Children’s Books About Fascism and Racism Build Resilience and Understanding #JACBA Newsletter 25Aug2017

11 Kids’ Books That Will Help Them Understand the Struggle for Racial Equality

“That’s why I was happy to come across this list of books to help kids understand the fight for racial equality from ReadBrightly. Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich offers 11 suggestions, divided by age, beginning with The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson, about segregation, and We March, by Shane W. Evans, about the 1963 March on Washington. I’m going to start with Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh, because my son and I have already been talking about school segregation, and Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, because we’ve also talked about voting and the Voting Rights Act. There are also books for older tweens and teens and a graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis.”

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Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis 2013 Awardee

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2016 Awardee

We March written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2013 Awardee

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her family’s fight for desegregation, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh 2015 Awardee


How to Talk to Your Kids About Charlottesville

American Anti-Racism

THE YOUNGEST MARCHER
By Cynthia Levinson
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
(Picture book; ages 5-9)

This picture book about Audrey Faye Hendricks, a 9-year-old girl who marched in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Children’s March and was jailed for a week, shows how one child overcame fear and joined in the fight for justice. In my original review, I wrote, “Levinson and Newton keep her story bright and snappy, emphasizing the girl’s eagerness to make a difference and her proud place in her community.”

The Fight Against Anti-Semitism and Nazis

THE WHISPERING TOWN
By Jennifer Elvgren.
Illustrated by Fabio Santomauro.
(Picture book; ages 5-8)

This picture book with a graphic novel sensibility tells the story of a young girl, Anett, whose family is harboring Jewish refugees in a Danish fishing village. Anett brings food to the mother and child hidden in her cellar, and helps guide them to boats on one moonless night. The title is derived from her suggestion that the whole town whisper directions to the pair to ensure they don’t get lost. Though the book was originally suggested for the 7 to 11 age range, our reviewer, Elizabeth Wein, said it felt appropriate as an introduction to the Holocaust for younger children.


NUMBER THE STARS
By Lois Lowry
(Ages 8-12)

This Newbury Medal-winning novel, told from the perspective of 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen, tells the story of the Jews who escaped certain death in Denmark in 1943. When word gets out that the Nazis intend to round up all the Jewish people in the country, Annemarie and her family save her best friend, Ellen Rosen, by pretending she is Annemarie’s sister and helping her make it to a fishing boat that will bring her and her family to safety in neutral Sweden. It’s a novel grounded in dark historical truth and yet full of hope.

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT
The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler
By Russell Freedman
(Ages 10-14)

This nonfiction account, aided by many archival photos and materials, tells the story of the German teenagers who banded together to fight secretly against the Nazis, rallying their fellow citizens by writing and distributing thousands of leaflets denouncing Nazi atrocities. “We are your bad conscience,” they said to the Nazi leaders. Freedman tells their story of resisting with words effectively and concisely.

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We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson 2013 Awardee

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song written by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 2014 Awardee

Whispering Town written by Jennifer Elvgren and illustrated by Fabio Santomauro 2015 Awardee

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 1990 Awardee

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman 2017 Awardee

Freedom Walkers by Russell Freedman 2007 Awardee

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor by Russell Freedman 1995 Awardee

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman 1994 Awardee


Not Just Stories: Six Children’s Books For Fighting Fascism

Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust, Eve Bunting: As difficult as it is to talk to kids about genocide, this book makes a case for speaking up when it looks like neighbors are in danger.

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The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting 1990 Awardee


Enlisting young adult fiction in the battle against racism

Book Riot editor and “Here We Are” author Kelly Jensen posted a request on Twitter last Friday: “My 33rd birthday is next month, and between now and then, I’d love to see 33 classroom literacy projects completed. Up for the challenge?”

Many of the teachers Jensen highlights write about their desire to create diverse classroom libraries. They’ve asked for funding to buy “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson, books from Scholastic’s “Dear America” series.

“It makes a huge difference when students have books that let them know they’re being seen – that their perspectives and voices matter,” Jensen said. “It’s huge what kids will take with them from that.”

