Fences


Do you know the play FENCES? I teach it in my Intro to Lit class, and it just closed on Broadway (three Tonys, including one for Denzel). Awesome play. An African-American play, but a universal play. The main character, Troy, never gets his fence finished. He needs to protect his heart, his family, his territory–but what is he also keeping out?

I am thinking about this because we just finished discussing FENCES, but also because I read this fantastic blog post and its comments, all about inclusion and exclusion in children’s literature, and it directly relates to books 1 through 3 of my repertoire. So directly I blushed.

So here’s a request: what about gates in the fences? Or maybe a big ol’ pasture with little fenced-off spaces inside it? Places to mix and mingle, but still with some protection for those who feel the need? I’m not discounting the need, either–I have no idea what it means to have to protect yourself to survive, and I have no right to refute that feeling. But man, I’m here, outside your fence, trying to say hello because I like you and want to get to know you. Yes, I know. Privilege. I don’t have to have a fence. But I mean it: I like you and I want to get to know you. You can give me the finger, and you have every right. But I really don’t want to walk away.

Thanks to Malinda Lo for showing me Arthur Levine’s blog (he’s the man who brought Harry Potter to America, I could kiss your shoes, dude).

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