Cross-post: Springtime at Marylhurst
Originally published on June 12, 2014 in Coffee and Curiosity.
A photo essay by Katie Pippel
Hello, dear readers. Believe it or not, I think of you often. But graduate school has demanded most of my writing-energy and time, so I’ve been away from my WordPress. Luckily, my professors seem to like my writing as much as you do, reader, and that means a lot to me. I’m halfway through my program, and it’s been a whirlwind. Here are a few glimpses.
The first time I saw the sunshine caught in the campus fountain. Wow.
Oh yes, I had a birthday. 30 circles around the sun.
I got a label maker.
I got to explore a hunch I’ve had for some time– that the words people use to challenge and ban books can be used to incite curiosity in readers. So I’ve been doing a little project that is one part research, one part art, and one part cheeky teacher. The above books are popular or frequently required reading and are just as frequently banned. I taped them all to block out the covers, titles, and authors. I labeled them with praises and criticisms, and then I taped the books shut. I want to draw attention to how people try to censor entire books based on single themes, scenes, or words. Taping them closed elicited a stronger response than I expected, and I realized that one of the best things about books is that they are so inviting. Drop one on the floor and it opens up, saying “read me!” Opening a book is automatic, it is instant gratification. Preventing that brings on emotional (and physical) responses from frustration to anger. It makes for fascinating conversation with students– even kids who hate reading discover they have an opinion on censorship when they learn the only book they ever liked gets banned all the time.
I spent several weeks observing at the nearest alternative high school.
It’s a perfect place for me.
Katie Pippel is a student in the master’s in teaching program at Marylhurst University.