Interviewed on Lifelines: Books That Bridge the Divide | Hosted by Ann Braden & Saadia Faruqi

Lifelines: Books That Bridge the Divide

Lifelines: Books That Bridge the Divide is a new children’s book podcast that is hosted by authors Ann Braden (The Benefits of Being an Octopus, September 2018) and Saadia Faruqi (Meet Yasmin!, August 2018). As stated by the hosts:

“In this podcast, we share conversations with librarians, educators, and readers about the children’s books that can be bridges across our cultural divides…the books that can open minds and the books that can be the lifeline a child needs to remember they’re not alone.”

– Ann Braden and Saadia Faruqi

I’ve listened to each episode since its launch at the end of March this year (2018).  Episodes are divided into two segments, “Books You’ve Never Heard Of” which includes a wealth of book recommendations from Saadia that are tiles that you may not have heard of before but need to read. Followed by Ann’s segment where she has conversations with librarians, educators, and readers about bridging the cultural divide and books that make readers feel seen and heard.

Here are the titles of the first 4 episodes:

  1. Supporting Students in Poverty | Conversation with School Librarian Eileen Parks
  2. Fighting Prejudice with Words | Conversation with High School Senior Kiran, member of the slam poetry group Muslim Girls Making a Change
  3. National Poetry Month | Conversation with Juliet Lubwama, a 2017 National Student Poet
  4. Tackling Tough Issues: Jason Reynolds | Conversation with Librarian Mary Linney
Episode 5: Welcoming ‘The Other”: Wishtree and a Conversation with Librarian Christina Carter

I was thrilled to be asked to join Ann on the podcast to discuss books that welcome “the other.” I firmly believe that books and stories have the power to bridge the cultural divide and to stop the nonsensical act of othering as though there is only one, homogeneous narrative by which we all should conform to. Our world is far richer than that and books can at once give us space to celebrate what makes us unique or different and what makes us the same. At the purest heart of the matter, when we get to know one another, we’ll likely find that we have more in common than we know.

Episode 5 aired on Monday, May 14th, 2018 and on it, Saadia Faruqi book talked Wishtree and provided a great list of books that welcome those who have been made to feel like an “other.” I was then interviewed by Ann Braden and we had a great conversation about the ways I promote reading to all of my students, books that I’ve read recently, and books that I felt helped to bridge the divide. Like Saadia, I talked about Katherine Applegate’s book Wishtree which I read an ARC of in summer of 2017 and have shared widely with all of my students and staff at my K-5 school. It became instantly popular to the point where I had to buy 5 additional copies. It was also featured in our Tournament of Books this school year that we did to tie in with March Madness. If you haven’t read Wishtree yet, you can read a little bit about it in my review here.

I also talked about Dusti Bowling’s book The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus about a girl named Aven who has no arms. The book moved me beyond words and I fell in love instantaneously. You can read my review of this book here. I also mentioned a new series that my students have begun reading this year written by Debbi Michiko Florence that is teaching our students about Japanese culture through Jasmine’s stories. I have read two books from the series so far and you can read my review of Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl here.

You can listen to all episodes here: This is where you will also find show notes and links to any recommended books and bonus content mentioned by the show’s guests.

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