Saint Dolly and Literacy

It’s rather an open secret that Dolly Parton is a champion of children’s literacy. Her “Imagination Library“, which started in 1995 with only her home county in Tennessee in mind has grown to spread across the United States and abroad to Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. Partnering with local organizations, the Imagination Library has managed to give millions of children books.

I was so happy when I learned that the Imagination Library was going to partner with a local nonprofit in my county here in the PNW because I finally had kids of my own who could benefit from the program. I’ve been so pleased with the books my two littles receive every month. There has been a wide variety of topics and features a diverse cast of protagonists with authors of all kinds of backgrounds. The stories range from The Little Engine that Could to Hair Love to This Beach is Loud! to A Father’s Love. Again, so pleased with the variety and diversity, especially because I work to ensure my kids read widely and not just about children who look like them and have their same experiences.

Have you ever been a recipient of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library? What do you think of it? What other ways do you know of to get books to children? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Criticism and Grace

Trigger Warning: discussion of body issues (self-esteem, eating disorders, etc.)

Way back in January of this year, one of my aunts posted on Facebook about picking a word for the year. The idea was that you pick a word that becomes, more or less, your year’s theme. Some people picked thankfulness, others picked joy, I chose the word grace. My thinking going in was that I would work on extending grace both to others and to myself. Now, as we are on the eve of the new year, I think it’s a great time to reflect back on the year and see how it went. Continue reading

Malala Yousafzai

For a long time, I have thought–and seen the evidence for–the importance of education worldwide. As Paulo Freire put it inĀ Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “all education is subversive.” There is something about power structures–especially corrupt power structures–that insists on limiting or denying educational opportunities altogether. We see this under tyrannical dictatorships and in peaceful democracies. Those who have the most power usually dictate the flow of knowledge. So it really is no wonder that when a teenage girl in Pakistan spoke out about education, the Taliban targeted her.

In case you have not heard of her yet (probably from living underground without internet access), Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani teenager–now 16–who started speaking out about education when she was only 11. An educational activist, she says that she realized the importance of education once it was taken away from her. At 14 years of age, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her on the school bus when she was heading home, shooting her in the head and the neck. Miraculously, she survived the attack and was flown to England for a recovery. Below is a short interview with Jon Stewart that is worth watching.

I need to get my hands on her book.