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The Reading Culture

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Host Jordan Lloyd Bookey speaks with authors and reading enthusiasts to explore ways to build a stronger culture of reading in our communities. They'll dive into their personal experiences, inspirations, and why their stories and ideas are connecting so well with kids.
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"I'm not a person that's like, let's throw out the classics. It's, let's move forward. Let's disrupt the canon. Some of these universal themes, some of these ingredients that we love, how do I remix them into a new stew?” - Dhonielle ClaytonWhat is life without a little magic? Fantasy gives us the space to break free from the confines that reality often brings and the freedom to dream the typically unimaginable. But with all its magic and wonder, the fantasy genre doesn’t always reflect the diversity of its real-life readers' stories. Dhonielle Clayton, a literary mover and shaker, is dedicated to changing that narrative, filling in the gaps to ensure that all kids see a reflection of themselves in these wondrous worlds.Dhonielle is an acclaimed author known for her works, including "The Belles" series, "The Conjurverse" series, and "Shattered Midnight." She is also the co-author of several novels, such as "Blackout" and "Tiny Pretty Things." Equal parts creative and determined, Dhonielle is the co-founder and incoming CEO of the influential organization We Need Diverse Books. She is a one-woman powerhouse!In this episode, Dhonielle traces the magic in her books back to its roots in African folklore, details the challenge of stepping out from the long shadow of Harry Potter, and outlines her mission to hire her own collective of diverse writers. ***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***Dhonielle expands on her stories about magic and fantasy on the podcast with her reading challenge, Retelling Heroes and Magic. Dhonielle takes inspiration from her goal to disrupt the world of fantasy storytelling with a wonderful suggested reading list.  Download the list at thereadingculturepod.com/dhonielle-clayton***This episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Erin Baker, media specialist at Durham Middle School in Georgia. She tells us her secret sauce for getting the whole school on board with reading initiatives and why it involves some unlikely allies.ContentsChapter 1 - Hot Summers in the Deep SouthChapter 2 - The People Could FlyChapter 3 - Let’s Talk About Harry PotterChapter 4 - Reality in FantasyChapter 5 - Let Them Eat Cake! (Creative)Chapter 6 - PurposeChapter 7 - Reading ChallengeChapter 8 - Beanstack Featured LibrarianLinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupDhonielle Clayton Website Follow Dhonielle on Instagram The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia HamiltonDurham Middle SchoolFollow The Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureJordan Lloyd BookeyHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducers: Jackie Lamport, Sydni Michelle Perry, and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"That barrier between what is “real” and what is not, when that's more fluid, I think it's that's where the fun of fiction comes in. Especially when you're writing for kids.” - Minh LêLife is full of barriers. Barriers between reality and the imagination, the spiritual and physical world, and perhaps most crucially, the ones we create for ourselves. When a barrier is a boundary, it can be a good thing. But in many cases, the barriers we create are holding us back. Minh Lê’s life was defined by many of these self-imposed barriers until well into his adult life. But slowly, through nudges from friends and family and a lot of self-reflection, Minh began to learn that the only thing in between him and his dream of being a picture book author, was himself.Minh is a children's book author best known for "Drawn Together," winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, as well as the Eisner-nominated "Lift" and "The Blur." He also authored the Green Lantern graphic novel series and contributed to numerous short story anthologies. Minh has a full-time day job and is also very active in the kidlit community, especially his work with We Need Diverse Books. He is intentional with his time and dedication and has made a deep impact on children’s literature. In this episode, Minh discusses how he overcame his insecurities to achieve his dream of becoming a picture book author. He also recounts the transformative experience of writing the biography of the beloved Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and shares an absolutely breathtaking story about their encounter. Minh shares his philosophy on why we should all blur the lines between the real and the imaginary.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***Minh expands on his stories about meditation on the podcast with his reading challenge, "Meditative Picture Books." With this curated list, Minh invites young readers and their grown-ups to embrace the present moment fully. Download the list at thereadingculturepod.com/minh-le***This episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Erin Baker, media specialist at Durham Middle School in Georgia. She tells us her secret sauce for getting the whole school on board with reading initiatives and why it involves some unlikely allies.ContentsChapter 1 - The Vietnamese Mini Van (2:17)Chapter 2 - As Few Words as Possible (6:38)Chapter 3 - You Haven’t Even Tried (10:44)Chapter 4 - Dreamtigers (12:19)Chapter 5 - Lucid Dreaming (19:34)Chapter 6 - Even Fewer Words (a silent retreat) (22:28)Chapter 7 - Meditative Picture Books (35:19)Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (37:15)Chapter 9 (Bonus) - Baby Minh and Baby Dan (39:17)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupMinh LeMinh Lê (@bottomshelfbks) • Instagram photos and videosDreamtigers by Jorge Luis Borges | GoodreadsThich Nhat Hanh | Plum VillageDurham Middle SchoolThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureJordan Lloyd BookeyHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"I've found that the books that have resonated with me the most are books where your body is incidental, but it's still something that you can never leave behind.” - Julie MurphyJulie Murphy has an unexpected story, one that involves a winding road to her writing career. With equal parts quick wit and matter-of-factness, Julie shares that part of her confidence that she could dare to be a writer came after falling deep into the Twilight series. If Stephanie Meyer, an untrained author, could write an international bestseller about shiny vampires, why couldn’t she write a bestseller too? Okay, possibly