Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Josie Snow

Josie Snow grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado, where she lived until September of 2017. Her love of reading prompted her to become a teacher, and later to pursue her masters in Children’s Literature, which is what brought her to Boston.In her free time, she enjoys exploring the east coast (its all so different than her home!), puzzles, hiking, and stories of all types.

Entries by Josie Snow


My goodness, it is hard to believe it has been two months since my last post! The time went by in a blur. So much has happened, I went on a trip to Vermont for some cross-country skiing; Played in some snow from the many Nor’easters; Visited the Eric Carle Picture Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts; wrote paper after paper; took a whirlwind tour of Washington DC; and read more books than I ever thought possible. To top it all off, Winter is edging towards Spring (slowly…oh so slowly it seems, but getting closer every day!), and somehow, I am almost done with my first year in grad school. Wow, where do I even begin? Eric Carle Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts Simmons maintains a close relationship with the Eric Carle Museum of picture book art in Amherst, Mass. Some students take classes there. Curious to see the museum I ventured out there, Amherst is a very interesting place, it was once the home of Emily Dickenson and many other literary figures visited. I…

Bookish Thoughts

 In mid-February my program hosted a live streaming of the ALA (American Library Association) Youth Media Award ceremony, we gathered together and had breakfast and cheered when books we recognized or loved were awarded. It was enjoyable and eye opening. What was interesting to me was that while I recognized some of the awards, like the Newberry and the Caldecott. I was amazed to discover that all told twenty awards are given out at this time, many of which I had never heard of.  A few of the new-to-me awards are listed below: Pura Belpré Award, celebrating Latino/a writers or illustrators and Latino culture. The Odyssey Award, recognizing the best audiobook for children or young adults produced in English and available in the United States. The Schneider Family Book Award, honoring an author or illustrator for excellence in portraying disability experiences. The Stonewall Book Award, given to LGBTQA books in English with exceptional merit. To find out about some of the other awards, visit the ALA website The award event, and some of the discussions…

Winter in Boston:

Winter in Boston: The Autumnal colors left, and the chill air changed, carrying the scent of frosty leaves, and a crispness that makes it hard to stay outside. Here the wind sweeps in, and that combined with the wet cold makes the feeling of cold settle in your bones whenever you go outside. Everyone walks around in a bundle of coats, scarf, gloves–and yet, they are still very stylish. Fashion,it seems, still applies even when one must layer constantly.  I also found the winter weather to be very mercurial, shifting constantly. One day it is rainy and cold, another day sunny and chilly, then rainy and warm, or perhaps snowy. The snow here comes in bursts and then doesn’t stay long, it turns to ice, or is washed away in the rain. I keep finding new things to marvel at as far as the weather is concerned.

Bookish Thoughts:

This semester has introduced me to many books, here are some of the books I have enjoyed or found interesting so far:  Books that taught me things I didn’t know before Danza: Amalia Hernandez and the Ballet Folklorico of Mexico by Duncan Tonatiuh The Noisy Paint box: The Colors and sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerta Taro and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson  Books that provoked an emotional response: Unleaving by Jill Paton Walsh Push by Sapphire Shizuko’s Daughter by Kyoko Mori House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros  Old favorites that I get to see in a new light: Marcello in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Educational Experience

The semester has only just begun, and already, I can tell that this is going to be a semester that makes me think.  So how do I know that I will be really thinking deeply this semester? Well, in my Narrative non-fiction class we got into a discussion about biographies, and how they sometimes present a person as an inspirational ideal which raised some new questions for me: How do we pick the people we want to hold up as heroes? How true can an account ever be? What makes a person extraordinary? What if the heroes we hold up in biographies are not actually the great people we believe them to be? Do the actions they are famous for cancel out the actions they are not famous for? Should we be more realistic in presenting them? Are we creating role models, or modeling life in these portrayals?  Then I went to my class, Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults (Realism) and, before the first class even began, more questions floated up: How do I…


A few weeks ago, I flew home to visit Colorado. I watched as the land beneath the plane transformed, slowly developing cracks and wrinkles that formed themselves to canyons and hills. I watched breathlessly as those hills grew larger, until they became mountains. The instant I saw them, a phrase, half remembered from a high school Spanish report flits across my mind–Yo soy una chica de los montañas–I am a girl of the mountains. In that moment, I am sure, the mountains are the landscape of my soul. How can one resist the scenery, or the wonderful people that live in the mountains?  Then, when I flew back into Boston, I looked out of the window to see rivers glinting in the light of the setting sun, their ice-covered surfaces glowing, and trees bordering the edges of neighborhoods and cities, framing the scene. The lights in the trees greeting all the people who happen to walk by. Again, my breath caught…Boston is its own kind of beautiful, and it is weaving its way into my…

Winter Break

A few weeks ago, before winter break began, I received an e-mail that filled me with trepidation. Enclosed with the message from the professor for my Realism class in the spring was a booklist. The professor suggested that students make sure they are familiar with the twenty books on the list, as they are touchstone books for the subject. Out of the twenty, I have only read three. I had thought I was pretty widely read, but this list revealed just how much I have neglected the realism genre, and made it clear that I had some catching up to do. As a result, I spent my break trying to make sure that I was able to discuss at least some of the books. I was surprised to find the books very engaging and compelling, and as I read them, I was relieved to find that I had read similar things, so I hadn’t completely neglected the genre, I just missed some of the historically significant texts. To my surprise, I was truly enjoying myself….

