If You Think Racism is Too Political For Your Classroom, Think About What Your Silence Says
By: Sonja Cherry-Paul
Sonja is a committee member for The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, which acknowledges the work of authors and illustrators who promote peace and equality.
Hundreds of White supremacists marched in Charlottesville no longer hidden behind the hoods and robes of the past. In response, for the benefit of our students, our schools and our nation educators must answer the call to end racism and to begin in their classrooms starting on the very first day of school, and White educators should work, listen, plan and act. Our student deserve more than good intentions.
US literary figures renew call for freedom for Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour
Prominent U.S. poets, writers, playwrights and publishers issued statements today in support of imprisoned Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour ahead of her upcoming trial verdict on October 17.
The 12 literary figures whose statements are being issued today are among 300 writers, including 11 Pulitzer Prize-winners, who signed a 2016 letter calling for freedom for Tatour after she was first arrested. These statements of solidarity with Dareen Tatour come from: Susan Abulhawa, Ben Ehrenreich, Deborah Eisenberg, Marilyn Hacker, Randa Jarrar, MJ Kaufman, Eileen Myles, Naomi Shihab Nye, John Oakes, Sarah Schulman, Ayelet Waldman and Jacqueline Woodson.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet and Writer: “It’s an absolute outrage that poet Dareen Tatour has been treated this way by so-called democracy Israel for speaking truth and using the word Resist. We all resist. She deserves nothing but freedom and even bigger paper and more pens! We speak up for her in the name of justice and our own tax dollars channeled Israel’s direction for way too many years.”
Jacqueline Woodson, Poet and Author: “I believe Dareen Tatour should be free to leave her home, to write what she needs to write for her own empowerment, to live her life as poet. Freely.”
She brings the world to her classroom
It’s all about “kids having access to experiences, whether I do it through being a teacher or being a program director at a museum or being a Girl Scout leader,” Martinez says. “That’s really what I want to do with my life – bring access to underserved children; let them see what their possibilities could be.”
That desire was ignited by a college speaker who said career choices are rooted in childhood experiences, an idea that has long been Martinez’s motivation.
Experiences, she says, “shouldn’t be just for rich people.”
In June, she arranged a school visit by Jacqueline Woodson, an African American writer of young adult books including “Another Brooklyn,” a selection in the student book club Martinez moderates. “I can’t imagine what my life would be if, at 15, I actually got to meet a woman of color who is a writer and I’m reading her work. That is so powerful,” Martinez marveled.
A tale of two literary Americas: What a brilliant anthology on inequality accidentally reveals about inequality
Along with the election postmortems comes a dynamic new literary anthology, “Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation” (Sept. 5, Penguin).
Edited by John Freeman, who created a similar collection focused on New York in 2015, “Tales of Two Americas” includes short fiction, essays, narrative journalism and poetry from a powerhouse stable of acclaimed authors including Roxane Gay, Richard Russo, Ann Patchett, Kevin Young, Anthony Doerr, Sandra Cisneros, Rebecca Solnit, Edwidge Danticat, Clair Vaye Watkins and recent U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, among others.
“What would such an anthology look like if it included as many notes for contributors who don’t attend or work for a university or national magazines and for whom this is their first professional publication? Does a writer need to have been recognized by the literary establishment for his or her voice to be considered authoritative on this of all subjects?
If, for example, a writer who shared more with the subject of Doerr’s essay "To the Man Asleep in Our Driveway” than with Doerr himself wrote “To the Man Whose Driveway I Slept in Last Night,” imagining what the comfortable family inside that house looked like from the outside. A less orthodox publishing strategy for one anthology won’t make a dent in systemic inequality, it’s true. But it could ensure that for more readers who pick up this book, there’s both window and mirror in its pages.“
Back-to-School Wisdom From the Creators of Your Favorite Children’s Books [VIDEO]
Learning to Read Against All Odds
The illustrator Floyd Cooper’s latest picture book is "Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History,” written by Walter Dean Meyers.
Floyd Cooper: Anyone who’s studied Frederick Douglass can’t help but be impressed by his life and the odds that he overcame to get from where he was to where he ended up. It was the power to read that really gave him the tools he needed to overcome many of the struggles that lay before him.
