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Booksgiving

Last year, Jenny (The Bloggess) started this beautiful thing called Booksgiving. It started with her wanting to give away 30 copies of her book, Furiously Happy. All her loyal followers wanted to give away books too, so everyone started sharing Amazon wishlists.

I shared my class library wishlist, not expecting much.

Various strangers sent me 18 books for my library.

EIGHTEEN.

Booksgiving 2016 may have overwhelmed my USPS delivery guy. Sorry.

I was overwhelmed.

This year, I shared my wishlist again. This time, however, it took on a more political tone. I wanted to create a list that will help my students find their worth in our society.

As an English teacher in a district where we don’t always have the money for luxuries like books for a classroom library, I cannot tell you how excited my students were last year to receive new books that they had actual interest in. Booksgiving made a huge difference in my classroom, and it definitely helped my students in ways I didn’t know it could. They’d actually stay after school to look through my library and borrow books. I recently instated a rule where my students must either free-write stories to submit to the literary magazine I run for extra credit or read a book from my class library. The library has gotten a lot of action lately! I always tell my students to tell me what they’re into, or what sort of book they feel like reading. 9 times out of 10 I’m able to match my students with books that they actually enjoy, mostly due to the donations people have been kind enough to make.

Recently, students have been requesting me to find books that help them feel better about themselves, especially since the election. Politics aside, my students are lacking self-worth this year. It’s like they’ve been constantly told they’re not of value, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been working on an Amazon Wishlist to expand my library with books that can help them find themselves, and see themselves as I see them– as really important, valuable members of not only our classroom, but of society as well.

I shared this on Jenny’s post on the second annual Booksgiving, and didn’t think much of it, hoping to maybe get another book or two to add to my library. My list was ridiculously long, with 65 books, because I’ve been making a huge list to upload to a DonorsChoose project I haven’t gotten around to posting yet.

I just looked at my Wishlist, and it only has 32 books left on it.

That means strangers have purchased 33 books for my class library.

THIRTY-THREE.

I was overwhelmed last year by 18. I can barely process 33. I’m glad we have a snow day today because I need to process this kindness of strangers.

So, if you’re one of those strangers, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I keep switching between crying and smiling. My dog thinks I’m crazy. Maybe I am, but jeez. It’s because I keep thinking of how much of a difference these books are going to make.

Thank you for making this teacher cry/smile, and thank you for giving my students a chance. I am eternally grateful.

THANK YOU.

All my gratitude,

Kailynn

PS To those of you who stumbled upon my site as a result of Booksgiving, if you want to keep in touch/ be internet friends, know that I’ve had writer’s block for about a year. I’m trying to write more on my blog, truly, I am. However, it’s more likely you’ll find me on instagram or Twitter. (I tweet sparingly these days, but that’s something I want to improve on too.)

Let Me Explain You, Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime is one of my first loves. We met in college, back when you used to get 6 months (practically the entire school year!) as a free trial. So, when they kept hyping up their 20th anniversary as being better than Black Friday I was pumped. The fact that #HappyPrimeDay fell on pay day didn’t hurt (or help) things either.

I was ready to buy a damn unicorn if I could. I expected Amazon to pull out all the stops.

I’ll spare you all the reasons they fell flat. Just know that Amazon Prime Day, as of 2:31pm EST has been a bigger disappointment than Black Friday for me.

Everything I could possibly never want has been on sale.

Then, I saw my dog’s favorite treats.

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I GOT WAIT LISTED. To add salt to the wounds, I kept getting removed from the wait list. Whatever. They’re dog treats.

Then I saw BACKSTREET BOYS AND N*SYNC FOR FREE.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.16.04 AMBig surprise, this didn’t work either.

So, I was disappointed, disgruntled, and wanting it my way. I was about to say bye, bye, bye when I got distracted on Facebook.

This led me to remembering that my former Professor, Annie, published her first book yesterday.

Annie was my professor for a summer course called “Writers as Teachers.” Her class helped me realize that I could be a blogger and I teacher, even if the two identities sometimes crossed paths. The summer I took her class was the summer I attended BlogHer for the first time. It was the summer before I started student teaching, and the summer I first found myself actually identifying not only as a teacher, but as a writer as well.

Annie’s class was pretty badass.

So, it seemed like a no-brainer. I looked for Annie’s book on Amazon.

cover courtesy of AnnieLiontas.com

cover courtesy of AnnieLiontas.com

Annie’s book was on Amazon… for almost half price.

So, Amazon Prime Day wasn’t a total bust. I even added one day shipping so I could read Annie’s book on the train to BlogHer15 on Friday afternoon.

Amazon Prime Day was disappointing. I’m looking forward to getting something out of it that isn’t.

 

Sometimes you need to splurge a little…

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It’s my birthday week, which means I’m justifying every unnecessary purchase I make by saying, “It’s okay, it’s a birthday present for myself!” Basically this means I’m blowing what’s left of my Christmas money on me, and counting the days til I get paid again! (That’s the downside to working for a university– no pay days over Winter Break!)

Today was my first day back to class after student teaching all last semester. It was odd, surreal, and kind of a mind fuck to be a student again. While I really enjoyed my classes today, I just want to graduate and be in charge of my own classroom again. These next few months can’t go quick enough.

My first class (“The Teaching Professional”) was actually sort of a nice blast to the past. My professor was actually a man who taught a class I took my junior year of high school. Dr. C is an extremely intelligent, eloquent man. His classes were always filled with life lessons, which wasn’t something I always appreciated as a 16 year old. Having him as my teacher again is sort of like having Mr. Feeney as my professor. I feel like I’ve come full circle since high school, and it was really nice to reunite with Dr. C. He gave me a hug at the start of class and expressed his excitement that I’m his student again. I love that man, and I can’t wait to hear what bits of knowledge he has to bestow upon our class in preparation for our entrance to the teaching world.

ANYWAY.

After Dr. C’s class I had about 4 hours to kill before my next class. (!!!) Two of my friends from my Cohort and I grabbed a nice, delicious, healthy Kosher/ vegetarian lunch.

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The following conversation ensued:

Friend 1: “I always wanted to be a vegetarian.”
Me: “I wanted to too but I couldn’t give up my chicken.”
Friend 2: “I wanted to date Johnny Depp. Are we talking about lost dreams?”

That pretty much sums up my friendships.

Then we went to the new University bookstore, which is FUCKING GORGEOUS.

There’s a giant clock on the outside, which you can look through. It’s pretty cool.

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You know what else was cool about the new bookstore?

The $1 clearance area.

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All the books on clearance seemed to be books professors had ordered for classes that were no longer offered. I ended up buying over $150 worth of books for $5.

Then I discovered an “Odd, Curious, Cool” section… and my life was made.

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Yes, that is Goodnight iPad… and the newest addition to my growing collection of children’s books.

It’s possibly one of my favorite things ever.

goodnightipad

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I’m probably going to be returning to this section of Barnes & Noble to shop for birthday gifts for the next few months…enjoy.

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I hit the jackpot today, people.