Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework (25) Forever Young

A little mom boast: I’m proud of my sons for helping teach me and lead me in ways I didn’t anticipate, but joyfully embrace. From their corrections and discussions to help me better understand transgender friends, their role in the world and their participation in the #BLM protests, readings, and writings. I know first-hand that Seattle is not a “hot mess” according to one Fox viewer who told me so. I mean, well, it is a mess, because the homeless and income disparities and the police violence, you know — that mess, so yes, it is a mess, but #CHOP and #CHAZ were like a big street party. But it’s not peace–it’s power to peace, power to love, and power of protest.

Young Asians and Latinos push their parents to acknowledge racism amid protests

Young organizers led N.Y.’s protests. Now they’re taking charge of policy change.

And this is from 2018: 10 Times Youth Activists Made A Difference

And Ben & Jerry’s has been doing some great work to help educate us: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration (but I and my family knew this because we love Ben & Jerry’s and Ben and Jerry’s loves Bernie.)

I remember when I was little, I asked my mom why/how did the Vietnam war end, and one of the first reasons she cited was the protests. That the American people did not want this war, and wanted it to end. But now we’re facing bigger threats: a very old one, and a new one: systemic racism and COVID19. I have to hold onto hope that knowledge, love, and truth will prevail. I have to believe that more people are doing good work, lending their voices and and energy to create the world they want to live in. And here’s the secret: those who are not doing the work, or in fact counter-attacking, will also receive the benefits and joy of a better world. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

U.S. coronavirus deaths now surpass fatalities in the Vietnam War

Update: the virus has now killed over 120,000 people in the United States:

Your homework: read more about Audre Lorde, protests in the United States, the murders of men and women by police in our nation (Fred Hampton is a place to start).

Illustration by Meredith Stern: Find on the Teaching Tolerance Website
Posted in Being a better teacher, Media and Mischief

Media Festival: Perspectives from young history

Immersing my mind in close reading, analytical writing, and new content, there are a few more novels to mention. Not making any promises that I’m done, because we know a teacher’s work is never done. I am working on documents of lesson plans, frosted with CCSS goodness and fortified with with enduring understanding vitamins and minerals. (Yes, it’s past lunch time and I’m chugging Diet Coke–it shows.) In any case, if you would like the lessons as they progress, please send me an e-mail:


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson


If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? 
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. 

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.


Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson



Blistering winds. Bitter cold. And the hope of a new future. In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

Sophia’s War by Avi

sophias war

In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own.

Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this “nail-biting thriller” (Publishers Weekly) that is rich in historical detail and rife with action.


Spies and Scouts, Secret Writing, and Sympathetic Citizens


The Loyalists

Links to my other resources:

Media Festival: Yellow Fever

Media Festival: Part 1

Media Festival: Part 2

There are more books through diverse lenses I have in my arsenal, so believe me when I promise point of view and perspectives on history are at my core.