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The New Uniform of White Supremacy: Interview with Susan Campbell Bartoletti

“What we see in a lot of images coming out of Charlottesville are these very clean-cut-looking young men,” says Susan Campbell Bartoletti, the author of They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group and Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow. “They’re putting the face of a gentleman on values that are, in my opinion, anything but gentlemanly.”

Toward the end of our conversation, Bartoletti points out a particularly chilling antecedent to the uniforms seen in Charlottesville. She directs me to Nazi propaganda: posters of clean-cut white men towering over people and, in one, shoveling aside presumably Jewish and black men. Several posters show the Nazis dressed in white button-ups and khakis. The resemblance is haunting. “And they didn’t hide their faces either, did they?” Bartoletti asks rhetorically.

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Kids on Strike! by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 2000 Awardee

Growing Up In Coal County by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 1997 Awardee


11 books to help you talk to your kids about race and racism

Books you can read with your kids to start the conversation on race and racism

-A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams – After their home is destroyed in a fire, Rosa, her mother and grandmother save up to buy a comfortable chair for all of them to enjoy. A heart-warming celebration of a loving family.

-One Green Apple by Eve Bunting – Farah feels alone at school, even around all her classmates. She listens and nods but doesn’t speak… because she doesn’t know the language. But on a field trip to an apple orchard, she discovers that many things make the same noises they did at home. As the class combines all their apples in the cider press they discover that mixing all those different things together makes one delicious drink.

-Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson – Clara is a seamstress in the Big House, and dreams of a reunion with her Momma who lives on another plantation. Then she hears two slaves talking about the Underground Railroad, and she figures out how to use the cloth in her scrap bag to hide a map of the land – a freedom quilt to guide the way.

-Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – I put this on every book list I possibly can because it is beautiful and insightful and eminently readable. I read it as an adult, but I’d say it’s suitable for anyone from fourth grade up. Woodson write about growing up in South Caroline and New York in the 1960s and 70s. She talks of the remnants of Jim Crow laws, and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement.

-The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren – When people in a small Danish fishing village shelter a Jewish family during the Holocaust, they must get the family safely to the harbor to board a fishing boat and get to neutral Sweden. They devise a plan to communicate without attracting attention and risking the family’s safety.

-Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – When the German troops begin their plan to “relocate” all the Jews in Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in her best friend and hides her in plain sight as part of their family. The book shows how the Danish Resistance smuggled almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark – close to 7,000 people – across the water to Sweden. It deals with an unimaginable tragedy but the hope and love of the people in the story make it a good book for middle-to-older elementary schoolers. It’s one of our favorites.

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Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams 2002 Awardee

Music, Music for Everyone written by Vera B. Williams 1985 Awardee

Steamboat School, written by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Ron Husband, 2017 Awardee

Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Terry Wideners, 2004 Awardee

Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924 by Deborah Hopkinson 2004 Awardee

A Band of Angels: A Story Inspired written by the Jubilee Singers by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Raúl Colón, 2000 Awardee


Hundreds Rally in Lexington Vigil in Solidarity With Charlottesville

“You realize that you don’t have a choice sometimes. You’ve just got to speak out. You’ve got to stand up and speak out,” noted Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

Kentucky Author George Ella Lyon sang a song during her time at the microphone.

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You and Me and Home Sweet Home by George Ella Lyon and Stephanie Anderson 2010 Awardee


10th National Conference of African American Librarians

The 10th National Conference of African American Librarians is hosting an array of children’s authors now until August 13 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta. Headlining the group are authors/publishers Wade and Cheryl Hudson.

Also confirmed are Kelly Staring Lyons (Ellen’s Broom & One Million Men and Me) and Atlanta’s own, illustrator R. Gregory Christie, a recent Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient and Caldecott “Honor Winner” for the book (Freedom in Congo Square).

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The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie 2016 Awardee


Angelina Jolie animated by Taliban tale made in Ireland

Based on the bestselling children’s novel by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl living under the Taliban who gives up her identity to provide for her family.

Nora Twomey, of Cartoon Saloon, directed the film, which was co-produced by Aircraft Pictures Canada, Melusine Productions and Jolie Pas Productions. It also received funding from the Irish Film Board.

