Things that Made my Brain Explode – October 26, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 11.21.15 AMArticles and news stories are constantly pushing me to consider something new, broaden my perspective, or change the way I look at an issue. My husband likes to joke that my brain explodes with something new on a daily basis. These articles – and the brain explosions that result from them – are so beneficial for me that I wanted to create a place where I could share them, in case you might want to read them, too. Learn more about Things that Made My Brain Explode – and see past posts – here

Here’s a recent batch of Things that Made my Brain Explode:

  • Charlottesville was buzzing again this week, but this time the waves felt a lot more like optimism. Jim Ryan, the brand new president of the University of Virginia, made a huge announcement about making the University more accessible for Virginia families. In-state students from families earning less than $80K will be able to attend U.Va. tuition-free, Ryan announces, from The Cavalier Daily.
  • No ‘Foreign’ Names for Children, Dear Abby Advised. Furious Parents Replied. Wow. There’s a lot to unpack, just in that title. Who is the target audience for the Dear Abby column, and why did the author think that this was the response that they wanted and needed? Who gets to be the one to decide what’s “foreign”, “difficult”, and worthy of teasing? Why is it accepted that children will, and should, mock each other for their differences? Is this an issue of creating the path of least resistance for the child in question, or for the adults that will need to take the time to learn an unfamiliar name? Here’s the snippet that really got me going: “Abby is clinging to an old America, where white is considered the norm and everything else deviant and inferior.”
  • “But the way researchers define forgiveness is different from pardoning, condoning, excusing, or reconciling. Forgiveness has to do with making a decision to free yourself from holding on to resentment and feelings of revenge toward someone who hurt you.” How to Help Kids Consider Forgiveness, from Greater Good Magazine. Our excellent Social Emotional Learning committee sends out resources each week, and I always look forward to receiving them. I loved this week’s article. Forgiveness, kindness, and other SEL terms are easy for us  to repeat, but hard to fully understand.
  • From the International Literacy Association: A librarian overhears middle schoolers saying, “Are there any good books in here?” “I don’t know, but we need to get back. Just pick anything.” Instead of blocking the door with her body and a Tarzan yell like I might have, she goes for a more dignified approach – suggestions for teachers strapped on time (and under immense pressure) who still want to create a culture of reading in their classrooms. Small, doable action items for teachers who want their kids to love reading.
  • There are some really fascinating national conversations occurring about what it means to be a “man” in Western culture, and what we can do for our young boys to break some dangerous and stifling patterns. Medium digs deeper into the connections between young boys in the article Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys?, arguing that our society’s pressure for men to have and express zero feelings is hurting them emotionally and physically.
  • Last Saturday I saw Alex Gino, a genderqueer author, speak about their award winning, groundbreaking novel, George. The event, which took place at the lovely bbgb tales for kids in Richmond, was lovely and funny and warm. Everyone hugged and cheered and, I swear, Alex Gino glittered while they spoke. This was published the next morning: Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence. I can’t pretend to know what it feels like to have a government that doesn’t want me to exist. But I can vote, listen, support, and share the tools that have been helpful for me. If you’d like to read a copy of Alex Gino’s George, I’d be happy to lend or purchase you one. Just leave a comment.
  • American democracy is fracturing. Libraries say they know how to help Why are  libraries so important, anyway? If you’ve ever wondered what libraries do and why so many people fight so hard to keep them open, give this article a read.

  • Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind. Could? Are we really still using the word “could” here? I’m thinking “DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY DOES SERIOUSLY HOW ARE YOU STILL QUESTIONING THIS” might be more appropriate.
  • “From swastikas scrawled on walls to racial slurs passed in notes, [there are] hundreds of verified accounts of racist, xenophobic, or homophobic acts in school dating from 2015–17… Bear in mind that […] only accounted for incidents that were reported; the actual experience of bigotry suffered by children and teens is likely beyond measure.”Can Diverse Books Save Us? In a Divided World, Librarians are On a Mission. Librarians are more important than ever, and you better believe that I AM HERE TO DO THE WORK.
  • Have you heard about this unusual ad campaign that just launched in Scotland? I’m eager to hear what people think about it. Scotland Launches a Campaign that Confronts Homophobes and Racists.

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