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Articles by: Joan Wink

Best 2 Books of the Last 6 Months

Best 2 Books of the Last 6 Months

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

I love to share my books with others, and recently a friend returned a pile of borrowed books to me.  It was like visiting with ol’ friends.  I stacked up the books in order of favorite to least favorite.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles was my most favorite book of  the last 6 months.  I had no idea that a quircky and courageous group of French and American readers tried to save the American Library in Paris during World War II.  Goodreads has a lot of good comments, but the link would not work on my blog–not sure why.  Here is a good link on Amazon.

My 2nd favorite book of the last 6 months did not make this stack of books, as I had not read it yet.  A wonderful young 7th grade girl told me I must read her copy of Booked by Kwame Alexander–so, I did. I was hooked by the 4th page.  I absolutely loved it.  I suspect it is written for teenage boys, but it felt like it was written for me.  Here is the link on Nerdy BookClub. Thank you, dear Emma.

Booked is written in verse form–don’t let that scare you off.  The narrative is very compelling–a real page-turner.

When I returned Booked to Emma, she quickly gave me 4 more books to read.  Joan Bauer here I come. 

Meet Joan Bauer.

 Thank you  to Missy Urbaniak for drawing the image of a blank book at the top. Missy is the teacher at Atall School  (K-8) where Emma is a student.

Snow is gone.


May 19, 2021Read More
Free-range Reading

Free-range Reading

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Sometimes you hear adults saying, “kids today don’t read.”  Here is a story, which paints a different picture.

Recently, we have lost too many dear friends; their remaining family members are grieving.  I decided to buy books as a memorial.  First, we made  In Memory of  labels for Uncle Ray Johson of Moville IA, Mokey Yaap of College Station, TX, Jan Van Loben sels of Sacramento, CA, Pete Edgell of Cascabel, AZ, Roland Dendy of Benson, AZ, and dear Cuzzin’ Jessie Russell of Sturgis, SD.

Here are my helpers and I preparing the labels.









For several months, I bought books to give the students at a tiny, K-8 two-room school on the isolated prairies of South Dakota.  When the kids saw the boxes of books, they dove in as they squealed with delight.  They shared and talked about the books, and eventually every single student sat alone quietly reading. When I left through a door in the back of the room, they were still reading.  The teacher, nor I, gave any instructions.

In what follows, are some photos of the students receiving the books.

One  can never have enough Patricia Polacco books. In addition, the Junie B. Jones books were a big hit.








One little girl took all of the Junie B. books out and began putting them back into numerical order. I apologized and explained that we took them out to put the memorial sticker in each book, and we didn’t get them put back in the correct order.  Very seriously, and without making a sound, she mouthed to me with exaggerated lip movements “That’s alright. I will fix it.”  She also was the one who hugged the books to her chest, as she whispered, “I love Junie B.”

Jacqueline Woodson brought joy to two of the older girls.


Our resident 4th grade historian was over the moon with his books.  He said, “I love South Dakota history.”

Of course, we needed some good DiCamillo.

Found this little reader on the floor.

These two are eclectic readers.

Amid gasps, ooohhhs, and aaahhhs, we did hear some memorable comments during this time.

“We’re going crazy. I love this stuff.”

“Now, we are getting into awesome history.”

“What is the next holiday?”

“Mrs. U., you need to read this one (Be you by P. Reynolds) out loud.”


Later that night when I was home, the teacher texted me to say that the students read for another 20 minutes, after I left.  She finally asked them to stop, as it was time to do math.  Of course, by this time, there were books scattered everywhere.  Before starting math, the kids decided to pick up the books and categorize them according to the memorial label in the front of each book.  So, all of Uncle Ray’s, all of Mokey’s, all of Jan’s, all of Pete’s, all of Roland’s, and all of dear Cuzzin’ Jessie’s were stacked in groups.  Let the math lesson begin.

One of the book labels posted below.


May 2, 2021Read More
Quilts and Books: Bring on the Stories

Quilts and Books: Bring on the Stories

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Recently, Dawn Wink posted a blog about quilts on her blog, DewDrops, and this led me to want to share some of my quilts. Of course, quilts led me to stories, and stories led me to books.  This WinkWorld gets a little long, but if you like quilts, stories, books, and pretty colors, you will enjoy this one.

Quilters everywhere are really storytellers.  I am not a quilter, but I, too, see a story in every quilt.  For example, here are three quilts which hang on our bedroom walls, and I will tell you three little stories.

