Last week, at 8:30 each morning, I tuned into Facebook Live to watch Jacqueline Woodson read from one of my forever-favourite books: Brown Girl Dreaming.
Not only did I savour the time listening to this author read the words of her own book aloud, I reveled in the in-between moments: her spontaneous commentary about books and reading, words and writing, life and love, snow and sun, family, and of course dogs (as they appeared and disappeared unpredictably during her readings).
On Friday she spoke about slow reading. About enjoying the white space between the words. About rereading books. About not rushing our students. About enjoying picture books at all ages, adults included.
Listening to her words – both written and spoken – I feel inspired. Inspired to reread her precious, provocative words. Inspired to read slowly. Inspired to write and tell my story. Inspired to teach and and empower our students. Inspired to be a better person, too.
Her readings last week occurred because of COVID-19. I wouldn’t have experienced this daily inspiration if not for the pandemic, not in this way at least.
So consider this: how can we take this unusual time and turn it into an opportunity? How can we use books to both comfort and challenge our students? How can we inspire our students to read more slowly and savour the words on a page? How can we inspire them to “be kind and love each other up” (in Jacqueline Woodson’s words)?
However you do it, this week, strive to inspire.