The Reading Culture

By Beanstack

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Description

Host Jordan Lloyd Bookey speaks with authors and reading enthusiasts to explore ways to build a stronger culture of reading in our communities. They'll dive into their personal experiences, inspirations, and why their stories and ideas are connecting so well with kids.

Episode Date
Oh, the Humanity: Grace Lin on Art and the Human Experience
2203

On Today's Show

  • " Creating something is not just for people to view, but it's for the creator. It's that idea that when you create, it puts you more in touch with your humanity and that being in touch with your humanity is what you are giving through your artwork. " - Grace Lin

For Grace Lin, the value in literature comes from its ability to allow you to understand other humans and get in touch with your own humanity. But this value isn't just from reading. As a writer, she recognizes the change that the artist goes through in the process of creating. In her own experience, the process of writing has allowed her to understand and feel comfortable with her Asian-American identity, which in turn has helped her in making content for other young Asian-Americans who are struggling in the same ways she used to.


It's these experiences and understandings that have contributed to her passion for keeping humanity in writing and fighting for that access. That's why she has so eloquently spoken about the importance of reading other perspectives despite potential initial discomfort in her apt metaphor of putting on a new pair of glasses. In this episode, she'll take us through all of that and more.


Contents

Chapter 1 - ThE LeEtal hOuSe

Chapter 2 - Bees for Betsy, but not for Grace

Chapter 3 - For those to come

Chapter 4 - The Search for Delicious

Chapter 5 - The thousand-dollar dandelion

Chapter 6 - New Glasses

Chapter 7 - The art of effort

Chapter 8 - Chinese Menu

Chapter 9 - New Faces, Familiar Places

Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian


This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Jenny Lee Ryan, the Program Coordinator for Farmington Public Library in New Mexico. Listen to the end to hear some of her best tips for getting readers engaged in their programming.


Links

Jan 24, 2023
Truth From Fiction: Adam Gidwitz on Plato, the Devil, and the BFG
2161

On Today's Show

  • "The world is so complex, right? No theory that anyone has can be accurate because the only accurate model of the world is the world. There are too many complexities. ... And so what literature does is it catalogues the unique and particular truths of the world and a really great writer, a Jane Austin, Chekhov, Kate DiCamillo, will take one of those truths and reveal it to you in a narrative way that's just so deeply satisfying." - Adam Gidwitz

As a young adult, Adam Gidwitz was on a hunt for the truth. He searched in philosophy and religion, but eventually found literature to be the ultimate source for the small truths this world can provide. Despite being a natural storyteller since childhood, Adam didn't understand view himself as a writer. It wasn’t until he was a teacher and began writing to entertain his students that he saw this potential in himself.


After finding success in A Tale Dark and Grimm, The Inquisitor's Tale, and various other stories, Adam is preparing to release a new children's novel that will dive into a monstrous setting to tell a particularly hard truth: bad people are still human, and their motivations are endless. In today's episode, he joins to share more about his approach to telling this story, how he found his unique voice and why he believes fiction is the best vehicle for learning about the world.


Contents

Chapter 1 -  Writers Don’t Always Write (2:36) 
Chapter 2 - Adam's House (5:10) 

Chapter 3 - Slow and Steady (9:36)

Chapter 4 - The BFG (12:15)

Chapter 5: Not Johnny Tremain (17:10)

Chapter 6: Discovering Truths (22:06)

Chapter 7: Thinkers, Poets, and Monsters (26:39)

Chapter 8: I Wish I Was Cast As… (31:37) 

Chapter 9: Grimmly Ever After (32:49)

Chapter 10: Beanstack Featured Librarian (34:17)


Links

Jan 10, 2023
Replay - Cultivating Story: Meg Medina on the importance of storytelling in life, writing, and the fight against book bans
2251

On Today's Show

  • "I feel like writers, especially who are wordsmiths, who can name things, tricky things in clear ways ... should be where we put our efforts. Really creating an offensive, an offense in this campaign to win the hearts back." - Meg Medina

Meg Medina's passion for telling stories goes back as far as she can remember. Crafting words into lessons and engaging experiences has always been her calling, but it took her a few careers to fully dive in. Now, she's a Newbery Award-winning children's author, best known for her Merci Suárez trilogy. 


