Things that Made My Brain Explode: November 30, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 11.17.18 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:

  • Why am I always going on and on about diverse literature? Because representation matters, and you won’t find it unless you explicitly look for it. The publishing industry is 86% white. What can you do? Vote with your wallet. The more diverse books are published and shared, the more publishers will recognize that diversifying literature is not a trend, and invest in the professionals that make representation possible.
  • Speaking of diverse lit: “It is not good enough to put a historical account of the civil rights movement on the shelf and call it representation. […] We are only given so many opportunities to show our children both the lives of others as well as the kindest way to live their own. If that message gets neglected at other times, it makes sense to convey it as the last words before their head hits the pillow at night.” ‘Stop Dismissing Inclusive Children’s Books as Too Political’. 
  • After a shocking experience on a panel at the NCTE 2018 conference, author Bill Konigsburg let out his inner “fierce papa bear“. Read if you want a peek at the fire, fury, and determination that I feel when I walk into my library each day.
  • Middle School: 2008 vs. 2018. This was frightening. I appreciated the talking points at the end, especially the recommendation to stop using social media for school related purposes. I use social media for school related purposes every single day, and it’s something I’ve wondered about a lot. Am I setting a bad example for my students? Is what I’m doing fair to them?
  • “‘Given consistently higher documented risk for suicidal ideation and attempts among LGB and mostly heterosexual adolescents, prevention efforts should be a priority, and school-level interventions, such as GSAs, may be an effective approach to reducing this risk, while also offering prevention benefits for heterosexual boys.’ In other words, bonds between gay and straight students benefit everyone.” I can’t help but wonder: what’s the downside here? Why is this still a debate? Simply Having a Gay Straight Alliance Reduces Suicide Risk for All Students.
  • “When she was in sixth grade, Sandra Parks wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence and crime in her hometown, Milwaukee. This week, two years after she described how “we are in a state of chaos,” she was fatally shot when someone outside fired a gun at her home and a stray bullet went into her bedroom.” What else might she have accomplished? We’ll never know. Girl, 13, Who Wrote Essay on Gun Violence Is Killed by Stray Bullet.

  • Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out. Here’s one to make you smile.
  • Harvard’s Student Newspaper just Elected its First Black Woman President in its 145-year History.“If my election has validated anyone’s experience or validated anyone’s belonging in Crimson, then my hard work will be worth it and will continue to be worth it,” Guillaume said.’
  • Anyone else a fan of The Great British Baking Show? It’s a staple in the FitzHenry house. Mr. Fitz and I both loved this article, Meet the Guy Who Draws Every Great British Baking Show Recipe Illustration!
  • “Teachers and educational assistants alike at the meeting said they are witnessing more students becoming more violent more often at school. They detailed children biting, kicking, hitting, screaming and urinating in the classroom. They also spoke about students running away from teachers and hiding out in the hallways…” One of many stories like this around the country: Eugene schools face behavioral crisis, board told. 
  • Have you ever heard of conversational narcissism? I hadn’t, but I’m definitely guilty of it. This article gave me a lot to think about: The Mistake I Made with my Grieving Friend.
  • Kate DiCamillo is arguably the master of writing to kids directly and appropriately about the darkness of the world, and balancing it with the light. This week, she spoke to NPR about why suffering is a critical part of kid lit: Kate DiCamillo, Chronicler of the Hard Truths of Youth.
  • How can we inspire students to be better citizens? Another great piece from GreaterGood, shared by my school’s Social Emotional Learning team.

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