While I never quite felt authentic pretending to be James Bond, agent 007, or Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, a few tiny tweaks were all it took to become Batman or Spider-Man. All I had to do was re-envision Bruce Wayne as Bruce Wang, Peter Parker as Peter Park. The…
Yesterday, I started noticing tweets about literature related to the events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. The events there and the very different reactions to them just confirm that we need diverse literature.
One YA title that immediately popped into my mind was Kekla Magoon’s The Rock and the River. In that book and in the sequel, young people see injustice around them and are moved to action. What I really appreciated about The Rock and the River was that Magoon acknowledged that there are gray areas. Activism is messy and it’s not just perfect people against evil people. In her excellent blogpost, “The Violence in Missouri: Writers and Artists Respond,” Lyn Miller-Lachmann also mentioned Kekla Magoon’s books among others. In her own book Gringolandia, Lyn has also written about social justice issues and activism.
There are quite a few titles available for children and young adults that deal with social justice issues and activism. There are already a few lists circulating online. School Library Journal created a list of resources on their blog, Understanding Ferguson: Resources on Protest, Nonviolence, and Civil Rights. In that post, they pointed to the work that Left Bank Books (a bookstore in St. Louis) is doing. Left Bank is curating a list they have named #Ferguson – How We Got Here. Their list includes titles from picture books through adult. There are also two hashtags on Twitter that are related to this subject if you want more titles. For any and all ages see #FergusonReads and for children’s lit see #KidLit4Justice.
Here are a few YA titles:
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon
The Revolution of Evelyn Serranoby Sonia Manzano
Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery by M. Evelina Galang
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
March: Book One by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin with artist Nate Powell
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle
The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri with illustrations by Randy DuBurke
While the final title (Yummy) is not really about activism, it brings up many questions about justice, violence, and our communities. These are issues that young people are seeing in the news and possibly experiencing in their own lives. Literature is one way to open the door for discussion. If you know of any other titles that would fit in with this list, please share them.
For summaries of each of the titles above, visit the Rich in Color blog to read the full post.
– Cover images are from Goodreads
“The key to Luna is that she has that unbelievably rare quality of actually not giving a damn what anyone else thinks of her.” - J.K. Rowling
This middle grade book (now out from tubooks!) sounds adorable!
A monster is loose in England!
And it’s kind of Jin’s fault that Zilombo got loose.
Jin tracks the monster, but he can’t figure out how to get her back into the artifact from which she hatched. Then Jin meets Chief Inspector of Ancient Artifacts A. J. Zauyamakanda—Mizz Z, for short—who has arrived to inspect the artifact. She and Jin team up to find Zilombo.
Joining them is Frankie, Jin’s older sister, who has lost their baby brother—and Zilombo is the most likely culprit for his disappearance. Zilombo gains new, frightening powers every time she hatches. Now the monster is cleverer than ever before … and she likes to eat babies!
Will Jin’s baby brother be next on Zilombo’s menu? As the monster’s powers continue to grow, Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z must find a way to outsmart Zilombo!
Even better, it features a disabled main character: Jin has dyspraxia. Dyspraxia isn’t written about often—this is the only book featuring this condition on our list, in fact—so we’re curious to find out how it’s portrayed.
If anyone with dyspraxia has read The Monster in the Mudball—or would like to, in which case we can likely provide you with a copy!—and wants to write a review for Disability in Kidlit, please let us know.
It’s finally here! The Shadow Hero’s release date is this week. I reviewed it back in March and have been waiting impatiently for the release ever since. This was one of the best books I have read so far this year. Even if you aren’t a graphic novel, super hero kind of reader, this one is worth a try.
Summary: In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.
The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, has finally revived this character in Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.
Another book being released is Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry. Kelly Jensen wrote an excellent review here. It’s the second book in a series, but Kelly explained that it could easily be read on its own.
Summary: A gorgeous retelling of the Persephone myth, Sarah McCarry brings us the story of Cass and Maia–the mothers from All Our Pretty Songs–and how their fates became intertwined.
Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents’ house like a princess in an ivory tower. Cass is a street rat, witch, and runaway, scraping by with her wits and her knack for a five-fingered discount. When a chance encounter brings the two girls together, an unlikely friendship blossoms that will soon change the course of both their lives. Cass springs Maia from the jail of the only world she’s ever known, and Maia’s only too happy to make a break for it. But Cass didn’t reckon on Jason, the hypnotic blue-eyed rocker who’d capture Maia’s heart as soon as Cass set her free–and Cass isn’t the only one who’s noticed Maia’s extraordinary gifts. Is Cass strong enough to battle the ancient evil she’s unwittingly awakened–or has she walked into a trap that will destroy everything she cares about? In this time, like in any time, love is a dangerous game. – Cover image and summary via Goodreads