Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Louise Wolfe, known as Lou, has recently moved to Kansas from central Texas. Lou is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and her town of East Hannesburg is not a very liberal place. So when Mrs Quinn, the East Hannesburg High School drama teacher, announces she will be doing “colour-blind casting” for The Wizard of Oz, a group of parents form Parents Against Revisionist Theatre or PART. Lou’s brother Hughie is cast as the Tin Man, and Chelsea Weber, who is Black, is cast as Dorothy. Lou is part of the student-run paper The Hive, and in covering this story, it becomes clear that certain people wish Lou’s family ill because of her brother’s role in the school play. This young adult novel examines how Lou navigates the racism of small-town Kansas, but also how she builds relationships and comes to find her place at East Hannesburg High School.
Consent on Campus: A Manifesto by Donna Freitas
Universities and colleges have a great deal of work to do when it comes to addressing sexual assault on campus, even in the #MeToo era. Freitas’ core argument is that universities and colleges need to change how they educate their students about sexual assault and consent. While efforts are being made, there needs to be interrogations of the place of the university within culture and society and of masculinity and gender biases that perpetuate sexual violence. In Freitas’ words “a university must go above and beyond the legal minimum required that allows it to check a box for the government that says, yes, we taught about consent.” This book is divided into three parts: The Situation on Campus as It Stands, Inherited Stories: Scripts for Hooking Up, Being a Man, Being a Woman, and Telling the Story of Consent: Rewriting and Transforming Campus Narratives. Consent on Campus is an excellent resource for students, staff, and faculty members looking to learn more about the systemic issue of sexual violence on university and college campuses.
This book is a “practical, classroom-ready resource for English and Language Arts teachers” looking to incorporate and promote culturally relevant pedagogy. The author began his career as an English teacher at an urban high school in Brooklyn, NY, and quickly discovered that culturally relevant teaching is crucial for effective English teaching. As such, this book is comprised of five sections. The first section discusses culturally relevant writing instruction, the second discusses culturally relevant reading instruction, and the third section discusses ideas for incorporating culturally relevant teaching into language and vocabulary instruction. Section four is designed to synthesize the main takeaways of this book and how to implement them in the classroom. Finally, section five provides resources to support teachers looking to engage in culturally relevant pedagogy. This book is an excellent source of knowledge for teachers who wish to diversify their English and Language Arts classes.
The future is always a scary thing to discuss. However, one way to assuage that fear is to be equipped with knowledge on how to make the future better for everyone. This is the goal of Santone’s book, as she aims to reframe the curriculum based on the principles of sustainability and social justice. Santone has divided her book into three parts, which should be read in order. Part one lays out the broader context of sustainability and social justice, part two examines competing narratives, and part three is an exercise in redesigning the curriculum. At the end of each chapter, Santone has provided what the reader should take away as well as discussion questions. In some cases, there are activities that can be found at the end of chapters. This book is an excellent resource for educators of all levels who are looking to bring sustainability- and social justice-based curriculum to their classrooms.
A Lion’s Mane written by Navjot Kaur and illustrated by Jaspreet Sandhu
A young boy putting on his flowing red dastaar, or lion’s mane, takes readers on a journey through different eras and different cultures. Readers learn about the significance of the lion around the world, from Africa to Asia to Europe to the Middle East to North America! The young boy explains how the lion can be found in kung-fu, in yoga, and in Ancient Iran, to name a few places. The stunningly beautiful illustrations bring these places to life for the readers, making this book a rich cultural experience. At the end of the book, teachers can find a glossary and pronunciation guide to clarify any unfamiliar words they encounter throughout the story. This book is perfect for teaching diversity and cultures to classes with younger students.