Friday, September 12, 2014

Articles From Around the Web by Michael Strickland

BIO: Michael Strickland ( teaches literacy education at Boise State University. The author of ten books for adults and children, he travels nationally speaking about learning, teaching, diversity and child advocacy. 

He is the publisher of http://youngpeoplespavilion.comFor articles around the net regarding children's literature, see:

And see "The Book Bear"

This Google search for "Michael Strickland Idaho" has more info:

My April 2014 interview on KTVB:  Local educator promotes book removed from Meridian schools

Hello, this is Michael here!

Many people ask me how I have published more than a dozen books. See:

One of my answers is that I have always been a writer. Here is a selection of my work from over the years.

First, here are some I wrote for The Morning Call in the early 1990s:

Bath Accepts Hike In Taxes Of .5 Mill

December 24, 1991|by MICHAEL STRICKLAND, The Morning Call

Lively Duo Markets The Dead Alternative Music Rings Their Register.  
December 26, 1991 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND,  The Morning Call 

Yohe Roasted And Toasted At L.v. Retirement Party 

January 18, 1992 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND, The Morning Call

Labor And Industry Secretary Urges Better Production. February 13, 1992 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND, The Morning Call


Goode To Teach, Lecture At Muhlenberg, City Hall, Allen High, Jefferson. February 15, 1992 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND, The Morning Call

Silent But Alert Screech Owl Debuts At Symphony Hall. February 15, 1992 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND, The Morning Call

Goode Says Academics, Politics Offer Opportunities For Blacks. February 19, 1992 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND, The Morning Call

Good Shepherd Bestows Honors On Three Who Made Difference.

February 21, 1992 | by MICHAEL R. STRICKLAND, The Morning Call


From the Right and Left. Talk Back. January 5, 2005, Michael R. Strickland Readers Advisory Board, The Post Register 

Bush and The NAACP. Talk Back. May 6, 2005, Michael R. Strickland Readers Advisory Board, The Post Register 

Diversity is Missing in the Classroom. Talk Back. July 12, 2005, Michael R. Strickland Readers Advisory Board, The Post Register 

Liberals are Upset. Talk Back. January 15, 2006 Michael R. Strickland Readers Advisory Board, The Post Register 


Diversity? Experience it for yourself. Talk Back. March 16, 2006 Michael R. Strickland Readers Advisory Board, The Post Register 

Losing Another Generation. Talk Back May 11, 2006 Michael R. Strickland Readers Advisory Board, The Post Register 


Meeting Jerry Brady. July 9, 2006 | by Michael Strickland, From the Red State Rebels Blog.

Enhancing the Early Reading Experience: Books, Strategies, and Concepts by Michael Strickland and Laura Abbott.  The Reading Teacher  Volume 64, Issue 1, pages 66–68, September 2010 International Reading Association 


My articles on the Idaho Education News site.


My articles on the Idaho Press Tribune page: 


Bio from my keynote at the Idaho Library Association, Region 2 Conference: The Idaho Sesquicentennial: 150 Years of Community and Diversity. May 10th, 2013.



Course syllabus for my ED-LTCY 346 class, Fall 2014 at Boise State University.

My Boise Weekly profile, which includes other links to some of my articles.

Eye on Boise: Luna becomes subject of Wiki war (From the Spokesman Review, Sept. 7, 2012, by Betsy Russell):
Idaho teacher and blogger Michael Strickland wrote about the squabble on Daily Kos and 43rd State Blues and it became a big topic in social media. Today, Popkey weighs in, saying, “This humble outlet says McGrath overstepped with her praise of her boss and would have been better off contacting Wikipedia about her concerns rather than editing herself. But Luna's foes were even farther over the line. Wikipedia's senior editors seem to agree. They have revised the bio, stripping slanted material on both sides, leaving a balanced piece.”
Stay tuned, because more samples of my writing (a whole lot) will be added to this blog.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heisman Watch: BYU's Versatile Quarterback Taysom Hill

Pocatello, Idaho is known as the Smile Capital of the United States. And one of their homegrown products has given a lot of people a reason to keep on a happy face.