not that easy, and of course Julie’s journey to self-assurance and self-love, both for her writing and herself, has been far from just getting caught up in Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Navigating the tumult of unstable finances, queerness within Christian religious environments, and body image issues, Julie’s coming-of-age years were full of challenges. Yet, through writing, reading, and self-reflection, she has cultivated a deep love and appreciation for her authentic self and her body. Now, she writes stories that feature characters who undertake similar journeys of self-discovery and who live in and love their bodies.Julie Murphy is beloved by kids and adults alike. Her acclaimed novel "Dumplin'" was adapted into a popular Netflix film. Along with the “Dumplin’” series, Julie has written the middle grade “Camp Sylvania” series, the "Faith Herbert Origin Story" series and was widely celebrated for her 2014 debut novel, "Side Effects May Vary." In all of her stories, Julie features plus-sized characters whose bodies are incidental to the story, but that inclusion is central to Julie’s own story and to the die-hard fans of her books (raises hand!). In this episode, Julie tells us about the double-edged sword of her self-deprecating humor and how she feels about the response she gets not just from her young readers, but especially from their moms. She also discusses the evolution of body politics. She shares the college class that bored her into oblivion, leading her to discover the Twilight series and sparking the chain reaction that landed her in the literary world. ***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***While Julie’s own love story is rom-com worthy (she’ll share in the episode!), for her reading challenge, “Love Hurts”, she wants us to read love stories that also… well…. hurt.***This episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Lauren Mobley, a middle school librarian in Atlanta, Georgia. She tells us a funny, heartwarming story about her attempt to curate a special book selection for some new students.ContentsChapter 1 - Texas Needs Churches TooChapter 2 - Dieting with MomChapter 3 - Twilight: A MasterpieceChapter 4 - Ask The PassengersChapter 5 - Finding Confidence… and RejectionChapter 6 - One Step Back, Two Steps ForwardChapter 7 - Julie Murphy Fan ClubChapter 8 - From Cradle to GraveChapter 9 - Love HurtsChapter 10 - Beanstack Featured LibrarianLinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupJulie Murphy (@andimjulie) • Instagram photos and videosJulie MurphyDumplin' | Official Trailer [HD] | NetflixAsk the Passengers by A.S. King | GoodreadsThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureJordan Lloyd BookeyHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"...the reader's mind is filling in the blanks in between those panels and as a lip reader, that's what I do. I fill in the blanks. I'm trying to piece together what that person says. So, comics really make sense to me.” - Cece BellI first came to know Cece Bell through her groundbreaking semi-autobiographical graphic memoir novel, “El Deafo.” It was SO good that I had to read more by her. That's when I found out, through reading aloud with our (then younger) kids, that Cece's work is hilarious. Her zany, expressive storytelling combined with her vibrant illustrations create her unique style which she dubs, “absurdism for children.” During our conversation, Cece explains that it is in fact a style born out of misunderstandings, of her trying to make sense of the world around her while navigating it with deafness. While Cece is best known for "El Deafo," which received a Newbery honor, most of her books are for a slightly younger set. These include her laugh-out-loud funny "Chick and Brain" series, and her earlier Sock Monkey trilogy. Cece’s journey to pursuing a career as an artist was first dependent on her discovering confidence in her abilities, and also in her disability. Something that she didn’t fully realize until she wrote “El Deafo.” In this episode, Cece shares insights into her creative process, revealing how her experiences navigating the world with deafness have shaped her storytelling and sense of humor (and draws the connection between her deafness and her love for puns). She also tells us about the gory job that convinced her to pursue a career as an artist. For any budding comic creators, she also reveals the only book you need to read before your write your first graphic novel.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***For her reading challenge, Sibling Stories, Cece has curated a list of books that highlight the special relationships between siblings, something that has always fascinated her. In case you wondered, Cece has two older siblings. You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/cece-bellThis episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Amanda Maslonka, a 26-year veteran in education, and an elementary school librarian at Pasadena ISD in Texas. She tells us a funny and heartwarming story from her days working with first graders.ContentsChapter 1 - Funny Family (2:02)Chapter 2 - No One Makes Fun of the Funny Kid (6:23)Chapter 3 - At The Dentist (13:54)Chapter 4 - Understanding Comics (18:08)Chapter 5 - El Deafo (24:21)Chapter 6 - High Tech Hearing (26:46)Chapter 7 - Absurdism for Children (31:05)Chapter 8 - Animal Albums (37:08)Chapter 9 - Sibling Stories (39:24)Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (41:04)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupCece Bell (@cecebellbooks) • Instagram photos and videosCece Bell Animal Albumsscottmccloud.com - Understanding ComicsLittle Nemo ComicsCece Bell on El Deafo at the National Book FestivalCece’s Reading Challenge: Sibling StoriesThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureJordan Lloyd BookeyHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"That's really all we are obliged to do for those we call our enemies. We are obliged to see them as humans, and then we behave the way we will. We are obliged not to consider them as less than human because that way, all hell breaks loose. - Gregory MaguireGregory Maguire expresses himself with extreme precision. While many of us may grasp for words to communicate a specific emotion or to describe a series of events, Gregory seemingly has words and turns of phrase on command. What a delight it is to listen to Gregory talk about his journey, his writing, and his thoughts on a wide variety of topics. Close to Gregory’s heart is the belief that everyone has a backstory, a context—even our enemies. And no matter how difficult the task may seem, he believes it is our duty to understand that story and find it within ourselves to empathize with them—not to excuse them but to simply see them as humans.Gregory has built his career around telling the stories of antiheroes, most notably through the reimaginings of classic fairytales in novels such as "Wicked," "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister," and "Mirror Mirror." That ability to find empathy and a curiosity to understand even the most seemingly undeserving characters emerges in his other children's and young adult books and is deeply rooted in experiences from Gregory’s early life.In this episode, Gregory shares those early life experiences (which can honestly be described as “Dickensian”) and how his relationships with his father and siblings have impacted his writing and life choices. He tells us about his love of the “arresting strangeness” of literary worlds and how this sensation inspired him to become a writer. He also shares why he believes in the children's stories he writes, not always getting a “happily ever after.”