Interview with Fellow Blogger, Edi Campbell

Continuing with my special guest week with an interview with Edi Campbell, who is a librarian, blogger and world traveler that serves as an advocate for increasing literacy in teens of color.
Just like before, my questions will appear in orange with Mrs. Campbell's responses appearing in white.  Enjoy!

1.  Reading your blog, it’s clear that you’re well-traveled, can you talk a bit about having the   opportunity to travel can do for a person?

I think travel is important because it takes us outside our ‘home’ and into the world. When we travel, we mature a little bit more because we realize our way of doing or understanding things is not the only way. We expand our minds. For some, travel may be going across town to a different neighborhood, across the country to a different region while to others it may be going across the globe to a different culture. It’s not about the distance, but about stepping into an unfamiliar place. Travel for me comes solely from a place of wanderlust; getting off the beaten tourist path and being a traveler. I know that’s not for everyone, but I do think that becoming educated is about learning to find our place in the world. No one will find their place with their wings tied to their side.

2.  Your blog, CrazyQuiltEdi is about promoting literacy for teens of color, can you share why this is such a relevant cause?

When I began my blog, I was working as a high school librarian in an urban high school. The students, the school, everything and everyone there was at risk of not acquiring the skills necessary to be successful. At the core of this problem is a lack of literacy: the inability to navigate the world around us. Not the entire world, mind you. Simply the world around us!

My school was 98% African American when I left but when I first began working there, it had a good racial and economic balance with  a fair amount of international students and a growing Latino population. Suddenly, I look up and realize all the students are Black, and less affluent.

All over American, we have racially identifiable schools, economic slums where the students are at risk. What’s the PC term for ‘less affluent’? I can’t say ‘poor’ because that word describes much more than a financial condition. These students lack financial access, but they’re not ‘poor’! They’re creative, cunning and intelligent in ways we don’t measure! They’re joyful and energetic about things that excite them. School doesn’t always excite them.

I promote using technology, travel, books, authors, speakers and whatever else is available to develop young people who are literate in all the ways they need to be to navigate the 21st century and be successful, empowered, joyful and connected human beings. I want these teens of color—whether they exist in economically depressed schools or have access to all a well endowed school can offer- I want all these teens, who are still marginalized, to be able to find themselves in environments that accept them as they are while allowing them to thrive. So, from time to time, I blog about a new tech tool, a summer internship or other things that may benefit teens of color.

3.  When you mention literacy you aren’t just referring to reading and writing, can you explain that further?

I think just about every area of study has its own form of literacy. Scientific literacy has students investigating the world as a scientist would, while geographic literacy has students finding places, analyzing movement and human-environmental interactions.  Reading, writing and computing are core to the other literacies.
I think having worked with older teens as a Social Studies teacher makes me realize there are so many ways we have to be literate to be create our own successes.  As a librarian, my focus is on information literacy, the ability to locate, access, evaluate and share information and I think that’s another core literacy but, but tell an Economist that financial literacy isn’t important!

4.  What’s your favorite book?  Do you remember the feeling you experienced after you completed it the first time?

I think the closest I’ve ever come to having a favorite book is when I totally love the last book I’ve just finished. I don’t know what it means about me but, I don’t have a favorite book, favorite color, movie, place, song… Maybe I just don’t attach to things.
Completed the first time? There are too many books and not enough time for re-reads! There’s only been one book I’ve purposely read more than once and it was such a guilty pleasure that I’ll never tell what it was. 

Such a wonderful woman and I'm so lucky I was able to connect with her.  For more about Edi and her work check out her blog;  Crazy QuiltEdi: Promoting Literacy For Teens of Color One Book At A Time