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Christmas with Tween & Teen

I am missing Christmas.

The ones where they believed. The ones where they wrote letters to Santa and put out carrots for reindeer and wanted nothing but oodles of lego and craft kits and an American Girl doll.

I would actually buy an American Girl doll right now, expensive as it is, if it would wipe my daughters very tween wish list away.

This is our year of adjustment. The year when they do not believe in Santa but still put stockings out regardless. The year when they ask for cool clothes and cosmetics and music. The year when my son wants a cosplay onesie–so he and his girlfriend can be twins.

I’m having a hard time holding on to tree lighting traditions and sitting on Santa’s lap, and all the other benign merriment of Americana Christmas. They of the eye-rolling stage do not want to participate in much.

Have I lost something?

I count what I have left. They still like my baking. Still like my dinners. Hooray for small things.

They sweetly ask what I want for Christmas. I tell them I want them to clean their rooms and declutter the house.  No Really, Mom. What do you want for Christmas?

I try to think of something that would work for me. A bottle of scotch? A ticket to Hamilton? A potential administration not trying to actively bring about environmental apocalypse? My book finished?

Shit. I’m as impossible as they are.

 

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Just. One. Book. One Month In.

Just. One. Book. is still here! Yes. We are still here! OMG are we still here. But I didn’t post anything this week because I kind of needed a bit of a break–to start shelving books in earnest. And then my knee gave out (long boring story of life-long knee issue) so then I’ve been sitting and directing and sending out thank yous–as many as I can muster. But I haven’t been blogging–I have been working on my book though so yay me!

Much has happened. The boxes keep coming but thankfully less than before. We can almost catch our breath. We have promises of shelving coming in. We de-commissioned much of what was left of the old library and are having a book sale of them.

We have sections now! The kids can actually visualize what’s in my head.IMG_8098Sio this happened last Friday. My friend and teacher over at Quincy Junior High School came and got a class set of books + some other materials we had duplicates of. Adrienne is fighting the good fight to get more diverse readings selections in over at QJHS.

Class sets. Because of you. Indian Valley Academy’s junior high are doing I am Malala in the fall as a class. They’re deciding a few others but they are so thankful that you helped with that! I think another class is doing The Book Thief.  My kids and their friends had fun searching for duplicates and making up sets of books for the teachers to come in and see.

We’ve also received a grant from the local rotary to order carousel computer desks for the computer area so that they feel more like individual work spaces.

Right now the library kind of looks like semi-ordered chaos. Thankfully our staff of volunteers has many an admitted organizational freak (self-included). I will post photos as soon as it looks like something other than chaos.

If you haven’t sent a book, please don’t! But alas where should you send them?

In honor of us? Please send them to rural America. Every state has their rural America. It’s fully of half empty towns whose kids are languishing.

I went to the neighboring town of Quincy last week and found out that 19 students in the 4 high schools run by Plumas Unified School district are pregnant as we speak. Given that our graduating classes combined of the four traditional public schools are only about 100 students that’s  A LOT.

I’m hoping too that the diverse books you sent will help our students grasp both their own place in the world and instill a sense of empathy in what they don’t know and what they don’t see.

You have helped with all this wonder. Thank you again, you’re amazing.

 

 

 

 

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Just. One. Book. (Your Questions Answered)

Hi. I don’t know how many writers have been reading this but you know how sometimes you write yourself into a corner on a project and you think I need to get up and move around some and think about what’s going to happen next. Where is this character going? Is she really going to do what I think she’s going to do?

