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Skinny Dip with DeDe Small

DeDe Small

DeDe Small shares her enthu­si­asm about books, read­ing, and lit­er­a­cy with her stu­dents at Drake Uni­ver­si­ty in Des Moines, Iowa. We invit­ed DeDe to Skin­ny Dip with us, our first inter­view in the New Year.

When did you first start read­ing books?

I don’t actu­al­ly remem­ber learn­ing to read but I do always remem­ber hav­ing books. I even came up with my own cat­a­loging sys­tem in the lat­er ele­men­tary grades.

Din­ner par­ty at your favorite restau­rant with peo­ple liv­ing or dead: where is it and who’s on the guest list?

I don’t know where it is but I know I am eat­ing a real­ly good steak and we need a big table because I am invit­ing Barak Oba­ma, JK Rowl­ing, Buck O’Neill, St. Ignatius of Loy­ola, Jane Goodall, my par­ents, and my aunts.

All-time favorite book?

This is real­ly hard because there are too many to name! I loved it when my moth­er read The Secret Gar­den to me. As a young child, I loved read­ing Andrew Henry’s Mead­ow by Doris Burn. In upper ele­men­tary, Island of the Blue Dol­phins by Scott O’Dell was my favorite. All-time favorite might have to be the entire Har­ry Pot­ter series because it speaks to choos­ing kind­ness, love, and integri­ty over pow­er and fame.

DeDe Small's favorite books

Favorite break­fast or lunch as a kid?

I was cuck­oo for Cocoa Puffs.

What’s your least favorite chore?

Doing the laun­dry.

What’s your favorite part of start­ing a new project?

I love the feel­ing when every­thing starts click­ing and you can sense where the project might go. That sense of poten­tial is ener­giz­ing.

SocksBare­foot? Socks? Shoes? How would we most often find you at home?

Bare­foot in warm weath­er and socks when it is cold. You will most often find me curled up on my couch with a book, doing school work or watch­ing a movie. The activ­i­ty changes but my loca­tion does not.

When are you your most cre­ative?

I am most cre­ative when I step back and take the time to let an idea per­co­late a bit.

Your best mem­o­ry of your school library?

My strongest mem­o­ry is actu­al­ly of my pub­lic library. We would go once a week. It became a great bond­ing expe­ri­ence with my moth­er and I came to think of the library as a spe­cial place. I now have four library cards.

Favorite fla­vor of ice cream?

Mint Chip.

Book(s) on your bed­side table right now?

Wishtree by Kather­ine Apple­gate, Wolf Hol­low by Lau­ren Wolk, and La Rose by Louise Erdrich.  I recent­ly read The Under­ground Rail­road by Col­son White­head, Refugee by Alan Gratz and Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.

Best inven­tion in the last 200 years?

Vac­cines

Which is worse: spi­ders or snakes?

Spi­ders. Way too many legs and eyes.

What’s your best con­tri­bu­tion to tak­ing care of the envi­ron­ment?

Recy­cling

Why do you feel hope­ful for humankind?

I find hope in the char­ac­ters of good books and real-life sto­ries. Lloyd Alexan­der was specif­i­cal­ly ref­er­enc­ing fan­ta­sy but I think it is true of all good sto­ries: “Some­times heart­break­ing, but nev­er hope­less, the fan­ta­sy world as it ‘should be’ is one in which good is ulti­mate­ly stronger than evil, where courage, jus­tice, love, and mer­cy actu­al­ly func­tion.” Books allow us to rec­og­nize our own human­i­ty in oth­ers and that makes me hope­ful. If we read more, con­nect more, and under­stood more, the world would be a bet­ter place.

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Chasing Freedom Companion Booktalks

To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ Books …

 

Alec’s Primer

Mil­dred Pitts Wal­ter
illus­trat­ed by Lar­ry John­son
Ver­mont Folk­life Cen­ter, 2005

  • Based on the true sto­ry of Alec Turn­er (1845−1923), who learned to read as a boy with the help of his owner’s daugh­ter

  • Sup­ple­ment the sto­ry with sto­ries and songs from tape-record­ed inter­views with Daisy Turn­er, Alec’s daugh­ter

  • A Carter G. Wood­son hon­or book from a Coret­ta Scott King-win­ning author

 

All Dif­fer­ent Now: June­teenth, the First Day of Free­dom

Angela John­son
illus­trat­ed by E.B. Lewis
Simon & Schus­ter, 2014

  • Per­fect­ly and pow­er­ful­ly, 289 words evoke a mon­u­men­tal event

  • Back mat­ter includes author and illus­tra­tor notes, impor­tant dates list, short his­to­ry of June­teenth, and a glos­sary

  • Coret­ta Scott King Award-win­ning author and illus­tra­tor

 

Cross­ing Bok Chit­to: A Choctaw Tale of Friend­ship and Free­dom 

Tim Tin­gle
illus­trat­ed by Jeanne Rorex Bridges
Cin­co Pun­tas Press, 2006

  • Set in the Old South, Cross­ing Bok Chit­to is an Indi­an book, writ­ten by Indi­an voic­es, and paint­ed by an Indi­an artist” (from the author’s note)