For example, the Texas Longhorns are ecstatic about the end of their series with Taysom Hill-led BYU, writes Paul Myerberg, of USA Today:
Hill did it again to the Longhorns, following up last season's breakthrough with 270 yards of total offense and three scores, one a made-for-the-Heisman hurdle job over a hapless UT defender. Leading his team into Austin and notching a 34-point win is just the start: Hill and the Cougars might be eyeballing an undefeated regular season.

Legendary BYU quarterback Steve Young said: "Hill could be a jackhammer one play and then play a violin the next." 

Hill attended Highland High School, where he earned the All-Idaho Player of the Year, Gatorade High School Player of the Year, First Team All-State selection and earned All-Region and All-Conference Player of the Year accolades in his senior season of 2008. Hill also lettered in basketball and track and field while at Highland.

Experts are starting to ask if Hill is the best player in the country.

 This season, his junior year with the Cougars, Hill has been:

He is a new breed of BYU quarterback, an athletic one built on the run as well as the pass.

And SBNation reminds us that:

Taysom’s numbers have been tremendous so far and the Cougars have earned some good results through the first two weeks of the season. Those result have been enough for BYU to gain entry into the AP Top 25, which most BYU fans thought would only happen after the game against UCF. The Cougars must continue to win games (maybe 11, but probably 12 if he wants a serious chance at winning the Heisman). His touchdown stats so far have really helped his candidacy, but he will probably need more passing TDs to balance out his statistics as the season progresses. One huge factor is that the Cougars have four more chances to play on ESPN and all of them are on Thursday or Friday evenings. This will give curious voters a chance to watch the Cougars without being distracted by a bunch of other games being played simultaneously. It starts this Thursday at home against Houston. Look for Hill to have another big game and for BYU to earn another big win to take Taysom’s Heisman run to the next level.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cirque Dreams Holidaze returns to the Morrison Center to light up the 2014 holiday season in Boise

I have always loved the circus. My parents used to bring me to Ringling Bros. and Barnamum Bailey at Madison Square Garden when we were growing up. Warm, lasting memories fill my heart when I reminisce about such performances.

Now Boise receives one of the best shows, in its 5th year of touring multiple simultaneous productions, Cirque Dreams Holidaze. It is a separate group from the well known Cirque Du Soleil. Nonetheless, this production is elaborate the story lines intricate, and the music ... dynamic. And as with Cirque Du Soleil, there are no animals being used in this show.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze is “so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil” according to the New York Daily News and “stuffed with so much holiday cheer and audacious acts, Scrooge would exit with a big ol’ smile on his face” proclaims the Erie Times News about this “Broadway-worthy spectacle”.

Wednesday, November 19th
7:30 PM

10% Discount
General public on sale:
Monday, September 8th at 10:00 AM

This show sold out here in 2012, and it returns to the Morrison Center to light up the 2014 holiday season with a bigger, newer and more exciting, detailed production. THIS IS A SHOW NOT TO BE's a cirque show...Broadway spectacular...and family show all in one.

Broadway director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with over 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe. Experience gingerbread men flipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief. The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers. Performers twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees & soldiers creating a wonderland of amazement.

The NY Daily News stated that "There have only been a handful of shows that have generated an exclamation point as assertive as the ones created and directed by Neil Goldberg. This show boasts "a delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleigh load."

I can't wait to bring my family to see it.

Kellen Moore is a Superbowl Quarterback

What other team has their third string quarterback getting so many major headlines?

Lions backup quarterback Kellen Moore hands the ball off.jpg
Source: WikiPedia
They said that he is too slow.

They said  he has no arm.

They said  he is too small.

But his strengths are intelligence and pinpoint accuracy.

They said similar things about Phil Simms and Joe Montanna.

