After watching NCTE’s conversation with Derrick Barnes (author) and Gordon C. James (illustrator) of I Am Every Good Thing, one topic that bubbled to the surface, like the carbonation of a just-poured limoncello La Croix, is the notion and act of being a difference maker. As a teacher and human, to me, being a difference maker means adopting an abolitionist teaching stance by continuing to educate myself on Black joy, Black culture, and disrupting the systemic racism within my head and my teaching. By taking action and thus, hopefully, enacting change. By cultivating criticality as Gholdy Muhammad spoke about in a professional development session last week. To me, difference makers educate themselves and approach the world with a hyper-aware sense and then choose to act. As the school start date with students approaches like a dementor in my dreams, I was not sure exactly how I wanted to start my year until today; now, it is solidified. I will start by empowering and celebrating my middle schoolers by reading I Am Every Good Thing. And by guiding them to act on their own answer to the question, What is a difference maker to you?