Contextualizing the Classics: The Borrowers and Front Desk

Bookishly Bright started as Contextualizing the Classics in fall 2017 as a final project for a course at Kansas State University on Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie. The first posts on this blog paired a classic with a contemporary text in order to explore the connections that existed between them and to bridge the gap … Continue reading Contextualizing the Classics: The Borrowers and Front Desk

Katherine Paterson and Sundee T. Frazier

I’m the middle child in a series of three sisters, and while I don’t know what it’s like to be a twin, I can certainly relate to the sibling relationships that Katherine Paterson and Sundee T. Frazier have depicted in their middle grade books. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who you are when you feel like you’ve been defined by your siblings for so long. Paterson won the Newberry Award in 1981 with Jacob Have I Loved, and Frazier’s 2010 novel, The Other Half of My Heart, offers diversity to the familiar tale of two sisters. Below is background information, contextual information, reading strategies, discussion questions, activities, and resources to be used for a unit on these two novels. I hope students and teachers alike can find fruitful conversation (and maybe even themselves) in these novels.

Banned Books Week is Over, but Literary Censorship Doesn’t Stop

Banned Books Week 2018 was September 23 through September 29. The annual event, hosted  by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, celebrates the freedom to read and raises awareness of literary censorship in schools and libraries across the globe.

This fall, as the president of my university’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International Honor Society, I helped organize banned books weeks events on campus. I also used my position as assistant culture editor at the K-State Collegian for good and coordinated a series of banned book reviews to be published in print and online over the course of the week. Here are some of the highlights of our efforts:

Discussing The Hate U Give

This semester, I had the opportunity to work with one of my classmates to lead discussion on Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give in our adolescent literature class. I’ve loved this book since I picked it up shortly after it was released in 2017. Furthermore, I was blown away when I met Angie Thomas and watched her speak at the 2017 National Book Festival. There is no denying that Thomas’s debut novel—about a teenage girl dealing with police brutality—is a powerful story, one that needs to be read and discussed.

After leading class discussion, I’ve put together this discussion guide with questions, strategies, and resources for The Hate U Give. This book will be the common read for freshmen at my university’s campus next year. That’s part of the reason I wanted to work with this book, and I look forward to watching students interact with it.

My Great American Read

When PBS announced the Great American Read, I was excited to see PBS uncover literature in American and let the country decide what the nation’s favorite book is. Based upon a survey, they broke down America’s top 100 books and are narrowing it down to one. The show, as hosted by Meredith Vieira, started on May 22, with a two-hour kickoff episode introducing the books. This will be followed with five themed episodes and a finale in the fall to announce the results of the voting. I streamed the episode the day after it aired, and decide to live tweet the process.

Anyways, because of my live-tweeting and the general position I hold as I walk through life as a bookish person, I have thoughts on this list and what PBS is trying to accomplish. So, I’m going to hit it with some list analysis.