‘Faith, hope, love in the face of hate’
Exhibit looks at children who were ‘Making a Difference’
The exhibit, which opens Sept. 1, narrates the adversities and prejudices faced by Ruby Bridges, Anne Frank, and Ryan White, and shows how they used the power of words, voice and action to make a positive difference in the world.
It consists of three rooms, Ruby Bridges’ classroom, Anne Frank’s hiding place known as the secret annex, and Ryan White’s bedroom.
Her memoir, “Through My Eyes,” was released in 1999, the same year that she established the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which provides educational resources to promote tolerance and unity among schoolchildren, teachers and parents.
Next month’s Brooklyn Book Festival is a literary dream for kids
The free literary event returns September 11–17 with more than 300 authors participating in panel discussions, book readings and other engagements throughout the week. Kids even get a day tailored just for them with games and activities on Children’s Day.
Authors participating in Children’s Day events include Laurie Berkner, Alexandra Bracken, Angela Dominguez, Sharon Draper, Maira Kalman, George O’Connor, Javaka Steptoe, Gene Luen Yang and others.
Monuments of a different type honor civil rights heroes at Lawrence exhibition
As bronze statues of Confederate figures are creating national controversy, there’s hope that a Lawrence exhibition featuring quilts and textiles of civil rights heroes will bring people together.
Names like Claudetta Colvin, Ella Josephine Baker and Ida Mae Holland don’t jump from the pages of history books with quite the same frequency as those of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr., but they are featured at a new exhibition about race and culture at the University of Kansas’ Spencer Museum of Art.
On the west wall is a centerpiece of the exhibition: artist Faith Ringgold’s “Flag Story Quilt,” which is an American flag rendered in tie-dyed fabric by Marquetta Johnson. It uses human head profiles to represent the stars of the flag. Within the white stripes, a fictional story is told of Memphis Cooly, who returns from combat in Vietnam a quadriplegic and is accused of the rape and murder of a white woman.
“It’s pretty bold and strong,” Earle said. “She’s going head-on into something that people normally would not alter or mess with. She’s completely humanized the flag. It’s a way of, you could say, kind of reclaiming the U.S. as home and also at the same time implicating some of the mechanism or structures of American society as being part of what would have caused a story like poor Memphis Cooly to have happened.”
National Book Festival: Children, Purple Stage
9:30-9:55: Javaka Steptoe wrote and illustrated “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” which won the 2017 Caldecott Medal. Books he has illustrated include “Hot Day on Abbott Avenue,” “Amiri and Odette: A Love Story” and “Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow.” Signing 10:30-11:30
12:25-12:50: Kadir Nelson’s paintings are in the Muskegon Museum of Art, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the author and illustrator of “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball” and “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.” His latest book is “Blue Sky White Stars,” created with author Sarvinder Naberhaus. Signing 1:30-2:30
4:30-4:55: Cynthia Levinson is a writer of nonfiction for young adults, including “We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March.” Her husband, Sanford Levinson, is a constitutional law scholar who has published six books and hundreds of articles on the Constitution and American law. They are the authors of the new book “Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today.” Signing 5:30-6:30
National Book Festival: Teen Stage
4:10-4:50: Tanya Lee Stone, author of more than 100 books for young readers, teaches writing at Champlain College. Her book “Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time” was inspired by and expands upon the documentary of the same name about girls’ access to education across the world. Signing 5:30-6:30
How to make the most of your day at the National Book Festival
At the Washington Post booth, listen to authors Megan Wagner Lloyd (“Finding Wild”) and Lulu Delacre “¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Olinguito, from A to Z!; Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos”) read from their books.
4:30 p.m. Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson, “Fault Lines in the Constitution”
20 children’s books to spark important discussions about race and tolerance
2. Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
An inspiring story about one family’s efforts to desegregate California schools in the late 1940s. A 2015 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book.
3. Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The stunningly illustrated, heartwrenching tale of a slave who mailed himself to freedom.
6. Martin’s Big Words by by Julius Lester, illustrated by Karen Barbour
A beautiful, accessible introduction to the life and words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Winner of the 2002 Caldecott Medal.
11. We March by Shane W. Evans
A critical moment in the civil rights movement- the 1963 March on Washington-told in clear, concise prose.
12. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
A longstanding classic about bridging the racial divide between two young friends, told through powerful prose and gorgeous watercolor illustrations.
13. A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
The inspiring story behind the groundbreaking classic A Snowy Day, the first mainstream book to feature an African American hero.
16. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
The story of the youngest known civil rights protester in history will teach children that you’re never too small to stand up for what you believe in.
Inspirational New Picture-Book Biographies, of Fascinating People – and One Amazing Horse
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality By Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Stacy Innerst.
Structured like a legal argument to prove the injustices Ginsburg faced, this beautifully illustrated biography of the Supreme Court justice starts with her birth at a time when Jews faced “violence and vandalism” and daughters were “discouraged from going to college.” You can almost hear the chorus of “That’s not fair!” as Winter (“Lillian’s Right to Vote”) documents each fresh outrage Ginsburg stared down. “This happened right here in America,” he reminds us. Innerst makes the pages look gently monumental, like R.B.G. herself.
40 pp. Abrams. (Picture book; ages 6 – 10)
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
The remarkable life and achievements of the Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, collector and curator Arturo Schomburg have ideal chroniclers in Weatherford (“Freedom in Congo Square”) and Velasquez (“Grandma’s Gift”). Arturo’s lifelong passion for collecting books, they show, was about “correcting history for generations to come” to include the contributions of people of African descent. In Velasquez’s proud, realistic art, Schomburg and the greats he championed – overlooked inventors, artists and revolutionaries – tower.
48 pp. Candlewick. (Picture book; ages 9 – 12)
New books for children that inspire and spark the imagination
Before Zaha Hadid died last year at the age of 65, her designs had won the biggest prizes in architecture and she was busy developing future projects. In The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid (Beach Lane, ages 5-10), author-illustrator Jeanette Winter deftly shows how the landscape of Hadid’s childhood influenced the remarkable buildings she designed.
Cultural Diversity in Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Arrow of Lightning by Joseph Bruchac is the final installment of the Killer of Enemies series.
What I truly like this series is how it doesn’t stick to the same old story. This is especially interesting since a good portion of the books are retellings of native stories. Let me list them here: She is a Native American, and that’s not the main plot point. Her mother is alive and a strong older female influence. Lozen is a kick-ass heroine, and yes, she has super-powers, but she is not the only female fighter. She finds love, and he is a devout Muslim and strong fighter, but has no problem being second in command. And my favorite difference from so many novels: Trusting your community is more important than being a hero.
3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers Released
Joseph Bruchac, winner of the Writer and Storyteller of the Year Awards from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and founder of the Greenfield Review Literary Center writes, “In many ways, the 3 Nations Anthology is a breath of fresh air. The idea of bringing together Canadian, Native, and New England writers is, in itself, a refreshing change from the literary and cultural barriers that we all too often allow to come between us. …let me just quote these lines from a piece by Dan Crowfeather McIsaac that catch the spirit of this collection: ‘My brothers and sisters, the walls are everywhere and they are very high indeed. But they are not too high if we work together. Come-give me your hand….’.”
Let’s take our minds off things
“I have been reading fiction books lately to help take my mind off the realities of the day, but in actuality these books are helping me to better process our political moment. Here are some suggestions to hopefully ease some of the anxiety some of you might feel these days or at least help you digest the changing world around you.”
“When My Name Was Keoko” by Linda Sue Park is a fascinating tale of the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1940s. It’s an important book for this political moment because it addresses what resistance looks like. There are characters in the novel who choose to outwardly protest their rapidly changing political fortunes and those who choose to protest in subtle but significant ways. It challenged me to think about who I would have been during that time period, as well as who I want to be during this important time in our country’s history.
The Imperfect Nature Of The Constitution
The issues on which the founders could not agree get a book of their own: Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today.
Flaws in the Constitution? Married authors Cynthia and Sanford Levinson lay out the details in the book, written for younger readers.
How Women Won The Vote: Teaching Kids About The U.S. Suffrage Movement
In this blog post, we’re highlighting books and films about women’s suffrage in the United States: the history of the movement, the women who led it forward, and the tremendous challenges that they faced in their quest to ensure that women’s voices could be heard at the ballot. These stories will both educate kids about a critical moment in women’s history and inspire them to see the power of determined activists and political leaders to make big changes in the world.