Simms was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Super Bowl XXI. He set the record for highest completion percentage in a Super Bowl, going 22 for 25 (88%). Montanna powered the 49ers to victories in four Super Bowls during the 1980s, including consecutive wins in 1989 and 1990.

As KTVB reported, Moore is too good for the Detroit Lions to ignore, having made their 53-man roster last week.

As with Simms and Montanna, Moore had tremendous college production. This tremendous athlete finished his career with Boise State University in 2011, having walked away 50–3 (.943) -- the unofficial all-time record for wins by a starting quarterback in NCAA Division I FBS. 

As a junior, he finished fourth in the balloting for the 2010 Heisman Trophy.

But the road for this underdog has been peppered with criticism. For example, take a look at these tweets from January 2012:

And ...

But similar criticisms were said of Moore before his remarkable and legendary run at Boise State.

Fast-forward to August of 2013: Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters that Moore was "a very improved player ... He has played well when given the opportunities and has improved a lot from over the course of the season last year, but then particularly in our offseason program and training camp. In all facets his understanding of our offense, his understanding of what defenses do, and also physically, he's improved."

And he has only become better. According to KTVB:

In the first preseason game, Moore kept his new competition on the sidelines. With Detroit trailing Cleveland 12-6 and just 2:14 left in the fourth quarter, Moore led the Lions on a four-play, 50-yard scoring drive in 1:09. Boise State's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns threw a 21-yard strike down the left sideline to wide receiver Corey Fuller with just 1:05 remaining in regulation.
The Lions won, 13-12. ... Moore shined again in fourth and final tune-up contest prior to the regular season. Moore took almost every snap over the last three quarters of a 23-0 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 28. Add it all up and Moore completed 68.6-percent for 361 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in four relief appearances. His 108.4 quarterback rating was the fourth best in the NFL for passers with at least 50 attempts.

At the 2014 NFL combine, it emerged that Moore is a strong leader who has great poise in the pocket. Moore has a quick pass set that is balanced and under control. He gets rid of the ball quickly and picks his spots effectively. A very accurate thrower both short and long, Moore understands route progressions and is steady under pressure. He knows how to put touch on the ball. Just like he often did at Boise State, this unique QB scans the field with laser-like perfection to locate his second and third options.

With an eerie similarity to Simms and Montanna, he has all the intangibles and is a quarterback that is under control.

Kellen Moore will prove his critics wrong once again.

Meet Nikki Grimes

“Choose whatever box you like, Mike. Just don’t put me in one, son. Believe me, I won’t fit.”  ― Nikki Grimes, Bronx Masquerade 
I first met Nikki Grimes, a spectacular author of books written for children and young adults, many years ago at a conference. She is also a poet and journalist.

Here is one of my favorite examples of her work: Named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book as well as an ALA Notable Book, Meet Danitra Brown is  a touching collection of 13 poems about two African American girls named Zuri Jackson and Danitra Brown, is a refreshing and illuminating way to convey a portrait of friendship.

From the point of view of Zuri, readers are introduced to Danitra Brown, “the most splendiferous girl in town,” who wears purple, from her head down to her toes, every single day, according to

There are reasons why this is so, Zuri tells readers: Danitra might be a princess, she can take bullies on with no sweat, she’s the fastest bike rider on the whole block, she helps Zuri with her chores, and she’s going to win the Nobel Prize someday. Through Zuri’s proud, but unsentimental voice, Danitra is portrayed as a spirited, spunky kid who can deal with whatever life has to give her. In turn, Danitra is also very considerate of emotional Zuri’s vulnerability. The two make a wonderful pair: they both have qualities that bring out the best in each another.

Not everything is perfect, however: Danitra is taunted for wearing thick glasses; Zuri feels bad that her dad is never around to care for her, and some neighborhood kids tease Danitra about her dark skin. But although these girls live in a world filled with problems and prejudices, Danitra and Zuri deal well with each as they happen.  