***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In his reading challenge, Arresting Strangeness (a term coined by J.R.R. Tolkien), Gregory has compiled a list of his favorite books that envelop you completely and force you to look at the world around you anew. You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/gregory-maguire***This episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Lauren Mobley, a middle school librarian in Atlanta, Georgia. She tells us about a fun reading program she set up in her school inspired by a hit reality TV show.ContentsChapter 1 - Travel of the MindChapter 2 - Home, the Orphanage, and back againChapter 3 - The Children of Green KnoweChapter 4 - Harriet the RecorderChapter 5 - Origins of EmpathyChapter 6 - The Absence of a Happily Ever AfterChapter 7 - Arresting StrangenessChapter 8 - Beanstack Featured LibrarianLinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupGregory MaguireGregory (@gregorymaguire) • Instagram photos and videosWICKED Official Trailer (2024)by JRR Tolkien - On Fairy-StoriesThe Children of Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #1) by Lucy M. Boston | GoodreadsThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"I spend a lot of time trying to hope that I'll remember little things and how a certain simple thing felt. …  Writing is one way of trying to capture that feeling, even if I'm fictionalizing it still.” - Nina LaCourIf Nina LaCour were a drink, she would be a cozy cup of tea. You’re not rushing to finish a conversation with Nina. Rather, you are spending time exploring the details. And that is exactly what we did in this episode.The world moves fast. Usually faster than we’d like it to. But writing can gift us the ability to slow a moment down, to digest and analyze at a more intentional pace. For Nina LaCour, writing starts with observing the world around you, getting ready to break it down into words and unravel the meaning on a page. As a new writer, Nina found it best to share those observations through young adult literature after falling in love with it in college. She has since written a picture book, “Mama, Mommy and Me in the Middle,” and returned to an adult novel she shelved early in her career (“Yerba Buena”). More recently, she released "The Apartment House on Poppy Hill," the sweetest chapter book. Nina’s work is notably thoughtful and gentle. Her complex topics have resonated deeply with young readers and adults alike (including our own recent guest, Mark Oshiro). She’s best known for her novels such as “Hold Still,” "Everything Leads to You," and "We Are Okay," which received the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. In this episode, she shares her journey to falling in love with young adult literature and how Virginia Woolf helped her find the love of her life. She also explores writing's capacity to uncover the depth within every moment and discusses the importance of queer family representation in literature.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In her reading challenge, At the Intersection, Nina has curated a list of books at the intersection of queerness and family.You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/nina-lacourThis episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Faith Rice Mills, librarian at Nelda Sullivan Middle School in Pasadena, Texas. She tells us a heartwarming story to remind librarians of the importance of their work, even when that impact isn't obvious.ContentsChapter 1 - The Outsider…Chapter 2 - …Becomes the ObserverChapter 3 - Mrs. DallowayChapter 4 - On Being GentleChapter 5 - Bang BangChapter 6 - At the IntersectionChapter 7 - Beanstack Featured LibrarianLinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupNina LaCourNina LaCour (@nina_lacour) • Instagram photos and videosThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"There's something very lovely about feeling like, well, it's not my name, and it's not me, it's just the books.” - LeUyen PhamTo listen to LeUyen Pham is to feel inspired. She is full of hope and ideas and sees potential everywhere and in everyone. In LeUyen’s ideal world, diverse representation is a natural outgrowth of art that truly reflects our world. Her career as an artist and writer has been her contribution to making that a reality. Her career as an artist and writer has been her contribution to making that a reality. If you have ever read a book that LeUyen illustrated, you already know this to be true. The diversity we see in LeUyen’s pages is at once realistic and aspirational. Her illustration credits include over 130 books, such as “Bear Came Along,” recognized with a Caldecott Honor, the popular “The Princess in Black” series, “Lunar New Year Love Story,” and my kids’ favorite when they were younger, “Grace for President.” She has also illustrated and written a few of her own, including the award-winning “Outside, Inside” and “Big Sister Little Sister.”In this episode, LeUyen tells us why she prefers to be an “art chameleon” (and how that led to challenges early in her career). She talks about how support from her teachers showed her that a career as an artist was even a possibility and how an accusation of cheating (well, not really) put her on the right path.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter.***In her reading challenge, Chasing Home, LeUyen gets personal and invites us to explore the concept of what home means, especially from her perspective as a refugee.You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/leuyen-phamThis episode’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Marva Coney, a librarian at Jackson Intermediate in the Pasadena Independent School District. She shares a story about just how important books can be as kids start to grow and experience newer and harder parts of life for the first time.ContentsChapter 1 - Temple City and Bill Peet (2:06)Chapter 2 - From Wynne to LeUyen (8:16)Chapter 3 - The Witch of Blackbird Pond (10:01)Chapter 4 - Art Chameleon (18:51)Chapter 5 - Incidental Diversity (24:55)Chapter 6 - The Artist Shows Herself (31:05)Chapter 7 - Chasing Home (36:52)Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:18)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupLEUYEN PHAM (@uyenloseordraw) • Instagram photos and videosLeUyen Pham (she/her) - The Author VillageThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"Love is risky. Love always ends. Should you do it anyway?” - Nicola YoonLove is a feeling that never exists solely on its own, and those likely companions to love (anxiety, grief) often bring questions such as, is this worth it? It’s this question and others like it that Nicola Yoon explores in each of her novels. Nicola is a hopeless romantic. The affliction began in childhood after the discovery of her aunt’s harlequin romance collection. From then on, Nicola’s love of love would only grow stronger. But while her passion for romance was a love at first sight, her passion for writing was more of a slow burn.Today, Nicola Yoon boasts an impressive resume as a two-time New York Times bestselling author, a finalist for the National Book Award, a recipient of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and a winner of the Coretta Scott King New Talent Award. Notably, her first two novels have been successfully adapted for the big screen.In this episode, she’ll tell us why she fell in love with the romance genre, and how she found her way to writing as a career after 15 years in finance. She also shares her own ridiculously cute, out-of-a-movie love story about how she ended up with her husband and fellow writer, David Yoon. ***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***Inspired by her own novel, "Instructions for Dancing,” in her reading challenge, Good Grief, Nicola invites us to explore the intersection of love and grief with a list of some of her favorite books.You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Nikki Hayter, a library manager with the Des Moines Public Library system. As summer inches closer, she tells us about a unique program her library started a couple of years ago with graphic novels.ContentsChapter 1 - Harlequin Romance (1:37)Chapter 2 - An Unrequited Love (6:36)Chapter 3 - The Great Gatsby (11:24)Chapter 4 - A Requited Love (16:26)Chapter 5 - The Airport Scene (19:02)Chapter 6 - Questions About Love (22:53)Chapter 7 - Not a Case of Love at First Sight (25:43)Chapter 8 - Expectations of Love (27:34)Chapter 9 - Don’t read this book! (applies to children) (31:21)Chapter 10 - Joy Revolution (33:40)Chapter 11 - Good Grief (36:45)Chapter 12 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:22)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupNicola YoonEVERYTHING, EVERYTHING - Official Trailer 2THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR - Official TrailerJoy Revolution, Imprint Led by Nicola Yoon and David Yoon, to Launch Inaugural List in Spring 2023 | Penguin Random HouseJoy Revolution Books (@joyrevbooks) • Instagram photos and videosThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"I'm putting every single ounce of who I am into every single book that I write, so y'all know to expect the blackest books you have ever read from yours truly.”  - Derrick BarnesDerrick Barnes’ introduction to vulnerable storytelling was through the jazz and R&B records he found in his family’s collection. For young Derrick, reading the liner notes in albums was just as important as any other kind of reading. Eventually, artists like Prince, Rakim, and John Coltrane taught him about the power in simply and truly being yourself. Inspired, young Derrick began writing his own poetry and short stories, which served as the beginning of a long and fruitful writing career. A career that includes being the first black creative copywriter for Hallmark cards.In his work as an author, Derrick embodies the authenticity of his idols, being uncompromising in his goal to tell an array of black stories, for black kids. Although already an established writer, Derrick’s breakthrough picture book, "Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut" brought him national attention and accolades such as the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Award. More recently he earned a National Book Award honor for the graphic novel “Victory Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice.” In this episode, Derrick tells the story of how music inspired him to write, how his idols taught him to never compromise his voice as a black man, and why he considers himself a freedom fighter. ***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In Derrick’s reading challenge, "Resistance and Resilience" he invited us to read powerful stories of resilience from America’s black history.You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Connie Sharp, a Librarian Training and Development Specialist at Metro Nashville Public Schools. She told us about how her district utilizes Beanstack with community partnerships to encourage students to read.ContentsChapter 1 - Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B (1:59)Chapter 2 - Literacy and Lyrics (6:31)Chapter 3 - A Hallmark Story (9:11)Chapter 4 - The Fresh Cut (12:52)Chapter 5 - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (19:22)Chapter 6 - Freedom Fighter (25:00)Chapter 7 - The Blackest Books (28:56)Chapter 8 - The Legacy of Derrick Barnes (31:29)  Chapter 9 - Resistance and Resilience (35:31)Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (37:29)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupDerrick BarnesCaleb McLaughlin Reads "Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut" | Bookmarks | Netflix JrVictory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice - National Book FoundationThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"I'm a bad liar. So I'm just like, I'm really good at telling the truth.”  - Brandy ColbertGoing down internet rabbit holes and discovering everything there is to know about random subjects is a relaxing way to spend an evening, according to Brandy Colbert. This passion for research is part of the secret sauce that helps her build such deep and believable characters in her fiction work. In her nonfiction writing, Brandy’s ability to bring humanity to the real “characters” in the story is what brings history to life. Brandy is a true acolyte of the writing craft. She spent her youth creating stories of her own and occasionally borrowing and reinterpreting tales from TV. After studying journalism in college she spent the early stages of her career contributing to niche magazines, where she honed her research prowess.Today, Brandy brings all those skills together to write gripping, detail-oriented, character-driven fiction and nonfiction stories. Brandy Colbert is known for works such as "Little & Lion," which won the Stonewall Book Award, "The Only Black Girls in Town," and "Pointe". Meanwhile, her nonfiction book about the Tulsa Race Massacre, "Black Birds in the Sky" won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award.In this episode, she tells us where she developed and honed her research skills, how she brings characters to life, and why a character by any other name is just…. not the same character.