Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.
And what positives there are! I’m in Minneapolis at #NCTE15, and here are just a few of the good things I’m celebrating.
Conversation. The drive from western South Dakota was long (nearly 11 hours!), but the company was good. I especially appreciated a chance to catch up with one of my favorite teachers, Kelsey Empfield, who is doing such good work in her first semester in the classroom.
Safety. I’ve never driven anything so large as a Tahoe Suburban before, and I’ve got to say, I don’t know how you SUV drivers do it. I kept imagining that I was driving a school bus, but we made it safely in one piece without any particular scares. Well, except for when I thought I put the wrong gas in. Thank you, Melissa Rosfeld, for assuring me that E85 is a suggestion, not a requirement.
Solitude. I have a king-sized bed ALL TO MYSELF. There are four giant pillows. The softest duvet. And no pets. No cats walking over me at two a.m. No pit bull click-clacking across the wooden floor at four a.m. just to make sure the people are still in bed.
Sleep. Probably related to solitude, but I slept for eight hours last night, which hasn’t happened in the past month.
Authors. I’m with Beth Shaum:
Today, I heard Alison Bechdel, Wendy Shang, Jeff Anderson, Tim Federle, Varian Johnson, Meg Medina, Phillip Stead, Cynthia Lord, Liesl Shurtliff, Kelly Barnhill, Lynda Mulally Hunt, and Lisa Graff speak. It was a good day.
Illustrators. I try not to fangirl, but I got to meet Erin Stead today. Erin. Stead. It was hard to keep it together and be chill. Also, Shane Evans gave me a hug and that was pretty awesome.
Learning. This probably shouldn’t come after solitude and sleep, should it? Two sessions from today that I’ll be reflecting on for awhile: Phillip Stead and Erin Stead’s provocative arguments about “books for kids vs books at kids” and Lynda Mulally Hunt’s and Justin Stygles’s heartfelt exploration of the shame felt by struggling readers.
Books. Mike Hall is probably getting sick of receiving thank you texts from me (I’ve sent three now), but Kwame Alexander’s new novel is a seriously big deal at my house, and Mike came through and scored a copy for me. My son is not a reader, but he loved The Crossover so much that he read it twice. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited for an ARC.
Confirmation. My pre-service teachers have been hearing it from me for years, and here at #NCTE15, the nine of them who traveled with me have it confirmed. Workshop really is best. All students can be reached. Relationships are our primary business as teachers. Books save lives.