“Where is this? Is this just a made up place? I mean it sounds like people are getting shot all the time. Are there really places like that?

“Sure…like Aleppo.”

“I think it’s Chicago.”

“Guys, we live in a bubble in Arlington. There are places like this.”

I tell the author that this was the conversation in my room as I read aloud his book.
“What do I tell them? I’m just a white teacher living and working in North Arlington, a mostly upper mid-class white school.”

“Tell them this book is based on a shooting that happened in Suitland, MD, just miles away from your school. And keep reading and talking!”

Then he signed my Reading Notebook page that I made after reading his book.


Thank you, TCRWP for bringing Jason Reynolds to speak and sign books on Saturday.
So glad I got to have a conversation with him. So glad I get to read aloud his books with my students. Reading and discussing to understand all the places where…


22 thoughts on “Where?

  1. litcoachconnection says:

    Thank you for having this conversation with your students. It is critical that we bring this to their consciousness! Also, how lucky that you met Jason Reynolds! Wonderful! – Krista


  2. Cheryl Reynolds says:

    Yes, keep reading and talking. If we do not, then those stories as well as others will not get told.

    I am a bit jealous you got the opportunity to talk to him and get him to sign your notebook. What a gift.


  3. wordjourneysite says:

    So glad you got to meet him Sally, and share with him the impact his book is having in your classroom. You are so great at taking advantage of meeting authors whenever you can, and bringing it back to your classroom.
    One of my favorite things in your slices is the overheard student conversations that you capture.


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      To be honest, your feedback as we write together pushes me to listen and hold onto what my kiddos say to add it to my writing. I appreciate your tips to push me to really tell the story with specifics, like the actual dialogue!


  4. cmargocs says:

    This dovetails nicely with Lanny Ball’s slice about his author visit with Jo Knowles, who also writes about “hard things”. How wonderful that you got advice straight from the author on how to approach this with your students! One of our Bluebonnet Award Nominees for next school year opens with young man just shot and killed by the police; it will be interesting to listen to those discussions in my school that seems so removed from such incidents.


  5. mschiubookawrites says:

    I’m totally bringing my notebook pages the next time I meet an author. This slice is so awesome on multiple levels! The fact that students are questioning (yes!!), the fact that you can confirm with the author (priceless!!), and the fact that you are sharing it with this community (thank you to infinity and beyond)!! Now I can share this nugget of information with my students who have read this book and voted it as their favorite in our March Madness Book Challenge.


  6. Lanny Ball says:

    Wow, so amazing you got to personally converse with Jason Reynolds. I was unable to make it to TC that day due to a sick family (which became my slice)… but I heard the keynote was inspiring. Congrats on getting your notebook signed!


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