Elizabeth Leads The Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote
Written by: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrated by: Rebecca Gibbon
Recommended Age: 4 – 8
From an early age, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was aware that women did not have equal rights with men – and she was determined to change that. Unlike many women of her time, she went to college and soon began gathering other like-minded women to demand equality. At the first ever women’s right conference that she organized in Seneca Falls, New York, Stanton presented the Declaration of Right and Sentiments, which included a demand for the women’s right to vote. In this picture book biography, Tanya Lee Stone focuses on seeing the world through Stanton’s eyes, without facts or dates, making her relateable for younger readers; an author’s note at the end talks about Stanton’s further accomplishments after the convention.
I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
Written by: Linda Arms White
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Recommended Age: 5 – 9
All her life, Esther Morris’ response to any challenge was, “I could do that.” She proved her mettle when she started her own business at the age of 19. But even though she knew she was capable of voting, only men were allowed to cast a ballot so she decided it was time for a change! Morris led the first successful American campaign for women’s suffrage in Wyoming Territory, which passed in 1869, and went on to become the first woman judge and the first woman to hold political office in the US. This lively story captures the determination and confidence of a woman who never saw a thing she couldn’t do.
Elizabeth Started All The Trouble
Written by: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Matt Faulkner
Recommended Age: 6 – 9
This unique picture book takes readers on a journey through the seven decades of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. From Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott at the Seneca Falls convention, to Alice Paul and Lucy Burns’ protests that finally led to the 19th Amendment, this book presents a capsule history of the movement, its key figures, and the most important moments on the quest to get women the vote. With enough detail to satisfy a newly independent reader, but an accessible tone that creates a sense of excitement to the story, this newly released book is sure to become a favorite resource on women’s history.
Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts
Written by: Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by: Michele Wood
Recommended Age: 7 – 10
When women were just beginning their quest for the vote, it’s important to remember that African Americans still faced the struggle to end slavery. In this work of historical fiction, award-winning author Nikki Grimes imagines a conversation between Harriet Tubman, the legendary Underground Railroad conductor and civil rights advocate, and Susan B. Anthony, the famous women’s suffrage leader. As they chat, they tell their stories, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing 19th century America. This unique look at two of America’s history-making women also includes back matter that encourages kids to learn more about them and their period of history.
Ida B. Wells: Let The Truth Be Told
Written by: Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by: Bonnie Christensen
Recommended Age: 6 – 9
While trailblazing journalist and activist Ida B. Wells is best known for her work with the Civil Rights Movement, she was a devoted suffragist as well. This book takes young readers through Wells’ life, from her birth in slavery to her remarkable academic career, and then highlights her work as a teacher and crusader for equality on multiple fronts. Walter Dean Myers captures the determination and drive of this incredible woman, while Bonnie Christensen’s historically accurate illustrations enhance the text. The contributions of women of color in the Women’s Suffrage Movement are often overlooked, so this book provides an opportunity to discuss their role in the journey towards universal suffrage.
A Woman In The House (And Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country
Written by: Ilene Cooper
Illustrated by: Elizabeth Baddeley
Recommended Age: 8 – 14
Did you know that Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, won her seat at a time when many women in America still couldn’t vote? Author Ilene Cooper’s intriguing story of women in politics begins with the Suffrage Movement and then goes on to tell the story of the women who have since played roles in America’s national political scene. By sharing their stories, Cooper simultaneously highlights the successes of the past and present, while also showing why parity in politics is such an important goal. Kids will enjoy the informal writing style and the interesting anecdotes about these history-making women.
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote
Written by: Ann Bausum
Recommended Age: 10 and up
When Alice Paul helped design the banners for the Women’s Suffrage Movement, she suggested three colors: purple for justice, white for purity of purpose, and gold for courage. The colors were apt, because facing the angry opponents of women’s suffrage required an ample helping of all three! In this book, Ann Bausum melds archival photographs with a compelling narrative telling of the history of women’s suffrage to create a history book that reads like a thriller. Bausum doesn’t shy away from the consequences that these brave activists faced, from prisons full of rats to force-feeding when they went on hunger strikes. Her book serves as an apt reminder that women were not given the vote – they won it, through blood, sweat, and tears.
