Summer Time Reading Time

The WeAreKidLit Summer Reading List is out and my work on award committees is done. For the first time in a very, very long time I can devote time to reading something besides youth literature. While I’d enjoy reading adult nonfiction, I am choosing to read professional development books. I’m teaching now, making it even more important to stay current. I thought I’d share some of what I’m reading.

The first book on my list is one I’ve actually finished reading. Literacy is Liberation: Working Toward Justice Through Culturally Relevant Teaching (ASCD)is written by Dr. Kim Parker, a practicing educator. In her book, she differentiates culturally responsive pedagogy from culturally relevant pedagogy. She explores research-based practices she’s developed that dismantle classroom inequities while creating structures to allow students to safely talk and participate more fully in their learning.  A few sample chapters are available online I easily related to this book, and I recommend it to educators who are beginning their understanding of liberatory education.

With it being summertime and few people using the library, I’m able to work through these books just reading a chapter or two a day. Just a bite at a time gets it done! Some books are harder to put down than others, but then there are books like Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race Theory, edited by Sofia Y. Leung, Jorge R. López-McKnight (MIT Press) that needs a break between chapters. In this edited volume, each chapter delivers a well develop application of CRT to a different library practice. While the chapter on youth librarianship was particularly relevant to me, so was reading about the impossibility of library neutrality if we’re being anti-racist; naming and identifying epistemic supremacy and learning about Ann Allen Shockley. This volume is a must read for any librarian, particularly those involved in critical, anti-racist, liberatory or social justice librarianship. Yes, it should be in your library.

I could create quite a stack of what else I’ll read but, I don’t want to get overwhelmed! That for me, will cause stagnation. I’m still readings journals and magazines as well as youth literature. The Summer Reading List is done, but there is next year’s to work on. And, I’ll be teaching YA literature again and hope to update some of my selections. I hope I can continue reading a chapter a day when the fall semester starts so I can get more books read. And I like being able to read what I want at an enjoyable pace. Some books, like Curious About George: Curious George, Cultural Icons, Colonialism and US Exceptionalism by Ray Lynn Schwartz-DuPre (University of Mississippi) (that I’ve just begun) and Bristol’s Pauper Children by Shirley Hodgson (Bristol Books) are for projects I’m trying to develop. I really do intend to publish on anthropomorphic simians. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but I want to find out more about my paternal grandmother who was one of the British Home Children. At 17, she became indentured and set sail from London to Toronto on a vessel with a hundred or so other young girls. This was at the turn of the 20th century and I’m really just learning her story. And so, I read!

People assume that librarians do nothing but read all day. Oh, if only that were true! When I worked in the high school library, I felt quite guilty about sitting at my desk reading and I carried that over to my current job as well. Librarians are busy! Our work isn’t just about the books on the shelves, but the people in our community.

I hope you’re finding the time to do whatever it is you enjoy doing this summer, whether its reading, swimming, visiting friends or binging a few good shows. Take care of yourselves!