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In Brandy’s reading challenge, "Powerful Nonfiction" she challenges us to read a list of nonfiction books that she says will, “open minds, challenge assumptions, and highlight the power of historical truth.”  You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Cindy Philbeck, Teacher-Librarian at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She told us a heartwarming story about a student's discovery of Sabaa Tahir's All My Rage.ContentsChapter 1 - Reading in the Ozarks (1:47)Chapter 2 - Early heartbreaks (5:54)Chapter 3 - A Midwestern college experience (11:57)Chapter 4 - A Humanist View (14:00)Chapter 5 - Women’s muscles (17:43)Chapter 6 - Rejections (19:58)Chapter 7 - Write what you know research (23:55)Chapter 8 - A bad liar (27:37)Chapter 9 - Black Jewish Lesbians (exist) (30:19)Chapter 10 - Powerful Nonfiction (36:55)Chapter 11 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (37:44)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupBrandy ColbertBrandy Colbert (@brandycolbert) • Instagram photos and videosTRANSCRIBED as PUBLIC SERVICE Toni Morrison at Portland State, May 30, 1975 Transcribed by Keisha E. McKenzieThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"Books can be the perfect prescriptions to let us know that we're going to be okay.”  - John SchuJohn Schu’s entire life has been shaped by books. As a kid, he fell in love with Shel Silverstein; Emily Dickinson comforted him as he was battling an eating disorder, and “The One and Only Ivan,” well, that book changed his life. In fact, it nearly put him into debt (he tells that story in the episode!)The powerful impact books have had on his life inspired him to dedicate his life to sharing this power with everyone he can. His career as an educator led him to the library, the library led him across America, and now he has started a new career as a writer of stories himself.John made his debut with "This is a School," followed by "This is a Story" and "The Gift of Story." However, in his latest work, "Louder Than Hunger," he bravely delves into a new realm of vulnerability. This semi-autobiographical tale draws from the most challenging period in his life, navigating the depths of his battle with anorexia.In this episode, Mr. Schu, as in Mr.SchuReads,  tells us about the transformative reads that shaped his life and explains how some of those stories helped him and some actually harmed him. We’ll hear how he became an author, and about the emotional toll it took to write “Louder Than Hunger.”***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In John’s reading challenge, Story Within a Story, he wants us to read the actual books found in the pages of his book, “This is a Story.”You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Amanda Maslanka, a 26-year veteran in education and an elementary school librarian in South Houston. She offered valuable advice for parents and caregivers to get kids excited about reading.ContentsChapter 1 - Mr.SchuReads’ Grandma (2:13)Chapter 2 - An Internal Struggle (5:37)Chapter 3 - Recovery and Emily Dickinson (9:29)Chapter 4 - Best Teacher Ever (11:00)Chapter 5 - Becoming a Writer (15:24)Chapter 6 - The One and Only Ivan (16:04)Chapter 7 - Power to Heal, Power to Harm (23:30)Chapter 8 - Ready to Share (28:27)Chapter 9 - Story Within a Story (34:17)Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:57)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupJohn SchuMr. Schu ReadsLouder Than Hunger by John Schu | GoodreadsThe One and Only IvanThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
On Today's Show"It's practice. Vulnerability is practice. It is learning that you can do things and say things that seem scary, but ultimately know that you're safe.”  - Mark OshiroMark Oshiro was taught to fear the world. To be someone they were not and to repress someone they were. But books were an escape. Books taught them that freedom was possible.Mark spent over a decade blogging about the stories they consumed, empathizing with characters, criticizing choices, and embracing every person's journey. But then they realized it was their turn to share, and in that sharing, they learned the transformative power of storytelling from the other side of the pages. They knew the healing power of vulnerability.Mark debuted on the YA scene with their 2018 novel “Anger is a Gift” and has since written titles such as “Each of Us a Desert" and the latest installment in the Percy Jackson universe, “The Sun and the Star.” But their recent semi-autobiographical novel, 'Into The Light,' represents their most ultimate and vulnerable storytelling to date.In this episode, Mark shares their life story and reflects on the refuge that books and libraries offered them as a youth from an abusive household. They also discuss how lowering their emotional defenses led them to discover the healing power of vulnerability.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In Mark’s reading challenge, "Stories of Vulnerability," they want us to explore other stories with the same rawness they bring to their work.You can find their list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Cindy Philbeck, a teacher librarian at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She told us about her library's lunchtime strategy that encourages students to visit and see the space as a refuge.ContentsChapter 1 - A Controlled Environment (2:34)Chapter 2 - Safety in Books (7:14)Chapter 3 - Losing Grip (11:13)Chapter 4 - We Are Okay (20:41)Chapter 5 - Mark Does Stuff (lots of stuff) (22:53)Chapter 6 - The Practice of Vulnerability (28:32)Chapter 7 - Closure? (33:40)Chapter 8 - Stories of Vulnerability (37:45)Chapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:58)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupMark OshiroMark Does StuffAnger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro | GoodreadsWe Are Okay by Nina LaCourCindy Phillbeck's Library (this week’s featured librarian)The Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
