these students may feel like they're not equipped to cope with the current situation. One that's completely out of their control because up until now to succeed needed results in the form of hard numbers to the season for standardized testing twin tau do. We measure those results. Standardized tests entered standardized exams testing. Of course pass. Then you move onto the next grade fail and you still have some work to do in two thousand fifteen. By the time the high school senior graduated they would have taken a hundred and twelve standardized tests. Ready Delaware comprehensive assessment language arts kind of couse testing getting a school getting a metric. Integrate is very useful. Way To organize right just to students from the best to the worst everywhere. In between. That's Thomas Curran. He's a social psychologist who researches young people and perfectionism in the UK US and Canada. And you can. You can begin to see how that creates a Reliance therefore on objective outcomes on outcomes in tests and schools and you can extend not to spoil and other areas of young people's lives where ranking categorization and now Roy Thomas says tests sports social media and a winner takes. All culture puts a lot of pressure on kids to constantly compare themselves to others and so once people start to define themselves in those terms. And we're only interested in how we do relative to others then we're GONNA set hoist on this for so because the only way in which we're able to succeed in societies to achieve high schools high grades high performances. The consequences of not. Doing that is not only be filled for back in school but has implications for our college which has implications for future market price in the Job Market. So you can begin to see how with teaching kids almost every level. That ain't to succeed. They need to do well. And that's one of the reasons why we think. Young people beginning to internalize perfectionist tendencies perfectionist. Tendencies Thomas says all of this has made young people more and more anxious they want to be perfect and wanting to be perfect is not only impossible. It can be dangerous. Thomas Curran continues this idea on the Ted stage. It's remarkable how many of us are quite happy to what hands and say we're perfectionists but there's an interesting and serious points because our begrudging admiration for perfection is so pervasive. That never really stopped the question that concept in his own terms we know from clinician case reports that perfection conceals a horse or psychological difficulties including things like depression anxiety on erection. Bolivia and even suicide radiation. And what's more worrying? Is that over the last twenty five years. We have seen perfectionism rise at an alarming rate suicide in the US alone. Increased by twenty five percent across the last two decades. We begin to see similar trends emerging across Canada and in my home country the United Kingdom in my role as mentor to many people. I see these defects of affections and I am one student sticks out in my mind. Very vividly John not his real name was ambitious hard working and diligent and on the surface. He is exceptionally high achieving than gaining first class grades for his work no matter how well John achieved always into recast successes as abject failures and meetings with me. He would talk openly about how he'd let himself down. Jones justification was was quite simple. How could he be a success when he was trying so much harder than other people just attain the same outcomes see John's perfection? His unrelenting work ethic was only serving to expose what he saw as his in a weakness to himself and others. You know it's interesting. When I was growing up it was cooled. Be A slacker. But now I meet college students people in their twenties all the time who are even starting their second or third business. I kind of think of it as the Mark Zuckerberg effect this idea. That inside of you is an entrepreneur who can just kill it Zuckerberg and musk. I mean they seem like perfectionists and that seems to be something really worth pursuing really. Hit Enosis image because we live in an individualistic culture and world. Where essentially with the masters of our own destiny okay used to be the case that the the UK but also in the US just after the war while there was a kind of collective sense that you know together we can prosper right. That's very different today. Where the successes and failures are owned by. Aso's an how wealthy we. Oh how much material advantage we have is down to ourselves. That's why you start to see a lot of a lot of young people. Engaging more entrepreneurial ten this is because frankly they have to if they don't there is no job with prospects of future that they can just walk into from college. It's a post graduate degree and then it's internships and then it's extra little bits and pieces on a CV that we can pick up and and this is this. This is what I mean about. Pressure AND EXPECTATION THAN YOUNG. People have risen so much that it's understandable the begin to engage in these behaviors and worry about the consequences because whereas before there was a safety net. Now there isn't a there's a hell of a lot of pressure to succeed and that fear of failure we think is going on underneath this rise. In coming up we hear more from Thomas Current on perfectionism and embracing our imperfect selves on the show today teaching for better humans. I'm a new summer ODI and you're listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR support for this podcast and the following message come from the American Jewish World Service working together for more than thirty years to build a more just and equitable world learn more at Aj ws dot org right now. Every household in the country is being asked to fill out the US. Census is the form that helps us determine how voting districts or redraw to build public schools and hospitals spend federal money. So why are some people afraid to fill it out? We're getting into all that this week on. Npr's codes which podcasts. It's the Ted Radio hour from NPR. I'm Newsom Roti and on the show today how we can teach for better humans. We were just hearing from social psychologist. Thomas Curran about perfectionism. How young people are taught pressured and influenced to try and be perfect? And I'm just going to say what everyone is thinking right now. I mean Social Media Right. That must be playing a huge role here. I mean social media is pervasive at securely visual media forms of social media things that instagram on snapchat for instance a very very laden with images of the perfect life images of the perfect lifestyle of course young people internalize try to recreate troy to live up to social perfectionism associate described perfectionism. Which is a sense that the external environment or others next