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I Am Forty, Like Janie

I Am Forty, Like Janie

There are certain books I go back to time and time again for rereading. A few are: The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Year of the Flood, The Gold Cell. They each imprinted on me when I first read them, and I can’t let them go. Each … Continue reading

Tween/Teen Boy Summer Reading

Tween/Teen Boy Summer Reading

My dear friend Lori (who humbly took on the moniker “the other Lori” when I met her my second year of doctoral work and her first year, thus making me just “Lori”), messaged me the other night that her 13 year old nephew was staying with her for the summer and she was trying to … Continue reading

Who Maya Angelou was to Me

Who Maya Angelou was to Me

Way back in the summer of 1997, I had just graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Cultural Studies and French. I had a summer job at Duke University Press where I xeroxed manuscripts submitted to academic journals and worked with a witty and funny handful of editors whom … Continue reading

How to Teach the N-word

How to Teach the N-word

The longer I live, the more questions I have and the more I want to understand race in this country of ours. I have always thought about race relations a great deal, but once I started teaching in Brooklyn issues of race became my daily lived experience. I spent 11 years as the only White … Continue reading

28 Reasons

28 Reasons

I really, really hope all of you out there were able to catch the Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit/video for Black History Month that aired early this month. Titled “28 Reasons,” it’d be a great source for tomorrow, February 28th, the last day of Black History Month: I about died laughing and of discomfort when … Continue reading

World Book Night, 2014: Cheryl Strayed!

I literally squealed with excitement when I heard yesterday that our House within our community college was selected for a second year to hand out books for World Book Night. Last year we handed out books and I swear to you, the students had the best. time. ever. doing it. I wrote about their experiences … Continue reading

Black History Month: “X” and Sam Cooke

Black History Month: “X” and Sam Cooke

I always feel torn about relegated “months” of appreciation. Historically marginalized groups should be recognized within curriculum–I have no argument with that–but I also believe that a well-constructed curriculum should explore many races/groups throughout the entire year in conversation with one another. The, “It’s February so everything we read needs to be by a Black … Continue reading

The Rare Experience of Punctum

The Rare Experience of Punctum

When I wrote the curriculum for the Arts in NYC course that I am currently teaching at my community college, I wanted a concept to guide it. I have written before about two amazing professors from my undergraduate experience who largely formed  how I study and experience all forms of art: Carol Mavor and elin … Continue reading

My Little Test Taker

My Little Test Taker

(This was written/posted about a week ago…then WordPress opened  on my iPhone in my bag to my posts page, and I deleted this post on accident. Ugh. Therefore–repost!) Sunday afternoon/evening brings the inevitable “Have you done all your homework?” question to Alexandra, our first grader. Each weekend she has to read two level-appropriate books, do … Continue reading

Collaborative Reading Exercise

Whenever I have a lesson planning mental block, I pull out my trustworthy NYCWP Satellite Institute binder. A few weeks back, I had on the syllabus that I would go over the text the students had read in Summerbridge: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Saffron Foer. We were to talk about the idea … Continue reading