I was privileged to experience two of my favorite authors in person last night.

I was privileged to experience two of my favorite authors in person last night.

I have known Barnett Berry for going on six years, but I’ve never heard him read something he wrote. As he read from Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave, his pacing and diction made the book move from a non-fiction documentary to a passionate essay on the potential of excellent teachers.It helped me see his joy and love for the profession in a new and visceral way.

But this was really just an appetizer for the evening. Calamari, perhaps… Barnett very quickly stepped aside for our friend Jose Vilson, who stepped to read from his new memoir, This is Not a Test.

The first time I encountered the poem “This is Not a Test” was when Jose shared it with me just before presenting on the D.C. mall at the Save Our Schools march in 2011. I thought it was a great poem; I enjoyed it so much I decided to put a soundtrack behind it so maybe it would become a crossover hit. (That didn’t happen.)  But reading it in what I thought was his voice in my head was nothing compared to seeing on YouTube.

Last night, I sat in the front row with about 50 people at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC and experienced Jose reading “This is Not a Test” in person. When he started, I had that experience of hearing an incredibly moving song live in person. I got a shiver down my spine as he said started with, “Welcome to the latest edition of the people’s march!”

I never thought to read Jose’s book or Teacherpreneurs out loud, but now that I have experienced it, I will always have the voices of these two passionate educators in my mind and my heart.

Buy This is Not a Test and Teacherpreneurs today.

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