Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Skinny Dip with Terri Evans

bk_EleanorParkWhat keeps you up at night?

Just about every­thing – I am a wor­ri­er and haven’t had eight straight hours of sleep in almost two years.

What is your proud­est career moment?

There are two, both of which occurred in the past cou­ple of years. The first began two years ago (as did my inabil­i­ty to sleep well) when the par­ents of a child involved in a sum­mer read­ing pro­gram, on which my Library Media Spe­cial­ists col­leagues and I were col­lab­o­rat­ing, chal­lenged the book we had cho­sen on the grounds that it con­tained graph­ic lan­guage and sex. The Par­ents Action League (one of eight groups in Min­neso­ta that the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has deemed a hate group) got behind the chal­lenge and made sev­er­al demands—that the book be removed from all schools in the dis­trict, that the author not be allowed to vis­it our schools, and that the Library Media Spe­cial­ists who chose the book be dis­ci­plined. The sto­ry went nation­al. One of my proud­est moments was when I spoke in front of our school board, along with two of my col­leagues, in order to defend the book (the award-win­ning Eleanor and Park by Rain­bow Row­ell). I am pas­sion­ate about the free­dom to read and the free­dom of information—and pro­vid­ing my stu­dents with books in which they see them­selves reflect­ed, even if their lives aren’t pret­ty. This free­dom also allows these stu­dents to look into the lives of oth­ers and devel­op empa­thy. Hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to express this pas­sion, and even­tu­al­ly win­ning this bat­tle (the com­mit­tee charged with decid­ing the fate of the book vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to keep the book on the shelves in our schools), changed me for­ev­er. The fol­low­ing fall I was award­ed the Lars Steltzn­er Intel­lec­tu­al Free­dom Award. In addi­tion, that year I was named a final­ist for Min­neso­ta Teacher of the Year. One of the most chal­leng­ing times in my life was also one of the most reward­ing.

In what Olympic sport would you like to win a gold medal?

Gym­nas­tics or fig­ure skat­ing. In fifth grade my teacher told me I was clum­sy. It would be a great “so there” moment!

What’s the first book you remem­ber read­ing?

bk_Little-Women-book-cover-2As a child, my par­ents could not afford to buy me or my four sib­lings books, nor did we ever go to the library. I was not a read­er. The sum­mer between fourth and fifth grade, my fam­i­ly and I moved back to Min­neso­ta from Michi­gan.  As a going-away gift, my friends gave me a copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Lit­tle Women. It was the first book that I ever owned and the first book I remem­ber read­ing cov­er to cov­er. That was the begin­ning of my jour­ney to becom­ing a read­er. I trea­sure that mem­o­ry and that book (which I keep in a safe spot and look at fre­quent­ly).

What TV show can’t you turn off?

So You Think You Can Dance – real­i­ty com­pe­ti­tion shows, espe­cial­ly those that involve some­thing artis­tic, are my guilty plea­sure (Sur­vivor, Danc­ing with the Stars, Amer­i­can Idol, America’s Next Top Mod­el, Project Run­way – I LOVE them all!)


4 Responses to Skinny Dip with Terri Evans

  1. Janet Muscala August 12, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Con­grat­u­la­tions, Ter­ri on your retire­ment and your awards! Looks like you are on the road to new adven­tures in your life. I will always feel priv­i­leged to have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with you dur­ing my intern­ship. I learned so much from you! Thank you.

    • Terri Evans August 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

      Thank-you, Janet. That is very kind of you. You were a most excel­lent “stu­dent!”

  2. David LaRochelle August 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Thank you, Ter­ri, for being a cham­pi­on of free speech and for being brave enough to take a stand when a group tries to lim­it what oth­er peo­ple can read.

    • Terri Evans August 13, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

      Last week­end my daugh­ter-in-law was on an air­plane, and the woman sit­ting next to her was read­ing “Eleanor and Park.” This sparked a con­ver­sa­tion between the two of them in which the woman said how much she liked the book, and my daugh­ter-in-law pro­ceed­ed to tell her the sto­ry of the book being chal­lenged in our school dis­trict. In the process, she con­tin­ued the bat­tle against cen­sor­ship! One stone. Lots of rip­ples!

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