*Across a Hundred Mountains
By Reyna Grande
(Simon & Schuster, 2006)
259 pp. $23 hardback
In this gripping novel for 7th grade and up, readers learn about life on both sides of the Mexican border through the lives of two young women — Adeline and Juana. The chapters alternate with each woman’s story, leading to their chance and fateful meeting. It is easy to read, yet deals with complex themes of the economic pressures to travel north, the trauma of family separation, the risks of crossing the border, and the challenges of immigrant life in the United States. This first novel by Reyna Grande is drawn from her own experiences and the many immigrant families she works with in Los Angeles.
*Landmark Cases Left Out of Your Textbooks
(Herein Restored by the Original Lawyers and Litigants and by Meiklejohn Legal Interns)
Edited by Ann Fagan Ginger
(Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, 2006)
84 pp. $10
Just as the title suggests, this compact booklet describes numerous important legal cases that don’t often make it into the textbooks. Each of the cases — involving activists like Big Bill Haywood, Tom Mooney, Harry Bridges, Huey Newton, Pete Seeger, Dolores Huerta, Judi Bari, and lesser-known individuals and organizations — is described in accessible, jargon-free language, supplemented by full legal citations. This volume will enrich U.S. history, government, and law classes.
Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature: Making the Most of Read-Alouds Across the Day
By Lester L. Laminack and Reba M. Wadsworth
234 pp. $25
As educators, a primary goal for our students is reading comprehension. Reading aloud to children is where this begins and then continues throughout their schooling. This paperback provides primary-grade educators with six clearly defined times throughout the day to bring read-alouds into the classroom. Included are over 400 recommended titles (each with an annotation) categorized in these groups: Building Community, Putting Language in the Air, Poetry, Supporting Writing Workshop, Building Bridges Across the Curriculum, and Chapter Books.
Nurturing the Peacemakers in Our Students: A Guide to Writing and Speaking Out About Issues of War and of Peace
By Chris Weber, foreword by Susan Ohanian
217 pp. $23
Chris Weber, a teacher from Portland, Ore., has edited a fine collection of classroom articles and curriculum materials that confront issues of war, refugees, nuclear weapons, terrorism, and peace activism. The book offers lots of practical teaching ideas and especially website, film, book, and song resources.
*Through the Lens of Social Justice: Using the Change Agent in Adult Education
Edited by Andy Nash
(New England Literacy Resource Center, 2006)
186 pp. $18
For some reason, the worlds of K-12 critical teaching and adult literacy have more or less ignored one another. It’s a pity, because as this volume shows, we have plenty to learn from and teach each other. Through the Lens of Social Justice celebrates 10 years of The Change Agent, an excellent publication that describes itself as “an adult education newspaper for social justice.” This is a varied collection, with articles on immigration issues, minimum wage, mathematics and housing, media literacy, health care, income inequality, taxes, and homophobia.
*Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America
By Peniel Joseph
(Henry Holt, 2006)
416 pp. $27.50 hardback
The traditional curriculum portrays the Black Power Movement as the evil twin of the Civil Rights Movement. Scholar Peniel Joseph provides such a rich history and analysis that anyone reading this book will immediately want to challenge the wrong-headed, yet widespread, good-activists/ bad-activists stereotype. Joseph provides a complex and engaging picture of both movements, and the inseparable relationship between the two.
Educating the “Right” Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality (2nd edition)
By Michael W. Apple
376 pp. $24.95
In this substantially revised new edition, Michael Apple examines the coalition of interests that make up the conservative right in the United States and analyzes their continued impact on schooling and education. This edition includes updated sections focusing on the home schooling movement and No Child Left Behind.
Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education
By Joe Berry
(Monthly Review Press, 2005)
162 pp. $13
A concise organizing handbook for contingent faculty — the thousands of non-tenure-track college teachers “who love their work but hate their jobs.” The book first examines big picture issues like the corporatization of higher education and the role played by adjunct professors. It then looks in detail at lessons of past organizing efforts and finally provides a nuts-and-bolts tool kit on how to start organizing this vast unorganized sector of education workers.
