And then, well, classes ended and found I had projects around the house that had been ignored all year, a season's worth of television shows I had to catch up on, and a neighborhood pool that was calling my name. Now here it is, three months later, and this poor blog has been neglected, I did very little academic reading, and I hadn't even gotten a new notebook when my classes started last week. I wouldn't call this summer a waste, by any means, it just wasn't what I thought it would be. I went on a fabulous summer driving vacation with my boys, showing them parts of the United States (and a tiny bit of Canada) none of us had seen before, read a lot of really good novels, especially middle grade and YA, and even spent a fair amount of time thinking about what topic I want to research for my masters thesis in the Spring.
Being a person with a pretty wide range of interests, it wasn't surprising to me that my biggest problem with picking a thesis topic was narrowing it down. My ideas ranged all over the globe, from how kids search for information when they are doing a research project, to usefulness of one-to-one computer-to-student ratios in schools, to looking at depictions of race in picture books. The topic I kept coming back to, however, was gender in books, and specifically how librarians and teachers talk to kids about books. I looked back over this blog and realized I already spend a lot of time thinking and wondering about how we talk to kids about books, and whether all books are for all kids, or whether we think some books are for girls and others are for boys. Which led me to wonder what that does to kids who aren't sure of their own identity. Are we unnecessarily putting kids in boxes that limit, or even harm, them?
So, I have decided to follow the advice I always give my students, which is to let your passion guide you. I clearly have a lot to say about gender, books, and the library profession. Now I am simply going to back it up with research and evidence, and find out what is really going on. I think it will be a fun exploration. I hope you all come along for the ride, and share your thoughts, recommendations, and observations about this topic. So, welcome back to the new school year - I think I might be as ready to learn as my students are!