As we take a break to visit family and relax over the holiday season, we bring you back to the our first episode of The Reading Culture, where Meg Medina joined to share her thoughts on the craft of storytelling. Meg talks about the power of storytelling to pass on the knowledge of tradition and to share experiences. She also talks about the increase in book bans and challenges and why she believes leaning into the gift of storytelling will help authors and the industry create the ultimate offense.


Meg has also developed a reading challenge called "Girls in Motion," in partnership with Beanstack, for listeners and Beanstack partners. For the challenge, Meg curated a diverse list of stories featuring athletic girls facing various life challenges. You can hear her talk more about it in the episode and see the details and full list of books here


Contents

Chapter 1 - Meg's Beginnings as a Writer (2:48)

Chapter 2 - Telling Her Own Story (9:23)

Chapter 3 - “Letters of E.B White” (12:02)

Chapter 4 - Reading to Be Human (17:00)

Chapter 5 - On Visiting Schools (21:15)

Chapter 6 - Storytelling to Fight Book Bans (23:43)

Chapter 7 - Saying Goodbye to Merci Suárez (28:44)

Chapter 8 - Girls in Motion (33:36)

Chapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:49)


Links

Dec 27, 2022
They Already Know: Kate DiCamillo on Helping Kids Find Hope in Darkness
2568

On Today's Show

"If I've done my job right and put my heart and my fears and my questions on the page, if I've told a story right and well, the reader can be aware of me asking those questions, worrying those worries, putting my heart there, and then it's a place for both of us to be together. And it makes you feel less alone as a kid." - Kate DiCamillo


Kate DiCamillo's stories take us to the dark parts of the world and back again. And once we get back, we realize that even in the darkest moments, there is always hope. Authentically connecting with children to share that message is at the heart of Kate's work. Her range is extensive, from the hilarious Mercy Watson series to some of her more emotionally charged middle-grade novels. In all of her books, Kate manages to tap into her inner child to reach her audience in an authentic way.

Her work is world-renowned, and millions of people have shed sad but hopeful tears while reading her words. In this episode, Kate fills us in on how she so effectively uses darkness to share a message of hope, how she connects with her own child within to write, and why the minds of children still spark inspiration for her stories to this day.



Contents

Chapter 1 - Down the Rabbit Hole (to Florida) (2:46)

Chapter 2 - The Black Turtleneck (7:19)

Chapter 3 - Becoming a Children's Writer (11:55)

Chapter 4 - Charlotte's Wisdom (13:56)

Chapter 5 - Through The Eyes of a Child (17:16)

Chapter 6 - A Youthful Memory (22:17)

Chapter 7 - A Letter to Matt (24:39)

Chapter 8 - Cassius Wonders (31:05)

Chapter 9 - Read Brave (38:57)

Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (41:06)


Links

Dec 13, 2022
Voice Through Verse: Renée Watson on Poetry as Empowerment
2069

On Today's Show

  • "There's just something about literally raising your voice and letting these words come out of you. That's powerful." - Renée Watson

Maya Angelou was mute for six years. After a traumatizing childhood experience, the famous poet and activist retreated inward and lost her voice. In Renée Watson's kid-friendly but unflinching retelling of her story in "Maya's Song", Watson shows how poetry was the means to Maya finding her voice and going on to use it in unforgettable ways. That's the power of poetry. And that power is something that Renée is passionate about giving to kids.

From incorporating poetic elements in her stories to writing entire stories in verse, Renée utilizes poetry in her writing frequently. In this episode, she joins to tell us more about how she came to believe in the power of poetry, how she makes it accessible to children, why she thinks it's so important for youth, and more.

