Teaching about Black Lives Matter

Following up on the previous post about The Hate U Give and text complexity, I wanted to share a few resources I recently came across thanks to Teaching Tolerance. The first gives a history of the beginning, information on the hashtag, myths, criticisms, and a perspective on “All Lives Matter.” The second article gives elementary applications, middle school approaches, and teaching about Black Lives Matter in a High School. But enough of me telling you…read them for yourselves and share with anyone and everyone who may benefit from them: Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters: Part 1 (Issue 56, Summer 2017, by Jamilah Pitts) An excerpt from Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters: “Not all of us are like Thompson; the students who sit in front of us daily are not always directly affected by the killing of unarmed black people or any of the other injustices that plague our nation. But as teachers who function as caretakers, truth-seekers and advocates of justice, we can acknowledge how the threat of justice in one community is, to borrow from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a threat to justice in every community. We have a civic responsibility to be educated about Black Lives Matter and, as […]

The Hate U Give

Ever since I finished The Hate U Give, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it. This is an important novel recommended for 8th graders through adults. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, is a complex, relevant novel about 16-year-old Starr Carter who is living in two worlds…her home neighborhood of Garden Heights (mostly Black) and her school neighborhood at Williamson Prep (mostly White). Mimicking contemporary society, Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of unarmed Khalil, her childhood friend, by a white police officer. The media explodes however both the police and journalists lack the information necessary to give an honest portrayal of Khalil. Starr needs to decide if and how she will stand up against the systemic racism present in her life. Grounded in family, friendship, reality, humor, and enjoyable nods to Harry Potter, Angie Thomas gives readers an intimate look into an all-too-familiar reality for far-too-many Americans. Read the book and check out a few interviews with the author: NPR Interview School Library Journal Interview HarperStacks Interview The Booklist Reader After reading, I used TeachingBooks to see the Lexile level and what other resources were available to connect to the text. It may or may not surprise you to learn […]

Reading While White

Reading While White brings together allies for racial diversity and inclusion in books for children and teens online. Though I’m not currently a contributor to the site, I’m a regular follower and greatly appreciate the contributors for the sites existence. Their mission (as of this posting) is: We are White librarians organizing to confront racism in the field of children’s and young adult literature.  We are allies in the ongoing struggle for authenticity and visibility in books; for opportunities for people of color and First/Native Nations people in all aspects of the children’s and young adult book world; and for accountability among publishers, book creators, reviewers, librarians, teachers, and others.  We are learning, and hold ourselves responsible for understanding how our whiteness impacts our perspectives and our behavior. We know that we lack the expertise that non-white have on marginalized racial experiences.  We resolve to listen and learn from people of color and First/Native Nations people willing to speak about those experiences.  We resolve to examine our own White racial experiences without expecting people of color and First/Native Nations people to educate us. As White people, we have the responsibility to change the balance of White privilege. There are some […]

Book Clubs and Discussion Guidelines

Most educators and librarians are familiar with book clubs. They are an excellent way to get young people and adults discussing topics with one another and there are a variety of successful ways to go about implementing them. In general, I find using books that are nominated for different awards to be a great list to work from if you’re looking for quality books within different categories. Many students are only familiar with current publications and those used within curriculums. Therefore, it can be fun to create a book club based on all the winning or honor books within an award category. This gives students a focus yet introduces them to novels they are unfamiliar with. Look for an upcoming post for more information on book awards! Once you have the list of books and the participants comes the true work of the book club. I’ve found  the two most important aspects of the physical meeting of the book club to be: Sitting in a circle Using the book discussion guidelines provided by the CCBC Sitting in a circle, whether this is around a table or not, gives all participants the ability to be included and have a direct vantage point of […]