What Is Lauren Adams Wearing?

For many years Senior Editor at the Horn Book, Lauren Adams now teaches high school English at Natick High. Somebody is dressed for work! And her perky welcome sign reminds me of how we all looked forward to holidays because of Lauren's festive office decorations (you wouldn't think she was the type but she totally is).

 

Has the lovely Jonathan been cooking anything good?

This is the one total upside of the quarantine for me--so much great food coming out of Jonnie’s kitchen now that he’s working from home. For my birthday, he made my favorite Brazilian dish, feijoada, accompanied of course by caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail [Jonnie spent a chunk of his childhood in Rio--ed.]. Recently he’s been experimenting with home-made pastrami! My sole contributions so far are baked treats--English scones and Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Birthday Cake.

You are teaching high school English online. How's that going?

Like all teachers right now, I really miss seeing my students IRL, though I’m grateful for the chance to see them on camera--even when they’re in bed with covers pulled up. (True story.) Our courses aren’t designed for online learning so we’re doing a lot of adjusting.

A big challenge is not being able to put books in their hands. I’m mourning The Bluest Eye this term--my favorite book to read with seniors. They are mourning prom and graduation, and rightfully so.

Audible is offering some free titles for students during the closure, so my ESL English class is listening to Megan Cooley Peterson's The Liar’s Daughter, which is holding their attention. I am most worried about my English learners right now. The loss of time on learning, not to mention the daily English exposure, is creating real setbacks.

What didn't the Horn Book teach you about YA literature that would have come in handy for a teacher?

I definitely owe my expansive mental library of YA titles and authors to the Horn Book, along with developing my critical eye. The shift to education has given me other perspectives on book selection, though. While HB definitely moved out of the ivory tower at the fin de siecle, we were still a pretty tough crowd. Remember when we all first read Harry Potter? [Yes, and we only reviewed it because Terri Schmitz told us it was going to be big.--ed.]

As a classroom teacher, I have to consider multiple reasons for choosing books: great writing, sure, but also thematic connections to curriculum, diversity of writers, length (due to time limitations), lexile level, and level of engagement--as with Liar’s Daughter. For example, I balanced first term by following Hamlet with John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir March: Book 3. OK, I guess you all would approve of that one.

Are your colleagues as much fun as we were?

Hmm. We do not get as much grown-up time at school as I enjoyed with my Horn Book friends. Certainly no other teachers have braided my hair yet. But for after hours fun, you’re pretty evenly matched. Take that as you will.

When we have restaurants again, where do you want to go first?

I definitely miss seeing friends and family, but I’m pretty darn happy with Jonathan’s cuisine. When socializing is allowed again, come on over!

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.
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Rosemary DSouza

Wonderful interview, Lauren. So interesting to hear about your teachings! 👏👍

Posted : Apr 25, 2020 05:57


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