Series: White People Homework: Joy (10)

When I first began teaching, I used a lot of picture books. I still do, actually; I didn’t this past year as much because well, it was this past year. One book I loved as a read aloud was Skippyjon Jones by Judith Byron Schachner. And something didn’t sit right after a few readings. And then the book was panned by critics, and yes, it’s racist. No question about it. So, out it went. I never read it again or shared it. Know better, do better (Angelou).

Let’s start taking a look at how books impact our students. If white kids are only taught a narrow narrative about enslaved Blacks, that narrow line of thinking will shrink their critical thinking and empathy processes. And since I taught 7th and 8th grade most of my teaching career, this quote from Nic Stone took my breath away. Is this why my students stop reading in 8th grade, because they’re tired of waiting for books, mirrors, and sliding doors (Rudine Sims Bishop)?

Up until that point, required reading was either minimal or animal—shout-out to Mrs. Frisby and her NIMH-ish rats—but then eighth grade hit. And I started to disappear.

Nic Stone, “Don’t Just Read About Racism–Read Stories About Black People Living.”
Link to this article:

And though I’ve watched this probably over fifty times, it’s worth watching again:

Start curating your own collection, and I’ll continue to share the resources I discover along the way.

And immediately follow Dr. Kim Parker @tchkimpossible and the other woman who created and sustain #DisruptTexts