10 women


Over the last few days, people on Twitter have been sharing their tweets about ten women that have inspired them. Today, I joined the crowd. But I couldn’t let it end with tagging them. Here’s a little more:

  • Stacey S.– A former colleague in education turned MBA grad who now works in the non-profit world a few hours away.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that power is confidence, food and drink is life, and friendship can range from a book recommendation before a plane ride to a breakfast while in town.
  • Stacey R.– A librarian colleague who doesn’t work in the same district nor at the same level, but the connection is undeniable.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that passion and purpose make our profession (and matching leggings to her 2nd graders is just a bonus on why I love her).
  • Kristen– I’ve already written about her before, but I’ll never get sick of talking about her.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that we can be serious, be silly, and be good at what we do… together. And encouragement always helps; matching our outfits is just a bonus.
  • Silvia– A librarian and entrepreneur, she speaks her mind and shares the beauty of the place that I have come to call home but that has always been hers.
    • What I’ve learned from you is to never wait if you want to travel. Live a life of abundance in food, style, and merriment.
  • Ruta– An author of hidden histories with a powerful pen and a big heart.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that listening has the power to give a voice to the voiceless.
  • Molly– I’ve known you less than a year but I know you love what you do in a banana costume or hosting an author.
    • What I’ve learned from you is loving what you do makes it that much easier to work and that book criticism comes easy for some– your mind is like a steel trap!
  • Annie– Stepping in to an administrative position was the next logical step for you and you’ll shine for sure.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that leadership is kindness and knowledge is power because learning never stops.
  • Lisa– Your work can’t be easy but your wordsmithing skills are superb.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that hard work as a team is easier than going at it alone.
  • Heather– My oldest friend. And ironically one who also works in education but in a different field but with the same goals to be good at what we do and inspire others to do the same while impacting young lives.
    • What I’ve learned from you is that women should never be in competition with each other. We should spend our energy building each other up and that takes time and an investment.
  • Alea– Leading a committee of fabulous women who were once strangers and giving us direction and guidance from afar couldn’t have been easy. But you did it.
    • What I learned from you is that leadership is quiet but it can also be loud: use your voice. (And give the best damn present ever– I still get misty-eyed looking at mine).


Think about the women in your life and how they inspire you.

We should all spend a little more time thinking about what we’re grateful for. And, rolling in to the Thanksgiving season, it is the perfect time to stop and think about. And sometimes you just need a old-school chain tweet to remind you about it too.

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Posted by on November 10, 2019 in Blogging, Miscellaneous


I never apologize


I never apologize to myself or others for reading hiatuses, just like I don’t apologize if it’s been four weeks or four days since my last blog post.

I never apologize for taking a break from reading fiction so that I can read a graphic biography.

I never apologize for reading picture books at lunch even though I’m a high school librarian, and I will count each book including those picture books in my overall total.

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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Blogging, Miscellaneous


Photographic memories: A collaboration with wings


Spending a massive amount of time reading fiction for my year-long commitment to the Best Fiction for Young Adults blogging team means that I need a mental break once in a while to read nonfiction, poetry, short stories, and anything graphic to keep me fresh for fiction. And in the words of Frenchman Stendhal, “a good book is an event in my life.” Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is one such book from this past weekend. It hasn’t left me.

Published in 2018, I saw the cover frequently and wanted to get my hands on it. Focused on the life of Graciela Iturbide, she is the title character and the most memorable. A life that endured a tragedy, the death of a child, which she never talked about, it threw her into a tailspin and she became uber-focused on photography by specifically documenting her native Mexico.

2019-09-28 10.45.05And it’s the likes of illustrator Zeke Peña combined with the words of Isabel Quintero that merge Iturbide’s photography with an illustrated style that brings it to life two-fold. The most memorable panel, the one in which Peña re-works the iconic woman with the iguanas side by side with the photograph courtesy of Getty Images, is striking. And there are other panels that captivate the reader in their presentation and solidifies Peña’s skill both individually and collaboratively working with Quintero’s storytelling. Plus, the font itself worked seamlessly for my eyeballs to move around the pages and panels. Even Peña recognizes the beauty of illustrations by thanking readers “you and your eyeballs for reading this book”. You’re welcome, Peña. Thank you for illustrating it. And it got me thinking about my own life at thirty-something– how would Peña draw mine? What would Quintero write about me? Perhaps the best kind of self-reflective writing prompts could come from this book.

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How can we know so little about Iturbide? I am grateful to author and illustrator for starting the conversation with this glorious ode to her life and skill. And nothing says it better than Quintero’s words on Iturbide’s travels in this memorable quote: “Traveling is lonely. Not a desperate loneliness but the kind that asks me to reflect more deeply about the place I’m in. The wings behind my eyes open wide; traveling helps me see my many selves better”.

