"AUTHORS ARE MY ROCK STARS."
Well, I totally want a shirt that says "Teachers and librarians are my rock stars!" And let me just say that Valerie Burleigh falls in this category.
We met through our beloved Round Rock indie book store, The Book Spot, and immediately, I was amazed by her zeal for her students and for young adult literature! Valerie Burleigh grew up in Louisiana and recently moved to Texas. She's been teaching for thirteen years, and I have to add that she's made quite an impression on the community!
TxS&S: You're such a rocking teacher and an enthusiastic supporter of young adult literature! Can you tell us how you got your start about what keeps you motivated?
VB: From the very first year I started teaching, I shared my passion and love of reading with my students. Whenever I find a new author, a new book in a genre that we love, or come across a book trailer or cover reveal, I am so excited to share it with them. They are the most enthusiastic readers I know and keep me motivated.
TxS&S: What has been one of your most rewarding surprises? VB: One of my most rewarding surprises as a teacher has been encouraging my students to reach out to authors that they have been influenced by or inspired by and sharing the excitement of a response from that author with them. It is powerful and wonderful to experience.
TxS&S: To what do you attribute your passion for young adult literature?
VB: My passion for young adult literature comes from a love of the genre. The stories are so rich and the characters so memorable and I remember the difficulties I faced as a teen and can relate to the characters. I also have a fondness for young adult literature because it wasn't around when I was growing up. I went right from Judy Blume to Stephen King.
TxS&S: If you could make a wish for teens and reading in the future, what would it be?
VB: If I could make a wish for teens and reading in the future, it would be that each student I teach and teens everywhere get connected with a book they can identify with and feel that powerful connection created by words. If they can make that one real connection, they will be hooked on finding more books they like and be on the path to becoming a lifelong reader.
TxS&S: Would you consider yourself a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel?
VB: I am so a Sweetheart. I love a good story with a happy ending and the bigger the book is the happier I am! Thanks for featuring me this month and a special thanks to Jessica for reaching out to my students and making a difference! TxS&S: Thank YOU, Valerie! You are definitely a ROCK STAR SWEETHEART!
If you know of someone who would make a great Featured Sweetheart, please let us know! The best part? If you nominate someone, we'll send you a $5 Starbucks gift card :)