Cognotes 2019 Annual Conference Highlights - 1

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.'"



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