I advise (that like me) you read this more than once, keep it close by to recommend often, order multiple copies, and encourage budding photographers with this graphic novel biography.


A week of booktalks


I say it frequently, whether I’m tweeting about our readers’ reading habits in the library or animatedly talking about it with teacher colleagues, if I could do nothing other than booktalking as a high school librarian I would be even happier. It could be one-on-one or a whole class, but I can’t help but get excited about all of the books at our fingertips.

This past week, my co-librarian and I spent the week working with our ENL classes for orientations and booktalks and the majority of our 10th grade students booktalking for independent reading.

My favorite utterance was “can we check out more than one?” Ummmm, YES! We’ll continue over the next few weeks filling in here and there for more booktalks but the majority took place within this past week. While I’m exhausted and the library is in general loving disarray, I’m filled with love for authors, their books, and our students.

2019-09-16 16.00.47Here were some of my favorites to discuss:

  • Attack on Titan by Isayama
  • Proud by Muhammad
  • Long Way Down by Reynolds
  • Milk and Honey by Kaur
  • Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Smith
  • Ms. Marvel by Wilson
  • Black Enough edited by Zoboi
  • The Selection by Cass
  • Chasing King’s Killer by Swanson
  • Between Shades of Gray by Sepetys

National Book Lovers Day


I’m grateful to live in a world where there is no shortage of reading material to satisfy curiosity, escapism, and the beauty of the written world to evoke a range of emotions in readers.

Thank you to all authors for feeding the book lovers of the world.

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Posted by on August 9, 2019 in Events, Miscellaneous


Bringing it together


I regularly contribute to a few other blogs in addition to this one. This has taken shape over the last several years and focuses on a different kind of audience though ultimately it still boils down to books, reading, teaching, and librarianship. So in an effort to share out some of the other posts that often don’t make it back to this one, here is a post to bring it all together.

  • YALSA’s The Hub
    • A division of the American Library Association the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) uses The Hub to share out current recommendations for some of their virtual committees. This year, I sit on the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) 2020 committee. You’ll see several of my posts alongside other committee members’ and the other committees as well.
  • Times Union‘s Books Blog
  • Nerdy Book Club
    •  A national blog that celebrates a love of reading when it comes to children’s and young adult literature and is the brainchild of Colby Sharp, Donalyn Miller, Katherine Sokolowski, and Cindy Minnich.

Ballet biographies and the real thing

This post originally appeared on the Times Union Books Blog

Confession: It took me three decades to see a ballet; I’ve never even seen The Nutcracker. But last night, I attended Coppelia at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center amid the humidity for their 8pm performance with my two elementary-aged boys and husband. 

I was better prepared for a few reasons: my Pilates instructor, a former ballerina, gave me a Cliffnotes version of what Coppelia was about. And second, I’m a book nerd and had read Misty Copeland’s biography Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.* Like my post about a beer class connecting to reading, I read to learn as much as I find experiences to learn from and both came together last night. 

The biography balances her personal and professional realms allowing amateurs to understand the world of classical ballet. Copeland had a roller coaster life moving often based on her mother’s new love interest and entered ballet later than most. She battled against prejudice while working hard to perfect her skills to access the elite schools and companies to showcase her talent. 

What I liked is that she name-dropped sparingly. When reading celebrity biographies there is nothing worse than reading pages and pages of names of people I could care less about: I’m reading their biography because I want to know about them. I also liked that she focused on being a black woman in art by finding her voice and also celebrating it dancing on stage with Prince at his concerts to bring ballet to a different audience. Her audience widened again when she did an Under Armour commercial showing off her grace and athleticism that I discovered online afterward. 

And that athleticism is on full display with the breathtaking cover as it is on the stage watching any ballet. I guess aside from looking at a performance like Coppelia as a wordless picture book (I am a librarian after all) that was my other takeaway. I am more astounded by the power and grace of their execution than I am about the moves themselves (or their actual French names). In the book, Copeland regularly shared how arduous the practices were alongside maintaining her body for peak performance. This was a culmination of that appreciation. 

Whether I’m reading books about dead bodies or animals, it’s apparent that I love learning through books. Copeland’s biography is an entry point for those who like me haven’t ever seen a ballet. So I ask you, have there been books that you’ve read that have prepared you for an experience or activity? Share in the comments below! 


*Young reader’s editions are adapted books for a teen or tween audience adjusted for both interest and reading level from the adult version. Many adult biographies have been adapted including Sonia Sotomayor, Trevor Noah, Malala Yousafzai, or Ibtihaj Muhammad.