Tag Archives: books

Reading Selections and Booklists

Yesterday, Rebecca and Megan at the Fletcher Free Library introduced me to two great new books: Reid’s Read-Alouds and Readers Advisory for Children and Tweens by Penny Peck.

Here is Reid’s book list titled “People with Disabilities”:

  • Look, Lenore.  Ruby Lu
  • Lord, Cynthia.  Rules
  • Lowny, Lois.  Gathering Blues
  • Mackei, Kathy.  Mad Cat
  • Miller, Sarah.  Miss Spitfire
  • Morpurgo, Michael.  Private Peaceful
  • Sachar, Louis.  Small Steps
  • Smith, D. James.  The Boys of San Joaquin
  • Woodson, Jacqueline.  Feathers

There are many many other great lists in Reid’s book with great book descriptions as well.  Enjoy checking them out!

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Zora and Me

Admitting personal bias: I think Zora Neale Hurston is extraordinary. Check out new “girl detective” novel by Victoria Bond and T.R Simon. Read New York Times article here

“Where is the black version of Caddie Woodlawn (a 19th-century Wisconsin tomboy) or Harriet the Spy (a 20th-century Upper East Sider), smart, spunky, fictional heroines for the tween crowd?  Tanya Simon, a literary agent, asked herself that question while pregnant with her daughter, now 4. She answered by reaching back in time to Zora Neale Hurston, a canonical Harlem Renaissance writer, and imagining her as a girl detective. Ms. Simon and her close friend Victoria Bond put flesh on that idea with “Zora and Me,” an evocative mystery published last month by Candlewick Press”

Thank you to Donna Iverson, the Learning Specialist Educational Assistant at Edmund’s Elementary, for sending this my way!

10,000 Dresses

10,000 Dresses: ” Bailey (a white girl of maybe 5-8 years old) dreams of a staircase of 10,000 beautiful dresses, each unusual and unique. She tells her mother, then father, then brother about her dreams, and asks each in turn to help her get one of the dresses she falls in love with, but each time she is rebuffed, because they say she’s a boy and “boys don’t wear dresses.” Discouraged, she runs away (“all the way to the end of the block”), and meets an older girl, Laurel, who is trying to sew dresses, but is disappointed because they each come out the same. Bailey shares one of her ideas with Laurel, and they make two dresses out of mirrors. Laurel declares that Bailey is “the coolest girl I ever met”, and asks Bailey if she can come up with any more dress ideas; Bailey assures her she “can dream up 10,000 dresses!” Raising My Boychick

Read interview with the author here.  Check out the ALA Rainbow List Project here.

The presence of books like 10,000 Dresses help create spaces that are free from discrimination and prejudice.  This leads to a learning environment that is safe and supportive of all people in the Burlington School District. Perhaps, for some, the need for this safe space is emphasized by the suicides of two gay youth, this week: a 13-year-old named Asher in Texas and a college freshman, Tyler, in New Jersey.

Anything But Typical, Show Way

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

*Starred Review* Baskin tells this luminous story entirely from the point of view of Jason, an autistic boy who is a creative-writing whiz and deft explainer of literary devices, but markedly at a loss in social interactions with “neurotypicals” both at school and at home. He is most comfortable in an online writing forum called Storyboard, where his stories kindle an e-mail-based friendship with a girl. His excitement over having a real friend (and maybe even girlfriend) turns to terror when he learns that his parents want to take him on a trip to the Storyboard conference, where he’ll no doubt have to meet her in person. With stunning economy, Baskin describes Jason’s attempts to interpret body language and social expectations, revealing the extreme disconnect created by his internalization of the world around him. Despite his handicap, Jason moves through his failures and triumphs with the same depth of courage and confusion of any boy his age. His story, while neither particularly heartbreaking nor heartwarming, shows that the distinction between “normal” and “not normal” is whisper-thin but easily amplified to create the chasm between “different” and “defective.” This is an enormously difficult subject, but Baskin, without dramatics or sentimentality, makes it universal. As Jason explains, there’s really only one kind of plot: “Stuff happens. That’s it.” Grades 4-7. –Ian Chipman

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Gr. 3-5. A Show Way is a quilt with secret meanings, and the image works as both history and haunting metaphor in this exquisite picture book. Based on Woodson’s own history, the unforgettable story tells of African American women across generations, from slavery and the civil rights movement to the present. The cut-out jacket design is impressive, as is Talbott’s mixed-media artwork inside, which extends Woodson’s clear poetic narrative with beautiful collages that make use of big triangles, squares, and curves to emphasize portraits and landscapes and show connections and courage. The first double-page spread is of anguished separation when Soonie’s great-grandmother is sold “without her ma or pa.” Growing up on a plantation in South Carolina, Soonie learns from Big Mama about children “growing up and getting themselves free,” and also how to sew quilts with signs that show the way to freedom. Time passes: Soonie’s granddaughter, Georgiana, has twin girls who march for freedom in the 1960s. The final glorious spread shows Georgiana’s granddaughter, Jacqueline Woodson, laughing at home with her own beloved daughter, Toshi Georgiana, whose picture is embedded in a quilt, connecting her with those who came before. A must for the classroom, this story will move many readers to explore their own family roots; link it to the Booklist interview with Woodson [BKL F 1 05], in which she talks about what she owes to those who came before her. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

History Lessons with Grandma

On September 1st my grandmother turned 86. This means she was born on Sept 1, 1924 and that was a long time ago.