Finishing My First Semester

Whew! I made it through my first semester of grad school! Let me tell you, grad school is HARD. I know, I know; grad school is supposed to be hard, but I’m not just talking about academics–which I was prepared for. Grad school is hard in a good way, it’s hard because I have been asked to examine all the things I thought I knew, and verify whether I can still find them true. It’s hard because I am learning new things every step of the way, even when I am not in school, and sometimes it feels like my brain can’t keep up. It’s hard because I’m surrounded by incredible people who have achieved great things and I look up to all of them, but fear I will never be in their league. So yes, grad school is hard; and there are times when I wonder if it was worth it to come, but most days it is hard in a way that also makes me glad I took the chance. 

A Language of BEEPS

One of the biggest things I have had to adjust to is the traffic, and the noise that comes with it, especially the horns honking. Each day as I walk to school there are horns blaring, tooting, and bleeping… at first it was all terribly overwhelming, I could not identify any real purpose to it, after all, what difference does it make if you make a lot of noise while you are stuck in traffic? You will still be stuck even if you honk your horn…but slowly I have begun to distinguish between the sounds, and I have noticed that there are patterns to how people honk their horns, and you can sometimes tell what they are trying to say by the noise their car makes: The long drawn out HO-O-O-O-O-O-NK= frustration, usually in the term of “SOMEBODY MOVE!!!! Or “HEY I’M DRIVING HERE!!!” or “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” An abrupt double HO-ONK-HO-ONK= ” STOP THAT (you idiot)” But a quick double-tap Beep-beep= “Hey there” when you see someone you know walking beside the road,…

Autumnal Thoughts

Fall here is very different than fall at home. At home, fall is like a candle, once the leaves start turning, they all turn, and suddenly everything looks gold. Then within a few weeks, most of the leaves are gone and you can feel winter creeping in. Here, the fall smolders like an ember–individual trees/patches change to red or gold, and then lose their leaves. The color spreads slowly, and it is possible to have trees with no leaves next to trees that are still green. In addition, the winter seems to slowly move in as temperatures dip a few degrees each week. It seems more appropriate to call this time Autumn; it really is a season here, not just a single month. So much so that I have begun to separate my clothes into fall-worthy and winter-worthy, which I never had to do at home. I am enjoying this change of pace, there really is something cozy about all the Autumn tones people wear, the scarves, and the light coats, the apples and the…

Fun Facts From My Publishing Class

My publishing class is very interesting, my professor has been in the world of publishing for a very long time, and knows all sorts of things about books, and the people behind them. She was a friend of the authors of Curious George, and according to her, the Reys were Jews in German-occupied France, and when they left, they grabbed some of their work to take with them. They were stopped at the border, but when the soldier detaining them heard that they were writing books for children he asked to see their work. He thought his children would like the story, so he let them through. Also, did you know that new evidence suggests that Laura Ingalls Wilder had help from her daughter Rose Wilder when writing her books? Laura wrote down her memories, and then Rose, who was a ghostwriter by profession, turned the books into the works of fiction we know today. (For more information see the links below).

Adjusting to Urban Life on the East Coast

Things I love: Access to almost everything: Concerts, shows, stores…stimulation is everywhere. Being at a nexus of the literary world Boston is a very literate city, with many events promoting literacy. In the span of a month, I will have attended the Boston Teen Author Festival, and the Horn Book Globe Awards and Symposium, and the Boston Book Festival. These events all bring me close to authors, editors, and agents. The Dress Code: It is nice to be able to dress casually more often. Even though I strove for comfort in my professional clothes, nothing beats jeans and a t-shirt. The diverse environment:  Like any city, Boston is home to a wide variety of people, from a wide variety of locations. It also helps that my residence caters to international students, so I get to meet people from many different countries, and learn from, and with them. It is amazing how diverse the group is, on my floor of nine residents alone; there are residents from 5 of the 7 continents. Things I will need…

Adventures by the sea

I have been here a month now, classes have begun, jobs have started, and I am more confident about where I am going. It is finally sinking in that I am not a tourist any more. I have begun to develop routines, and to truly adjust to my life in Boston. I did get a chance to do some more exploring and had a few more adventures before settling down in my little world of Boston. First, I went to the former home of August St. Gaudens, an artist who is particularly famous for his sculptures and coin faces. He is responsible for some of the most famous coin faces in the US, particularly the double eagle gold piece, as well as several Civil War statues. Next I went to visit the town of Kennebunkport, Maine. Where I got my first taste of New England’s famous rocky coastlines. Finally, I returned to the cape and to one last dip in the Atlantic Ocean. As I got out of the water, I witnessed a very interesting…

Getting To Know Boston

These next two years will be full of learning experiences for me, and I am looking forward to that. Already, I have learned a few things. Did you know that Boston is where America’s first public school was founded? Or that 75-80% ground the city is resting on is man-made? Have you ever heard of the Boston Harbor clean-up project? Here are some of my initial impressions of Boston. Things I love: All the history: Guys, I got to visit some of the most important places of the American Revolution! I climbed Bunker Hill (and Breeds’ Hill) I have seen replicas of the boat that tea was tossed from during the tea party. I live in a building built hundreds of years ago. It makes my heart sing. The student environment: Boston is one of the biggest college towns in the nation. According to a 2011 publication by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston is home to 35 colleges, universities or community colleges and there are more than 150,000 students enrolled in those institutions. So whether…