Listen Up: Education and Kid Lit Podcasts and Interviews Offer Insight and Entertainment

These podcasts and librarian interviews give listeners something to think about to start the new year.

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Looking for a few good education- and book-related podcasts? Here are a few to try or catch up on in the new year.

Across Colors

Journalist ­Tanzina Vega speaks with parents who are fighting not only for their own children’s education, but for the proper education of all children in their communities. The five episodes discuss issues that impact equity in education, including money, race, tensions between a teacher’s union and school board, and the best way to teach kids to read. Vega interviews people from across the country: in New York City, Oakland, CA; Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Antonio.



Each semester, nonprofit organization the Bell convenes high school interns from across New York City to share stories of education from their perspective. Episodes from 2022 include discussions of mental health, specialized high schools, teachers, metal detectors in schools, and what it was like when Omicron hit and ­absences soared.


Sold a Story

How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong

There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding this six-episode series about teaching students to read. Hosted by reporter ­Emily Hanford, it’s an exposé on how educators came to believe in ­balanced literacy ­instruction and dismiss the ­science of reading. The podcasts also examine the impact of the ­teaching method on students as well as those who have profited from it. There has been plenty of pushback from ­proponents of balanced literacy and ­leveled reading. Give “Sold a Story” a listen and decide for yourself.


From the SLJ Blog Network

Fuse 8 n’ Kate

Betsy Bird and her sister Kate Ramsey discuss children’s books, getting into hilarious, and sometimes serious, discussions about details of each title. There is always something unexpected and something learned, even about the books you think you knew so well.


The Yarn

Produced by elementary school librarian and “100 Scope Notes” blogger Travis Jonker and elementary school teacher Colby Sharp, “The Yarn” shares interviews with kid lit authors and illustrators, including behind-the-scenes looks at their processes and finished products.


More listening

First Person

Louisiana school librarian and 2021 School Librarian of the Year Amanda Jones told her story on the’ “First Person” podcast. Listen as Jones shares her story of fighting against censorship in her local public library and then fighting those who harassed her after she spoke up.


The Daily

Jones wasn’t the only school librarian who spoke with the Times. New Jersey high school librarian Martha Hickson was interviewed about her experience fighting book challenges on an episode of “The Daily” broadcast: “When Book Bans Came to Small-Town New Jersey.”

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (, @karayorio) is senior news editor at School Library Journal.

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