January 14

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Love Trumps Hate – Your Help Please by Anne Lee Wissinger

 

January 12, 2018

 

Dear Nerdy Book Club Friends,

 

Over the past week I have read some important books: The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor, re-read Love by Matt de la Peña and Loren Long, re-read Martin Rising by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney, and Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz.

 

The themes of these books wash over me and taunt me. Will you be as brave and courageous as these characters and the writers and artists who created them?

 

This morning it seems like some kind of cosmic call to action that such racist comments were made by the President on the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.   It is also my daughter’s golden birthday today, turning 12 on the 12th. She goes to her middle school 40 minutes early each day because she is afraid of the bullies who congregate at the school entrance when school is about to start.   Like her, I have been practicing avoidance as I read and watch our current events unfold. I know that this is not brave and not courageous.

 

So today the nagging voice in my head got much louder: “What are you going to do about it?”

 

I predict that this day will be in our history books in years to come as the smoking gun that turned the tide.   We will need to do even more if we want the tide to turn in the right direction.

 

love matt de la pena

 

When thinking about the book burning in Projekt 1065, I am wondering how long it will take for us to reach that point? Like Nazi Germany, attacks on the press and free speech are a daily occurrence here in our United States of America now. Major purveyors of books ask artists to change their work and if changes are not made, refuse to carry their books–as pointed out by Matt de la Peña earlier this week in his Time article. The idea that an image portrayed in Love is “too dark” seems absurd in the face of what our children see from some of our leaders on a daily basis.   More than ever, we all need the truth and love.

 

Today I am asking:

 

  • What would Mason Buttle do?
  • What would Michael O’Shaunnessey do?
  • What would Martin do?
  • What would Stargirl do?

 

I bet your students have the answers and part of the reason why is that they have met these characters and learned from them. The books we share matter. They change lives.

 

What are you doing to fight this type of racism and intolerance? I want to do more and would like to help in any way I can.   Let’s share our thoughts here.

 

P.S. I am inspired and motivated each day when I see our fellow Nerdy friend, Donalyn Miller, share her daily #bookaday giveaway that will continue for the entire term of this administration and steadfastly evangelize that love is all around us and heroes carry the torch from all around the world. Her Facebook post 13 minutes ago shared children’s and adult books about Haiti curated by Social Justice Books.

 

Anne Lee Wissinger has worked in the education, children’s publishing, non-profit, and bookselling arenas for over 25 years.  In her positions, she is responsible for developing outreach programs for school principals, teachers, families ,and students.  She is an advocate for independent reading and believes in the power of one book to change a life and inspire a life-long love of reading.  Anne has served  on a variety of non-profit boards and literacy advisory councils including LitWorld, NAESP, First Book, and the Early Learning Coalition of Orlando.  She is honored to serve as a LitWorld Advisory Council member and to lobby for the global rights of all children to be literate and develop a love of reading. Her opinions are her own.