Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

The Northwest Authors Series at the Cannon Beach Library will feature a presentation via Facebook LIVE by bestselling mystery author J. A. Jance, Saturday, April 10, at 2 p.m.

Jance will present “J.A. Jance, Her Life and Times, 2021 Edition.” She will discuss her current writing projects, highlight her latest Joanna Brady mystery, “Missing and Endangered,” and reveal her next Ali Reynolds book, “Unfinished Business,” scheduled for bookstores in June. She also intends to discuss the origins of some of her popular characters.

Jance, who was born in South Dakota, grew up and spent her early adult life in Arizona. She now lives near Seattle with her husband and two long-haired miniature dachshunds. Her J. P. Beaumont series is set in the Seattle area, and her Ali Reynolds, Joanna Brady and Walker Family series of novels are set in Arizona, where Jance spends part of the year.

Jance attended the University of Arizona. There she earned her undergraduate degree in English and Secondary Education in 1966 and a Master of Education in Library Science in 1970.

She taught high school English for two years in Tucson, was a K-12 librarian at Indian Oasis School District for four years in Sells and thereafter sold life insurance in Phoenix, Arizona, before moving to Seattle.

The professor who taught creative writing at Arizona blocked Jance’s admission to his program. He advised Jance that women fared better as nurses or teachers than as writers. In 2000, the University of Arizona nevertheless awarded her an honorary doctorate in recognition of her successful writing career.

Author of 63 mystery novels, Jance has published seven novellas, numerous short stories and a volume of poetry. Strand Magazine awarded her its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 for her contributions to crime fiction.

Those interested in joining Jance’s program from the library’s Facebook page should go to and scroll to “posts.” Or, join the program directly from the library website at and click the banner at the top of the page.

Participants with questions for Jance can ask them by emailing queries to by April 7.

Katie Voelke, executive director of the North Coast Land Conservancy, will present “Climate Change and Conservation” in the World of Haystack Rock Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of Haystack Rock through Facebook LIVE @Friends of Haystack, Wednesday, April 14, at 7 p.m.

Voelke’s presentation will focus on climate change in Oregon, particularly on the coast, and how to combat it now through local conservation efforts.

Voelke and her husband settled on Oregon’s North Coast in 2003. She began conducting field work with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Voelke began as NCLC’s first stewardship director in 2005, working with Neal Maine, NCLC’s founding executive director. In 2008, she succeeded Maine as executive director.

Members of Cannon Beach Reads will discuss “Night” by Elie Wiesel via Zoom, on Wednesday, April 21, at 7 p.m. Les Sinclair will lead the discussion of Wiesel’s nonfictional account of his experience in Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald toward the end of World War II.

Cannon Beach Reads will continue meeting on the third Wednesday of each month via Zoom until in-person meetings are again possible. Anyone interested in participating in this library reading group should contact Joseph Bernt at for information about accessing these Zoom meetings.

In November, members of Cannon Beach Reads will discuss “How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation,” the most recent book by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. on the alleged failure of American education.

Ever an early bird at the green-dot shelf of new library acquisitions, I spotted a copy of Hirsch’s new excoriation of “wrong-headed” college education schools that train the nation’s new K-12 teachers by nearly unanimously advocating “project,” “discovery” and largely “content-free” approaches to elementary education.

Hirsch, now a retired English and education professor from the University of Virginia was among conservative academics in the late 1980s who criticized the failure of American education to teach the classics of Western culture and great-man portrayals of the nation’s founding fathers.

In 1987, Hirsch published “Cultural Literacy: What Americans Need to Know,” essentially a list of Western classics in philosophy, literature and history.

“Cultural Literacy” became an instant bestseller, offering red meat to cultural elitists troubled by multiculturalism, fearful of rebellious students and appalled by continuing declines in Scholastic Aptitude Test scores of college applicants and annual achievement test scores of K-12 students.

In “How to Educate a Citizen” Hirsch develops only a slightly less rigid view of the dangers posed by multiculturalism. He still blasts the failure of elementary classrooms to present a core knowledge base on which today’s students can develop and expand appreciation of American exceptionalism.

In the past couple of decades, popular educational views of teaching have been framed by two conflicting metaphors about a teacher’s classroom relationship to his or her students. The traditional, perhaps conservative, teaching style favors lecturing with the teacher performing as a Sage on the Stage, the font of knowledge, as opposed to the more contemporary Guide on the Side, the informal advisor to students.

As a retired university professor, I employed both styles, and usually in the same courses. As a student, I personally much preferred a great Sage-on-the-Stage lecturer to a great Guide-on-the-Side advisor.

Clearly in “How to Educate a Citizen” Hirsch adopts a Sage-on-the-Stage style to sell a persuasive but simple message, a message unlikely to gain favor with many contemporary students now addicted to the moving image and instantaneous google access.


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