43 episodes

Host Jordan Lloyd Bookey speaks with authors and reading enthusiasts to explore ways to build a stronger culture of reading in our communities. They'll dive into their personal experiences, inspirations, and why their stories and ideas are connecting so well with kids.

The Reading Culture Beanstack

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 101 Ratings

Host Jordan Lloyd Bookey speaks with authors and reading enthusiasts to explore ways to build a stronger culture of reading in our communities. They'll dive into their personal experiences, inspirations, and why their stories and ideas are connecting so well with kids.

    Simple Thing, Felt: Nina LaCour on Unwrapping a Moment

    Simple Thing, Felt: Nina LaCour on Unwrapping a Moment

    "I spend a lot of time trying to hope that I'll remember little things and how a certain simple thing felt. …  Writing is one way of trying to capture that feeling, even if I'm fictionalizing it still.” - Nina LaCour
    If Nina LaCour were a drink, she would be a cozy cup of tea. You’re not rushing to finish a conversation with Nina. Rather, you are spending time exploring the details. And that is exactly what we did in this episode.
    The world moves fast. Usually faster than we’d like it to. But writing can gift us the ability to slow a moment down, to digest and analyze at a more intentional pace. For Nina LaCour, writing starts with observing the world around you, getting ready to break it down into words and unravel the meaning on a page. 
    As a new writer, Nina found it best to share those observations through young adult literature after falling in love with it in college. She has since written a picture book, “Mama, Mommy and Me in the Middle,” and returned to an adult novel she shelved early in her career (“Yerba Buena”). More recently, she released "The Apartment House on Poppy Hill," the sweetest chapter book. 
    Nina’s work is notably thoughtful and gentle. Her complex topics have resonated deeply with young readers and adults alike (including our own recent guest, Mark Oshiro). She’s best known for her novels such as “Hold Still,” "Everything Leads to You," and "We Are Okay," which received the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. 
    In this episode, she shares her journey to falling in love with young adult literature and how Virginia Woolf helped her find the love of her life. She also explores writing's capacity to uncover the depth within every moment and discusses the importance of queer family representation in literature.
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    In her reading challenge, At the Intersection, Nina has curated a list of books at the intersection of queerness and family.

    You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/nina-lacour

    This episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Faith Rice Mills, librarian at Nelda Sullivan Middle School in Pasadena, Texas. She tells us a heartwarming story to remind librarians of the importance of their work, even when that impact isn't obvious.

    Contents
    Chapter 1 - The Outsider…
    Chapter 2 - …Becomes the Observer
    Chapter 3 - Mrs. Dalloway
    Chapter 4 - On Being Gentle
    Chapter 5 - Bang Bang
    Chapter 6 - At the Intersection
    Chapter 7 - Beanstack Featured Librarian

    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupNina LaCourNina LaCour (@nina_lacour) • Instagram photos and videosThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media
    Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 37 min
    The World As It Should Be: LeUyen Pham Illustrates an Ideal

    The World As It Should Be: LeUyen Pham Illustrates an Ideal

    "There's something very lovely about feeling like, well, it's not my name, and it's not me, it's just the books.” - LeUyen Pham
    To listen to LeUyen Pham is to feel inspired. She is full of hope and ideas and sees potential everywhere and in everyone. In LeUyen’s ideal world, diverse representation is a natural outgrowth of art that truly reflects our world. Her career as an artist and writer has been her contribution to making that a reality. Her career as an artist and writer has been her contribution to making that a reality. If you have ever read a book that LeUyen illustrated, you already know this to be true. The diversity we see in LeUyen’s pages is at once realistic and aspirational. 
    Her illustration credits include over 130 books, such as “Bear Came Along,” recognized with a Caldecott Honor, the popular “The Princess in Black” series, “Lunar New Year Love Story,” and my kids’ favorite when they were younger, “Grace for President.” She has also illustrated and written a few of her own, including the award-winning “Outside, Inside” and “Big Sister Little Sister.”
    In this episode, LeUyen tells us why she prefers to be an “art chameleon” (and how that led to challenges early in her career). She talks about how support from her teachers showed her that a career as an artist was even a possibility and how an accusation of cheating (well, not really) put her on the right path.
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter.
    ***
    In her reading challenge, Chasing Home, LeUyen gets personal and invites us to explore the concept of what home means, especially from her perspective as a refugee.

