Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately


>might as well be a Moonie

Last week I ate lunch in the staff room with the teachers, and one of them said she just loved the way Sarah Palin’s eyes sparkled. They are torturing people. They are holding innocent people in solitary confinement for years at a time, driving them mad. Tell me you are a Republican and you might as well say you are Pinochet. You might as well be a Moonie, as far […]

Continue Reading →

>Bill gives a speech at our school

Clinton was late. We stood waiting for him in the school gym for over two hours, and then he showed up and decided to give his speech outside instead. We had been in the front, adults and kids, hot and crowded, waiting all that time. The custodian had spent the day scrubbing the gym. It was decorated with signs the kids made and, of course, set up with a podium […]

Continue Reading →

>x marks the spot

My boss is building walls in the library. I will only say this: many things need doing right now at our school and building a windowless room in our beautiful, open library is not one of them. We’re having a fight. A fight that I, because of my subordinate position, am doomed to lose. The builders have come and put xs on the floor to show where the walls will […]

Continue Reading →

>library helpers

Alberto and Juanita were my helpers today which means they stamp the due date in the book. One hands the other the book and the other stamps. They seemed to be playing store. Thank you for shopping at Lincoln Library, they said each time they handed a book to a child. They took all the bookmarks and created a display on the counter so each kid could choose the one […]

Continue Reading →

>Trying Not to Preach

April is Poetry Month so yesterday I read poems to the third graders: Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams. I read the Red Wheel Barrow poem and I read the beginning of Sharon Creech’s novel, Love That Dog, about a boy who is forced to read the wheel barrow poem. Sometimes I look at the kids, sitting on the floor around me, and I think of the world we are […]

Continue Reading →

>Yes, it was sad all right.

I was reading the preschoolers a book called My Dog, Toby when 4 year old Brennan interrupted to say that he had a dog one time but his father threw it out the back door and it died. He said, “That was sad, huh.” ps I don’t write about kids who are in my school now. The stories I use when I write about my school are from journals I’ve […]

Continue Reading →

>Twenty Questions and the kids at my school

(a question from the blog, Book Lovers Online Guide, courtesy of the Roseville, California Library) The descriptions of the innocence and tenderness of the school children struck me deeply, made me think of my own young children. Is this feeling coming out of your own experience working at a school? For the last ten years, I’ve worked in the library of an elementary school. The school where I work is […]

Continue Reading →


>from my work journal (I’m a school librarian, remember?) Dec. 16 I’ve been reading the kids Demi’s new book, The Greatest Thing in the World, which is, according to Demi, life itself. Weapons are not the greatest thing. Beauty is not the greatest thing. Technology is not, money is not. In the book a little girl, observing the lotus plant, realizes that life itself is the greatest thing. I was […]

Continue Reading →