Two Americas, Two Educations
By Paul F. Cummins
(Red Hen Press, 2006)
172 pp. $18.95
An eclectic collection of short reprints, quotations, and essays that focus on disparities of school funding and the resulting impact. The strongest part of the book is the latter two-thirds, which clearly lays out why we need a tax system that is more progressive and just. The author shows how billions of dollars could be generated for needed programs for schools and children if our current system of taxation and laws didn’t favor corporations and wealthy individuals.
The Art Book for Children
By the editors of Phaidon Press
(Phaidon, 2005) 72 pp. $19.95
An incredible guide to 30 famous artists written and designed in a way that will help children (and adults) appreciate different forms of art. The two- or four-page spread on each artist includes beautiful illustrations and reproductions along with text that asks questions and encourages children to use their imagination to understand hidden themes behind the paintings, sculptures, and photographs.
By Marge Bruchac, illustrated by William Maughan
(Vermont Folklife Center, 2005)
32 pp. $16.95
Malian, a young Abenaki girl, lives happily with her extended family in the mid-18th century in a French/Native American village near Montréal. Through beautiful illustrations and well-composed text, the first half of the book shows Malian fishing with her father and living with extended family. Her life abruptly changes in the second half, when English soldiers attack and burn her village. Based on the true story of “Roger’s Raid” — the English attack by Major Robert Roger on the St. Francis Abenaki community in 1759 — the author and her colleagues have done extensive research to make the storyline and drawings as accurate as possible. This book is valuable for teachers and parents who want their students and children to have a more accurate — yet sensitive — picture of the history of North America. Upper elementary and middle school teachers will find Malian’s Song a wonderful complement to Joseph Bruchac’s The Winter People (Dial Books, 2002). The latter is an exciting, intermediate-level chapter book that depicts the struggle of 14-year-old Saxo to free his mother and sister who were kidnapped in the same raid.
Media That Matters
Looking for three- to eight-minute films that appeal to young people on a wide range of social justice issues? If yes, then visit Media That Matters. Films are organized by topics such as racial justice, the environment, immigration, criminal justice, gay/lesbian, religion, health, and many more. The films can be played online at no cost and are also available as DVD collections for under $30. For example, “Good Food: A Focus on Food and Sustainability” is introduced by Jim Hightower and offers 16 short films. Of those, five would be useful for the classroom: genetically modified foods (Terminator Tomatoes), the marketing of sugar-based drinks for children (Sunny-D), the impact of agribusiness on Michigan asparagus farmers (a stalk-umentary), the “water warriors” fight for public access to water in Highland Park, Mich., and protests by Nova Scotian hand-line fishermen against corporate bottom trawlers.
Words Without Borders: An Online Magazine for International Literature
This unusual and teacher-friendly website makes contemporary world literature available to download. It also includes selections from the recently published Literature from the “Axis of Evil”: Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations (New Press/ Words Without Borders, 2006.)
Golden Lands, Working Hands
Written and directed by Fred Glass
Narrated by Joe Morton
(California Federation of Teachers, 1999/2006)
Ten parts, 3 hours, plus curriculum. $25, including classroom materials
www.cft.org/glwh or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This fine history of California labor from the Gold Rush to the present has recently been released on DVD and made more accessible for teachers. One especially useful section, “No Danger from Strikes Among Them,” focuses on the choice faced by a young labor movement of whether to adopt a path of pro-union inclusion or a path of anti-Chinese exclusion. Other segments cover the 1934 coastwide longshore strike, the 1946 Oakland General Strike, and the United Farm-worker organizing of the 1960s. The DVD’s short segments facilitate classroom use.
*All resources marked with an asterisk are available from Teaching for Change, www.teachingforchange.org.