The matter of books on the Faculty of Education Twitter feed is a big deal—just follow some of our faculty members, student teachers, and education community. You'll see evidence of the passion teachers have for books; whether in sharing with the class or reading alongside their children. Recently, Twitter-enthusiast and familar presenter at Faculty of Education book tasting* events, Kari Tanaka, shared a tweet about Kenneth Oppel's book, Bloom. The post exposed a voracious young reader engrossed in a book—whose author "ends EVERY chapter with a "MAJOR cliffhanger"—and of a mother willing to indulge her daughter's urge to read into the early hours of the night. Kari, who always has a book to offer whether shared on campus at the bookstore where she works, or in her Twitter dispatches (not only during the pandemic, but prior) has clearly passed on her bibliophilic tendencies to 11-year-old Asia—a natural and wonderful generational transference.

Twitter post by Kari Tanaka on April 24, 2020

Interview with 11-year-old Asia

Why do you enjoy reading and books?
Asia: I enjoy reading books because I like to read what other people have written. I like to read and learn from other people’s perspectives. I find it interesting to see how authors create their stories and characters. I really like novels and graphic novels. I like how novels describe what is going on, while graphic novels show what is going on.  

Reading makes me feel like I am on an adventure.

It was pretty obvious by your mom's tweet that you were hooked on Kenneth Oppel's, Bloom. What is it that you enjoy about the book?
Asia: I like it because everything is so out of the blue!  It’s not everyday that you pick up a book about black-grass and pit-plants that are taking over the world! It’s almost like Kenneth Oppel is a time traveller because the events in the book are similar to events right now with school closures.  Right now we are trying to stay socially distanced from a virus and in the book the characters are trying to stay distanced from the plants!

Speaking of social distancing, how do you compare learning at school to learning at home while in this moment in time?
Asia: I definitely prefer real school to online school because at home I’m occupied by other things and don’t want to do school work, whereas at school there are not other things to occupy me so school work is actually fun.  Also, I miss seeing my teachers and friends at school.  The instructions are more clear at school because you can actually raise your hand and ask a question.  Online school is nice as I can be at home and relax in my bed while doing schoolwork at my own pace.

Interview with Kari

Asia mentions missing school. How are you finding the "learning from home experience"?
Kari: While I appreciate the family time, I am really missing the extended social network, sense of community and breadth of expertise that a regular school day provides for my kids, especially with it being the final year of elementary school for one and the final year of middle school for the other.  Our teachers have been doing a wonderful job communicating and adjusting to this “new normal”, so my husband and I are using this as an opportunity to teach our kids how to manage their time effectively and work independently.

Back to the love of books. Can you describe how wellness can be found in books and in reading?
Kari: For me, reading can provide escape, enhance knowledge, build empathy, and broaden community. Even in times when I am experiencing a reading lull due to lack of time, lack of focus, or lack of will, I always know that a book of my choosing will be there to anchor me when I am ready for it!

How is the fulfilment of your love of books found on Twitter?
Kari: Twitter has allowed me to stay connected with my local book people and has also introduced me to a virtual community of readers, authors, and illustrators who are extremely generous, compassionate and genuine in their commitment to promoting a love of literacy in young people.

I love talking about the books that I love and Twitter provides me with an immediate outlet to share my passion, give a shout out to an author, and engage with other readers.

What is the difference between face-to-face book talk such as the Faculty of Education book tastings different from online?
Kari: While I find talking about books online to be extremely rewarding, there is something extra special about being face-to-face with people at events such as Faculty of Education book tastings that cannot be duplicated virtually.  Whether a single person or an entire room, the vibe that you get when you know that you have connected the right book with the right reader never gets old!  The online environment is a great place to generate discussion, but you miss the physical cues that let you know you are connecting with someone; the facial expressions, the excited buzz, the literal diving to grab a coveted book from your hands!

*What is a book tasting?
To learn more about book tastings, Faculty of Education master teacher Rhona Harkness explains: click here.


Kari and Asia's Top Ten Book Recommendations — April 2020
1.   Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
2.   Sweep by Jonathan Auxier
3.   Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
4.   OCDaniel by Wesley King
5.   The Hill by Karen Bass
6.   Missing Mike by Shari Green
7.   The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills
8.   Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart
9.   From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle
10. Sit by Deborah Ellis


Writer: Darcy Tamayose | Photo courtesy of Kari Tanaka
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