Friday, February 17, 2012

Funding the Revolution.

One of the grants I wrote in the last week is called "BFYA Revolution." This means "Best Fiction for Young Adults Revolution."
I need to check with the Young Adult School Library Association to see if BFYA is copyrighted.
I'll come up with something else if it is.
I wrote the grant because my students need Good Books. I want them to have choices about what they read. I want them to read and then do projects that involve technology applications like Fireworks and Photoshop. I want them to make book trailers. I want them to read books by authors who are still alive. I want them to communicate with authors. I want them to read books that they won't need or want Cliff Notes for. I want them to create.
I will never have them write book reports.
I hate book reports.
And you might be thinking,"Kristen, this is all very well. But what is the Revolution?"
I am so glad you asked.
My students are overscheduled and overstimulated. They are constantly plugged in to external devices and screens and noise.
They are told what to do.
There are a lot of have-tos in life. I understand that it is a necessary skill to be good at have-tos.
So I think it's revolutionary to say, "Look. Unplug. Choose a book. Choose a story. Choose a world. Let it be okay if some things make you uncomfortable. Give it a chance. Choose a different book if you need to. Read it. I'll make sure you have time. And when you finish, we'll do something cool."
In an educational system driven by standardized test results, choice is revolutionary.
Reading for pleasure is revolutionary.
Knowing that boys read is revolutionary.
Making sure that students can choose to read books that reflect the reality of their lives and their questions--questions about sexuality, sexual orientation, drug use and abuse, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse--should not be revolutionary, but I think it is. Bullying. Falling out with friends. Cruelty. Loss. Grief. Being different. Falling in love.
Good Books help them know that they are not alone in being human.
Every day I look out at my students and I think about how I am being trusted with the most important beings in the universe. They are themselves worlds of possibilities.
They give me hope.
I think giving them access to books in my computer lab, and in my teaching partner's computer lab, is one of the most important things I will ever do.
I can talk to each student about book choices. I can make recommendations. I can also leave them alone with piles to peruse.
So I wrote this grant so I could get more books.
I hope I get it.
I will keep you posted.


  1. This is important. We must wake minds up before they fall asleep forever.

    The coolest thing about today is that I can read a book, by Andrew, or Amy, or even Paolo, and if I love the book, or even if I hate it, I can communicate directly with its author. I would have had such a Sherman Alexie mental boner if that would have been an option when I was a young man, falling in love with books forever.

  2. I agree that our current schools often fail by trying to teach good books. We need to teach the love of reading, the love of seeing the world through other peoples eyes and the adventure of a good tangled yarn. ;D