professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Saving money and perhaps some of my hair

I noted on Facebook last week that NCTE wanted me to UPGRADE my membership by adding another journal to my membership which was die to lapse next month. Now the word UPGRADE calls to mind something different for me. Upgrade means moving to first class on a plane, having concierge service in a hotel, getting a bigger car when I rent one. Adding a journal is not something I associate with an UPGRADE. Instead, I did renew my membership (two reasons: I believe in supporting my profession even when it does not support me; I have to retain membership as Executive Director of ALAN), but I dropped the one journal I still subscribed to. It saved me 30% (the cost of a new pair of shoes, an upgrade for sure). I have long subscribed to at least two journals from NCTE, and now I had none. Would I miss that I wondered? And then I received an email letting me know the most recent journal was available for me online. I clicked on the link and read through the Table of Contents and assured myself that I had done the right thing. If I continued to receive VOICES FROM THE MIDDLE, hat journal begun under the leadership of Barbieri and Rief and then continued under Beers, I would begin pulling out my hair, muttering under my breath, and feeling the need to do more than mutter and pull.

The YA column from VM has been discussing not new YA books (and for full disclosure, I wrote that column while Kylene was editor) but CCSS Exemplar Texts. This current column talks about whether or not the Exemplar Texts deserve to become the new canon (I am fairly certain that the answer is no, but there is some waffling). There was reference to 5 texts to Grades 4-5 (and technically, this is not middle for me, but I will let that pass). Here are the texts: ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TUCK EVERLASTING, THE BLACK STALLION, THE LITTLE PRINCE, and THE SECRET GARDEN. Let me pick a not here: the copyright dates were not original. I hope this was not deliberate so as to suggest there are contemporary titles on this list of five (the earliest is almost 40 years old). Here are the dates given: ALICE (1962), LITTLE PRINCE (2000), BLACK STALLION (2008), TUCK EVERLASTING (1975), and THE SECRET GARDEN (1985). Here are the correct dates, just as an FYI: ALICE (1865), STALLION (1941), LITTLE PRINCE (1943), TUCK EVERLASTING was correct, SECRET GARDEN (1911).

Okay, that is neither here nor there. However, if this is for 4-5 grade, I do question the inclusion of LITTLE PRINCE and even, I think ALICE IN WONDERLAND. I understand the elements of how these books are measured: text complexity, breadth, and quality although they do not represent more complexity/difficulty as there is no real breadth here) but I wonder about one of the statements made in this column about how the books were selected. Once more we are told that CCSS sought input from a wide variety of folks. Wish I knew which of those consulted suggested LITTLE PRINCE. Perhaps they are the same people who boast about their favorite childhood book being PROFILES IN COURAGE which they read as a child.

So, I am a little richer for dropping the journals both financially and personally. Someone asked when I posted to FB about dropping journals which journals I still found useful. So, here they are here: VOYA, HORN BOOK, BOOKLIST, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, YALSA (a journal from YALSA). You see, when I read a YA column, I want to encounter actual books, not a reflection on canons new and old. I like the definition Joan Kindig offered for canon in her recent book. She defines canon as a set of books we hold sacred. Imagine what your canon would be if you could include books you and your students find sacred?
Tags: ccss, journals, missing the mark, sell outs
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