Why shouldn’t children’s writers talk of refugees, persecution and genocide? An essay in ‘The Guardian’ by Michael Rosen:
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Poetry is changing. New style. New voices of color. Here’s an article about some of the new poets from CNN:
Monday, October 11, 2021
‘I loved going to the library. It was the first time I ever saw Black newspapers and magazines like JET, Ebony, the Baltimore Afro-American, or the Chicago Defender. And I’ll never forget my librarian.’
― John Robert Lewis,
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
A conversation in ‘The Guardian’ with Jonathan Franzen a couple weeks away from the publication of his new big novel Crossroads:
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Monday, September 20, 2021
I had told myself and others and you that I’d probably get back to holding my sign this week. It had been since the pandemic started that I’d felt fulfilled like holding the sign fulfilled me. I set the alarm a little earlier last night. I put the sign out and the big bag I carry it in like I always did. But I woke up at 4-something this morning and couldn’t sleep and thought about today and decided there so much shakiness going on in the schools to get it right with vaccines and masks that me on the sidewalk with my sign would be just another thing. I’ll wait.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Monday, September 6, 2021
THE UN ESTIMATES THAT, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, about 1.5 billion children were out of school during the pandemic, with at least a third unable to access remote learning.
Now, as much of the developing world faces a combination of interrelated crises including extreme poverty, Covid-19, climate breakdown and intercommunal violence, there are growing fears for a ‘lost generation of learners’. (from ‘The Guardian’ article below):
Sunday, September 5, 2021
NO NAME EVEN
I bought three books
the other day
at the store I
the store my daughter used to
go in almost every day when
she lived in that neighborhood.
I had them send a fourth book
to a friend.
No I don’t need a card to
go with it
you don’t need to
even put my name.
One of your bookmarks
will be enough.
Friday, September 3, 2021
Yesterday after the storm of the night before it was beautifully clear and I took my afternoon walk to Union Square maybe 10 minutes from where I live. It’s where I saw the young man on the left with two stacks of books each bound with some straps. He was there to see if someone might want to buy any of them.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
‘What if there was a disease in Alexandria, she thought, and everybody died but me?
I’d go live at the library, she told herself. The notion was cheering. She saw herself reading by candlelight, shadows flickering on the ceiling above the labyrinth of shelves. She could take a suitcase from home–peanut butter and crackers, a blanket, a change of clothes–and pull together two of the big armchairs in the Reading Room to sleep on…’
― Donna Tartt,
Monday, August 30, 2021
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Saturday, August 21, 2021
This obituary of Eloise Greenfield was in the Times. She wrote a lot of books. When you read this, you’ll like the way she wrote her poems. The way her language worked, which makes the poems work. You’ll maybe want to read some lines again.
Thursday, August 19, 2021
How to open your own bookstore. Here are some tips from someone who did:
One of them: ‘Don’t start a bookshop just because you love books – start one because you have something new to bring to the table. Figuring out what that is will be a crucial move.’
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
THE LITERACY RATE in Afghanistan is 43%, among the world’s very lowest. Countries whose difficult names you’d think might be that low are in the 90%. Female literacy in Afghanistan is 29%. And these numbers are appreciably better than they once were.
Monday, August 16, 2021
After a lifetime dedicated to expanding literacy, Daniel Goldin now wants to build public spaces for Mexicans of different backgrounds to read, rest, and play. I’d never heard of him till I read this piece in ‘Tablet’ magazine:
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Jason Reynolds has written bestselling books for young people. He’s now the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. ‘The New Yorker’ profiled him in the new issue. Here’s a paragraph from it. The whole piece is linked below that:
…In April of this year, Reynolds paid a virtual visit to students at Coalinga Middle School, in central California, from his sunny home office. His oversized Library of Congress medal was conspicuous hanging from his neck. He explained his role as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: “What I’m supposed to do is encourage all the young people to read and write, right?” He continued, “If my teen-age homie don’t like to read, and I show up and I’m, like, ‘Hey, I know you don’t like reading, but guess what I’m getting ready to tell you? You got to read,’ they’re going to say . . . ‘No.’ That doesn’t work.”
Friday, August 13, 2021
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
I COULD SEE THE DOVES FROM MY DESK
It was a brick school
a grade school
a Catholic grade school
with the priest’s house
sharing the parking lot
it was that close
there was a big church there too
I don’t remember if there was a convent
for the nuns who taught at the school
one taught across the hall from me
she had those felt hand-made wall hangings
with doves on them and peace
she also had a Corita Kent poster and
she played folk songs on a guitar
it was 1970
she’s no longer a nun
I was teaching there to avoid going to Vietnam
so I liked the doves
she had on the wall.
Monday, August 2, 2021
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Monday, July 26, 2021
Rosenwald Schools. You may not have heard of them. Amazing that we didn’t know or hear much if anything about them. Booker T. Washington got with Julius Rosenwald head of Sears in Chicago in 1911 and from those discussions came a commitment from Rosenwald to help build and fund schools for under-served Black students in the South. From 1912 to 1937 Rosenwald helped underwrite 4,978 schools. Maya Angelou attended a Rosenwald School, so did Medgar Evers. John Lewis did too. He wrote the foreword to this book done by Andrew Feiler a photographer who took photos of some of the structures that still stand. Here’s a connection to an enlightening talk with Feiler which I just watched. I ordered the book from my bookstore after I watched:
Bob Moses a pioneer of the civil rights movement dies at 86.
In a 2014 interview with Julian Bond, Mr. Moses credited his parents with fostering his love of learning, recalling that they would collect books for him every week from the local library in Harlem.
Sunday, July 25, 2021
IN A NEW YORK TIMES PIECE ON summer schools going on right now: ‘This moment is critical. Research shows that students who do not learn to read proficiently by the beginning of fourth grade are likely to remain poor readers in high school, and are at higher risk of dropping out or failing to graduate on time.’
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Even on Saturdays, I come to my neighborhood library since it reopened. It’s a big room, bigger than mine or yours. The windows are bigger than mine or yours. There are more books of course. There if you need them. The photo is of the desk that I sit at with 23rd Street out the window a few feet behind me.
Monday, July 19, 2021
Movie/TV creative curious guy David Lynch does a very short daily weather report. I see it on youtube. It’s something to look at even if not much changes in his report from day to day. That partly LA and partly his way of seeing things:
There’s good book talk online. BOOK TV on C-SPAN2 for sure. But bookstores and publishers too. Go on youtube. Poetry and Prose is a DC bookstore that has an author conversation almost every day. The talk on these sites is way deeper and longer than you get on TV talk shows.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
This piece on Woody Guthrie was reprinted online by The New Yorker today. It’s Woody’s birthday. He was born in 1912.
Monday, July 12, 2021
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Even if you’re only half interested in the ‘60s and folk music and Bob Dylan and even if you are fully interested but Jesus you don’t want to see those same clips you’ve seen forever, this documentary is done in a way that’ll keep you watching. Every talking head is a talking head you’ll like because each is smart. It just showed up on youtube for me last night.