    You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/leuyen-pham

    This episode’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Marva Coney, a librarian at Jackson Intermediate in the Pasadena Independent School District. She shares a story about just how important books can be as kids start to grow and experience newer and harder parts of life for the first time.

    Contents
    Chapter 1 - Temple City and Bill Peet (2:06)
    Chapter 2 - From Wynne to LeUyen (8:16)
    Chapter 3 - The Witch of Blackbird Pond (10:01)
    Chapter 4 - Art Chameleon (18:51)
    Chapter 5 - Incidental Diversity (24:55)
    Chapter 6 - The Artist Shows Herself (31:05)
    Chapter 7 - Chasing Home (36:52)
    Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:18)
    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupLEUYEN PHAM (@uyenloseordraw) • Instagram photos and videosLeUyen Pham (she/her) - The Author VillageThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd BookeyProducer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street MediaScript Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 40 min
    If Your Heart Breaks, It’s Working: Nicola Yoon on Love and Other Risky Behaviors

    If Your Heart Breaks, It’s Working: Nicola Yoon on Love and Other Risky Behaviors

    "Love is risky. Love always ends. Should you do it anyway?” - Nicola YoonLove is a feeling that never exists solely on its own, and those likely companions to love (anxiety, grief) often bring questions such as, is this worth it? It’s this question and others like it that Nicola Yoon explores in each of her novels. 
    Nicola is a hopeless romantic. The affliction began in childhood after the discovery of her aunt’s harlequin romance collection. From then on, Nicola’s love of love would only grow stronger. But while her passion for romance was a love at first sight, her passion for writing was more of a slow burn.
    Today, Nicola Yoon boasts an impressive resume as a two-time New York Times bestselling author, a finalist for the National Book Award, a recipient of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and a winner of the Coretta Scott King New Talent Award. Notably, her first two novels have been successfully adapted for the big screen.
    In this episode, she’ll tell us why she fell in love with the romance genre, and how she found her way to writing as a career after 15 years in finance. She also shares her own ridiculously cute, out-of-a-movie love story about how she ended up with her husband and fellow writer, David Yoon. 
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    Inspired by her own novel, "Instructions for Dancing,” in her reading challenge, Good Grief, Nicola invites us to explore the intersection of love and grief with a list of some of her favorite books.

    You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

    Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Nikki Hayter, a library manager with the Des Moines Public Library system. As summer inches closer, she tells us about a unique program her library started a couple of years ago with graphic novels.

    Contents

    Chapter 1 - Harlequin Romance (1:37)
    Chapter 2 - An Unrequited Love (6:36)
    Chapter 3 - The Great Gatsby (11:24)
    Chapter 4 - A Requited Love (16:26)
    Chapter 5 - The Airport Scene (19:02)
    Chapter 6 - Questions About Love (22:53)
    Chapter 7 - Not a Case of Love at First Sight (25:43)
    Chapter 8 - Expectations of Love (27:34)Chapter 9 - Don’t read this book! (applies to children) (31:21)
    Chapter 10 - Joy Revolution (33:40)
    Chapter 11 - Good Grief (36:45)
    Chapter 12 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:22)
    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupNicola YoonEVERYTHING, EVERYTHING - Official Trailer 2THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR - Official TrailerJoy Revolution, Imprint Led by Nicola Yoon and David Yoon, to Launch Inaugural List in Spring 2023 | Penguin Random HouseJoy Revolution Books (@joyrevbooks) • Instagram photos and videosThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd Bookey
    Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media
    Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 40 min
    The Blackest Book Ever: Derrick Barnes on Writing Unapologetically

