Mirrors and Windows--Charlottesville Edition
From an ongoing series of essays by Rosie Lee of Readers' Books, Sonoma.
-continued from the NCIBA newsletter 9/1/2017
So in helping kids pick books to read, or in getting presents for kids, try to branch out. Believe better of your kids--why can't a boy read a book with a girl as a main character? Why shouldn't a kid read a story about a non-traditional family? Is there a reason fiction can't teach children how to care about others in the world? All kids want is a good story with interesting characters They don't always want an easy story; they don't always want to read about people who look like them.
So in the wake of Charlottesville, here's a suggested reading list for kids--and adults. We all have tough lessons to learn or relearn in the time ahead. These books can help us.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is written for kids between 8-12 years old, but could be read with younger children. It takes place in occupied Denmark in WWII and is a detailed and moving look at the Danish Resistance's efforts to protect Danish Jews.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a book of verse, directed at kids over the age of ten, but could easily be read with younger kids, perhaps as a family read aloud book. Woodson's poems are autobiographical and beautiful; the book won the National Book Award in 2014.
Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac is the story of how Sequoyah single handedly created the Cherokee syllabary in 1825. It's a unique story and a great introduction to part of American history that is often ignored. It's marketed to 8 to 12 year olds but would also work for older and more reluctant readers.
My Name is Not Friday by Jon Walter. A free born black boy takes the blame for his brother's prank and ends up being sold into slavery. Some of the content makes it more appropriate to offer this book to readers 12 and up.
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, a poetic and illustrated book by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi about the fight against Japanese internment camps. The book is marketed to 8-12 year olds, but would be a good family read.
Most People by Michael Leannah and Jennifer E. Morris is a great picture book featuring images of day to day life and a great message--that most of the world is filled with good people. The book is for ages 4 to 8 but would be a good read out loud book for families with young children.