Recently many of these blogs have been about the Common Core, what it means to schools and libraries, and my various contacts and experiences in talking about CC implementation. From time to time I, and members of the INK Think Tank, have talked about authors Skyping in to schools. And over at CCBC some parallel discussions about CC and NF have gone on this month. If we step away from the particular topics there is a larger trend here that can and should mean a lot to everyone who reads this blog: we are fording that old and longstanding gap between authors and schools. For most of the 25 years I have worked in the field of literature for young readers, trade book authors only knew about author visits, and author visits — famously – were initiated by the school. So if your phone didn’t ring and now school asked, you literally had no contact with schools (outside of the very limited views of your memory and your kids).
What is the picture now — schools seeking out NF, authors creating the INK TT program to explore and map out how Skype visits can be woven into classroom teaching, and behind the scenes all sorts of contacts among professors of education, librarians, curriculum developers, teachers, in which authors have a natural place. So no matter how CC goes, and no matter whether Skype is replaced tomorrow with some new and better technology, the rules have shifted. We no longer have wallflower authors waiting by the silent phone for a date; and teachers are getting the message (and having the experience) of seeing what bringing a NF author in to a class can do for them. It is too soon to say we have opened the gates, but the gates are opening — that is the big picture, and I like it.