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COGNOTES HIGHLIGHTS WASHINGTON D.C. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION Storytelling Provides Deep Understanding of Universal Themes minds,” Reynolds stated in his presentation at the Opening General Session on June 21. hunderous applause and multiple “And I also know that you help us to preserve standing ovations greeted YA author and exchange our narratives,” he explained, Jason Reynolds, hometown poet indicating that sharing stories of individual and writer of many bestselling and award- lives and of our history helps to encourage winning novels for students in the middle true community. grades. “I know that librarians have the A compelling storyteller himself, both capability to think critically and have open in print and in person, Reynolds structured his keynote as a five-part set of stories simultaneously about his mother, f r i e n d s , f a m i l y, death, religion, and brilliantly, patterns from ancient times. He shared personal connections from his own life which parallel a universal set of human experiences but which each have a very personal aspect and relevance. “All stories deserve to exist side by side,” he stated, especially since everyone needs Author Jason Reynolds delivers his Opening General By Michelle Kowalsky, Rowan University, NJ T Session presentation. » see page 18 Emmy winner and correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” Mo Rocca discusses his podcast Mobituaries as well as his forthcoming book at the Closing General Session on June 25. Journalist and Entertainer Mo Rocca Resurrects Forgotten Lives By Terra Dankowski, American Libraries M o Rocca prefers a little bit of everything, he said at the Closing Session of the American Library Association’s 2019 Annual Conference & Exposition on June 25. 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS Which is why it’s no surprise that the “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent’s forthcoming book, Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving, and podcast of the same name, commemorates people and things – from the station wagon to Neanderthals to Thomas Paine’s legacy – where the common thread is that they’re overlooked and no longer with us. Rocca’s personal mission is to highlight those who might not have gotten a proper obituary in the first place. “I’m the type of person kept awake at night by things like Audrey Hepburn dying on the day Bill Clinton was inaugurated and her [death] not making the first page.” Rocca is also fascinated by “the presidents you can’t remember: the guys between Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.” He was particularly struck by a story about Chester Alan Arthur, who as a young lawyer defended an African American woman named Elizabeth Jennings who had been kicked off a streetcar in New York City in 1854. He won his civil suit, which led to the integration of transportation authority. “It happened almost 100 years before Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott,” Rocca remarked. “I do think right now, every time you hear ‘unprecedented, this has never happened before,’ it makes an unsettling situation even more unsettling,” Rocca said. “I think there’s value in people reading history.… There are always opportunities to say there’s an antecedent here, and I think that’s reassuring, especially to kids: ‘Don’t worry, something like this happened, and here’s how it resolved.’”