Happy July 4! Read “America,” a poem by Claude Mckay

America

Claude McKay
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
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Happy July 4! Read “America,” a poem by Claude Mckay

Did you know that it is literacy advocacy month?

Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care

In honor of NCTE’s celebration of Advocacy Month focusing on Literacy Education Advocacy, throughout March, Teachers, Parents, Profs: Writers Who Care is hosting a Flipgrid to showcase the many ways that writing can be used as a tool for advocacy. How do you use writing as a tool for literacy advocacy? We invite you to share your response by recording a short video to add to our grid at flipgrid.com/a4m3riw.  Just click this link and then the green “plus” button to contribute.

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-10-13-58-am flipgrid.com/a4m3riw

At the end of March, we’ll share the responses we’ve received as part of a related Writers Who Care post. We look forward to hearing how you use writing as a tool for literacy advocacy.

Please join us as advocates this month!

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Did you know that it is literacy advocacy month?

Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

20160210__USBooksJayAsher~1.jpg2016 was a tough year and I am not sad to see it coming to an end. Amidst news of war and death, despair and ridicule, I found myself escaping into literature to find solace. This holiday season, I found comfort in a story of forgiveness and redemption. Jay Asher’s What Light is a sweet, innocent tale of young love that left me feeling all of the good feels.

In this contemporary YA novel, Sierra, a teenager whose family moves from California to Oregon during the holiday season to run their family Christmas tree farm meets Caleb, a boy whose troubled past keeps most people in his small town from getting close to him. Although friends and family caution Sierra to distance herself from Caleb, the two develop an irrepressible attraction to one another. As the pair fumble through their first love, readers are charmed by their awkward, yet relatable interactions as our own middle and high school memories come rushing back.

Once again, Jay Asher draws readers in with his ability to develop meaningful characters and build suspense. While What Light is a much lighter read than the bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why, Asher’s talent for keeping readers invested in his characters is ever-present in his writing.

What Light was just what I needed right now. If you are looking for a break from the sadness that seems to be permeating the world, do yourself a favor: Curl up by the fire with a peppermint mocha and enjoy the feel-good novel, What Light.


Sara is a 7th grade English teacher in the State College Area School District. She enjoys reading and spending time with her two sons, husband, and dog.

Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

Friday Five: Alternative Gifts for Booklovers on Your List

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we’ve moved into the holiday giving season. Have a booklover on your list, but not sure what books to buy them? Here are 5 ideas:
1. Out of Print Clothing carries T-shirts, mugs, bags, and other gift-y items for the booklover on your list.
2. Donate books to a homeless shelter in your booklover’s name.
3. Buy a giftcard for your booklover to an independent bookstore near them.
4. Choose a booklover candle at Frostbeard on Etsy.
5. Buy a book *you* love and inscribe it to your booklover.

Peace, love, and books.

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Friday Five: Alternative Gifts for Booklovers on Your List

Just. One. Book.

Help out a fellow teacher who is collecting books for the school library. Read more below.

Throwing Chanclas

Just. One. Book.

I live in a town of 1200 people in the Northern Sierra Nevada –where it meets the Cascade Range near Mt. Lassen National Park and about two hours drive northwest of Reno, NV.  Two hundred of that population is students. Over the years as the population dwindled after mines closed, then mills–nothing except tourism and retirement have emerged as ‘industries.’ Many businesses have closed down and with it many things we take for granted—like libraries.

The local junior/senior high school has not been able to purchase new books since the 90s. Some of the “check outs” for old books are in the 1980s. There are no books by people of color in the library. Hardly any books by women are in the few book cases except your standard Austen and Lee. It’s an uninviting place. There hasn’t been a librarian for nearly a decade. And volunteers weren’t allowed. The…

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Just. One. Book.

Remembering Maya Angelou with her poem “Human Family”

Two years ago today we lost Maya Angelou (1928-2014). She lives on with us, though, through her poetry. Here’s a personal favorite:

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Remembering Maya Angelou with her poem “Human Family”

Friday 5: Reasons to Read Poet Warsan Shire

I’m always on the lookout for new poets to read (see my recent lit crush on Amit Majmudar in a recent post).  So when a student brought poems by Warsan Shire to class and read one aloud, I was immediately riveted for many reasons.  Here are 5 reasons why you should also check her poetry out:

  1. Students love her. The fact that a student brought her to my attention is significant, and she speaks to students in a way older poets do not. (Go here for a poem entitled: “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love“)
  2.  She has received the Brunel University‘s African Poetry Prize, chosen from a shortlist of six candidates out of a total 655 entries.
  3. Shire was the first Young Poet Laureate for London.
  4. She’s accessible, and you can even hear her read her poems online.
  5. Beyonce sampled Shire in her recent work Lemonade.  (She’s hip, she’s current, so even if I’m not, I can name a poet who is!)

Image below from The New Yorker article in 2015.

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Posted by Kate, VP Secondary, PCTELA

 

Friday 5: Reasons to Read Poet Warsan Shire