One often heard mantra from my old food service days (check out resume references from the late ‘80s) was, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” Managers regularly prodded line workers to clean instead of stand around during slow periods. Applying this philosophy to reading, I now believe, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to read.” I am packing for the NCTE Conference this week, and besides tracking down my coat (it is twenty degrees colder in NYC than Texas), I am selecting books to read on the trip. ...

I belong to a book club of women who are all moms like me. Once a year we pick a classic to read (or reread). This year’s pick was To Kill a Mockingbird, for which Lee won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and on Monday received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I had read Harper Lee’s classic in high school and I remembered the plot, but what I did not remember was how magical Lee’s prose was, how connected I felt to Scout Finch, the narrator, and the rhythms of her life in that small Southern town. I ...


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