Thanks to all at Mackin for featuring this interview with Pat about Bookjoy, Wordjoy, her newest book: Celebrating Bookjoy and Wordjoy With Award-Winning Poet and Literacy Advocate Pat Mora.
Mackin: You are a well-known literacy advocate who is highly sought after for presentations. In your presentations and publications, you regularly promote “bookjoy.” In fact, your newest book of children’s poetry is even called Bookjoy, Wordjoy (Lee and Low Books, 2018). What is “bookjoy” and how does one not only experience it, but also teach it and share it?
Pat: I tease that those of us who know bookjoy, who experience it daily, don’t need to have it defined. I enjoy the smiles from educators when I use the word. Good teaching, as we know, is an extremely complex talent. I am certainly indebted to the teachers who loved language and through their enthusiasm taught me to love words (wordjoy) and their possibilities too.
Primarily, we share by example and by understanding our students and audiences, their realities and their needs. We have different personalities and styles. Students of all ages quickly know when we care about them and want to help them learn and thrive.
Mackin: Surely your childhood must have been spent near books and reading. Did your parents prioritize literacy in your home? How did the adults in your life encourage you in your literacy development?
Childhood has many happy memories. Mom was always a reader. My parents had books for us including the Childcraft set and the World Book Encyclopedia. Mom also took us (I’m the oldest of four) to the El Paso Public Library. I loved the summer reading club, and my teachers were readers who shared that pleasure–bookjoy!