Staying Connected to Literature for Children, Tweens, and Teens
1. I stay connected by staying current. I read as many new books as I can. I love taking a stack of picture books and diving into them. I often set aside time at the office to have lunch with picture books. During the half hour I take for lunch, I can read several picture books. On days when the weather nixes venturing out, I can read a book or two or sometimes three.
2. I stay connected by being part of several reading communities. I participate in #bookaday regularly. I am part of the Nerdy Book Club and, like Paul, sometimes get the thrill of writing a post for them. I read as part of my committee work. I am reading with my ears currently as part of my work on the Audies. But I am also serving now on the Cybills YA Nonfiction Committee and reading the 5 finalists (THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SHOT, BREAKFAST ON MARS, IMPRISONED: THE BETRAYAL OF JAPANESE AMERICANS DURING WORLD WAR II, THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX, and THE BRONTE SISTERS).
3. I stay connected by presenting workshops. I have two presentations in January and a couple more in February which will allow me to talk about books and reading to hundreds of teachers and librarians. Some sessions are an hour, some three, some all-day. No matter the topic, books will work their way into the presentation. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I anticipate doing it until I can no longer recall titles and authors.
4. I stay current by putting in the time. I speak about books. I write about books in columns, online, in my blogs, and in the books and chapters I write. But FIRST, I spend the time reading. I have read 25 books so far this year. I keep a running record of what I read (mostly so I will not forget a titles). I make time to read. I never talk about a book I have not read (and found valuable in some way for some reader).
5. I stay current by connecting new books with older titles. I wrote READING LADDERS because I cannot help but make connections between and among books. When I read a new book I am often struck by flashes of connections to older titles. A character will remind me of an old favorite; the themes will connect. Sometimes it is simply an odd reference point or a chance mention that will make me recall an older book. As the Girl Scouts sing, "Make new friends, but keep the old." I do that with books, too.
Thanks again, Paul, for the chance to reflect on reading and be aware of our need to be intention-al.