Interview with Instructional Coach and Children's Book Author, Valerie Bolling
Welcome back to Chalk and Ink: the podcast for teachers who write and writers who teach. Meet instructional coach and children's book author, Valerie Bolling. Valerie is the author of the picture book Let's Dance. Valerie's passion for diversity, inclusion and equity permeates our entire conversation.
In this episode, Valerie talks about the power of weekly critique groups, how being open to feedback will lead to breakthrough moment after breakthrough moment and how we as educators must be willing to look at our own implicit biases and discuss racism with our students.
Children are at the forefront of anything Valerie does as an educator and as a writer. She explains that we encourage students to be the best students they can be by knowing who they are. The same idea shines in her writing. As she creates, she's thinking about how she's going to word something to engage children and keep them interested.
Rather than specific books, Valerie believes all middle school classrooms should have books by the following authorsJacqueline Woodson, Renee Watson, Jason Reynolds, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Samira Ahmed, Elizabeth Acevedo and Angie Thomas.
This year The Project Lit Book Club chapter at my school, which we call The Windows and Mirrors Book Club, read Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson. Some Places More Than Others is exquisite and it's highly accessible for upper elementary readers.
This month our club is discussing Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Yesterday, one of my students, who is also in the book club, excitedly told me that Black Brother, Black Brother is amazing and that even though her brother is two years older and not in book club, he read it, too. This comment made my day because I've never seen this particular student so excited about a book before, and I wouldn't have thought Black Brother, Black Brother would appeal to her so much. It just goes to show how important it is that we get as many different kinds of books into our readers hands as we can because it increases the possibility of igniting their passion for reading.
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