The lovely and lush oil-wash illustrations by Floyd Cooper capture and complement energy of the poems, and capture the characters’ emotions. Although these characters are African-American, the theme of friendship through struggle that Grimes conveys is universal, and, in this book, is brought to vibrant life.

Nikki Grimes was well received last night in my children’s literature class at Boise State University. Since many people here in Idaho are from small towns, they especially liked the part in the video below, where she spoke about the fact that there is no better, or safer place to learn about another culture than in the pages of a book. The students asked me to share Meet Danitra Brown.

A lesson plan for this book is found here:
Below is an excerpt:
Discuss friendship by charting qualities that are needed to build friendships and by charting qualities that tear down friendships.  Introduce Danitra Brown as the main character and read the story.  Discuss poetry and what makes this writing poetry.  Allow time for the students to share what is special about their friends.  Talk with students about the characteristics and structural elements of poetry in the book (e.g., imagery, rhyme, verse, rhythm, meter) With these elements in mind have students write a short poem about a friend.  The poem could be given as a gift or shared in the classroom.  Make sure everyone gets a poem.  Refer to qualities chart for ideas.  Have the class do one or more Venn diagrams.   Follow up with a discussion. The Venn diagram activity gives students a chance to find out more about each other.  The closure to this lesson is to create a Circle of Friends poster, including every member of the class.

Image result for nikki grimesNikki Grimes conveyed the fire-in-the-belly fervor of a Harlem girl who knows she was born to write in Jazmin’s Notebook, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. In My Man Blue, a Booklist Editor’s Choice and Newsweek Children’s Books of the Year selection, her artful words expressed a boy’s journey from skepticism to trust. In Bronx Masquerade she presents a rich chorus of eighteen voices, singing openly about ideas, feelings, and questions–things that open minds, invite debate, provide release. A recent Booklist review proclaims: “As always, Grimes gives young people exactly what they’re looking for–real characters who show them they are not alone.”An accomplished poet, novelist, journalist, and educator, Ms. Grimes was born and raised in New York City and now lives in the Los Angeles area.

“Readers will enjoy the lively, smart voices that talk bravely, about real issues and secret fears. A fantastic choice.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Diane Sawyer: Black Students at Harvard Law School stand in solidarity with #MikeBrown and the #Ferguson community. #HandsUpDontShoot #HBLSA.

Every night World News with Diane Sawyer delivers news that matters. Today, this includes a powerful photo that was released by the President of the Harvard Black Law Students Association:

And in response to some of the obvious backlash to such a message, Katie Laurenson-Bowen wrote on the ABC World News with Diane Sawyer page: 

I always love the ignorant comments from white Americans whom think it isn't "fair" that blacks are able to form groups at colleges. As if whites don't have enough already? Join ANY other group on an average US college campus and you will be part of a majority "white group". Stop whining and set an example for a progressive society.
#HandsUpDontShootKatie has a good point. And to further understand why such groups exist, take a look at this history:

The Harvard Black Law Students Association (HBLSA) was founded in 1967. Today, HBLSA has grown to become the largest chapter in the National Black Law Students Association. Counting over 160 members annually, HBLSA reflects the strong Black community that is so integral to the diversity of Harvard Law School.

We, the Black Law Students Association of Harvard Law School , exist for the support, guidance and direction of Black students in academic, professional and social endeavors. Our main function is to assist members in the development of their legal careers and to provide opportunities for exposure to various areas and aspects of the legal profession. We recognize the need to act positively in the development of the Black community, to encourage cooperation and closer ties between members of the Law School’s Black community and to establish a vehicle through which our concerns are brought to bear on Harvard Law School policy and the community at large.
In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, Harvard Black Law Students Association (“HBLSA”) students gathered on August 14th for a powerful visual statement – a photograph with their arms raised in front of Harvard Law School in the symbolic #HandsUpDontShoot pose, an official statement reads. 

