Woke up this morning and heard a couple of bluejays screeching outside; put two slices of bread out on the fire escape for them, and next thing I knew, there was a flurry of blue and more than half a dozen bluejays descended! I’ve never seen so many up close, and it was great to finally see the distinction between males and females, to hear their beaks clicking as they battled one another for bread. All quiet outside now. Have to get to the park soon–today’s supposed to hit 90 degrees, and I don’t need to pass out from heatstroke as I walk around the park…
Two things to check out this morning: What a Girl Wants ~ Part 5 is up over at Chasing Ray. We struggled a bit with this topic; as a writer I *use* non-fiction material, but don’t generally think of what teens need when they’re writing reports. Here’s what I had to say:
While visiting my mother last month, I opened a drawer in my old desk and found a high school report I’d written on Wuthering Heights—on the front cover was a lovely image of Brontë, which I distinctly remembered cutting out of the musty encyclopedias we kept in the basement! As a professor, I began instructing my students not to use secondary sources because plagiarism was an issue, and I felt it was important for them to develop their own ideas and analyses instead of relying on theories developed by others. It can be hard for young people to develop their own voice and/or opinion when they’re told over and over that they lack the experience and/or expertise to come to their own conclusions. I’d like to see more nonfiction for teens that incorporates source material, like Tonya Bolden’s Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl. I also believe nonfiction writers need to meet teens where they are—and that means incorporating lots of audio and visual content. I begin most of my classes with music because it’s appealing, accessible, and presents text (lyrics) in a different way. We study television commercials, films, essays, fiction, poetry…there are so many ways to approach a given topic. Teens need to understand that history is a story anyone can tell, so long as you substantiate your claims.
The second bit of news is that Reading in Color interviewed me for her site–check it out and congratulate her as she celebrates Obama’s birthday AND the one-yearmonth! anniversary of her amazing blog! She’s also made up a playlist for A Wish After Midnight, which is fun (and includes a little ABBA, my fave group!)