For her birthday she went on a “tropical island cruise” stopping in places like Honduras and the Cayman Islands.

She grew up in Long Creek, North Carolina.  “Grandma, did you ever imagine when you were a little girl in North Carolina that you would be going on a cruise on your 86th birthday?!”

“No, I didn’t even know those places existed. And when we were growing up if we ever wanted to go to the beach we couldn’t-because black people were not allowed there.” she says.

“Wow…”

“Mhmm…” she says.

So I sit in silence for a bit and think about this and ask.. “what about the black beaches?”

and she tells me that the only black beach was quite far away and once you got there, you had to take a ferry to the beach.

and then I think about this some more and am reminded why these stories are important-and why I must keep working to make our BSD community an equitable space.

and this conversation with my grandmother (Oretha) also reminded me of a great book I have been meaning to share!

Storytelling for Social Justice Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching

“Through accessible language and candid discussions, Storytelling for Social Justice explores the stories we tell ourselves and each other about race and racism in our society. Making sense of the racial constructions expressed through the language and images we encounter every day, this book provides strategies for developing a more critical understanding of how racism operates culturally and institutionally in our society. Using the arts in general, and storytelling in particular, the book examines ways to teach and learn about race by creating counter-storytelling communities that can promote more critical and thoughtful dialogue about racism and the remedies necessary to dismantle it in our institutions and interactions. Illustrated throughout with examples drawn from high school classrooms, teacher education programs, and K-12 professional development programs, the book provides tools for examining racism as well as other issues of social justice. For every teacher who has struggled with how to get the “race discussion” going or who has suffered through silences and antagonism, the innovative model presented in this book offers a practical and critical framework for thinking about and acting on stories about racism and other forms of injustice”

Randall Lindsey & “Cultural Proficiency”

What does that mean anyway?

“policies and practices of a school or the values and behaviors of an individual that enable one person or school to interact effectively in a culturally diverse environment…” (Davis, Bonnie. How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You)

hmm ok that kinda makes sense.. but what else?

“being able to have the ‘self-awareness to recognize how you- because of your ethnicity, your culture, and your life experiences- may offend or otherwise affect others.’ as well as what you have to offer” (Davis, Bonnie. How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You)

and even more:

“Cultural proficiency:  Cultural Proficiency in education is the level of knowledge-based skills and understanding that are required to successfully teach and interact with students and to work effectively with colleagues from a variety of cultures by holding all forms of cultural difference in high esteem; a continuing self-assessment of one’s values, beliefs
and biases grounded in cultural humility; an ongoing vigilance toward the dynamics of diversity, difference and power; and the expansion of knowledge of cultural practices that recognize cultural bridges as going both ways. Culturally proficient services require that both the individual and the institution be culturally proficient.”

Author Bonnie Davis uses the work Randall Lindsay to explore cultural profieceny.  Randall Lindsay is “principal associate of The Robins Group. He is professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles, where he served as chair of the Division of Administration and Counseling in the School of Education. He has served as a junior and senior high school teacher of history and as an administrator of school desegregation and staff development programs. He has worked extensively with school districts as they plan for and experience changing populations”.

You can check some of his work out here.

“Understanding Gay & Lesbian Youth: Lessons For Straight Teachers”

Two accessible and informative reads have fallen into my hands thanks to a future teacher and current UVM student who I took a class (Historical, Philosophical, & Social Foundations of Education with Prof. Denise Dunbar) with last semester named Ryan.

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by Arthur Lipkin (Hardcover)
Here is what Ryan has to say about these books:
Beyond Diversity Day: A Q&A on Gay and Lesbian Issues in Schools, by Arthur Lipkin:
“The best overall resource because of it’s straighforwardness and simplicity…this book is a great resource, it includes  background on gay on lesbian development, and the struggles they face during adolescence and childhood. The book also addresses the different struggles faced by minority gay and lesbian students. Along with that it talks about school reforms in the past and ones currently in debate, progress and resistance to those reforms, as well as a whole section on adapting the curriculum to create a more inclusive and accepting environment in classrooms and schools”.
Understanding Gay and Lesbian Youth: Lessons for Straight School Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators by David Campos.
“This book is filled with lesson plans, activities and narratives that can prove to also be a great resource. It also has history on the gay rights movement and different struggles faces by different groups”.
Ryan also adds: “I would be interested in finding resources that address the plight of transgender students as well. I feel that this group of students is largely underrepresented, and these days, face the most discrimination and misunderstanding in school environments”.
Thanks Ryan!