 Combining photographs of Harvard Law School students and alumni from across the country, HBLSA formed a collage that the group released on Friday afternoon. It captures HBLSA’s national plea for justice for the victims of unwarranted police brutality. This effort marks the kickstart of HBLSA’s civil rights campaign aimed at changing the interactions of law enforcement with black Americans across the United States. This campaign is part of HBLSA’s new P.U.L.S.E. initiative (Powerfully Utilizing Law School Educations for Political and Social Justice), which seeks to track, report and respond to developing social issues affecting the black American community. After a summer highlighting unjust and inequitable treatment at the hands of law enforcement, which led to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Ezell Ford, HBLSA begins the school year determined to raise social awareness and create policy changes related to the interactions of law enforcement with black Americans. The campaign includes visual media, an official statement and op-ed and various events throughout the school year regarding the criminal justice system as it affects black Americans.

Product DetailsWho is Diane Sawyer? I admire Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945). She is an appropriate person to feature in this celebritiesandstars entry for many reasons, including the fact that she once said:

Personable and approachable, Sawyer is the current anchor of ABC News's nightly flagship program ABC World News. She is the type who thinks rapidly on her feet, and cares about her community.

Previously, Sawyer had been co-anchor of ABC News's morning news program Good Morning America and Primetime newsmagazine. Early in her career, was a member of U.S. President Richard Nixon's White House staff and closely associated with the president himself.

In the male-dominated world of television news, Sawyer earned her stripes with sheer talent and skill.

Former NBA Star Gilbert Arenas vs. Al Sharpton On The Riots in Ferguson

I pray for all who are affected by the riots following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The mere mention of race, these days, can inflame people's passions.

But everything in the media is not always what it seems.

Addressing a congregation in Ferguson on Sunday,  Al Sharpton blasted the release by police of a video purportedly showing Brown robbing a store shortly before the unarmed Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, ABC news reported.

But there is opposition in all things,  and Sharpton has taken a lot of heat lately for showing up in Ferguson, according to the Conservative Tribune.
The mayor of Ferguson says Sharpton’s timing couldn’t be worse, showing up to “demand justice” just as the violence is calming–never mind the fact that there’s been no “injustice” yet proven. He was also met on the streets of Ferguson not only by supporters, but also by hecklers who asked about his career as a federal informant.
Now former NBA player Gilbert Arenas has weighed in on Sharpton and the riots in Ferguson. Arenas is a three-time NBA All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and was voted the NBA Most Improved Player in the 2002–03 season.  A fan favorite in the Washington area during his tenure,  he was considered the top player.

But his stellar play on the court was marred by trouble off of it. Arenas was suspended for most of the 2009–10 season because of handgun violations.  The NBA commissioner determined that the player's behavior made him "not currently fit to take the court." The gun incident was exacerbated by some of the players' actions that  appeared to make light of the problem.

The now-deleted Instagram photo caption reads:

“FAMILiES of the victims pleaseeeeee stop asking #alsharpton to speak or ur behalf,you have a better chance having #caesar the monkey from #planetoftheapes to get justice for you..the stats also show AL (expletive) sharpton has not helped one situation he has protested at,he actually made it worst and because of him the jury goes the other way..(think about it) Jena six,trayvon and the list goes back way back..#AL ur like a #THOT in the club,lookn for attention.”  

However, according to some critics, there is a a story behind the Sharpton/Arenas feud, and it's personal.

When Arenas was suspended,  Sharpton criticized him. This angered the hoops star, who thought Sharpton didn't have all of the facts. Thus,  some voices say, this is sort of a way of Arenas lashing back at the civil rights leader.

Critics of Arenas argue  that the former NBA star is very wrong ,  partly due to the fact that Sharpton was called by the family to help represent them.

For example, in  the clip below,  Sharpton calls for peace, not violence ...

A post on Facebook added:

Sharpton is a beloved figure to most Black people because he speaks out against injustices inflicted on Black people. There has NEVER been a Black person who spoke out loudly against the inequality and mistreatment against Blacks that was widely accepted by Whites.
I wish the best to all familuies, community members, leaders, and children in Ferguson. May peace come soon and end these divisions.