With the 2023 year coming to a close (our first full year in production!), we wanted to celebrate. And what better way to do that than high school yearbook superlative style?Welcome to a special edition of The Reading Culture podcast – "The Reading Culture: Yearbook."In this episode, we're rolling out the red carpet to unveil "The Readies," an award show of sorts, to remember the standout moments and stories from the show this year.Yes, it's a clip show. We'll relive the "Most Hilarious Admission," "Most Moving Parenting Story," and "Most Emo Moment," and we'll hand out the "I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying" and name the author "Most Likely to Build a Functional Spaceship." Think you know who gets that one? And there's even more than those!Join us as we reflect back on some of the best moments of The Reading Culture.Host: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"It's not like I haven't experienced pain or tragedy or grief in my life, and it's not like I want to deny that. I don't think that that's the entirety of my song. When I want to look back on my life, I want to look at all the amazing things and experiences I had because that's what makes the time we have in this world so incredibly special, is that we have these connections, we have these experiences with people.” - Oge MoraLife is full of small pleasures, bits of magic in ordinary moments that so often go underappreciated. Oge Mora wants to draw attention to those small things and show us the true depth and meaning those moments have in our lives.In her work as a collage artist, she takes bits and pieces of scrap material and shows us their beauty when all put together. Much like her stories, we are shown that small things are what make the big things, like a Saturday spent with a loved one, or the enticing aroma of an old family recipe. Oge Mora burst onto the kid lit scene with her picture book “Thank You, Omu!”, a book that earned her a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award, and a host of other accolades. She was also a 2021 Forbes 303 Under 30 lister. In this episode, Oge tells us about the community support that built the foundation for her career, the art school epiphany that shifted her perspective from shame to pride, and why she wants her books to feel like a cup of hot cocoa. If you're looking for a moment of joy, you have found it here. ***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In Oge’s reading challenge, "Story Collage" she shares some of her favorite picture books with collage illustrations.You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Alli Buffington, Library Media Specialist at Holley Navarre Intermediate School in Santa Rosa County, Florida. She’ll tell us about the most successful reading challenge she’s run at her school.ContentsChapter 1 - Repeat Renewals (2:31)Chapter 2 - Sister Catherine and The Doodler (7:13)Chapter 3 - A Street Called Home (14:27)Chapter 4 - That Little Bit of Shift (18:40)Chapter 5 - An Homage to Connection With Others (25:28)Chapter 6 - More of Less, and More (32:12)Chapter 7 - Collage of Stories (32:57)Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (34:15)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupOge MoraForbes 30 Under 30 - Oge MoraOge Mora (@oge_mora) • Instagram photos and videosColumbus Public LibraryKing Arts Complex“A Street Called Home” Mural – 2005 – Kristine SchramerAminah RobinsonRomare BeardenAlli Buffington's Library (this week’s featured librarian)The Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"There's these universal truths [...] specific details, but universal feelings and universal experiences that people hopefully can relate to. And that's what I go for in all of my books. Common humanity.” - Hena KhanHena Khan didn’t believe her perspective mattered. As a Pakistani-American Muslim, she grew up not seeing her or her family reflected in the media she was consuming. As any kid might do, she concluded that it was simply because her experience was not important, a realization that became clearer in hindsight. Recalling her childhood writing, she discovered she had unintentionally white-washed her own homemade family newspaper.Building confidence in her perspective was a gradual process, extending into adulthood. Initially lacking self-assurance, she began writing while toning down her cultural identity to conform to perceived publisher expectations. Over time, her confidence grew, and today, she is recognized for authentically portraying stories rooted in her culture and religion.Reflecting on her own reading experiences, Hena values shared human experiences that transcend cultural backgrounds. She aims to demonstrate that these relatable moments exist in stories featuring non-white characters and diverse cultures.Renowned for works such as "Amina's Voice," its sequel "Amina's Song," the "Zara's Rules" series, and "More to the Story," Hena Khan shares her journey of grappling with invisibility as a young reader and the evolution of her faith in herself and her unique perspective. She also recounts the unexpected connection to a book about Christian white sisters in the 1800s in her unconscious quest for stories reflecting her Muslim immigrant family.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In Hena’s reading challenge, "Read Desi" she encourages us to celebrate South Asian American writers.You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Allie Buffington, Library Media Specialist at  Holley Navarre Intermediate School in Santa Rosa County, Florida. She tells us about the importance of making the library a space that kids want to come back to.ContentsChapter 1 - “Religious Holiday” (2:38)Chapter 2 - Gogol Search (6:16)Chapter 3 - Little Women (and the Khanicles) (9:43)Chapter 4 - Three Cheers From Andrea (18:17)Chapter 5 - Just Living (22:18)Chapter 6 - Common Humanity (30:20)Chapter 7 - Curious About Curious George (33:50)Chapter 8 - The Door is Open (35:31)Chapter 9 - Read Desi (37:28)Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:54)LinksThe Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter Signup (for bonus content)Hena KhanLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott | GoodreadsHena Khan's More to the Story is a Love Letter to Little Women | School Library JournalSikh temple shooting in Wisconsin The Salam School for Girls Alli Buffington's Library (this week’s featured librarian)The Reading Culture on Instagram (to see reels of author conversations)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
