This morning, I sat cozied up on the couch next to my youngest. He happily watched Puppy Dog Pals, singing along loudly to the theme song as I read Laurie Halse Anderson’s newest book, Shout. I read her book, Speak, years ago one summer. I was immediately sucked into the story and urgently put the movie version to the top of my Netflix queue. The book of course was better. I kept my copy at school the following fall and would randomly book talk it to students. It disappeared off of my shelves that year so I replaced it. Each year since I put a copy of that book in my classroom I have had to replace it. I truly believe that most of the books that walk away never to return are books that need to be with a particular student or in a particular home. Sometimes a story is a mirror to one’s life. Sometimes we need to know there are others, even if fictional, going through the same things we are.
Because of my love of Speak, when I heard that the author was coming to my town, I bought a ticket and pre-ordered my copy of her new book Shout. Laurie Halse Anderson is a strong, articulate woman with a lot to say. I would most definitely want her on my side in a fight. It was a great discussion and left me thinking about my own sons and the idea of consent. We don’t talk about consent when we have the birds and the bees discussion, whether in school or at home, but we absolutely should. Just before I started to type today’s slice, I told my oldest we would soon be having an uncomfortable discussion. He asked me what book I wanted him to read (again, he knows he Mom pretty well), and I pulled out Speak.
After Laurie’s presentation she stayed to sign books. I stood in line, finishing up reading Shout as I waited. I peered ahead to see her having full conversations with her fans, and when I got up to her, being nearly at the end of the line, she still had a smile on her face and was full of energy claiming book signing is the best part. She immediately asked if I was a teacher. She then asked what I have noticed in the classroom with regards to consent. I told her how I have 3 sons and had never thought of talking about consent. She was genuinely interested and inquisitive of my point of view. When I first got in line I debated whether or not waiting for an hour would be worth it.
It most definitely was. Now I just need to figure out exactly how to have this important conversation with my teenage son. Laurie suggested using note cards. That’s not a bad idea.