Interview with Author and Educator, Zetta Elliott
This episode is full of heart. Zetta Elliott talks about how magic is for everyone, questions why some books aren’t reviewed, and shares a simple and flexible way to outline a novel that you can try yourself and/or share with your students.
Zetta's written many fabulous books. The ones we discuss in the interview are her Dragons in a Bag series, Say Her Name and the Caldecott Honor winner, A Place Inside of Me.
We talk about how the Dragons in a Bag series celebrates and includes groups of people who have often been omitted from fantasy narratives. In addition, Zetta illuminates urban settings, like abandoned factories, that are rarely if ever mentioned in a genre that elevates secret gardens and rural landscapes.
Say Her Name is an exquisite collection of poems that according to Jacqueline Woodson, "is a tribute to Black Women, in verse." While discussing "For Saundra," by Nikki Giovanni, which is included in Say Her Name, we examine the stereotypical assumption that cities don't make good subject matter for poetry, while trees do.
Finally, we chat about A Place Inside of Me. Zetta explains she changed the order of some stanzas in the poem to make more of a narrative arc. She questions why some books are reviewed while others are not.
If you're interested in winning one of Zetta's fantastic books, be sure to listen to the end of the episode to find out how to enter the giveaway.
Zetta thinks every upper grade classroom should have a copy of Ann Clare LeZotte's Show Me a Sign, which is a tension-filled, adventurous, historical fiction novel, which looks at how society discriminated against deaf people in the 1800's. I totally agree that this book should be in every classroom. I wish I would have mentioned A Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly, which examines some of the challenges that deaf children face today.
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See you in the new year!
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