By Happy Accident

Earlier today I finished rereading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I hadn’t intended to reread it now, but as sometimes happens, books fall back into our hands by happy accident.

There’s a quote I often use in my work with teachers and it won’t leave my thoughts about The Book Thief now: “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” Madeleine L’Engle

Like you, I’m sure, I have worked with children from varied backgrounds and experiences: those who have lived through trauma, those with anxiety, those from privileged homes, and those from impoverished homes, those who love learning, and those who find learning challenging. Regardless of our students’ circumstances, I wholeheartedly believe that teachers–equipped with a collection of diverse, authentic, and compelling stories–can change lives.

Stories change lives.

Perhaps not one story in one moment. But many stories over time: sometimes shared reading experiences wrapped in conservation with trusted adults and peers, and sometimes stories enjoyed in private moments, revelations and realizations one’s own.

Stories most certainly make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving. Today, The Book Thief leaves me feeling hopeful and grateful even in this, 2020, a rollercoaster of a year.

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