Gone Fishin' Part Two: Fishing Line

I stunk, but I wasn't that tired. I lamented the sports bra only a year old that I should probably burn. My shoulders were one round away from falling off. But wasn't tired.

“Tracy, why not cardio?” We had only been lifting after all. No running. No jumping.

“What do you mean? The point is fatigue. That’s how your muscles get stronger.”

“So I don’t need cardio?”

“Isn’t your heart rate up? You’re breathing hard.”

I exhaled and enjoyed the 10 second rest. “So why do I spin for 45 minutes.”

“You can do cardio. You’ll be thin and everything will sag.”

I picked the weights up again. At least grateful that I held myself accountable to asking why, but feeling ever less capable of putting my own workouts together. It felt like everything I assumed I knew was wrong or at best the wrong selection.

Book selection in each storytime is unique. Books foster conversation. Books build relationships. Books challenge us. Book selection is challenging. In the multicultural storytime guide I co-authored, we included two types of book lists: an annotated book list to explain the rationale behind book selection and an extended list of recommended books. The first list is the equivalent of a half hour training session with Tracy with specific choices and some space for explanation. The second list is the equivalent of me listing all the exercises I have ever done, ideally by muscle groups. The problem with both is that neither do the job of pulling out the key elements so that in any context, anyone could continue to build a list.

I once repeated over and over to my staff that if you can say something to someone in few words than you know it. I hadn’t given myself that challenge until I responded to a library colleague who wanted recommendations for a diverse book list for teens. She wanted only four. Try as I might, I still submitted nine. However, I don’t thin, it’s the book titles that needed to be few but the traits. Below are the nine titles and the key traits all of which establish the foundation that the book is only the beginning.

"Flying Lessons and other Stories"

*A comprehensive list of proven, credible authors.

*Opportunity for the reader to read more by selecting one of the authors.

"The Space Between Our Footsteps" by Naomi Shihab Nye:

*Diversity also means format. This is a poetry book with paintings.

"A Bottle in the Gaza Sea" by Valerie Zenatti:

*The book is a conversation that represents multiple viewpoints.

"If you Lived Here-Houses of the World" by Giles Laroche:

*Humanity. The book holds at its core a characteristic in common, a human connection.

"Our stories remember" by Joseph Bruchac:

*Humans are storytellers. The idea of story and how humans use it matters. When and how a story is told and by whom matters. Languages and literacies around the world have been and are continuing to be subjugated, if not destroyed, which means the number of viewpoints around issues and people's belief in themselves to tell them are reduced.

"Just Write: Here's How" by Walter Dean Myers:

*Humans need to tell their stories. As much as reading diverse books is significant so is the support cast to the reader to write diverse books.

"Seedfolks" by Paul Fleischman:

*Don’t assume.

*Do something to expand your sphere of influence.

"Dreams from my Father: A story of race and inheritance" by Barack Obama:

*Don’t assume.

*Do something to be a part of a community. Then see yourself as part of a different one.

"The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez:

*Don’t assume.

"The books are the bait," I had said. The fact that learning to fish instead of receiving fish has a longer reach is long proven. What I hadn't realized was the importance of the fishing line. I should have known. Making the strings visible is the often forgotten but most meaningful support a coach can give.

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