The quilter of this horse is a dear friend, Gloria Traversie of Faith, SD.  She belongs to group of quilters who call themselves, the Prairie Strippers.  Gloria is over 90 years-old and still quilting.

This quilt was given to me by former grad students when I retired from Cal State.  They said that they spent a year deciding on the color and design before they took their own sewing machines during a long weekend and rented a cabin in the Sierras and created this work of art. 

As they said to me, “Joan, look at how each star is unique.  That is because that is how you made us feel.”  How I love this quilt and those memories!

Below are two more good books for kids and all of us.

The Quilt Story by Tomie dePaola

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

This gorgeous quilt was made for me by my dear colleague/friend, Steph Paterson, when I was sick. As Dr. Paterson said when she gave it to me, “I chose these red hot colors because that is how you were fighting the cancer.” I continue to take strength from the quilt and that memory.

Here are two more great books about quilts.  Great stories for kids and for me.

Who’s Under Grandma’s Quilt by Rachel Waterstone

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

After posting some photos of quilts on Facebook, the stories came pouring into my newsfeed.  My friend/cousin, Missy, reminded me of a book we both love.

The Quiltmakers Gift by Jeff Brumbeau.

Diane Kindt, has been my BFF from kindergarten until high school graduation, and now in this chapter of life, we are back and living near each other.  Such a blessing for us.  She and a group of women friends, in their small town of Mobridge are consistently very active in seeing a problem and fixing a problem.  Much of their giving is done locally, but they also give globally. 

Two examples follow: they make quilts and small knitted/crocheted prayer shawls to give to people who are in need. If you hear of a family suffering from a major disaster, chances are that quilts from this group of women are on their way to warm a family.  On the local level, the group simply keeps their eyes and ears open for families in need.  The prayer shawls are available for the asking.  This group has shared through the US and abroad.

In the photo below, the quilts from last year are displayed in Diane’s church.  The quilts are hanging on the back of the pews.

So, how many quilts and prayer shawls did they make in 2020?

For example, here is a church family in FL after the hurricane in which most families had lost every thing. In the photo below, they are receiving their quilts from Diane and friends in SD.

In addition to these hundreds of quilts which the women make and give away to those in need, they also knit and/or crochet prayer shawls and send to anyone in need who requests them.  See Trinity Lutheran Church of Mobridge SD and/or Diane Kindt on Facebook.  I have a soft cuddly lemon yellow shawl, and Wink has a gentle tan one, which Diane gave us when we were each fighting cancer.  I recently requested a candy apple shawl for my dear Cuzzin’ Jessie, as she was certainly a Red Hot Mama.  The last time I saw Jessie alive, she was covered with the shawl, and we were all cuddled around her on her bed.  Another treasured memory.

Thank you!

Here is another great books for all of us.

The Patchwork Quilt: A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud

Rose Kauhne is another friend from Mobridge high school days, and I enjoy following her quilting.  More recently I noted her small patchworks of what is called meditative stitching.  As Rose explained it to me,

I came across the stitch Meditation group of Facebook and decided to join in. The basis was to make a small (4X4”) textile collage using small scraps of fabrics and odds and ends stitched together by hand with thread, in a small amount of time, without much thought to the design or trying to make perfect stitches. That seemed easy enough and Lord knows I had plenty of raw materials to work with. So, I made one and was hooked. 

The only rule was once you added a stitch you could not take it out. Of course, you could cover it up! We made these small enough that you could finish it in a single setting and pack it in a small bag and take it with you, traveling, to the doctor’s office, waiting in line for something. It was fun. I was finding all sorts of small bits of things such as crocheted butterflies, small embroideries I made years ago that were never utilized, things I could use to enhance these small wonders. In 2018 I made 17. In 2019 I made 117. 


If you want to read more about her stitching, click here: The Rose Journal

The quilt (below) tells the story of my high school girlfriends (Mobridge High School, 1962), but we all have known each other since kindergarten.

I always love the surprises found in quilts–like this fuchsia patch in the middle of all of the black, turquoise, red, and white.  Sort of like the surprises in life.

In the photo above you see Mobridge High School friends, who gifted me that gorgeous quilt. Thank you Toots, Tiny, Diane, and Runny.  Below are more Mobridge friends when Donna Wessel Durrant hosted us.

Let me close with something which is not a quilt, nor a book, but I am sure there is a story somewhere in this image.  I recently learned that there is another WinkWorld in Las Vegas, created by someone named Chris Wink.  Do you imagine that he would like to also see our WinkWorld?



