Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life


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The Power of Story by Joan Wink

Dr. Joan Wink, aka Mom/Grammie Extraordinaire, The Power of Story ©Chyllis Scott

It is with tremendous pride and pleasure that I share Mom’s latest book, The Power of Story (Libraries Unlimited, 2017) with you. It is FABULOUS!

Dr. Joan Wink

Yet, I get ahead of myself. I always assume that anyone who knows me, also knows my mom, Dr. Joan Wink. For those who do know and love her, and those who are yet to know and love her, let me share a little about Mom.

First, the professional:

Joan Wink is professor emerita of California State University, Stanislaus. Since retirement in 2007, she has been an adjunct professor at Black Hills State University, South Dakota State University, and in the Global Education Master’s Program of The College of New Jersey in Mallorca, Spain.

Joan began a six-year term to the South Dakota Board of Regents in April 2017. Throughout her career, she focused on languages, literacy, and learning in pluralistic contexts.

Dr. Wink completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Texas A&M, 1991), two masters’ degrees from the University of Arizona (Spanish, 1981; Educational Foundations/Bilingual, 1985; Spanish and English undergraduate degrees from Yankton College 1966.

Joan continues sharing, writing, and speaking nationally and internationally. Joan maintains an active website and blog, WinkWorld. She has published widely in scholarly journals and is the author of Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the Real World (4 editions), A Vision of Vygotsky with LeAnn Putney; and Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It? with Dawn Wink.

There is a scroll of international accolades for Mom that rolls out and reaches into the horizon.

With Mom, Cascabel, 1978.

And here’s the woman her family and friends know and why The Power of Story sings with wisdom, power, and truth. Mom’s life is composed of stories—stories of love, stories of pain, stories of joy, stories of loss, stories of resilience, stories of students around the world, and stories of friendship and roots decades deep.

Yes, Mom writes as the internationally renowned scholar that she is. And, what makes her writing, teaching, and living so powerful is all is based in real, lived experiences. The stories in this book made me laugh, cry, reach for my journal, drink some wine, informed my instruction as a professor, then laugh and cry some more for the sheer humanity that threads every sentence and every story of this book.

Mom does not write from some Ivory Tower of Academia. Mom writes from our cattle ranch on the Great Plains of South Dakota, summed up best when she called me while writing the The Power of Story. “I was working on Chapter Three and then the bulls got out on the highway. Wink and I ran to the pickup and headed out into the blizzard to try to get them off the highway. We barely made it up the lane through the snow. Took several hours to get the bulls back in, including your dad coming back for the four-wheeler and then both of us heading out. A couple of near misses on the highway. Your dad’s out feeding the horses now. Diving back into Chapter Three.”

Mom on Buffalo Roundup. © Dean Wink

The behind-the-scenes story of The Power of Story is one of family and the ever-present realities of writing on a cattle ranch. Just when a writer sits down to write, the bulls get out, the pump blows, the well freezes, the horses get out, the heifers get into the wrong pasture and have to be moved, the hay baler quits, there’s a hailstorm in the hay field, and…

This is the reality that grounds and lifts every page of this book.

The stories of this book are real.

Mom and her Little Free Library at the top of the lane.

Now, if you are interested in dry data and prescribed curriculum, this is NOT your book. If you are a reader, lover of words and language, a parent or grandparent, a teacher of students of any age who wants to sink into story-after-story of how to create a love of reading, the research about why woven seamlessly within, then this is your book.

I‘d originally thought that I would write a single piece on The Power of Story.

Then, I started reading it. By chapter Three (when the bulls got out on the highway), I’d already laughed, cried, taken notes for my own teaching, written on sticky notes on what to connect about with the kids, and scribbled in my journal about language, literacy, and story.

So, I’ll be sharing here some of the stories that made me laugh, cry, reach for my pen to remember to share with my students about literacy, reach for my phone to call and share with the kids, or just sit and stare out the window while I pondered.

First, a story:  If You’re Not From the Prairie by David Bouchard