Cartoon Saloon is Ireland’s most successful animation company, having been twice-nominated for Oscars for The Secret of Kells (2010) and Song of the Sea (2015).

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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, written by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, 2017 Awardee

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 2014 Awardee


Live Event: Big City Book Club at the Billie Holiday Theatre

This special Bed-Stuy edition, at the recently renovated Billie Holiday Theatre, will feature a discussion of “Another Brooklyn,” the best-selling novel about coming of age in Kings County in the 1970s. Ginia Bellafante, the Big City columnist, will be joined by Jacqueline Woodson, the book’s author, for a lively conversation.

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Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis 2013 Awardee

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee


Abenaki expert to make Plattsburgh stop
Adirondack author will host storytelling session at Plattsburgh Public Library

Author Joseph Bruchac is coming to Plattsburgh on Aug. 22, bringing with him stories from a culture that dates back to the 1600s.

Bruchac will visit the Plattsburgh Public Library on Tuesday to sign copies of his books, sing traditional American Indian songs and tell stories from Abenaki culture.

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The Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac 1999 Awardee


Library Chat: Grab some books and find out why world’s social problems are happening

Your public library has materials for all ages, including materials that will help you start a conversation with children and open the door for them to understand any kind of difficult issue at a level that is comfortable for them and for you.

The award winning free verse work “Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson, suitable for adults and children, might be a good place to start.

“Separate is Never Equal” by Duncan Tonatiuh is available as an audiobook and as a short video of the book. This picture book work discusses the fight to end school segregation for agricultural workers in California in the 1940s. Or, for a more regional experience, or introduce a piece of family history, you could pick up “Baseball Saved Us,” about Japanese internment, by Ken Mochizuki.

If you are embarking on a road trip you might download the audiobook “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans” by Kadir Nelson, who also penned a number of works for a variety of ages.

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Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson 2012 Awardee

The Village That Vanished written by Ann Grifalconi and illustrated by Kadir Nelson 2003 Awardee

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her family’s fight for desegregation, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh 2015 Awardee


Hear author Francisco Jimenez speak on ‘Migrant Experience’ in Redlands

The Redlands Adult Literacy Program at the A.K. Smiley Public Library invites you to hear Francisco Jimenez, who wrote the autobiographical book “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.”

This year, more than 150 local literacy tutors, learners and community members have read Jimenez’s book and were moved by reading of the obstacles Jimenez overcame in his quest for an education.

Jimenez will speak on “The Migrant Experience: A Personal Story” at 6 p.m. Sept. 7.

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The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiménez 1998 Awardee


Detroit Museums Examine the Riots That Changed the City

The story of Detroit’s July 1967 riots is, in some ways, a tale of two cities, one black and one white. Now, 50 years later, three neighboring museums here are revisiting that fateful summer with exhibitions that portray and explore the riots in sharply different ways.

Erin Falker, an assistant curator at the museum, said that they chose to place “Flag for the Moon: Die Nigger” by Faith Ringgold, a distortion of the United States flag from 1969 that spells out the racial epithet in its stripes, across from the khaki-colored “Patriot” by Jeff Donaldson, from 1975, and “Weight” by Mr. Phillips, from 2001. Ms. Falker said the grouping highlighted the remembrance that, on the night of the raid that sparked the riots, the club was having a party for African-American soldiers returning from Vietnam.

Another goal at all the museums is teaching millennials and other young people to make connections between the past and present. The Wright’s curator of exhibitions, Patrina Chatman, a Detroit native who was a teenager during the riots, said art with Black Lives Matter elements mixed with earlier civil rights references reminds young people that “history is repeating itself.”

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Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold 1993 Awardee


Protest Art: What Is It Good For?

As Jerry Saltz has noted, there have been a number of exciting politically engaged exhibitions around New York City right now, and more coming soon. The curators at the Whitney Museum dug around in its archive to put together “An Incomplete History of Protest,” from which this slideshow is drawn. It opens August 18.

Faith Ringgold (b. 1930), Hate Is a Sin Flag, 2007.

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Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold 1993 Awardee

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.

Read more about the 2017 Awards.

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