Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge!
I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
My 12 year old is so impressed that I got to hear Jason Reynolds speak at Teacher’s College.
“Ghost!” he proclaims
And I tell him how it was amazing to hear the author talk about where his books came from, his story, his family and friends. I mean, H isn’t a big fan of reading, but he did love Ghost.
I want to tell him about how Jason Reynold didn’t read either as a kid, and about how none of the books his teachers gave him were mirrors. “Why would I want to have a relationship with literature if these books don’t want to have a relationship with me?” he had asked a church full of teachers. And then he told us how he later had realized that he didn’t hate reading, he hated being bored. I want to tell my son that doesn’t like reading that Jason Reynolds said that the greatest gift to give is yourself.
I think I’m going to need my notes for this sharing.
“But, did you see him?” My 9 year old asks for the second time.
“Well, I heard him present.” I explain. “I was in the back of the church.”
“So, you saw him,” he says, “from the back of the church.”
“Well… ” I started. “Actually…We were on our way back from the bathroom, back to our seats when who should walk right by? Jason Reynolds.”
“Did you say hello?”
“I mean, Jason Reynolds, mom.”
I have some explaining to do. “I didn’t want to bother him as he was getting ready to start his presentation. He was walking and talking with someone, making sure things were ready to go. I wanted to respect that.”
The boys shake their heads, disappointed.
Mr. Thought says, “I get it.”
And then I admit, for the sake of authentic learning and full transparency, “It did take every ounce of my self control not to reach out and touch his shoulder though.”
“What?!” everyone asks.
“I mean, Jason Reynolds.” I tell them.
Mr. Thought raises his eyebrows.
I just keep talking about how powerful it was to hear him speak. I start talking about Queen Latifah and rap in the eighties. “He told us this is a history lesson we need to teach our kids – and not in February.”
I explain how rap music saved Jason Reynolds, and how he talked about Hamilton and rap: “It hurts my feelings when I hear all these people when they say how brilliant Hamilton is. I mean, it is brilliant. But we’ve been saying that for 30 years.”
My Hamilton loving kids look at me, and I think, “Yep. I’m going to need my notes.”
5 thoughts on “#sol19 March 17 A slice of Jason Reynolds”
Jason Reynolds dropping knowledge. ‘I mean, Jason Reynolds,’ love that repeated line.
I love the tempo of your piece and how the dialogue fits. What a fun slice full of story about telling a story. Thanks for sharing!
“Why would I want to have a relationship with literature if these books don’t want to have a relationship with me?” underscores why it is imperative that we include #OwnVoices literature in our classroom.
Isn’t he a terrific speaker? I go out of my way to hear him whenever he’s at a conference I’m attending. Always so inspiring. Thanks for sharing this story.