    The Blackest Book Ever: Derrick Barnes on Writing Unapologetically

    "I'm putting every single ounce of who I am into every single book that I write, so y'all know to expect the blackest books you have ever read from yours truly.”  - Derrick BarnesDerrick Barnes’ introduction to vulnerable storytelling was through the jazz and R&B records he found in his family’s collection. For young Derrick, reading the liner notes in albums was just as important as any other kind of reading. Eventually, artists like Prince, Rakim, and John Coltrane taught him about the power in simply and truly being yourself. Inspired, young Derrick began writing his own poetry and short stories, which served as the beginning of a long and fruitful writing career. A career that includes being the first black creative copywriter for Hallmark cards.
    In his work as an author, Derrick embodies the authenticity of his idols, being uncompromising in his goal to tell an array of black stories, for black kids. Although already an established writer, Derrick’s breakthrough picture book, "Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut" brought him national attention and accolades such as the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Award. More recently he earned a National Book Award honor for the graphic novel “Victory Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice.” 
    In this episode, Derrick tells the story of how music inspired him to write, how his idols taught him to never compromise his voice as a black man, and why he considers himself a freedom fighter. 
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    In Derrick’s reading challenge, "Resistance and Resilience" he invited us to read powerful stories of resilience from America’s black history.

    You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

    Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Connie Sharp, a Librarian Training and Development Specialist at Metro Nashville Public Schools. She told us about how her district utilizes Beanstack with community partnerships to encourage students to read.

    Contents

    Chapter 1 - Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B (1:59)
    Chapter 2 - Literacy and Lyrics (6:31)
    Chapter 3 - A Hallmark Story (9:11)
    Chapter 4 - The Fresh Cut (12:52)
    Chapter 5 - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (19:22)
    Chapter 6 - Freedom Fighter (25:00)
    Chapter 7 - The Blackest Books (28:56)
    Chapter 8 - The Legacy of Derrick Barnes (31:29)  
    Chapter 9 - Resistance and Resilience (35:31)
    Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (37:29)

    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupDerrick BarnesCaleb McLaughlin Reads "Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut" | Bookmarks | Netflix JrVictory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice - National Book FoundationThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd Bookey
    Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media
    Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 39 min
    Rabbit Holes: Brandy Colbert on Deep Research and Deep Characters

    Rabbit Holes: Brandy Colbert on Deep Research and Deep Characters

    "I'm a bad liar. So I'm just like, I'm really good at telling the truth.”  - Brandy ColbertGoing down internet rabbit holes and discovering everything there is to know about random subjects is a relaxing way to spend an evening, according to Brandy Colbert. This passion for research is part of the secret sauce that helps her build such deep and believable characters in her fiction work. In her nonfiction writing, Brandy’s ability to bring humanity to the real “characters” in the story is what brings history to life. 
    Brandy is a true acolyte of the writing craft. She spent her youth creating stories of her own and occasionally borrowing and reinterpreting tales from TV. After studying journalism in college she spent the early stages of her career contributing to niche magazines, where she honed her research prowess.
    Today, Brandy brings all those skills together to write gripping, detail-oriented, character-driven fiction and nonfiction stories. 
    Brandy Colbert is known for works such as "Little & Lion," which won the Stonewall Book Award, "The Only Black Girls in Town," and "Pointe". Meanwhile, her nonfiction book about the Tulsa Race Massacre, "Black Birds in the Sky" won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award.
    In this episode, she tells us where she developed and honed her research skills, how she brings characters to life, and why a character by any other name is just…. not the same character.
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    In Brandy’s reading challenge, "Powerful Nonfiction" she challenges us to read a list of nonfiction books that she says will, “open minds, challenge assumptions, and highlight the power of historical truth.”  

    You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

    Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Cindy Philbeck, Teacher-Librarian at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She told us a heartwarming story about a student's discovery of Sabaa Tahir's All My Rage.


