This post was originally published on obraartifact.com.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury
My students groaned when I passed out the books.
“I thought you said we weren’t reading another novel,” said the kid in front.
“I was wrong,” I said. “We’re reading this one because I think it’s important with everything that’s happening these days. Like how we just studied fake news.”
They lazed in their chairs. A guy down front took a pull on his Dunkin Donuts latte, eyeing me like he couldn’t decide if I was up to no good.
“What’s it about?” he asked.
Continue reading ➞ Fahrenheit 2017
In my first year of teaching, I gave my seniors the assignment to write about an event in their life that made them who they are. I read them all, surprised at what they’d been through, surprised too at the secrets they would trust me with, at what they’d put on paper. Domestic abuse, poverty, illness, one even witnessed a murder – these are the things that boiled under the surface of these people who I laughed with daily, who decorated my room, who sang me happy birthday, who wore me down to eventually have class outside. I had known them eight months already, or I thought I knew them. It wasn’t until April that we had this turning point, and I saw through to the other side. I realized that we are all a little broken. Every single one of us is on the mend.
Continue reading ➞ Why I Write
Full of turmoil, love, loss, and pain, Lindsey Lee Johnson’s The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is a complex meditation on privilege and the crucible that is adolescence. Set in Mill Valley, California, at the real life Tamalpais High School, the story centers on a fledgling teacher, Molly Nicoll, as she discovers and comes to terms with the complex lives of her students and her role (or absence) in their evolution as people. With perspectives that alternate between Molly and the main group of her students, Johnson weaves a series of interconnected life stories that create a portrait not only of the idyllic Mill Valley, with its towering redwoods and foggy views of San Francisco Bay, she creates a portrait from the inside, from the multifaceted and often breaking hearts of the teenagers who are beginning their lives there.
Continue reading ➞ Review of The Most Dangerous Place on Earth