Interview with Director of Global Citizenship at Barefoot Books and Debut Author, Dr. Paula Laurel Jackson
The talented and tenacious, Dr. Paula Laurel Jackson, talks about the importance of quality over quantity, music as a universal first language, and global citizenship.
Laurel is a single-parent, with a full-time job, so she doesn't have a lot of free time. But she doesn't let that stop her from writing. Instead, she wakes at 4 AM every morning, meditates, writes morning pages, and then focuses on her creative writing for fifteen minutes. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but because she's zoomed in on her work, she's found that somedays she's more productive in fifteen minutes than she was when she had hours to write.
As a former concert pianist, Laurel brings music into the classroom whenever she can. Sometimes, she asks students to tell her what story they think the music is telling and other times she works with students to create musicals that feature original music that she composes and lyrics that students write.
Since Laurel has lived in three different continents and several countries in those continents, global citizenship is a fundamental part of her identity. Although many schools claim to value global citizenship in their mission statements, she has found from her travels and her educational research that very few schools provide opportunities for students to develop their identities as global citizens.
While living in Germany, Laurel read Mama Panya's Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya by Mary and Rich Chamberlin. Inspired by the book's message about sharing, Laurel contacted Barefoot Books. Now, she's the Director of Global Citizenship at Barefoot Books, and she promotes books that nourish children's hearts and souls around the world.
Laurel recommends that elementary classrooms have the following books:
Nour's Secret Library by Wafa' Tarnowska
When Nour's city in Syria is bombed, she has to seek shelter underground where she builds a subterranean library. When Laurel discussed this book, it made me think of Digging for Words by Angela Burke Kunkel because it also features an unusual library created by an unusual librarian.
Love by Matt De la Pena
This is Laurel's daughter's favorite book. If you're looking for a warm hug, this is it.
We Are Grateful by Traci Sorrel
Laurel and her daughter moved to the United States from Germany in the fall of 2021. As part of their first Thanksgiving celebration, the delighted in reading We Are Grateful. One of the great aspects of this book is that it focuses on gratitude throughout the year.
Thanks so much for reading. If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of Laurel's The Perfect Party, please leave a comment below and fill out this form.
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