Answers! I must have answers- and book advisories on TRUTH. Justina Ireland provides them.

I loved the sense of humor Justina Ireland presented, represented, and through out to the attendees following her keynote talk – so let’s hit it!

How did you get from California to …Maryland?

“I met a man…” laughing – Ms. Ireland explained she joined the army to get out of a not getting anywhere situation in CA, her husband was from PA when she met him, and then they settled for the east coast – (we are glad she did!).

It was interesting to hear her say most stories in the army started with “No sh*t, there I was…” and soldiers would go around telling stories to that prompt. (laughing). When she told her stories, everyone told her she should be a writer- and of course she imagined older men, stoic and she said that is not for me! We know that was NOT for her, but she is an amazing story teller and she defies that stereotype of what a writer looks like and has to be.

I loved her comment that while she was pregnant, and trying to deal with that identity, (people always rubbing her belly and not really recognizing HER as a human being!)- writing became a way that she found identity, and more of a person.

How do you get your idea for Dread Nation?

I almost do not want to share this because I will not do this justice, but if you know me (Harry)- I think odd things and just am really strange most of the time the way I see things, and I 100% connected when Ms. Ireland said, “I thought it was the most dead people in 1 place, and I thought, what a place for a zombie rising!” I laughed so hard, because I LOVED her answer, LOVED! She want on to say how she comments on how odd of a tragedy it would be when she goes places like what a flood would look like ripping through a valley, etc and her husband just remarks, “What makes you like this?!” VERY funny.

I loved how she also looked at Dread Nation as a form of showing how American has institutionalized education to “educate” (train) populations to think the way they want- from sending indigenous populations to “proper” schools to influencing narrow “truths” in ways throughout the same seating arrangements and procedures in school through the history of education – such an interesting topic.

When asked to come up with a reader’s advisory of books that followed the theme of TRUTH – within SECOND she spouted off so many recommendations, I am sure I only obtained a small portion of what she suggested, but let me try:

Lone Women by Victor Lavalle (Black woman farmer in California)

P. Djeli Clark

A Japanese Internment themes book – author I did not catch, hoping someone attending can help out – author?

A few more names spewed out faster than anyone could catch, so hoping someone else caught them so I could come back and add to this amazing list!

The Return by Rachel Harrison

What an amazing – GREAT keynote – powerful speaker and motivating howe positivity can emerge when so many dark clouds appear on the horizon.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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