Tag Archives: Daniel James Brown

Finding balance, becoming resilient

4 Dec

It is a busy time of year. I’m knitting gifts, working full time, making sure Fiona gets her meds & ears cleaned on schedule, doing OBHR volunteer work. Sometimes it is hard to find time to read. It feels like a juggling act some days: an hour of housework , a dog walk and then I can read. Okay, finish the next row of knitting, clean the kitchen, then I can read. Sigh. So, I tend the read shorter chapter books & more picture books. The stack of YA materials is just going to have to wait.

Fortunately, I always have book on in the car. Earlier this year I listened to My Beloved World by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


If you have not read this you should. She grew up like a lot of kids at my school: poor and Latino. But it is the resilience she shows, her grit, that helps her succeed. I’ m trying to figure outs how to cultivate that in my students. This was narrated by Rita Moreno, who was the perfect voice for the story.

Right now I’m listening to The Boys in the Boat  by Daniel James Brown. This is another MUST READ.


The boys in the boat that won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics were mostly poor kids, too. But, again, it was their grit and perseverance  that helped them excel.  This is narrated by Edward Hermann who has a beautiful voice. They boys have just started their sophomore year and I’ve already cried at least once. The story of Joe Vance has me enthralled. he had a horrible life. But he had an epiphany at 15: if he was to succeed it was all on him. He’d just been abandoned on his family’s farm and lived there alone, working and going to school. His resilience in the face of defeat is awesome. What made him succeed where others would have collapsed? How do we instill this sense of purpose in kids? How do we make them more resilient? This is what these books have me pondering.

Both of these are books for adults, although I think a lot of young adults might be inspired by them, too. Think about adding them to someone’s holiday gift list.

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