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
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.
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 first thought when I saw Jacqueline Woodson in person was that she was tall—to be fair though, I’m five feet tall, so everyone is tall to me. My second thought was brief panic. There I was, about to introduce myself to a literary rockstar. I don’t know why I was worried; she told me she liked my skirt, and we set off.
Jacqueline Woodson was the keynote speaker at Kansas State University on April 21, 2018 for the Sixth Biennial Conference of Children's Literature in English, Education, and Library Science hosted by the Children’s and Adolescent Literature Community, of which I am a member. The conference theme, “Boundary Crossings in Children's and Young Adult Literature,” was inspired by Woodson’s work.
Before she spoke, I had the opportunity to accompany Dr. Anne Phillips, my adolescent literature professor, to pick Woodson up from her hotel and accompany her to the location of the conference. I was delighted to have this opportunity, and am so grateful that Anne helped arrange it. On our car ride (through the rare Kansas rain) and short walk, I had the opportunity to ask Woodson a few questions.
What do we do with Sherman Alexie's work following allegations of sexual assault?