Y’all, these students at Blytheville Middle School…this is what it’s all about. You never know where this crazy life will take you, and how one decision can change you in ways you never anticipated, but that’s how writing has been for me. The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee has led me to doors I would have otherwise never opened. Beyond those doors? The road I almost completely missed. For me, it’s about so much more than the book itself. It’s about the people and the relationships and the surprises along the way.
My own accidental salvation…
I was invited to Blytheville Middle School by Amy Harmon who teaches there. She’d been reading Accidental Salvation to her class and they were enjoying it. Literacy is my thing, so I was happy to go and provide a few books for her classroom. I read from a particular chapter I thought the students might relate to—Gracie Lee was at school, bored, unable to concentrate on her assignment, thinking about how she’d been grounded at the end of summer. We’ve all been there, right?
I’ll probably never know what the kids thought of my visit, but most were responsive and asked questions. They were smart, sharp, observant. Some tried to tune out, but I’d bet even they were listening. All I can hope for is that maybe one child in the classroom heard something they will remember in a good way—something about college, or career choice, or reading, or journaling, or being grateful for the dedicated teachers and librarians who support them.
Giving back to the Mississippi County schools that did so much for me—it’s something I should do more of.
The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee has been out two months. Beyond the thrill of seeing my book in print and on bookstore shelves, the real excitement for me has been hearing from readers about how much the story has touched them. And these students at Blytheville Middle School? Talking with them was an outright highlight I won’t soon forget.
Here’s the thing… schools need adult participation. Especially public schools. Teachers have their hands full every minute of every day, can I get an Amen? Bringing an outside view into the classroom, to a group of young students—many who’ve never been outside the county and most with struggles I can’t imagine—can only help.
You never know when something you say might filter through all the constant noise and negativity and make a real difference.
Thanks again Blytheville Middle School students and faculty!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
[tweetthis]These students at Blytheville Middle School. This is what it’s about @BlySchools @ArkansasOnline #makeadifference [/tweetthis]
You Get What You Give, New Radicals
You have an Amen from me! What a great experience for you and for the entire class.
Barbara Tate says
Such a rewarding thing for you. Teachers can use your book as a tool to help these kids to dream of a better life, dream of getting out of where they are. Amen, amen!
So awesome, Talya! Going to turn Gracie Lee (aka Talya) into a social worker/community activist yet! What you’re doing is sooo important and so meaningful to those kids – your written words are touching the lives of SO many! I know that has to be so rewarding. It’s so special to see such a positive role model who will never forget where she came from. Hooray to you, my cousin and friend!!!
frances creecy says
Talya I love this blog, you may have changed lives that day in that class room. Love you.
Ms. McChristian says
Thank you so much for visiting our students! One of my students is currently reading it, and she is enjoying it so far! We try to bring in people from the community to set the standard of what our kids should look up to because they have so many negative role models that they see every day. It’s always great when someone such as you agrees to speak to our students.
Talya Tate Boerner says
Thank you so much. If was so great for me!
Dorothy Johnson says
I love, love, love this! I’m so glad she invited you and that you went. Yea!
Miracle Carter says
I finished the book and it was great . I hope she writes another book.