My third grade teacher, Miss Shuck, didn’t designate me a bluebird or even a finch. While she listened to others sound out new words in their readers’ circles, I sat alone, wholly absorbed in the high school fiction anthology she had given me. Having provided me with this aloneness that is antithetical to loneliness, Miss Shuck awakened in me a desire to understand human nature and introduced me to the kind of critical thinking that we imagine belongs to adults alone.

Victoria has many years’ experience as both an English teacher and a teacher-librarian. She’s an unapologetic reader of banned books and the mother of three boys. She tweets all too infrequently at @waddleido. You can contact her at where she blogs about writers and writing.