  • Sev­en slaves cross to free­dom, led by a young Choctaw girl; adds a new per­spec­tive to the estab­lished escape lit­er­a­ture

  • Back mat­ter includes short pro­file of the Choctaw nations and a note on Choctaw sto­ry­telling

 

Eliz­a­beth Leads the Way: Eliz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton and the Right to Vote

Tanya Lee Stone
illus­trat­ed by Rebec­ca Gib­bon
Hen­ry Holt, 2008

  • The girl­hood and young adult years of a lead­ing famous suf­frag­ist

  • Author’s note includes a brief overview of Cady Stanton’s life and pub­lic image

  • ALA Notable, Junior Library Guild Pre­mier Selec­tion, 2009 Amelia Bloomer Award Book

 

Har­ri­et Tub­man, Secret Agent: How Dar­ing Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union dur­ing the Civ­il War

Thomas B. Allen
illus­trat­ed by Car­la Bauer
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Children’s Books, 2006

  • Com­bines the sto­ry of Har­ri­et Tubman’s post-Under­ground Rail­road work as spy and mil­i­tary leader with a his­to­ry of the abo­li­tion­ist move­ment and the Civ­il War

  • Back mat­ter includes time line, a bib­li­og­ra­phy, and notes and quote sources

  • Includes some secret codes to deci­pher!

 

Heart and Soul: the Sto­ry of Amer­i­ca and African Amer­i­cans

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son
Balzer+Bray, 2012

  • …a grand and awe-inspir­ing sur­vey of the black expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca, deliv­ered in 108 pages” (Wal­ter Dean Myers)

  • Coret­ta Scott King win­ner (author) AND Coret­ta Scott King hon­or (illus­tra­tor)

  • Back mat­ter includes author’s note, time­line, exten­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy

 

I Could Do That! Esther Mor­ris Gets Women the Right to Vote

Lin­da Arms White
illus­trat­ed by Nan­cy Car­pen­ter
Far­rar, Straus& Giroux, 2005

  • Pic­ture book (some­what fic­tion­al­ized) biog­ra­phy of woman who was instru­men­tal in the suc­cess­ful fight for women’s suf­frage in Wyoming—51 years before it was won nation­al­ly

  • Back mat­ter includes author’s note and resources

  • Humor­ous  illus­tra­tions expand the kid-appeal of the sto­ry

 

Many Thou­sand Gone: African Amer­i­cans from Slav­ery to Free­dom

Vir­ginia Hamil­ton
illus­trat­ed by Leo and Diane Dil­lon
Knopf, 1993

  • Giant-heart­ed book from three children’s lit­er­a­ture giants

  • 250 years of slav­ery in the U.S. told through pro­files of slaves and freed peo­ple

  • Pre­sent­ed in chrono­log­i­cal order, each chapter/profile includes a stun­ning black and white illus­tra­tion by the Dil­lons

 

 

March­ing with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Antho­ny and the Fight for Women’s Suf­frage

Claire Rudolf Mur­phy
illus­trat­ed by Stacey Schuett
Peachtree, 2011

  • The nar­ra­tive is from the point of view of Bessie Kei­th Pond, a (real) ten-year old Cal­i­for­nia girl, which cre­ates engag­ing imme­di­a­cy to the his­to­ry

  • Exten­sive back matter—perfect for report writ­ing

  • Amelia Bloomer project 2012 book list

 

Moses: When Har­ri­et Tub­man Led Her Peo­ple to Free­dom

Car­ole Boston Weath­er­ford
illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2006

  • Calde­cott-hon­or for Nelson’s stun­ning illus­tra­tions; most are dou­ble-page spreads

  • Unique three-voiced nar­ra­tive that is easy to fol­low and con­veys the pow­er of Tubman’s per­son­al mis­sion; we hear the sto­ry­teller, Har­ri­et Tub­man, and the voice of God as she hears it

  • Author is an NAACP image award final­ist and Carter G. Wood­son Award win­ner; author’s note includes con­cise biog­ra­phy of Tub­man

 

Trav­el­ing the Free­dom Road: From Slav­ery and the Civ­il War through Recon­struc­tion

Lin­da Bar­rett Osborne
Hen­ry N. Abrams, Inc., 2009

  • Pub­lished in asso­ci­a­tion with the Library of Con­gress, it’s loaded with pri­ma­ry sources—documents and images

  • Nar­ra­tive focus­es on young peo­ple and includes many first-per­son rec­ol­lec­tions of the time peri­od

  • Library of Con­gress author video and oth­er resources to sup­ple­ment read­ing

 

With Courage and Cloth: Win­ning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote

Ann Bausum  
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic, 2004

  • Detailed, pho­to-illus­trat­ed his­to­ry of women’s suf­frage in the U.S. from a Sib­ert hon­or and Carter Wood­son Award author

