40 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
    • 4.7 • 98 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.

    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
    A Gut Punch and a Hug: Mark Oshiro on Practicing Vulnerability

    A Gut Punch and a Hug: Mark Oshiro on Practicing Vulnerability

    On Today's Show
    "It's practice. Vulnerability is practice. It is learning that you can do things and say things that seem scary, but ultimately know that you're safe.”  - Mark OshiroMark Oshiro was taught to fear the world. To be someone they were not and to repress someone they were. But books were an escape. Books taught them that freedom was possible.
    Mark spent over a decade blogging about the stories they consumed, empathizing with characters, criticizing choices, and embracing every person's journey. But then they realized it was their turn to share, and in that sharing, they learned the transformative power of storytelling from the other side of the pages. They knew the healing power of vulnerability.
    Mark debuted on the YA scene with their 2018 novel “Anger is a Gift” and has since written titles such as “Each of Us a Desert" and the latest installment in the Percy Jackson universe, “The Sun and the Star.” But their recent semi-autobiographical novel, 'Into The Light,' represents their most ultimate and vulnerable storytelling to date.
    In this episode, Mark shares their life story and reflects on the refuge that books and libraries offered them as a youth from an abusive household. They also discuss how lowering their emotional defenses led them to discover the healing power of vulnerability.
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    In Mark’s reading challenge, "Stories of Vulnerability," they want us to explore other stories with the same rawness they bring to their work.

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

    Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Cindy Philbeck, a teacher librarian at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She told us about her library's lunchtime strategy that encourages students to visit and see the space as a refuge.
    Contents

    Chapter 1 - A Controlled Environment (2:34)
    Chapter 2 - Safety in Books (7:14)
    Chapter 3 - Losing Grip (11:13)
    Chapter 4 - We Are Okay (20:41)
    Chapter 5 - Mark Does Stuff (lots of stuff) (22:53)
    Chapter 6 - The Practice of Vulnerability (28:32)
    Chapter 7 - Closure? (33:40)
    Chapter 8 - Stories of Vulnerability (37:45)
    Chapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (38:58)

    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupMark OshiroMark Does StuffAnger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro | GoodreadsWe Are Okay by Nina LaCourCindy Phillbeck's Library (this week’s featured librarian)The 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

    • 41 min
    The Reading Culture: Yearbook 2023

    The Reading Culture: Yearbook 2023

    With the 2023 year coming to a close (our first full year in production!), we wanted to celebrate. And what better way to do that than high school yearbook superlative style?

    Welcome to a special edition of The Reading Culture podcast – "The Reading Culture: Yearbook."

    In this episode, we're rolling out the red carpet to unveil "The Readies," an award show of sorts, to remember the standout moments and stories from the show this year.

    Yes, it's a clip show.

     We'll relive the "Most Hilarious Admission," "Most Moving Parenting Story," and "Most Emo Moment," and we'll hand out the "I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying" and name the author "Most Likely to Build a Functional Spaceship." Think you know who gets that one? 

    And there's even more than those!

    Join us as we reflect back on some of the best moments of The Reading Culture.

    Host: Jordan Lloyd Bookey
    Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media
    Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

    • 29 min
    The Things We Know: Oge Mora on Finding the Magic in the Everyday

    The Things We Know: Oge Mora on Finding the Magic in the Everyday

    "It's not like I haven't experienced pain or tragedy or grief in my life, and it's not like I want to deny that. I don't think that that's the entirety of my song. When I want to look back on my life, I want to look at all the amazing things and experiences I had because that's what makes the time we have in this world so incredibly special, is that we have these connections, we have these experiences with people.” - Oge Mora
    Life is full of small pleasures, bits of magic in ordinary moments that so often go underappreciated. Oge Mora wants to draw attention to those small things and show us the true depth and meaning those moments have in our lives.
    In her work as a collage artist, she takes bits and pieces of scrap material and shows us their beauty when all put together. Much like her stories, we are shown that small things are what make the big things, like a Saturday spent with a loved one, or the enticing aroma of an old family recipe. 
    Oge Mora burst onto the kid lit scene with her picture book “Thank You, Omu!”, a book that earned her a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award, and a host of other accolades. She was also a 2021 Forbes 303 Under 30 lister. 
    In this episode, Oge tells us about the community support that built the foundation for her career, the art school epiphany that shifted her perspective from shame to pride, and why she wants her books to feel like a cup of hot cocoa. If you're looking for a moment of joy, you have found it here. 
    ***
    Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter. 
    ***
    In Oge’s reading challenge, "Story Collage" she shares some of her favorite picture books with collage illustrations.

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

    Today’s Beanstack Featured Librarian is Alli Buffington, Library Media Specialist at Holley Navarre Intermediate School in Santa Rosa County, Florida. She’ll tell us about the most successful reading challenge she’s run at her school.

    Contents

    Chapter 1 - Repeat Renewals (2:31)
    Chapter 2 - Sister Catherine and The Doodler (7:13)
    Chapter 3 - A Street Called Home (14:27)
    Chapter 4 - That Little Bit of Shift (18:40)
    Chapter 5 - An Homage to Connection With Others (25:28)
    Chapter 6 - More of Less, and More (32:12)
    Chapter 7 - Collage of Stories (32:57)
    Chapter 8 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (34:15)

    Links
    The Reading CultureThe Reading Culture Newsletter SignupOge MoraForbes 30 Under 30 - Oge MoraOge Mora (@oge_mora) • Instagram photos and videosColumbus Public LibraryKing Arts Complex“A Street Called Home” Mural – 2005 – Kristine SchramerAminah RobinsonRomare BeardenAlli Buffington's Library (this week’s featured librarian)The 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

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
98 Ratings

98 Ratings

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.

Losing Steadily ,

Great Podcast

I’m a regular listener since discovering your excellent podcast—very insightful interviews of some of the most important authors of children’s literature today. Thank you!

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