on expect us to be Pathak in nineteen thousand nine just nine percent of young people report technically relevant levels associated script but twenty seventeen that figure had doubled to eighteen percents by twenty fifty projections based on the models that we tested in the kid almost one in free and people report clinically relevant levels of socially prescribed perfectionism. This is the element of perfection has a large correlation with serious mental illness. And that's with good reason. So she fried factions. Feel a unrelenting need to meet the expectations of other people and even if they do meet yesterday's expectation of Perfection. Then raise the bar even higher degree because these folks believe that the better. They do the better that they're expected to. This breeds a profound sense of helplessness. And worse hopeless. Which you know listening to you makes me feel as a parent kind of hopeless. It's really hard to know how to help. Your child have a fever parents. Because it's so tough like it's so tough to not engage in over monitoring surveillance because essentially in you know in this in this culture. If Kid's fellas not just deaf as our failure to an unsold so parent do do take on their kid successive fairies and not naturally leads to more controlling for parenting. And there's a Lotta data to support. That is on the Roy. That said there are ways in which you can do that but don't necessarily emphasize Perfectionist Dick Tennis. Okay so I want to hear them. What do you think parents should do? Try not to focus on the outcome so when kids have done a tasks of let's go to metre school is important too much. You can downplay that school particularly where in terms of where it sits relative to others an. Ask Your kids more about will. What did you learn emrich on own in on the actual purpose of education that is the topic and the source of learning itself? And then the second one just just quickly. I think his is how we deal with Valya. Not being afraid to fat is really really important. I am and in particular making sure that when we do encounter setbacks that we've compassion on ourselves. How would you talk to a friend? For instance who came with the same issues. You'd rationalize with them empathize with them. You essentially try to show them that you know. It's not the end of the world but we don't apply the same rules to ourselves and say talking to kids in those times you know. How would you treat of the people if they if they came in at home with that great would you? You'd be very different to your friends. You BE SELF SAYS. It is really self compassion. I think Is is really really important. On teaching them there is. There is so much joy in failure on the summit's doing imperfection you know. We're not we're not built to be perfectly worried over in variables. I wonder how much you think vulnerability and and being able to laugh at ourselves matters in this conversation to the heat heat everybody. Every one of us has some areas allies that we feel. We're not quite as good Oh we we might. They might be specific triggers for us in some way shape or form and actually accepting vulnerability can be an excellent antidotes a perfectionist tendencies. And so I think you're absolutely right. Vulnerabilities really important not fearing failure or a celebrating imperfection and celebrating mistakes and setbacks because their opportunities to learn and develop accessories. Signature is really really important. Thomas Current teaches at the London School of Economics and political science watches. Full talk and check out his research on perfectionism at Ted Dot. Npr Dot Org. Okay for the past hour or so. We've been hearing about the formal informal even virtual ways that we teach and how we can reassure kids that it's okay to look beyond academics and to value more than good grades and I want to end the show on a little personal note. My nine year old daughter nearly ten loves to read. But she's not quite as fast as some of the other kids in her class and she was feeling kind of bummed out about her slow reading until the day author. Jacqueline Woodson visited her school. Yeah and you talked about slow reading. And she came home and she said to me. It's fine it's just me. It's how I read and I love reading and it's fine and she just sort of across the room and looked later. The burden was lifted. Because you told her it was okay to be different so i WanNa thank you personally for giving her that. Give thank her for hearing me. That completely makes my day. It's so. Jacqueline has dozens of books for children and young adults including award winners like miracles. Boys and Brown girl dreaming and my daughter's story reminded jacqueline of her own slow reading. You know my sister was brilliant. My brother was brilliant. They were off the chart to readers in here. I was coming along. And they're like okay. What's wrong with this would send Why is she reading differently? Why she's struggling with reading. And I read slowly with my finger following beneath the words I read the same passages over and over again and really just inhaled narrative in this way it was part of all my senses and I never saw it as a struggle. It was how I read. Yeah but you know when you're a child and someone is saying this is how one should do this. You Begin to question because as adults and it's it's their gaze. That's the mirror for you at that age. Here's Jacqueline Woodson. On the Ted stage the deeper I went into my books. The more time I took with each sentence the less I heard the noise of the outside world and so unlike my siblings who are racing through books I read slowly very very slowly. I was that child with her finger running beneath the words until I was untucked to do this toll. Big Kids. Don't use their fingers in third grade. We were made to sit with our folded on our desk. Unclasping them only to turn the pages then returning them to that position. Our teacher wasn't being cruel. It was the nineteen thousand nine hundred seventies and her goal was to get us reading not just on grade level but far above it and we were always being pushed to read faster but in quiet of my apartment outside of my teachers gays. I let my finger run beneath those words with each rereading. I learned something new years later. I learned a writer named John. Gardner who referred to this fictive? Dream are the dream of fiction and I would realize that this was where I was inside that book spending time with the characters and the world that the author had created an invited me into as a child. I knew that stories were meant to be savored. That story's wanted to be slow and that some author had spent months maybe years writing them and my job is the reader especially as the reader who wanted to one day become a writer was to respect that narrative. So what's the fictive dream for those who haven't heard