"Don't follow your dreams if that's the only thing you're doing. Ask yourself, what will make you most useful? What will make you most, in terms of a purpose, help you do meaningful work?” - Daniel NayeriYou want Daniel Nayeri at your dinner party. Always with a story or an insightful question, it turns out he is also the person you want on your podcast! The Iranian-American author of the Printz Award-winning “Everything Sad is Untrue,” and the more recent “The Many Assassinations of Samir, Seller of Dreams,” offered up fresh conversation and a good deal of humor. As a writer, Daniel Nayeri is deeply aware of the impact his writing has on readers. As he noted in our conversation, there is perhaps no more intimate power than becoming the dialogue in one’s head. And Daniel feels strongly about using that power to have a positive impact on those who read his words. Part of his purpose, or obligation, he believes, is to “remystify the world.” Just wait until we talk about why cherries grow in pairs! In this episode, Daniel explains what he means by remystifying the world, talks about the roadside storyteller that initiated his storytelling journey, and shares his views on purpose (why he takes his so seriously). From his life-changing experience with the Junior Great Books program in elementary school to his current film and book projects, Daniel delves deep into his role as storyteller. ***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In Daniel’s reading challenge, "Wise Shorts" he keeps our work and life load in mind offering a curated selection of short stories, reminding us that even the smallest things can have a major impact.You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Nikki Hayter, Library Manager at Franklin Avenue Library in Des Moines, Iowa. Nikki tells us about a program that highlights the deep impact libraries have on communities.ContentsChapter 1 - The Ferris Wheel and The Storyteller (2:15)Chapter 2 - A Retired Conan the Barbarian (6:43)Chapter 3 - Alberic The Wise (11:30)Chapter 4 - Remystifying the world (7:18)Chapter 5 - You get a memoir! And you get a memoir! And… (25:25)Chapter 6 - How to be interesting (28:20)Chapter 7 - Wise Shorts (33:31)Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (34:32)LinksThe Reading CultureDaniel NayeriAlberic the Wise by Norton Juster | GoodreadsThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
We revisit our Halloween special episode with Lamar Giles.******On Today's Show"The fear is like the ramp on the roller coaster. It's that build-up of adrenaline intention that you're having in that moment when that roller coaster is cranking. It's not the same fear of you walking through a dark alley at night and you sense someone's behind you in real life. That's a different type of fear that I don't know that anybody really wants. This is controlled fear. This is me going into it saying, Okay, I know this part's gonna be scary, but this part's gonna be fun and I want all of it." - Lamar GilesLamar Giles says horror is a pressure valve. It has the ability to release pent-up anxiety and fear in a controlled, safe, and fun environment. That's why he'll watch Hellraiser at 4 a.m. to comfort himself when he can't sleep. While the genre isn't for everyone, he knows there are other young readers that will resonate with it the same way he did when he first read Stephen King at 11 years old.Giles' career has been full of mystery and thriller stories, but with the 2022 release of The Getaway, he has finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of writing a true horror novel. He tells us more about how the genre has helped him in his life and why he thinks kids resonate with his writing.ContentsChapter 1 - Growing Up as Lamar Giles (3:16)Chapter 2 - The Dinosaur in the Cereal Box (5:48)Chapter 3 - The Draw to Horror (8:26)Chapter 4 - It (9:30)Chapter 5 - The Pressure Valve (13:54)Chapter 6 - Connecting with Young Readers (17:23)Chapter 7 - Writing Black Characters (16:19)Chapter 8 - Publishing Horror (20:19)Chapter 9 - The Getaway (22:07)Chapter 10 - A Vehicle for Social Commentary (23:59)Chapter 11 - Fear On Screen (25:10)Chapter 12 - Scary Good Stories (27:18)Chapter 13 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (27:53)This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Christopher Parker, a media specialist at Blue Ridge Elementary in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Today he shares with us more about his most successful library program, 'Book Buddies'. LinksLamar GilesDon Cheadle & Sony Pictures TV Developing YA Book ‘The Getaway’ For TV – DeadlineThe Reading Culture PodcastBeanstackHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
On Today's Show"It (TV) was my junk food, but also it was my in with the kids to be able to talk about pop culture, to know all the little nuances and jokes about the cultural zeitgeist things.” - Dan SantatMedia and stories around us around us are more than just entertainment. They provide a common space, a piece of the world around us that connects us to others. We learn from these stories, shape our own views and ideas, and listen to and share these ideas with others. Dan Santat, a son of Thai immigrants in rural SoCal, found solace and belonging in the storytelling of 80's TV shows and movies, connecting with others' experiences and perspectives. His fascination with storytelling coupled with his talent for drawing led him on a journey of self-discovery that would ultimately diverge from the career path his parents had urged him to pursue.In this episode, Dan shares openly about his fraught relationship with his dad. Dan’s honesty is humorous and nostalgic and real all at once. He talks about the freedoms and limitations of growing up in the 1980s and how they helped him discover a passion for storytelling as a means of communicating. Dan also tells us about his experience of embracing art, despite his parents' differing expectations, and how his journey has impacted the messages he imparts to students he meets today.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In his reading challenge, "Profound Panels" Dan wants listeners to embrace the hidden wisdom in the medium that first sparked his love of storytelling: comics.You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.This episode’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Connie Sharpe from Metro Nashville Public Schools. She told us about the importance of the connection between administrators and librarians. ContentsChapter 1 - Thai in SoCal (2:25)Chapter 2 - Crime Fighting (vehicle here) (6:55)Chapter 3 - The Trial and Death of Socrates (12:59)Chapter 4 - A Book About Dan (21:04)Chapter 5 - Passing on Heritage (and advice) (24:09)Chapter 6 - A Storyteller’s Legacy (31:03)Chapter 7 - Profound Panels (34:17)Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:40)LinksThe Reading CultureDan SantatDan Santat | Twitter, Instagram, Facebook | LinktreeThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureLonglist for National Book Award for Young People’s LiteratureShane (movie) - Dan’s dad’s favorite movie before moving to AmericaX-Men (comics that changed Dan’s life)Flowers in the Attic (how were we allowed to read this at such a young age?!)The Trial and Death of Socrates (a critical book for Dan)The Replacements (Dan’s show on Disney)Kung Fu: The Movie (starring David Carradine…hmmm)Dan’s acceptance speech at Caldecott-Newbery banquetA conversation about “Drawn Together” by Dan and Minh LêAmerican Born Chinese (a book that is very important for Dan)Dan SantatDan Santat | Twitter, Instagram, Facebook | LinktreeConnie Sharp at MNPS (this week’s featured librarian)The Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Host: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