April 17, 2021Read More
Russ on Reading: Mem Fox

Russ on Reading: Mem Fox

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Today I saw a blogpost from Russ Walsh in his blog, Russ on Reading, in which he celebrates the books of famed children’s author, Mem Fox.  Oh, how I love Mem’s books.

I hope you enjoy, too.  Click on Mem’s name below.

Russ on Reading: Mem Fox

Thanks, Russ, for permission to share, and thanks for all of your support of literacy. 

I am not with all of my Mem books to post pictures, but Russ has great pictures of Mem’s books.  So, I will post a group of little avid readers: Oh, how I love these kids.



February 17, 2021Read More
Facts tell. Stories sell.

Facts tell. Stories sell.

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Once upon a time in a far, far away place, I was a university professor.  Not only that–I loved research.  Still do.  However, I learned early in my career that not everyone loves research.  The minute I told a group of grad students, “Research shows…,” I could see the eye-rolls.  However, I also noticed that everyone seemed to love stories, so if I could bury a new idea (a.k.a., good research) in a good story, the students would pay attention, and remember the story.

Father reading to daughter

Lots of time, new learning feels like it is up-side-down to our  previous learning.  Often new learning is not intuitive.  Sometimes new learning is down-right annoying.


Recently, I read a review of a big body of research (Shapiro, 2021) on how we process information, or how we learn.  It confirms what I used to get to learn and relearn every year in every classroom from students: People don’t care about research. 

Shapiro shares what he learned:

•emotions over facts – thus, when confronted with new information, we use feelings over facts;

•feelings are mistaken for facts – and, if someone doesn’t share my feelings, they must be wrong or even bad;

•skepticism is good–but, it requires deep, disciplined thinking;

•facts do not necessarily cure misinformation.

Sheesh. I told you that new knowledge is counter-intuitive and very annoying.

One answer: a good story.  People remember a story and even think about it and draw their own conclusions. 

When I was a prof, my area of specialty was language acquisition, where much we know from research is not intuitive.  So, I made up stories.  For example.

Teaching Passionately – My People Made It

See that image of The Power of Story at the top of the page?  It is not sold with that spiral binding on the side. A grad student took it to an office store and asked them to put that where the book binding was.  I had no idea you could do that. Sometimes new learning is cool.

If you want to see what is inside the book, The Power of Story, you can enjoy this visual Table of Contents, which my friend, Missy, made for me.

Or, you can look at this cool, little tri-fold, which my friend, Susan made for me.
Click on image to see larger view.

Or, you can go to the book icon at the top of my and click on it.  Some of the links are live in the Table of Contents.

Or, click below.

The Power of Story

I see Amazon is selling it for $30 right now, instead of the $45 it used to cost. 

Shapiro, G. (2021, Jan. 26). Studies on how we process info are eye-opening. Arizona Daily Star,  p. A4.


February 8, 2021Read More
Eulalia (Sister) Bourne: Rancher Schoolteacher

Eulalia (Sister) Bourne: Rancher Schoolteacher

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

As many of you know, I have long been a fan of Eulalia Bourne, a.k.a., Sister, since I bumped into her work at The Singing Winds bookstore in the late 70s while living on the Cascabel Ranch and teaching in Benson, AZ.  I could not read her three books fast enough to please me.  And, I loved hearing the stories of her decades of teaching at tiny little schools on the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona. The purpose of this WinkWorld is to create an overview of who Sister was, and her impact today on a little two-room school on the prairies of South Dakota.

My beloved copies of three of Sister’s books.  Just the titles of the books tell us a lot about Sister Bourne.

Nine Months is a Year, Ranch Schoolteacher, and Woman in Levis

Several decades later I shared my treasured Sister books with Missy Urbaniak, the teacher of a  two-room school on the prairies of South Dakota. Missy was as captivated by the woman, as I had been earlier.

Missy fell in love with Sister also, and thus began a special bond between Missy and the students of Atall School and myself.

Read the following (click here) for a historical peak into Sister’s life, The University of Arizona library and local museum maintain and preserve all of Sister’s papers.  Many may believe that the tiny little one and two-room school is a thing of the past–not true.  Atall and others are as dynamic and central to the isolated ranching communities today on the prairies, as Sister’s were in the early to mid twentieth century in AZ.  Through the last half dozen years Missy and I  have attempted to save this history and to share it with others.

Below I am posting as few of the photos of the kids through the years.  In the first photo one of the students is now a sophomore at the state university; and four others are in the local (50 miles away) high school.