    Contents
    Chapter 1 - Reading in the Ozarks (1:47)
    Chapter 2 - Early heartbreaks (5:54)
    Chapter 3 - A Midwestern college experience (11:57)
    Chapter 4 - A Humanist View (14:00)
    Chapter 5 - Women’s muscles (17:43)
    Chapter 6 - Rejections (19:58)
    Chapter 7 - Write what you know research (23:55)
    Chapter 8 - A bad liar (27:37)
    Chapter 9 - Black Jewish Lesbians (exist) (30:19)
    Chapter 10 - Powerful Nonfiction (36:55)
    Chapter 11 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (37:44)

    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupBrandy ColbertBrandy Colbert (@brandycolbert) • Instagram photos and videosTRANSCRIBED as PUBLIC SERVICE Toni Morrison at Portland State, May 30, 1975 Transcribed by Keisha E. McKenzieThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd Bookey
    Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media
    Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 39 min
    The One and Only John: Mr. Schu Turns His Heart Inside Out

    The One and Only John: Mr. Schu Turns His Heart Inside Out

    "Books can be the perfect prescriptions to let us know that we're going to be okay.”  - John Schu
    John Schu’s entire life has been shaped by books. As a kid, he fell in love with Shel Silverstein; Emily Dickinson comforted him as he was battling an eating disorder, and “The One and Only Ivan,” well, that book changed his life. In fact, it nearly put him into debt (he tells that story in the episode!)
    The powerful impact books have had on his life inspired him to dedicate his life to sharing this power with everyone he can. His career as an educator led him to the library, the library led him across America, and now he has started a new career as a writer of stories himself.
    John made his debut with "This is a School," followed by "This is a Story" and "The Gift of Story." However, in his latest work, "Louder Than Hunger," he bravely delves into a new realm of vulnerability. This semi-autobiographical tale draws from the most challenging period in his life, navigating the depths of his battle with anorexia.
    In this episode, Mr. Schu, as in Mr.SchuReads,  tells us about the transformative reads that shaped his life and explains how some of those stories helped him and some actually harmed him. We’ll hear how he became an author, and about the emotional toll it took to write “Louder Than Hunger.”
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    In John’s reading challenge, Story Within a Story, he wants us to read the actual books found in the pages of his book, “This is a Story.”

    You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

    Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Amanda Maslanka, a 26-year veteran in education and an elementary school librarian in South Houston. She offered valuable advice for parents and caregivers to get kids excited about reading.

    Contents
    Chapter 1 - Mr.SchuReads’ Grandma (2:13)
    Chapter 2 - An Internal Struggle (5:37)
    Chapter 3 - Recovery and Emily Dickinson (9:29)
    Chapter 4 - Best Teacher Ever (11:00)
    Chapter 5 - Becoming a Writer (15:24)
    Chapter 6 - The One and Only Ivan (16:04)
    Chapter 7 - Power to Heal, Power to Harm (23:30)
    Chapter 8 - Ready to Share (28:27)
    Chapter 9 - Story Within a Story (34:17)
    Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:57)

    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupJohn SchuMr. Schu ReadsLouder Than Hunger by John Schu | GoodreadsThe One and Only IvanThe Reading Culture on Instagram (for giveaways and bonus content)Beanstack resources to build your community’s reading cultureHost: Jordan Lloyd Bookey
    Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media
    Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
101 Ratings

101 Ratings

Losing Steadily ,

Great Podcast

Every episode just gets better and better—such insightful interviews with some of the most important authors and illustrators of children’s literature today. Thank you!

Ms. Maddie S. ,

A MUST LISTEN!

I just learned about this podcast from a post on John Schu’s IG. Such a wonderful and heartfelt episode. I also listened to Erin Entrada Kelly’s episode. I always love and appreciate her insight and wisdom! I always take away so much from these 2 authors. I can’t wait to listen to more episodes. Next up, Varian Johnson!

MusicCityEngineer ,

Great interview

I just listened to the interview with Matt de la Peña. It was remarkably thoughtful and interesting and made me want to listen to other episodes on this podcast.

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