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MTYT: The Day You Begin

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati and Marilyn Carpenter, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University

In the third MYTYT of April, Holly and Marilyn reflect on kindness through the lens of different picturebooks. This week, they read award-winning Jacqueline Woodson’s newest picturebook, The Day You Begin, which was illustrated by Rafael López. They also consider the order of this month’s text set and how to present these stories to a class.

The Day You Begin Continue reading

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The Choice to Make a Difference: No Crystal Stair

by Ann Parker, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona

Today’s post is a continuation of the presentation with Jerry Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson, and Vaunda M. Nelson that I attended on March 10, 2013 at the Tucson Festival of Books. The presentation was entitled “The Choice to Make a Difference”. This week, Vaunda M. Nelson describes the writing of her book No Crystal Stair. Continue reading

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The Choice to Make a Difference: A Ripple Effect

by Ann Parker, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona

This is the second blog in a series sharing a presentation by Jacqueline Woodson, Jerry Pinkney, and Vaunda M. Nelson entitled “The Choice to Make a Difference” at the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books. Here, Jacqueline Woodson shares her process for writing her book Each Kindness. The book tells the story of a young girl, Chloe, who ignores the new girl in school, even though Maya tries to make friends. After Maya leaves, Chloe realizes she missed an opportunity to show kindness to another person. Continue reading

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Responding To Literature as A Community: Transactions with Feathers

By Andrea García, Hofstra University



Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson

Book cover for FeathersThere are authors whose words stay with us long after we have turned the last page and placed the book back in our shelves. For me, Jacqueline Woodson is one of those authors, whose writing stays in my mind, as I revisit the emotions evoked by the experiences of the characters in her stories. In her book Feathers we meet Frannie, a six-grade girl who is growing up in a segregated town during the 1970’s. Frannie’s teacher introduced her to Emily Dickinson’s poem Hope, and Frannie is captivated by the words in the poem. She copies them down in her notebook, and is determined to find out their true meaning. Is hope supposed to feel as light as a feather? Continue reading