The photo above shows the students after I donated a few of my books to their school library. The following three photos were all taken during different years.
(Click on a photo to see a larger view.)

Little Cowpuncher was the name of the students newsletters, which Sister’s students often produced on old mimeograph machine.  When Missy and the Atall students learned of this, they, too, wanted to write and publish their own newsletter, which they named, Prairie School Post (PSP).

More about these student newsletters from Sister’s students and also from Missy’s students is available at the end of this paragraph. Many miles stretch from AZ to SD, but these students are the bridge which joins the desert and the prairies. Click here.

You have probably guessed that we are working on a book, and we have our work cut out for us.

In the space below, I am posting multiple other (wink)links which I have posted on this topic.  At times, my blog posts serve primarily as a digital library for me, and I think this is one of those times–just trying to get everything in one place.
This post has some photos of the kids at Atall school with me reading to them.
More Atall kids and photos here.
January 31, 2021Read More
What is equity? What is equality?

What is equity? What is equality?

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

I didn’t mean to send out another WinkWorld so quickly, but today I bumped into a discussion of educational equity and equality.   The discussion I heard made me want to share my understandings of equity.

Below, I am posting a couple of images, which I believe capture the notion of equity and equality. Both of these examples are used often, but I do not know the original creator, but there are many versions on the web.  I appreciate the work of the artist, as it is hard to take a complex idea and make it accessible for all.  

If that little guy on the right is treated equally, he does not have equity.

And, sometimes a flower is used to show how equality and equity are different.  All of the flowers need sun, and sometimes we have to make adaptations to keep them all thriving.

Below the words of Einstein speak clearly to help us understand. If we give the same exam to all, it is equal, but does not provide equity. 

Below I am posting something I recently wrote about standardized tests, but it is  really about equity.  Happy reading.

Why do we keep trying to standardized kids? Click here.

What is equity, and why does it matter?

It’s all about fairness.

Thank you to ThinkingMaps for the attached article you will see when you click on fairness.





January 26, 2021Read More
Books. Books. Books.

Books. Books. Books.

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

A friend just received her second new knee and is recovering.  She is an avid reader and asked for a few suggestions. Primarily, these are just books, which popped into my head.   In addition, I dug out some photos of recent books, which I have read. I have another friend, who consistently wants me to write about the books I am reading.   Michelle and Cissa, this WinkWorld is for you.

First, Michelle, I suggest fast, easy, compelling books during recovering.  I remember when I was on chemo, I read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency  (a series) by Alexander McCall Smith. I discovered beautiful Botswana. After I finished the series, I continued to read any book I could find about elephants. 

Thank you to Harvey Sapir of Pexel for sharing this free photo.

Of course, you could re-read the Harry Potter series.  Elizabeth Gilbert might be a good fit right now. The City of Girls was great fun.  How about American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins?

At the moment, I am reading and enjoying Peter Likins’ A New American Family: A Love Story.  It is the story of their family life with their six adopted multiracial children.  Amazing.  Likins was also the president at the University of Arizona.

You might prefer podcasts until you get off the painkillers.  I am thoroughly enjoying both series of podcasts by Brené Brown.  Or, you might just want to read (re-read) all of her books.

Alexandra Fuller might interest you. I loved reading of her free-range childhood in Africa.  I suggest reading her books in order.

The Giver of s Stars by Jojo Moyes will be a very healing book, I am sure.  And, you will find yourself cheering for the librarians.  The same is true for

Or, maybe you could just jump right into any of the series of the prolific JA Jance.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a great read, too.  I really enjoyed …and His Lovely Wife by Connie Schultz.

In Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts, I thoroughly enjoyed reading of Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, and his amazing wife, Maud.  In this book, you will learn of their life in South Dakota, too.

Red sparkly shoes

Or, dare I suggest that you might want to read one of these? Just click on the book icon at the top of the webpage.  Click on Home below:







January 24, 2021Read More
American Generations: The Silent Generation to Gen Z

American Generations: The Silent Generation to Gen Z

Hello WinkWorld Readers,

I am often drawn to questions regarding the generations: The Greatest Generation to The Silent Generation to the Baby Boomers to the Gen X to the Millennials to Gen Z.

As a former professor, a former teacher, and as a current parent and grandparent, this subject fascinates me.  Now, as a member of the South Dakota Board of Regents, I find that the unique characteristics of each generation shape how and what we teach.  For example, are the needs and interests of the Millennials the same as those of the Gen ZNope. The university students of the last few years were Millennials, but now our classes are filling up fast with the next group, Gen Z.