18 New YA Novels Coming In September 2017 To Add Some Magic To Your Fall Reading
‘You Bring the Distant Near’ by Mitali Perkins (Sept. 12; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Mitali Perkins draws from her own experiences as an Indian immigrant to the United States to tell a beautiful family saga, spanning generations countries around the world. You Bring the Distant Near tells of three generations of Indian women in matriarch Ranee Das’s family.
How a Chinatown-by-the-Sea Popped Up on the Jersey Shore
“Two thousand dollars later, Lee B. Lok and family were ensconced in a summer bungalow of their very own in the village where twenty years before they would have been lucky to be able to rent some rooms over a store,” wrote Bruce Edward Hall in his Chinatown memoir Tea That Burns.
In his book, Hall (now deceased) evokes the summertime scene among his grandfather and other family members during the 1950s: “[O]n Memorial Day weekend the exodus begins. Hock Shop in his Buick, Dr. Liu in his Chrysler, Pee Wee Wong in whatever old jalopy he has cobbled together in front of his apartment on Mott Street join the caravan of cars trundling through the Holland Tunnel and down old Route 9 to their sunny summer enclave. It seems as if everyone is there, in little pockets just like the family compounds in their ancestral villages. The Hor family is on the fourth block, the Lees in the first, the rest elsewhere on Newark Avenue.”
What little kids, teens will find at 2017 AJC Decatur Book Festival
The Sunday parade encourages youngsters to bring a musical instrument (even if it’s homemade) to make a joyful noise behind leader Carmen Agra Deedy, the Atlanta author and storyteller whose latest book is “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!”
Fall author events: Atwood, Alexie, Allende, Rushdie and more
BookFest St. Louis will be full of panels and special events in the Central West End, ranging from children’s authors to memoirists to poets.
One exclusive event will be “A Special Trust: Remembering Patricia & Fred McKissack,” honoring the much admired St. Louis children’s authors. Patricia McKissack died earlier this year.
Poet Naomi Shihab Nye [PODCAST]
Naomi Shihab Nye grew up between the Midwest and the West Bank, and her poetry makes connections between places and people that seem beyond connection.
Library is offering a festive fall
On Monday, Sept. 18, Mitali Perkins, the author of several books for young readers, will speak about her experiences as a writer from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Baisley Park Library at 117-11 Sutphin Blvd.
For young readers: Humorous escapades, Jackie Robinson, and a novel for book lovers of all ages
“42 Is Not Just a Number,” by Doreen Rappaport. Candlewick. Ages 9-13.
When Jackie Robinson was growing up in Pasadena, California, the municipal swimming pool was open to blacks just three hours a week. The local movie house had a “whites only” section. Only whites could join the local YMCA. The only professional U.S. sport open to blacks was boxing.
This background inspired him to accept an offer to join the Brooklyn Dodgers and break the color barrier, despite the loneliness he experienced and the hatred he faced. This skillfully written biography uses anecdotes and well-chosen details to draw readers into the life of an extraordinary athlete and a courageous American who helped transform his country and his sport.
Discover Revolutionary Redding, Family Day at Putnam Park
This program is part of the Mark Twain Library’s celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary, featuring a town-wide read of the classic, “My Brother Sam Is Dead,” a historical fiction based in this town during the Revolutionary War.
Published in 1974, this book is a National Book Award nominee by James and Christopher Collier. It centers on actual historic events that took place in Redding and the effect the war had on the people who lived here.
Armenian Girls Uncover the Past at Archaeology Camp By Linda Glaser
Education is another priority area for the foundation, and Camp Aragats is its first public-engagement effort. The girls-only pilot session was a response to the limited opportunities for girls in rural Armenia, Khatchadourian explained. The camp focused on cultivating broad interests in archaeological research in addition to teaching the campers about the ancient history of their region.
Lexington Community Education announces fall programs
Author Sy Montgomery, has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Rwanda, hunted by a tiger in India and swum with piranhas, electric eels and pink dolphins in the Amazon. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a widely-read author on anthropology and animals wild and domestic and has observed dogs, cats, elephants and human animals during her half-century long career. Montgomery and Thomas will read from their co-authored work, “Tamed and Untamed,” on Oct. 12.
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.