Nonfiction Reading Challenge

My six non-fiction reading goals for 2018.

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I saw a sign-up post for this challenge on Misfortune of Knowing while procrastinating on my 2018 reading/blogging goals list.  After checking out the challenge overview, I realized this fit nicely with the reading goals I already had, which were mostly for nonfiction.

Continue reading “Nonfiction Reading Challenge”

Challenge: Beyond the Big Five

A simple challenge to take this year’s Black History Month beyond the basics.

So let’s talk about something.  America has a month devoted to African-American history (February).  Most teachers and school districts these days fall in line with this and do at least a few activities relating to the theme.

The problem?  Teachers, and schools, tend to focus on the Big Five:
(Paraphrases of inaccurate comments I’ve heard from schoolchildren in parenthesis.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(that guy who dreamed the Civil Rights Movement.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Rosa Parks
(King’s wife who sat down on the bus.  She was so tired she just couldn’t get up again!)

Jackie Robinson
(they let him play baseball with the white guys, and he was good at it.)

Harriet Tubman
(she freed all the slaves, so Lincoln almost had nothing left to do later.)

And of course, Abraham Lincoln
(he’s white, but he helped the slaves so much.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Sometimes Nelson Mandela is thrown in, even though he is African, not African-American!

There are a few reasons for this.  African-American history and culture is so ignored by the mainstream culture, I’ve actually encountered people who don’t know that there were other notable blacks.  Not to mention, Husband (who doesn’t study this, but has been around when the kids and I read) got more questions right on a Black History Month quiz even compared to his African-American co-workers.  I would say that this blog helped educate him, but this was before blogging, when we were just starting to study Black History!

Continue reading “Challenge: Beyond the Big Five”

Currently Reading

A peek at my reading habits.

I saw this tag on whatthelog and decided to give it a try! It was short and easy to answer.

1) How many books do you usually read at once?

This is going to really bother some people…  At least five.  I always have three nonfiction (or short story) books going – one for work, one for the car, one for bedtime reading.  I actively participate in 2 nonfiction book groups every month and occasionally participate in two others.  Usually there is at least one book that’s required reading for professional development at one of my jobs.  I try to average at least one novel a week.

I consider a book to be “currently reading” if I’ve read something from it in the last three days OR the last time I had access to it.  (For example, the book I leave at my workplace for lunch reading once a week). Continue reading “Currently Reading”

Good News and Bad

So you may have noticed things were really weird and random around here the last few weeks.

Bad News

Our internet went down and it took a few weeks to be reconnected.  I did have some access at the library or on my phone but wasn’t able to update the blog as RL had to come first.  A few posts that had been scheduled seemed to have still posted, but it probably seemed a little off – sorry about that!

Good News

Since we had no screen time at home for WEEKS, I ended up reading far more than I possibly expected to for Nonfiction November.  Honestly it may have been the best (outside of required reading for school or work) that I’ve done at nonfiction reading in my life!

It will probably take some time for me to sort things out and catch up on the blogs I follow.  Meanwhile, I hope everyone is having a good winter so far.

Why Books About Holidays?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I tend to turn onto rabbit trails quite a bit.  Sometimes the causes are obvious – I started collecting and reviewing board books after Baby arrived, I started the Diverse Disabled booklist because I wanted to read more books specifically about people of color who were disabled and couldn’t find a similar list anywhere else.

At other times the causes are less obvious.  I started the 30 Day Project because I couldn’t find anything like it at the time (but later found plenty of places with similar information).  There are lots of booklists for indigenous #ownvoices books, but I wanted to record my own progress on the subject and keep the info about each author’s ancestry or tribal membership in one place rather than scattered across various reviews.

This year I’ll be posting some reviews of holiday-themed books, but with a twist.  These books look at popular holidays from a different perspective.  So while I will be posting reviews of some books that look at minority holidays or celebrations, what I mean by this is books that look at Thanksgiving from a Native American or immigrant or Latino perspective, or a book about the Fourth of July from a Chinese-American perspective.  Some of these are more recent publications, while others are classics that I wish were better known.

This particular series has the distinction of being the longest-planned yet on my blog, being that I had the idea and started gathering and reviewing the books a full year ago.  It was set in motion by a particular incident around the book How Many Days to America?, and originally I planned to share the story when I reviewed that book, but it got too long to include in a review, so here it is now.

How Many Days to America? is the book that got me interested in multicultural Thanksgiving stories.  It’s a rather unusual topic and not the easiest to find books about, yet there are many available.  Thanksgiving Day is a uniquely American/Canadian holiday, but most books about it are rife with inaccuracies and downright offensive to the indigenous peoples whose land was stolen, whose way of life was destroyed, and many of whom were outright killed off when Europeans entered the Americas.

Yet… Teachers are still teaching Thanksgiving in classrooms today.  I even occasionally do a lesson with that theme, with a focus on modern Native Americans to counter the dominant culture a little bit and inform my students.  Every so often a teacher comes to me on library day with a desperate request to read something that will help them meet their learning objectives for the week.  That’s how I came across this book.

A teacher needed me to change my prepared read-aloud to something relating to Thankgiving.  I let her know I would not be reading any of the popular texts that perpetuate disinformation.  She was okay with that, so then I had a few minutes to find something currently in the library before class started.

That particular library is quite small and didn’t have many books on Native Americans, those I would normally recommend were already checked out for the holiday.  So I grabbed this text instead.  It was too heavy for the young class in that day, but it worked out okay, and got me interested in other diverse Thanksgiving titles.  (I also after that time made sure to have one in reserve in case this happened again.)

After keeping a lookout for Thanksgiving books of this nature, I started to notice books about other holidays as well.  Having noticed them, of course I wanted to read and review those too…

And that’s how I ended up down this rabbit hole, and you’ll get quite a few quirky offbeat holiday book reviews this year, as I’ve been doing them for the past year and saving them up!