Contents

Chapter 1 - Intro to Reneé (1:39)
Chapter 2 - 1619 project (4:21)
Chapter 3 - Knoxville, Tennessee (9:33)
Chapter 4 - Telling Maya's Story (13:08)
Chapter 5 - Teaching Youth Poetry (18:34)
Chapter 6 - Music as a Gateway to Poetry (21:39)
Chapter 7 - Writing About Portland (26:23)
Chapter 8 - Sharing Joy With Ryan Hart (28:36)
Chapter 9 - Library visits (30:58)
Chapter 10 - Voice Through Voice (31:59)
Chapter 11 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (32:51)

Links

Nov 29, 2022
Voice Training: Zetta Elliott on Reckoning with Your Past and Disrupting the Future
1752

On Today's Show

  • "When you're a kid, and if you love to read, you love stories, you aren't always aware of the fact that you're being erased from those stories, or you don't yet have the expectation that you should be in those books." - Zetta Elliott

Scholar and author Zetta Elliott knows the long-term damage of not having representative, relatable stories to read while growing up. Growing up Black in suburban Canada in the ’80s meant rarely seeing herself in the books she read. It wasn't until she was a young adult that she realized that erasure's impact on her own voice as a writer.


While she is best known for her Dragons in a Bag series, Zetta has had a prolific writing career and spent a great deal of time advocating for fairness and representation in children's literature. She tells us about how she found and reclaimed her voice and her struggles with publishing as a Black author.


Contents
Chapter 1 - Getting to Know Zetta Elliott (2:02)

Chapter 2 - Being Left Out of Literature (5:50)

Chapter 3 - Zetta Finds Her Voice (10:46)

Chapter 4 - Won't You Celebrate With Me? (14:49)

Chapter 5 - Self-Publishing (18:03)

Chapter 6 - The Future Depends on Now (23:15)

Chapter 7 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (27:10)

Links

Nov 15, 2022
The Gift of Fear: Lamar Giles on How Horror Helps Kids Cope
1731

On Today's Show

  • "The fear is like the ramp on the roller coaster. It's that build-up of adrenaline intention that you're having in that moment when that roller coaster is cranking. It's not the same fear of you walking through a dark alley at night and you sense someone's behind you in real life. That's a different type of fear that I don't know that anybody really wants. This is controlled fear. This is me going into it saying, Okay, I know this part's gonna be scary, but this part's gonna be fun and I want all of it." - Lamar Giles

Lamar Giles says horror is a pressure valve. It has the ability to release pent-up anxiety and fear in a controlled, safe, and fun environment. That's why he'll watch Hellraiser at 4 a.m. to comfort himself when he can't sleep. While the genre isn't for everyone, he knows there are other young readers that will resonate with it the same way he did when he first read Stephen King at 11 years old.

Giles' career has been full of mystery and thriller stories, but with the 2022 release of The Getaway, he has finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of writing a true horror novel. He tells us more about how the genre has helped him in his life and why he thinks kids resonate with his writing.


Contents

Chapter 1 - Growing Up as Lamar Giles (2:18)

Chapter 2 - The Dinosaur in the Cereal Box (6:50)

Chapter 3 - The Draw to Horror (7:26)

Chapter 4 - It (8:32)

Chapter 5 - The Pressure Valve (12:56)

Chapter 6 - Connecting with Young Readers (16:25)

Chapter 7 - Writing Black Characters (17:21)

Chapter 8 - Publishing Horror (19:21)

Chapter 9 - The Getaway (21:09)

Chapter 10 - A Vehicle for Social Commentary (23:01)

Chapter 11 - Fear On Screen (24:12)

Chapter 12 - Scary Good Stories (26:20)

Chapter 13 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (26:55)


Links

Oct 31, 2022
Connecting With Authors: Varian Johnson and Seeing Yourself Beyond the Pages
1929

On Today's Show

  • "I think it's really important that readers see the people behind the book: the authors, the illustrators, the librarians, the teachers, the folks in publicity and marketing. Obviously, a young reader won't see all of that, it's just important to know that the people behind the book are people of color or look like you. That's just taking diversity and inclusion and equity to another level." - Varian Johnson

As a kid, Varian Johnson always felt connected to authors. Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume were among his early favorites. He would even write letters to Blume. But those connections were unmatched compared to Walter Dean Myers. In reading Walter Dean Myers, Varian Johnson saw himself reflected in both the characters on the pages and in the author himself.  


That relationship between the reader and author is something Varian values a great deal. Now, as an adult and author, Varian takes his role in that relationship seriously. He knows the responsibility it entails in the messages he shares and how he inspires his own readers. He joins to talk about that relationship and what it means for young readers to see themselves beyond the pages. 


