Monday, September 24, 2018

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?

By the time you read this it will probably be the book birthday of Chris Barton's latest, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.  An extraordinary woman deserves an extraordinary book, and she got it.  Chris's poetic text paired with Ekua Holmes's profound illustrations make this one a book you will want to read over and over again. And every time you do, you will find a new detail in an illustration or a new idea emerge from the text.

Chris knows that not only am I a big fan of his, but of Texas and Barbara Jordan, so when the F&Gs arrived at his home in Austin, he direct messaged me asking where I would like him to send me a copy.  I gave him the address of wherever I knew it would arrive the quickest. And I've been drooling over it ever since.

Virtual Chris Barton on the screen with me IRL with his book

I decided to share Barbara Jordan with my third graders during our "Book of the Week" time this morning.  I reached out to Chris, requesting a book birthday Skype shout out.  Busy with school visits all week, he offered to record himself on a personal video to Castleton Elementary School.  It was perfect. Then I got nervous.  I was just a little unsure of how eight year olds would take it all in but when I used my confident voice and shared Barbara's story, they got it.  They embraced the message and took it way farther than I would have ever imagined.  They had wonderful ideas that give me so much hope for our future.  When we were sharing at the end, all hands were raised.  I was sorry we ran out of time because one kept getting better than the next, if that was even possible.  I plan to hang the finished papers outside the library for parents to see later this week during our Parent Night, so they, too can be hopeful and get those good little feelings inside.

And then of course, we had to sing Happy Book Birthday.  I'll try and find a piece of cake to celebrate tomorrow.  Or at least channel Barbara Jordan and use my voice.


  1. Can I ask about your Book of the Week program with 3rd grade? Do you do that with all grades and what exactly do you do?

    1. Each week I share a different new book with the whole grade and we do some kind of connecting activity with it. Email me at if you want more information!