I can’t remember the last time I’ve managed to watch all of the Instagram stories from the bookstagrammers I follow, which means there are some I never see.
Since I’m technically on Spring Break, I decided to remedy some of that. I saw this post on The Stacks Pod’s instastory and decided I would give it a go.
Here is my response
And here are the questions, with slightly more fleshed out answers.
A book you loved before you joined bookstagram: Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper.
Tears of a Tiger was one of the first books that I purchased for the library in my first classroom. I remember I had a student–R. He had gotten in some trouble and asked me for a book he could read while he was in the after-school program that provided his consequences. This was the book I gave him. When he’d finished it, he came back to class and told me that he didn’t like me because the book made him cry. And then he promptly asked me for something else.
I love this book because it’s allowed me to connect with so many students throughout my 12 years in the classroom.
A book you loved by an author from a different ethnicity than you: After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
Like Tears of a Tiger, After the Shot Drops provided space for me to connect with one of my students. This particular student is now a sophomore and I pop in on him from time to time to see how he’s doing.
J is not a huge fan of reading, but his mother (who is a friend of mine) told me that when I gave him this one, she actually saw him reading at home.
A book you’re excited to read by or about people of color: The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Belcárcel.
I went to the National Council of Teachers of English annual conference back in November. J’s mom and I were trying to decide what we were going to do for lunch when we happen across this lady who was looking for her room. We chatted for a few minutes, and then she gave us bookmarks. Turns out, we met Rebecca Belcárcel and didn’t know it. I saw her on a panel later.
The thing about events like these is we, as readers, as gatekeepers of literature for young people, have the opportunity to remember and remind our students about authors’ humanity. It made me examine how I choose to read some books over others – and how much more often a positive experience with an author makes me more inclined to read their work.
That’s something I need to interrogate for myself is why that is, and whether or not a negative experience affects my desire to read an authors’ books, too. Also, does this matter?
A book you love that you rarely see on bookstagram: Rising Water by Marc Aronson.
This could have easily been my response to the last question as well, as historically, I’ve not read much nonfiction. I was looking for a short read on a day I knew I’d be sitting and waiting for an extended period of time, and this one happened to be in the front of the shelf where I now store my book haul from the ALAN workshop.
I haven’t really seen anyone talking about it, but it’s an interesting look at what happened when the boys who played soccer in Thailand were stuck in the cave.
A book in a genre you don’t normally read that you ended up loving (and the genre it came from): Countdown by Deborah Wiles.
The genre: historical fiction. I will always say that I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. But the fact that the books in this series are documentary novels that include primary source material from the time period in which they’re set makes them that much more engaging to me as a reader.
I’ve also stopped saying that I don’t like historical fiction.