  • Just why is “cloth” so impor­tant? A per­fect top­ic for research and dis­cus­sion

  • Back mat­ter galore for reports

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Bookstorm™: Chasing Freedom

Bookstorm Chasing FreedomIn this Bookstorm™:

Chasing FreedomChasing Freedom

The Life Jour­neys of Har­ri­et Tub­man and Susan B. Antho­ny, Inspired by His­tor­i­cal Facts
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
illus­trat­ed by Michele Wood
Orchard Books, 2015

As Nik­ki Grimes writes in her author’s note for this book, “His­to­ry is often taught in bits and pieces, and stu­dents rarely get the notion that these bits and pieces are con­nect­ed.” Bookol­o­gy want­ed to look at this book for a num­ber of rea­sons. We hope that you will con­sid­er the remark­able sto­ries of free­dom fight­ers Har­ri­et Tub­man and Susan B. Antho­ny and the moments in his­to­ry that the author reveals. We hope that you will study the illus­tra­tions by Michele Wood and dis­cuss how each spread in the book makes you feel, how African motifs and quilt pat­terns are made an inte­gral part of the book’s design, and how the col­or palette brings strength to the con­ver­sa­tion between these two women. 

This con­ver­sa­tion between these two women nev­er took place. The sub­ti­tle reads “inspired by his­tor­i­cal facts.” Nik­ki Grimes imag­ines a con­ver­sa­tion that could have tak­en place between these two women, solid­ly drawn from the facts of their lives. Is this a new form of fic­tion? Non­fic­tion? You’ll have a mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sion about the dif­fer­ences between fact, fic­tion, infor­ma­tion text, non­fic­tion, and sto­ry­telling when you dis­cuss this with your class­room or book club.

In each Book­storm™, we offer a bib­li­og­ra­phy of books that have close ties to the the fea­tured book. For Chas­ing Free­dom, you’ll find books for a vari­ety of tastes, inter­ests, and read­ing abil­i­ties. The book will be com­fort­ably read by ages 7 through 12. We’ve includ­ed pic­ture books, non­fic­tion, videos, web­sites, and des­ti­na­tions for the pletho­ra of pur­pos­es you might have. There are many fine books that fall out­side of these para­me­ters, but we chose to nar­row the selec­tion of books this time to those that fol­lowed the fight for women’s right to vote from the 1840s to 1920 and those that fol­lowed slav­ery in Amer­i­ca until the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion and a few years beyond. These are the major con­cerns behind the work of Har­ri­et Tub­man and Susan B. Antho­ny.

AFRICAN AMERICANSRIGHT TO BE FREE

Cel­e­brat­ing Free­dom. Two recent books are includ­ed, one deal­ing with the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion and the oth­er with how freed peo­ple lived in New York City in Seneca Vil­lage, which would even­tu­al­ly become Cen­tral Park.

Har­ri­et Tub­man. We’ve cho­sen a few of the many good books about this free­dom fight­er, trail blaz­er, and spir­i­tu­al­ly moti­vat­ed woman.

His­to­ry. From Book­er T. Washington’s auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Up from Slav­ery to Julius Lester’s To Be a Slave through to Kadir Nelson’s Heart and Soul: the Sto­ry of Amer­i­ca and African Amer­i­cans, you’ll find a num­ber of books that will fas­ci­nate your stu­dents and make fine choic­es for book club dis­cus­sions.

Under­ground Rail­road. One of our tru­ly hero­ic move­ments in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, we’ve select­ed books that chron­i­cle the work, the dan­ger, and the vic­to­ries of these free­dom fight­ers, of which Har­ri­et Tub­man was a strong, ded­i­cat­ed mem­ber. 

WOMEN’S RIGHT TO VOTE

Susan B. Antho­ny. Often writ­ten about, we’ve select­ed just a few of the many books about this woman who under­stood the hard­ships women faced and the neces­si­ty for them to be able to vote, to have a voice in gov­ern­ment.

More Suf­frag­ists. Many women around the globe fought for their right to vote and the fight con­tin­ues in many coun­tries. We’ve select­ed sev­er­al books that fall with­in our time frame.

Let us know how you are mak­ing use of this Book­storm™. Share your dis­cus­sions, class­room inclu­sion, or send us a pho­to of your library dis­play.

(Thanks to Mar­sha Qua­ley and Claire Rudolf Mur­phy for shar­ing their con­sid­er­able knowl­edge and insight about books for this Book­storm™.)

Downloadables

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Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge

Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge

In down­town Min­neapo­lis, Min­neso­ta, span­ning the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er, there is a “Stone Arch Bridge” that resem­bles a roman viaduct with its 23 arch­es. Built at a time when Min­neapo­lis was a pri­ma­ry grain-milling and wood-pro­­duc­ing cen­ter for the Unit­ed States, Empire Builder James J. Hill want­ed the bridge built to help his rail­road reach the […]

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