Contents

Chapter 1 - Varian as a Young Reader (2:36)

Chapter 2 - If You Come Softly (8:57)

Chapter 3 - Connecting with the Reader (11:54)

Chapter 4 - Writing as a Black Author (15:03)

Chapter 5 - The Author's Role in Shaping Kids' Minds (17:26)

Chapter 6 - Varian's Favorite School Visits (19:59)

Chapter 7 - Addressing Toxic Masculinity in "Playing The Cards You're Dealt" (23:01)

Chapter 8 - "Drawing in Color" (27:51)

Chapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (29:08)


Links

Oct 18, 2022
The Heart of the Story: Karina Yan Glaser Talks Empathy in Writing
2071

On Today's Show

  • "Maybe if they haven't been in that situation, they know someone who has, or they have friends who have really struggled with losing loved ones. That all helps build empathy." - Karina Yan Glaser

Karina Yan Glaser is always emotionally honest in her stories. Pulling largely from her own experiences, she lets her feelings seep onto the pages in a way that makes it impossible not to feel as a reader. But despite writing for children, she doesn't hide any of those hard emotions such as anger, sadness, and grief. She believes in the power of stories to help kids practice empathy and be prepared for the tough situations we all face in life.

Her takes on community, diversity, and hardship are what make her series The Vanderbeekers such a success. In this episode of The Reading Culture, she joins to share how her own reading journey has shaped who she is as a writer and how she approaches building empathy into her stories.

Karina has also developed a reading challenge in partnership with Beanstack for listeners and Beanstack partners. Her theme is books where New York City is a character. You can learn more about the challenge here.



Contents

Chapter 1 - Getting to know Karina (2:33)

Chapter 2 - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (7:02)

Chapter 3 - Becoming a Writer (15:16)

Chapter 4 - Empathy in Stories (18:56)

Chapter 5 - The Culture of Reading in Schools (28:29)

Chapter 6 - A Question From a Reader (32:15)

Chapter 7 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:21)



Links

Oct 04, 2022
Cultivating story: Meg Medina on the Importance of Storytelling in Life, Writing, and the Fight Against Book Bans
2203

On Today's Show

  • "I feel like writers, especially who are wordsmiths, who can name things, tricky things in clear ways ... should be where we put our efforts. Really creating an offensive, an offense in this campaign to win the hearts back." - Meg Medina

Meg Medina's passion for telling stories goes back as far as she can remember. Crafting words into lessons and engaging experiences has always been her calling, but it took her a few careers to fully dive in. Now, she's a Newbery Award-winning children's author, best known for her Merci Suárez trilogy. 


In this episode of The Reading Culture, she joins to share her thoughts on the craft of storytelling. Meg talks about the power of storytelling to pass on the knowledge of tradition and to share experiences. She also talks about the increase in book bans and challenges and why she believes leaning into the gift of storytelling will help authors and the industry create the ultimate offense.


Meg has also developed a reading challenge called "Girls in Motion," in partnership with Beanstack, for listeners and Beanstack partners. For the challenge, Meg curated a diverse list of stories featuring athletic girls facing various life challenges. You can hear her talk more about it in the episode and see the details and full list of books here


Contents

Chapter 1 - Meg's Beginnings as a Writer (2:00)

Chapter 2 - Telling Her Own Story (8:35)

Chapter 3 - “Letters of E.B White” (11:14)

Chapter 4 - Reading to Be Human (16:12)

Chapter 5 - On Visiting Schools (20:27)

Chapter 6 - Storytelling to Fight Book Bans (21:55)

Chapter 7 - Saying Goodbye to Merci Suárez (27:55)

Chapter 8 - Girls in Motion (32:48)

Chapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:01)


Links

Sep 20, 2022
The Reading Culture is coming soon
131

In our new podcast, The Reading Culture, host Jordan Lloyd Bookey will bring you along as we connect with diverse authors about their own journeys as readers and storytellers, as well as what experiences along the way motivated them to read more. Authors will share their perspectives on the cultural climate in children’s and young adult literature. And get excited for each guest's unique, themed reading challenge for students and readers of all ages. Coming this fall.

Aug 17, 2022