Hi, I’m Kendra, your Lit 255 instructor! Yes, you can call me “Kendra!” Or Ms. Griffin, or Professor Griffin.
Hello! You might have figured out that I’m teaching this course. I’m still not a real grown up, but I am sure that I love chocolate (too much), love dogs and children and old Paul Simon tunes, and was greatly affected by the books I read as a child. That’s part of why I ended up teaching literature, English, and creative writing. I hope to continue teaching, writing, and playing guitar. I love working at Aims and I feel lucky to have a job I enjoy so much.
My mother was an English teacher in our local high school, and she taught me how to read when I was in kindergarten because they wouldn’t teach me until first grade and I was anxious to be like her and to catch up with my older brother! I remember Mom sitting on the couch with me and using The Cat in the Hat to teach me rhymes and phonics and sounds. However, the books that affected me the most were probably the later Madeleine L’Engle series, A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A swiftly Tilting Planet. I could really identify with the protagonist, an awkward and unpopular geeky girl, and her life seemed so exciting and meaningful, so the books definitely sparked the imagination by combining science fiction and fantasy. The books were for young adults. I loved the fantasy elements of the book, but I also loved that it was clear her family was close and warm. I always liked stories where characters were realistic and imperfect, for then I could imagine myself in the stories.
These books also had a spiritual element that became part of the way I viewed the world. Although bad things happened sometimes, the characters fought to do the right thing. I think I was really inspired by their themes of camaraderie and loyalty. Also, the books did not preach religion at me; they were more inclusive in their messages instead of exclusive, so I wasn’t annoyed by them but really internalized their ideas about right and wrong. When I am sad or sick, I still go back and re-read young adult fiction because it’s so comforting to me. I think that really good children’s lit continues to resonate through our lives.
Currently I’m writing young adult novels and have published three on Amazon; two are YA in a series about a post pandemic world. I won’t link you to Amazon bc I am not trying to get you to buy my books. But I will link to my Goodreads author page here because that just gives info about me, and also, I’m hoping you’ll keep reading (or you can tool around on this website).
By the way, we have a creative writing club at Aims. I am the advisor. We meet on Wednesdays through Zoom (for now) from 3-4:30. If you’re interested, email me!
We also have a literary magazine called the Aims Review. If you wish to submit, go to the Aims homepage and find it under clubs! You can also contact Stacey.Johnson@aims.edu
Welcome to this class!