of it so the fictive dream as one you slip inside a story so deeply that you become a part of it and you don't even know anymore that you're not in the world and the outside world the quote unquote real world is not a part of your consciousness and I think what the really good narrative with a really novel poem or even graphic novel you can go into that world and believe that you are part of it walking with the characters do you. Do you think like I mean. Obviously you are in touch with a lot of teachers and you do work in schools and It is that something that you're seeing being taken on board this idea of reading. Slowly of savoring words of not rushing kids. I wish I was it more. Let when my kids were in fourth grade? Their fourth grade test scores determined where they go to middle school. Their seventh grade test scores determined where they go to high school and and even now with them the specialized schools and all the work. We have to do around. That kids are stressed out. And I think that it's hard for teachers who have this Curriculum that they have to adhere to to then say well you know what they'll take an hour with that ball So I think that reading slowly needs to be expressed at home more and kids should know that at the end of the day they can linger and they can relax somewhere. I know a lot of those young people are reading slowly and probably getting flak for it And to just kind of show up and be a mirror and say look I read slowly to. Yeah and I'm here and they're going to be many. Many people saying this is not the way and pushed through that. My finger beneath the words had led me to a life of writing books for people of all ages. Books meant to be. Read slowly to be savored. My Love for looking deeply and closely at the world for putting my whole self into it and by doing so seeing the many many many possibilities of a narrative turned out to be a gift because taking my sweet time taught me everything I needed to know about. Writing and writing taught me everything I needed to know about creating worlds where people could be seen and heard where their experiences could be legitimized. And where my story read or heard by another person inspired something in them. That became a connection between us a conversation. And isn't that what this is all about finding away at the end of the day not feel alone in this world and away to feel like we've changed it before we leave? Sometimes we read to understand the future. Sometimes we read to understand the past. We read to get lost. Forget the hard times we're living in and we read to remember those who came before us who lived through something harder. I write for those same reasons. Before coming to Brooklyn my family lived in Greenville South Carolina in a segregated neighborhood called nickel town. All of us there were the descendants of people who had not been allowed to learn to read or write imagine that the danger of understanding how letters form words the danger of words themselves the danger of illiterate people and their stories as I began to connect the dots that connected the way I learned to write and the way I learned to read twin. Almost silenced people. I realize that my story was bigger and older and deeper than I would ever be and because of that it will continue. We come from a history. As African Americans a people who are not even allowed to read in this country right right and then there was a high rate of literacy because of that not being allowed to read and then slowly people came to reading. And we're hungry for our. We stole reading right. We we read even under the threat of death. We taught ourselves even under that threat so it makes so much sense for me to take the time and presumably the way that someone who comes from a very different history or background can empathize her. Imagine or connect to what you went through and what your ancestors have gone through is through story and frankly those books didn't really exist. When I was growing up the books like the ones I right. Yeah Yeah and that's part of the reason I rate them because they didn't exist crying up either You know I grew up in Bushwick and it was like where were the books about a black girl growing up in Bush an in the home of a single mom and whose best friend was Puerto Rican and so who grew up speaking Spanish and English? I wanted to tell those stories right. I was indignant like how dare the world might have my narrative in it. I'm I'm impressed that you were indignant that you were shut. Who gave you that sense of like? Hello you all need to hear my story too. I think I think what it was. Was My family saying you matter. Yeah I mean I came out of Jim Crow South right so I came from South Carolina to New York City and so so I think somewhere along those lines. People were saying you matter and then to hear all your that you mattering. You're amazing in. You're brilliant and your beautiful and then to not see that in a world it's like wait a second like. I know my people were at lying so America must be so as technology continues to speed ahead. I continue to read slowly knowing that I am respecting the author's work and the stories lasting power and I read slowly to drown out the noise and remember those who came before me who probably carried with them the history of a narrative new deeply that writing it down wasn't the only way they could hold onto. It could sit on their porches are. They're stoops at the end of a long day and spin a slow tail for their children. They knew they could sing their stories. Through the thick heat of picking cotton and harvesting tobacco knew they could preach their stories are sold them into quilts turn the most painful ones into something laughable and through that laughter exhale the history of country. They try again and again and again to steal their bodies their spirit and their story. I read slowly to pay homage to my ancestors. Each time we read. Write or tell a story. We step inside their circle and the power of story lives on author Jacqueline Woodson. You can find her full talk at Ted Dot Com. Thanks so much for listening to our show on teaching for better humans this week. If you want to find out more about who was on it go to Ted Dot. Npr DOT ORG and Z. Hundreds more TED talks checkout Ted dot com or the Ted APP our production staff at NPR includes Jeff Rodgers Saunas Michigan. Poor Rachel Faulkner Diba Motor Sean James Della Hussey JC Howard Katie Monteleone. Maria Paz Gutierrez Christina. Kala Kierra Brown and Hannah Bolanos with help from Daniel Shchukin. Our intern is Matthew Kutai. Our theme music was written by Rahm teen our employees. Our partners at Ted are Chris Anderson Colin Helms and a feeling and Michelle quint. I'M A new summer. Odi and you've been listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR.

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