Previously (2011, in Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the Real World, pp. 176-177, Fig. 5.1), I shared a chart of my understandings at that moment.  This originally came from Jim Burke, and I reproduced with permission. Click here to see the generations and their characteristics and years.

However, time keeps marching forward, and I wanted to update my understandings.  I read a bit (see Resources below), and I went to one of my grandsons, Luke, to update my knowledge of the generations.

Luke Wink-Moran

Meet Luke.

As some of you know, Luke contributed to two previous WinkWorlds.  Click here and here. In these two posts, we summarized some current writing regarding our post-COVID needs of students and society.

Luke captured his present understanding in the image below.  He omitted the World War II generation, which is often referred to as “The Greatest Generation.”













How To Make Sense of This

Think of your own family members–at least that helped me.  

Dawn and Bo:  I started with our own two kids, as I sure do know their birth dates:  1968 and 1971  They are both Gen X. Very much so.

Next, I thought about our grandkids: Wyatt, Luke, Wynn, Austin, and Garrett.  Wyatt and Luke have many Millennials characteristics, and I can see that Wynn and Austin have more characteristics of Gen Z.  For now, Garrett is a Gen Z, but it will not surprise me if he eventually falls into a Yet-to-be-Labeled Generation.  And, whatever that generation is named, I will bet that Garrett will be leading the parade.

Wink and I are a part of the Silent Generation, although we did not know it when we started down this family path together.  We graduated from undergrad (Yankton College) in 1966, and left immediately for life in the Philadelphia area.  I started teaching at Great Valley High School, Malvern, PA, and in 1968 Dawn was born.  Wink and I looked back at our college friends, only two years younger, and saw that they had totally different life experiences. While we had a mortgage, diapers (pre-Pamper days), and careers—they had the Sexual Revolution, marijuana, and a trip to Woodstock.

We often laugh that we missed the Sexual Revolution by two years. We’ve been catching-up ever since. 

1968 was a pivotal year for our nation and for us. In 1969, I realized that I was morphing from a nice Goldwater Girl to a mom who questioned everything.  I remember dressing Dawn in little bell bottoms, a little leather fringed vest, and a headband. I jumped on a bus to go to a protest in Washington DC, Dawn in a blue Johnny-Carry on my back.  I have no idea now exactly what we protested, but I clearly remember that she was the cutest little “beatnik” there. I remember the personal and national pain of the assassinations of that time: John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King.  The Silent Generation suddenly was replaced by the Baby Boomers.

Now our family and yours are all experiencing a similar national and personal pain.  It will change us all. 


Resources used in this article

Dabney, Courtney. (2020, March 26). It took a global pandemic, but Generation X is finally getting love. PaperCityMag.

Guillén, Mauro F. (2020).  2030: How today’s biggest trends will collide and reshape the future of everything. St. Martin’s Press: New York.

Salingo, Jeffrey J. (2018).  The new generation of students: How colleges can recruit, teach, and serve Gen Z.  The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Wink, J. (2011, p. 176 & 177).  Critical pedagogy: Notes from the real world. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Used with permission from Jim Burke,







January 10, 2021Read More
PART TWO: Post-COVID Needs of Society and Students

PART TWO: Post-COVID Needs of Society and Students

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

In the previous blog post, I shared a review of Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Zakaria’s 10 Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World.  Click here, if you want to glance at that short blog post.  After reading these two books, we predict five categories which reflect the needs of students and society in our post-COVID world. 

Since that time, we created two new images which demonstrate the five categories.

See larger versions of these images

I did this review with our 2nd grandson, Luke, who is an avid reader/writer/thinker.  Meet Luke.

Since that time, I have received suggestions of other related books, which also focus on the future and higher education.  Thank you.

My colleague sent these two titles which she had just ordered.  Hope we hear more about these books, Janice.

Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education by Bryan Alexander


The Small College Imperative: Models for Sustainable Futures by Mary B. Marcy and Richard Ekman

Sharon, a long-time friend and colleague suggested that we check out The Social Dilemma on Netflicks.

6 Things to Know about the Documentary Before You Watch It

More on The Social Dilemma

Yikes, I knew nothing about this series, but I can see that it will be time to call in help from the millennials and/or Gen Zers:  Fortunately, our 5 grandkids fall into one of these two categories, and are more than willing to explain things to us. My reading tells me that the millennials and Gen Zers are very different from each other–something I sure have noticed.





November 3, 2020Read More