On Today's Show"I think that has a lot to do with why I was so interested in writing for children. It's like, I was trying to heal. I was trying to heal my childhood experiences through writing, through these characters.” - Kacen CallenderJust as books provide readers with a space to learn, see themselves, reflect, and cope with their inner thoughts, writing has served as a means for Kacen Callender to process and heal from their own trauma. Throughout their writing journey, Kacen has traversed the various stages and ages of their life, opening wounds and finding ways to heal them through fiction. This transformative process began with their debut novel “Hurricane Child” in 2018 which not only earned Kacen critical acclaim but also accolades such as the Stonewall Book Award and Lambda Literary Award. Since then, Kacen has authored other titles such as “Felix Ever After” and “King and the Dragonflies”, the latter of which won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Now, Kacen is entering the next phase in their writing journey, delving into the enduring adult repercussions of childhood trauma.Kacen’s vulnerable and emotional storytelling has had profound impacts on readers around the world, particularly Queer readers who often find their own journeys reflected in Kacen’s work. In this episode, Kacen shares more about their personal journey of processing trauma through writing. They also discuss how fanfiction played a pivotal role in inspiring their creative path and how the fictional storyline within a Canadian teen drama that helped them come to terms with their own identity.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In their reading challenge, "Trans YA Spec"  Kacen wants readers to imagine freedom for the trans community through works of speculative fiction.You can find their list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.This episode’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Meredith Derrick, library coordinator for Klein Independent School District outside of Houston, Texas. She shares a funny story about a student’s attempt at a thoughtful teacher appreciation surprise.ContentsChapter 1 - Reckoning with TraumaChapter 2 - Annie JohnChapter 3 - Fiction in Our Own HandsChapter 4 - Honest RepresentationChapter 5 - The Journey ContinuesChapter 6 - Dream StateChapter 7 - Diversity on the ShelvesChapter 8 - Trans YA SpecChapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian LinksThe Reading CultureKacen CallenderFan FictionAdam Torres (Degrassi)Annie JohnStonewall Book Award | Kacen CallenderKlein ISDThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
On Today's Show"I'm just being real. I'm telling my story. I think Nikki Giovanni calls it dancing naked on the floor. I am unafraid and I'm doing my dance… I don't feel like I can go wrong if I'm just being me.” - Kwame AlexanderExciting reluctant middle school kids about reading (or really, anything) can be a battle. Getting them to think reading is cool is another. Kwame Alexander excels at both. His ability to authentically relate to his readers is a skill around which he has built his career.Kwame is beloved by parents, educators, and students, for his ability to ignite a love of reading (especially middle school boys) through poetry and characters who reflect their real experiences. But his impact extends beyond just an introduction to books, he also opens the door for readers to explore their own emotional depths. As he tells us, “I think part of my job is just to show a different side of masculinity.”Kwame is best known "The Crossover," "The Undefeated," "The Door of No Return," and numerous other novels and poetry collections. He also recently authored his memoir "Why Fathers Cry at Night." He won the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Book Award among many other awards, and this year "The Crossover" was adapted into a Disney Plus original TV series. In this episode, he tells us about his own upbringing surrounded by Black storytelling and literature, reveals his secret to making middle-schoolers think he’s “cool”, and shares about a letter he received (which was “not fan mail”) that inspired a surprise visit to an unsuspecting kid.***Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. ***In his reading challenge, "Blackout,"  Kwame wants listeners to utilize their favourite books to look inward and make some art of their own.You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.This episode’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Kirsten, the programming specialist for the Indianapolis Public Library. She shares some moving stories about a book club she runs for teens at a residential treatment facility. ***ContentsChapter 1 - Glasses first (2:10)Chapter 2 - Mom’s stories, dad’s garage (3:53)Chapter 3 - Love After Love (9:11)Chapter 4 - The “Reluctant” Readers (14:01)Chapter 5 - Kwame Shows Up (17:50)Chapter 6 - America’s Next Great Authors (24:18)Chapter 7 - Blackout (27:34)Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (28:09)LinksThe Reading CultureKwame AlexanderFolly IslandNYT article by Teddy Wayne about the potential benefits of clutterBeef, No ChickenLove After Love by Derek WalcottKwame’s Newbery Banquet SpeechWhy Fathers Cry: The Podcast | Kwame Alexander#KwameShowsUpNikki GiovanniCollected Poems, 1948-1984 -  Derek WalcottThe Crossover | Official Trailer | Disney+America's Next Great AuthorThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey
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Comments (2)

Michael

Didi you get abducted by Aliens ? I have heard that you can make deals with them to sell mèn to them for $10 each andi up to 10 at a time andi you can take pictures with them andi also with the Aliens if You are wearing a white t-shirt andi holding a slurpee andi if you give The Alien The slurpee it will tell you a Secret about heavenly knowledge but be careful - they sometimes like to bite. dont tell anyone. thank you. have fun. bye -your friend Randall

Jul 4th
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Michael

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Jul 4th
Reply