So if you are like me, you get up and fold laundry or take a walk in the campground (I literally live right next to the campground in our town which means when I say I live in a forest, I totally mean I live in a forest).So that’s where I’ve been on my new book project. And while it’s non-fiction this time around there’s many places it could go so I fold laundry, clean out the kids rooms, write an article for the local paper, or speak with you all and add books/films/cds to round out what I hear is coming or that we have at the library. And all and all this system I set up for myself this week was so smooth that I was thinking to myself —look at you managing all this. The house is clean. Articles are written!  New chapter worked on! You even made killer breakfast burritos for the husband.  And then I log into my email and amazon and think OH MY GOODNESS! 200 people emailed me while I slept and the Amazon wish list which I culled from wants and needs of teachers and students and my own idea of what a library should have has gone from 700 items to 5.  Holy shit.

So now I feel inadequate. THANK YOU for making me feel inadequate and humbled by the great power of a collective voice of people who want to see more books in the hands of children and young adults. YOU are seriously rocking our world right now in the most positive way possible.

I realize that this morning before taking my car in for servicing I could 1) try and answer every single email and get a list back up or 2) I could write this blog post and try to include as much as possible to address concerns and questions.

So I’m doing the latter.

  1. We do accept lightly used books. I’m totally down for that and I don’t think any of the students mind.
  2. We do have people on my wee small committee looking into all your great suggestions regarding places that do grants. THANK YOU for the heads up and referrals.
  3. We are accepting classroom sets but are scrambling to figure out what next year looks like at the same time so please, hold that thought!
  4. We aren’t accepting old National Geographics as that’s the one thing we already have plenty of which I think was the last local donation made a few years back along with bodice ripper books. Since the kids didn’t have much in the way that was targeted to their age group, we really want YA fiction and literary classics over adult romance.
  5. YES! I know that the Amazon Wish List is down. You all were so much faster than me. Thank you for your generosity. I will (after work today) add to the list with the teachers lists and recommendations others have been giving me.

If you’ve been on the Amazon Wish List you may have thought my lists were a bit whacky. They –in a large part– reflect what our programs are as well as our interests. In a small town you get to know the kids and their interests. Am I a little concerned about my own son’s fascination with The Walking Dead? Sure but he also love’s the Howard Zinn books so. What’s more I birthed a next generation Nick Cave/Leonard Cohen fan so I’m good.

I thought you might want more details of what we do well. So here it is:

  1. As with many small towns—the schools’ extracurricular programs reflect available resources (people) who teach or volunteer teach/support/coach activities.
  2. Indian Valley Academy is a progressive school that focuses on 21st century skills and channeling student interests and abilities whether they are academically inclined or not.We have kids who have not succeeded in a traditional academic setting but we’ve channeled their interests to make things happen for them. We have kids who were bored in the traditional setting and need a place that doesn’t place boundaries on them. So our dyslexic student who loves to build things gets an opportunity to both catch up on his reading and build his inventions at the same time. Our programs include a chess team, a maker design class, a philanthropy group, a theater program, a wonderfully fun choir named “Puberty’s High Note”, film/video production, and traditional classes.
  3. Greenville High School is a traditional school and also has some programs that are top-notch given our puny size and strength. It has a strong band program with a teacher who has been with us 39 years and a culinary arts program that manages to win competitions through out the state. The schools are integrated for sports and in particular a rodeo program–four students i fact just competed on the state level in rodeo. With the help of the Sierra Institute and Feather River College’s Outdoor Rec Program, our students have been able to go on hiking and water based field trips. In the 6th grade all area tweens go on a series of field trips from the top of the Feather River watershed to where it ends in the San Francisco Bay to give them a better understanding of water and its importance.  Yeah, not the kind of field trips I got growing up in Los Angeles.

What we don’t have as the other posts have indicated–is a strong grounding in the written word.  What we don’t have is a better appreciation of diversity. You are helping to provide that. You are giving these kids access to other worlds outside our great but narrow focus. You are providing your own perspective and in doing so opens up our minds and hearts.

SO THANK YOU FROM A GRATEFUL & OVERWHELMED LIBRARY ORGANIZER. THANK YOU FOR HELPING US OPEN UP THE WORLD FOR OUR KIDS. Stay tuned. There will be an updated list.