She could have said, “No.” She could have been too busy to even respond, and I would have understood, but I asked Kim Bearden to join my weekly bookchat anyway. I reached out to this amazing woman, educator, author, mother, wife, Believer, and leader because I had learned so much from her! I had met her in person in December 2015 at The Ron Clark Academy, a school she cofounded with Ron Clark, and is still teaching (her 34th year!) Language Arts and leading as Executive Directer. I had even been blessed to sit in one of her keynotes that year during my former district’s convocation. But to sit down with her to pick her brain and talk about her three books, well that was just a dream… until she answered, “Yes!” For weeks I looked forward to this time with Mrs. Bearden, and the night before our book chat, I couldn’t even sleep!!

Kim took a selfie with me right before I was “Slide Certified” at RCA in 2015! I talk about Crash Course in an ealier post called the Cost of Encouragement.

Purpose Infused Stories

Kim Bearden shares how each book written had a unique purpose.

Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me is her first book, but actually the catalyst for her to write her latest release, Fight Song. Crash Course became a book about the woman and educator she became after leaning into some extremely difficult life events. She may be in the Teacher Hall of Fame, but it wasn’t without facing some brutal, personal hardships. Her honesty about what life and her students had taught her over the years is extremely easy to read as she tells it through engaging stories.

Talk to Me: Find the Right Words to Inspire, Encourage, and Get Things Done is so important to me, I packed it in my suitcase when we moved to Alaska from Dallas in 2019! In this book, Kim Bearden shares six princples that have helped her personally and professionally to have successful, open communication, even when she is “all up in her feelings.” She wrote it to help others understand that we can find some common ground with anybody if we are willing to learn how to listen, first. This book is not just for educators, either! It is a book I have written many notes in and refer back to, often.

I have read all of her books and they have meant so much to me!

Fight Song: Six Steps to Passion, Power, Peace, & Purpose

Her first two books are important reads, but her latest book, Fight Song, has left me with the deepest impact. Like her previous two books, Mrs. Bearden weaves personal stories throughout, and they come from a place of complete vulnerability. I even admit that I had to put the book down after the first couple of chapters as many emotions from my own life came up. She begins her story from a place of complete brokeness, a brokeness that is no stranger to any of us, and her stories continue to build us up through the hope and life that comes when she chose to fight back. A choice we all must make if we want to know joy.

Like real life, we will be knocked to the ground more than once. Kim Bearden talks about this and how facing each challenge has given her a new perspective and hope. In spite of these challenges, she has actually learned how to appreciate life more deeply! She describes how her relationships, both personally and professionally, run even more true because she continually chooses to see purpose in each, sometimes crazy, life event. This message is for all of us!

In our conversation, she talks about releasing her book during this pandemic. While it wasn’t planned, it might have the been the best, worst time for it to come out. The truths revealed are even more relevant now as we face uncertainty. I was able to attend one of her Zoom Book Study calls this past summer, so I know it wasn’t just me who felt extremely touched and grateful for her words in Fight Song as there were hundreds gathered to reflect!

Forgiveness is a Central Theme

In all of her books, Kim Bearden addresses forgiveness. She even shares that forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. If you have read any of my blog posts this summer, you know how important forgiveness is to me, but honestly, dealing with forgivness is something we all must face in life. Because I am a person of faith, like Mrs. Bearden, I grew up with the knowledge that forgiveness was a MUST. In her books, she explains why it’s a gift.

After our conversation, I smiled for hours. I couldn’t help it! Kim Bearden is a source of brilliant light! When you read her stories, you know it came with a cost. If you look at her and judge, you might think she’s beautiful, she has fame, she’s got talent, heck, she’s got it all! But if you read her stories, you’ll find she is a woman who has been deeply hurt and abandoned by a life partner. She is a mother who has fought for each of her four children when faced with dire circumstances. She is a daughter who knows both intense love and grief. She is a woman fighting not to compare herself to others. She is a wife who found love again, after parting with the dreams she had in her youth. She has faced life with honest humility and she remains faithful, but she has fought with her entire being to remain faithful. That’s why I love learning from her. It’s the kind of legacy I want, too.

Here’s to each of our Fight Songs! I hope you will give our bookchat a listen and be encouraged!

Also, follow Kim on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @KimBearden

RCA has many PD opportunities starting soon! Check out what is coming up this October!

Published by Melody McAllister

I am a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. My family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019. I was awarded 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year, and I'm the author of the I’m Sorry Story, a children's book about taking responsibility for mistakes and making sincere apologies. I am also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing. I've spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and I write about my journey in my blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com. Follow me @mjmcalliwrites

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