Hello, Book Friends! I’m excited to tell you about my favorite podcast, Book Friends Forever (B.F.F.). It’s hosted by children’s book editor Alvina Ling and author/illustrator Grace Lin. These accomplished women are long-time friends, and grew up together sharing a love for books. Their professional insight offers great value for school librarians.
I love the structure of the podcast. First, the friends talk about what’s happening in their lives. Then, Ling and Lin dig into relevant topics about the book industry. Each episode ends with the hosts sharing what they are grateful for.
The information they deliver is helpful for anyone that has anything to do with children’s literature. They have an audience of authors, illustrators, school librarians, classroom educators, professors, and parents. I enjoy their genuine conversations about relevant topics and book recommendations. I’m also a fan of their fun and personal stories.
I discovered the B.F.F. podcast at the Children’s Literature Summer Institute in 2019. There, I watched Ling and Lin record a live episode. I was immediately struck by their respectful discourse about the #OwnVoices hashtag. Ling and Lin did not see eye to eye on some points. They debated what makes a book authentic and who gets to tell a story. It was interesting to hear how their work informed their thinking.
The B.F.F. podcast covers relevant topics for school librarians. The important information they share shapes my work with picture books. One such episode featured guest speaker Sarah Park Dahlen. Dahlen is the cocreator of the Diversity in Children’s Books 2018 Infographic. She talked about the harmful slanted eye illustrations of Asian characters. Dahlen revealed the history behind the racist depiction of Asian eyes. She also explained how to evaluate books with Asian characters.
The hosts and guest also discussed the current state of book banning. Dahlen offered valuable advice about doing what you can with what you have while keeping your job. She noted that those who are fighting for books are the professionals we need in the classrooms. Dahlen wants us to think long term when confronted with fighting a book ban.
Alison Morris, a book buyer for First Book, joins the podcast regularly to offer book recommendations. Morris’s expertise shines through with the titles she promotes. Her description of Berry Song by Michaela Goade makes me excited to read the book and add it to my collection. I always appreciate learning about the compelling books Morris discusses on the B.F.F. podcast.
Ling and Lin are always trying to balance their busy lives. They offer each other advice on how to manage all the great things they are doing. In their Daily Essentials episode, they share fun products that make life easier. Ling and Lin discuss their love for Crio Bru. The hot, dark chocolate drink works as a substitute for coffee. It has very little caffeine, and claims many health benefits. I tried it, and I’m a fan! Check out the other fun products they recommend on the episode.
On other episodes, the hosts share self-improvement tips. Over the years, Ling has demonstrated how to set and achieve goals. Her drive and success is inspirational. I find myself thinking about her when I want to take action to meet a goal. I also appreciate learning from Lin who listens to self-improvement audiobooks and podcasts. Her insightful takeaways help me improve my life.
I listen to the B.F.F. podcast when I go for my morning run. There are times when the podcast is so juicy, I’ll keep running until the podcast is over. And this happens many times. Ling and Lin’s conversations keep me energized and smiling. I laugh out loud at the funny things they share. Ling talks about her love for reality t.v. and her email struggles. Lin reveals how her sweet tooth for ginger candy helps her get through projects. It’s fun to hear about their tremendous achievements and the things that bring them joy.
For more podcast ideas, read School Librarians: Together We are a Force where Knowledge Quest (K.Q.) blogger Amanda Jones introduces Tom Bober’s The Primary Source podcast. Then, read Margaret Sullivan’s K.Q. post about two more podcasts. Sullivan covers the School Librarians United podcast and the Checked In podcast.
What is your favorite podcast? Please share it in the comment section!
Author: Maureen Schlosser
Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher: https://skl.sh/3a852D5