How will you invest in your learning this year? We’ve chosen these shared materials for your department because they inspire us to think about what it means to “do” English, not just study it. 

“Building Stories” challenges our understanding of what a book can be. Chris Ware uses 14 printed works to tell the story of a woman living in a Chicago brownstone. They can be read in any order. It took Ware a decade to produce this collection, and he was driven by an interest in telling stories about the lives of ordinary people.

“Unnecessarily Beautiful Spaces” invites us to consider how to design a learning environment that celebrates young people and the craft of writing through extravagant beauty. 826 is a network of writing centers across the country that invest deeply in the physical environment that young people write in, not just the technical skills of communicating with words. This book isn’t meant to convince you that you should turn your classroom into an actual pirate supply store (though why not?); instead, it’s an invitation to recognize the ways that objects and prompts and space influence our writing just like vocabulary and grammar do.

“I AM Everything Affirmation Cards” are an acknowledgement that while teaching will be tough this year, you already possess the amazing qualities you need to thrive in and beyond your class- room. You can use them with yourself or your young people for affirmation as needed.