Celebrate People’s History: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution
Edited by Josh MacPhee with foreword by Rebecca Solnit
(The Feminist Press, 2010)
255 pp. $24.95
Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative member Josh MacPhee invited 80 artists to create more than 100 posters to commemorate people’s history events. The posters were pasted in public spaces to counter the “endless barrage of brightly colored advertisements and commercial window displays.” The rich education provided by these visual representations of well-known and “should be known” historic events can now be shared in middle and high school classrooms with this beautiful book.
Beyond Tolerance: A Resource Guide for Addressing LGTBQI Issues in Schools
Edited by Bree Picower, Rosie Frascella, Joleen Hanlon, and Alana Howe
(NYQueer/New York Collective of Radical Educators, 2010)
Free at www.nycore.org
Given the recent spate of homophobia-triggered suicides of young people, we’re tempted to say that this new guide from the New York Collective of Radical Educators is especially timely. But the fact is, this is a guide that’s been needed for a long time. Sections in this online resource include youth-focused organizations, curriculum, films and videos, historical events and figures, an annotated booklist of children’s literature, and a collection of young adult/adult LGBTQI literature. The editors express their goal as helping educators “create safe and affirming spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and allied students and school staff.”
Freire, Teaching, and Learning: Culture Circles Across Contexts
By Mariana Souto-Manning
(Peter Lang, 2010)
218 pp. $32.95
Culture circles are the name given to the problem-posing teaching method of the late Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Souto-Manning clearly summarizes the fundamentals of Freire’s approach and how he applied it in Brazil in 1964. Then she shows how it has worked for her in the United States in a 1st-grade classroom, among preservice teachers, and in ongoing teacher education.
Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love
By Dave Zirin
223 pp. $25
Dave Zirin, author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States and national radio commentator, has taken the debate over privatization into the field of sports. Each chapter shines a light on the finances of a team, tracking how owners are spending money from fans and city coffers with no public accountability or benefit. Often the funds are used to advance conservative causes. Zirin argues that not only are owners ruining spectator sports for fans, they are also putting the general public at risk by siphoning funds from crucial city infrastructure (e.g., bridge in Minneapolis, Metro in D.C., and, of course, public schools) to fund multimillion-dollar stadiums. He concludes that sports fans should not be mere “scenery for television broadcasts,” but instead “have every right to try to reclaim sports from those who would make it alienating and unenjoyable.” Also check out Zirin’s new film, Not Just a Game: Power, Politics, & American Sports, distributed by the Media Education Foundation (www.mediaed.org). The website includes the film’s transcript and a full-length preview of the film.
Eight Days: A Story of Haiti
By Edwidge Danticat,
illustrated by Alix Delinois
(Orchard Books, 2010)
20 pp. $17.99
Award-winning author Edwidge Danticat introduces young readers to the horrors of the earthquake and the beauty of Haiti through the recollections of a 7-year-old boy who is trapped for eight days in his collapsed house. Written to help explain the earthquake to the author’s 5-year-old daughter, the book is ideal for children from 5 to 8 years old.
Hope for Haiti
By Jesse Joshua Watson
(G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010)
29 pp. $16.99
This beautifully illustrated story describes an incident in the life of a young boy who lives with his mother in a tent in a local soccer stadium after the devastating Port-au-Prince earthquake. Surrounded by hundreds of other families struggling to rebuild their lives, he finds a young girl playing soccer with a ball made of rags. As he and other children join the game, they give hope to others in the camp. This is one of the best books we have seen describing life in Haiti after the earthquake to childrenages 5 to 10. The illustrations are affirming, and the story is both honest and engaging.
Ruth and the Green Book
By Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
(Carolrhoda Books, 2010)
32 pp. $16.95
A historical fiction picture book for 7- to 11-year-olds about the challenges of traveling for African American families during the Jim Crow era. As Ruth travels with her family from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandmother, she learns that the Green Book provides a vital record of the network of services and support for African Americans on the road. Ruth and the Green Book is touching, affirming, informative, and beautifully illustrated. For readers of all ages, it will generate interest in the Green Book, which was published annually for decades with listings throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
YOUNG ADULT BOOKS
Trouble in Timbuktu
By Cristina Kessler
(Philomel Books, 2009)
355 pp. $17.99
In this young adult adventure novel set in Timbuktu, teenagers Ayisha and Ahmed take great risks to protect the ancient manuscripts of their city from being stolen by two U.S. tourists. They learn about the plot while Ahmed is serving as a guide for the tourists, who don’t know he speaks English. The novel introduces the reader to contemporary life in Timbuktu and to its history from the 11th to the 14th century, when it was a renowned center of scholarship and commerce. This book was one of four selected to receive the 2010 Children’s Africana Book Award http://www.africa accessreview.org/aar/awards.html.
Zora and Me
By Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon
(Candlewick Press, 2010)
186 pp. $16.99
This middle school chapter book features Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend as 4th graders. Set in Hurston’s hometown of Eatonville, Fla., the novel paints a picture of life in this all-black township, incorporated soon after emancipation. The story shows how love, cultural affirmation, and resiliency permeate the children’s lives, even as the horrors of racism in the world beyond penetrate the warm embrace of the community. The linguistic beauty and the book’s historical and analytical depth honor the quality of Zora Neale Hurston’s work. This is the only book not written by Hurston herself that is endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust. The book offers vivid language and numerous passages that can serve as writing prompts or examples for students. It is an easy-to-read yet sophisticated chapter book for middle and high school students.
Burn My Heart
By Beverley Naidoo
224 pp. $15.99
Winner of the 2010 African Studies Association’s Honor Book Older Readers Children’s Africana Book Award, Burn My Heart tells the story of the 1950s Mau Mau resistance to the British colonizers in Kenya through the eyes of two young boys (ages 11 and 13). One of the boys, Mugo, is from a Kikuyu family whose land was stolen by the British and now has to work for them. The other, Mathew, is from the British family who took the land. The chapters alternate between the two characters and explore their relationship with one another, their families, and their peers. The book introduces readers to the rebellion and the brutal repression by the 55,000 British soldiers sent to Kenya. The afterword explains that although the Western media painted the Mau Mau as terrorists, in reality 32 white colonizers were killed by the Mau Mau, while more than 10,000 Kenyans were murdered and at least 150,000 imprisoned by the British in concentration camps.