Every so often I go through a phase of intense research and discovery to find quality accurate representative literature for my classroom, for my friends, for the children in my life.
I focus on re-configuring my library. I am inspired to find the next best thing. I am thrilled to get to those books I have heard about, but haven’t gotten to read, until now. It sounds fun, and generally it is an enjoyable experience; however, I would be lying if I said it was always sunshine and roses.
Every month we have the opportunity to put a community, or a topic, center stage. This year, out of all years, I feel an added obligation, responsibility, and drive to spotlight AAPI history and heritage.
I encourage every educator, parent, and student to celebrate AAPI folks and contributions with added zeal this May 2021. In a year that has seen great tumult, that has generated targeted hate and violence, we have a responsibility to push back against racism, misogyny, white supremacy.
May 2021 celebrate through literature, through video, through TikTok! Provide more content, representation, and depth of understanding–specifically about the AAPI community. We have so much to learn and share, let’s do just that . . .
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick and simple list 🤗
Children’s/picture book: Thank You Very Mochi by Paul Matsushima
“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles of racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its Indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
This Black History Month make sure to provide more than just happy, and comfortable, quotes for your students . . .
I do not have all the answers. Despite all the research, the on-the-ground work, the constant reading, I’m still learning. I’m discovering new tools, new methods, new concepts, new ideas. That is both the curse and the beauty of education–it is in a constant state of change and evolution; the work and learning is never done.
Now, sometimes I have enough time and energy to read 10 books on a topic. I have enough time to discuss and debate with colleagues for hours, days. Other times, I want to learn but only have enough time and energy for a single thought, a single bit of reflection, or a single dose of inspiration.
When time is limited, I go to social media, blogs, and websites.
My favorite forums, ones that I highly recommend are:
Each of these speakers, experts, and platforms are incredible inspiration for me. If you click on any of them, or all of them, you will notice that they are equity-driven, equity-focused, resources.
Equity and access, mirrors and windows, providing the most welcoming inclusive education for students is the core of my work. So, I seek out material and places where I can work through short exercises, read about new concepts, or learn a new bit of information–and I seek it out daily.
If I have enough time to read a book, that’s good. If I only have enough time for an Instagram post, that’s still good, still worth recognition. Why? Because if it is the core of my work, if it drives me, if I am committed to it, then every moment–big and small–is an opportunity to increase my capacity. And with that in mind, if you only have a few moments, or if you need a daily dose of inspiration and reflection, I recommend checking out Dr. Courtney Rose, Love.Tanesha, Teach and Transform, Teaching Tolerance, The Conscious Kid, and the Zinn Education Project . . . and if you find other equally amazing platforms, definitely let me know!
As educators we have been tasked with the monumental job of providing history, paradigms, and inspiration for a better world to our students.
In this honorable role, we must be hyper-vigilant of the stories we have consumed, we must be aware of the misunderstandings we have absorbed, and we must acknowledge that gaps are present–in our thinking, in our understanding, and in our own education. We are products of a system still redefining and finding itself.
In the past year, I have read more nonfiction than fiction–a real reversal in my reading consumption. While I started my anti-racist journey at birth, in a way, its momentum really took hold in my final years of high school, and has been an ongoing part of my life–personal and professional–since those teenage years. Nevertheless, it has only been in the past few years that I’ve had the robust conversations, the language development, and the depth of understanding to put all of what I have seen, heard, read, and experienced together. And this comes as the whole world has recognized that everyone has work to do. That racism is something to be dissected and discussed, not swept under the rug.
For those new to the language and discussions, there is no place better to start than books. While I’m sure there have been plenty of lists and recommendations, I will include 8 here:
A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris Hill
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
If I had to start all over, or if I had to recommend a start, I would start with these books.
For more details on each of these titles, please visit my book recommendation page on Instagram: Canon Reclaimed.