We certainly are in a season of change, especially when it comes to racial equality, social justice, and how we connect with one another. The news is filled with powerful images of people marching, powerful voices leading people to new ideas, and powerful questions that might shake us to our core. Maybe you are wondering how to educate yourselves so you can understand #BLACK LIVES MATTER (BLM) and other groups marching for change.
There are some great resources from the library you can use as a place to start. They're aimed at teens, but are great reads for adults, too.
Reynolds and Kendi explore how racist ideas are part of our country. Those ideas have been used to gain and keep power away from black people. In order to have an antiracist America, the authors argue that we must acknowledge that truth. Not only do the authors give great information about racism in America, they give active steps that can be used to discredit racist ideas.
Dr. Carol Anderson explores the myths of the easy, straight line of progress toward Black equality. She talks about five tipping points in history where the United States could have become more equal, but it did not because of racist political maneuvering meant to limit that progress. Those points include the end of the Civil War, The Great Migration, Brown v. Board of Education, Civil Rights Act of 1964, The War on Drugs, and Barak Obama being elected.
Starr Carter is catapulted into a life of activism after seeing her friend Kahlil shot by police. Both the police and the local drug lord intimidate Starr and try to find out what really happened the night her friend was shot. This is a powerful page turner, filled with Starr’s disillusionment and anguish at the death of her friend, but also the hope that the movement will bring about change. This is a must-read if you want to understand BLM better.
Justyce McAllister just wants to go to college. But his life is pulled in opposite directions by race relations in his neighborhood and in the country. He finds peace as he writes letters to the late Martin Luther King Jr. This is a character driven, issue-oriented story that shows Justyce’s struggle to face the racism in his life. The narrative is fast paced and thought provoking.
Kierra is 17 year old honor student who also likes to play a multiplayer online role-playing game Slay that honors Black culture. Her two worlds are fine until they begin to overlap and collide, revealing cracks of which she wasn’t aware. This story is not only about the life of a black girl dealing with racism, it is about the life of a black, gamer girl dealing with prejudice from predominantly white, male gamers. I really like how this book deals with so many issues when if comes to racism and prejudice. Kierra is an awesome female protagonist that will appeal to many readers.
Wearing masks can be tough. Especially if you’re a little kid. They make such good slingshots and baskets!
Does wearing a mask have to be so hard, though?
The simple answer is no.
Wearing a mask doesn’t have to be terrible or difficult. Masks can be fun! Maybe your child could pretend to be a superhero or a ninja. Or maybe they could get one that reflects their interests. And with school around the corner, here are a few characters who may inspire your kids to rock their masks around their friends.
Magnolia has a double life. In public she is known as Princess Magnolia. She is prim and proper in every way. When trouble strikes in the form of evil monsters, Princess Magnolia transforms into her alter ego The Princess in Black. Her disguise, complete with a mask and cape, helps her to defeat monsters while maintaining her anonymity.
Alright, so Billy doesn’t actually wear a mask. But he is a raccoon and raccoons are notorious for their fur markings that look like they are wearing a robber’s mask. So I’m going to count it. This story follows Billy and his scout troop on their nature hike where they get lost and travel through time.
This graphic novel retells the story of the four musketeers and their plan to dethrone the King of France. They track down a man in an iron mask rumored to be the King’s twin brother. Is the stranger really the heir to the throne? And if so, will he help the musketeers?
If you like the story of Cinderella but wished she was a more active character, then this is the graphic novel for you. In this adaptation, Ninja-rella thwarts the evil plans of her stepmother and saves the prince. She even becomes a ninja bodyguard. What could be a more action driven character than that?
Meet Ghost, Cormac, and Kate. Each kid has special powers that make them ideal recruits for the top secret Ninja school. Can they be trained in the art of stealth and survive the war against the samurai warriors?
Here in Utah, Pioneer day is July 24th, so I thought this might be a good time to mention some pioneer stories you could read with your family. Children are naturally curious about pioneers and the lives they lived. They often wonder what children in the past did for fun, what kind of food they ate, what kind of chores they did, and what their families were like.
One of the best ways to answer those questions and more is by reading historical fiction stories together. If your child is especially interested in pioneer girl stories, here are a few of the best.
It’s 1917 and 16-year-old Hattie Brooks has just inherited her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana. Hattie, an orphan, decides she must make a home for herself and travels from Iowa to Montana to become Hattie Homesteader. Once there, she finds out that in order to keep the place, she must prove the claim with enough fencing and farming to satisfy government specifications. This is a great story with an amazing and determined character who will steal your heart.
Callie Vee Tate wants to be a naturalist and study science, but girls in 1899 didn’t become scientists. With the help of her grandfather she figures out why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard are so much bigger than the green ones and she imagines a future much grander than a life spent in the kitchen making meals for her husband.
California doesn’t suit Lucy Whipple. She enjoys the comforts of her home in Massachusetts but moving out West was her mama’s dream and she finds herself, with her family, in California during the American Gold Rush. Lucy is suddenly thrown into back-breaking work, and worst of all, days with no books. But slowly Lucy begins to understand that home isn’t just where you live, it’s being around the things you love and the people you love.
Written in verse, this is a beautiful story about a strong new heroine who is determined to find her way home again. May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead in Kansas until Christmas. But when the couple she is staying with disappears, May finds herself all alone in a blizzard. She must somehow find a way to make the fifteen-mile journey back home.
Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, Jennifer Holm gives us a beautifulll crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humor, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience. May Amelia will touch your heart.
This is a story about a young girl who has to make her own place in the world. Caddie is living on the open plains of 1860 Wisconsin with her family. She isn’t your ordinary girl who likes to spend time sewing and baking like her sisters. Caddie is a bit of a tomboy and would rather hunt, swim or visit the Native Americans. This is a look into her life as a young pioneer girl.