Lezlie Evans @ Cardozo High School

This past week the Teen Parent Book Club at Cardozo High School hosted its first author visit of the semester.  Lezlie Evans, author of nine children’s books, including the recent and critically acclaimed Who Loves the Little Lamb, stopped by for a conversation about reading, writing and letting life inspire your written work.  

 The visit began with a reading of Who Loves the Little Lamb, an illustrated book in which little animals learn that their mothers still love them, no matter how many mistakes they make.  Ms. Evans discussed her inspiration for the novel: her own six children. “Children, or any people that we love, are amazing in that way,” she said. “No matter what they do, no matter how much they get on your nerves, you love them anyway.”

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Teen Parent Book Club @ Anacostia High, Session 3

My Name Sounds Like Poetry

It’s Ariel, fresh off of my first ever author visit with a Teen Parent Book Club! On Monday the Teen Parent Book Club at the New Heights Center in Anacostia High School hosted poet Kenneth Carroll for a discussion on writing, poetry, and the power of art. For the past several weeks, we have been reading poems from Paint Me Like I Am, a compilation of poems by teenagers involved in the WritersCorps Program in San Francisco, the Bronx, and Washington, DC. Kenneth Carroll was a facilitator for the WritersCorps program, selected the poems for the book and has devoted his life to writing and teaching poetry.

The session began with introductions. Students went around the room telling Mr. Carroll what they hoped to gain from the workshop and what kinds of books or poetry they liked to read. Mr. Carroll reciprocated by offering some information about himself, his experiences with WritersCorps, his journey as a poet and artist, and some advice to new and prospective parents.

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Teen Parent Book Club @ Cardozo High, Session 2

It’s Ariel, back with another update from the Teen Parent Book Club! Last Thursday PEN/Faulkner Deputy Director Emma Snyder and I went to Cardozo Senior High School for a book club meeting. I could tell right away that students were a little anxious about the discussion. During the previous session, we read some poetry by Nikki Giovanni that challenged the students in rich, interesting ways, but this week we were doing something different: talking about a novel.

During our first meeting we talked about the kind of books we liked to read. Some favorite adjectives included romantic, suspenseful, and dramatic. I set out to find a novel that is all of things and decided on Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, a work of historical fiction set in pre-Civil War America that imagines the relationship between four slave women and their masters that keep them as mistresses.

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Teen Parent Book Club @ Anacostia High, Week 2

This is Ariel, Educational Associate and the PEN/ Faulkner team’s newest member! On Monday I traveled across the river to Anacostia High School for a meeting with the teen parents book club. We gathered in the school’s New Heights Teen Parents Center over lunch and continued our discussion of poetry, now in its second week.

We read a couple of poems from Paint Me Like I Am, a book of poems by students from WritersCorps, a national program that promotes expression through creative writing.

The first poem–called, simply, “My Poem”–was written by Krystal White, a student from D.C. Here’s a sample from the first stanza:

My poem can fight,

My poem can sing,

My poem can fly,

But it has no wings.

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