My Evolving Thoughts

Dear readers,

Over the course of Colorful Book Reviews, I’ve reviewed almost 200 books, ranging from board books to academic works.  I’ve also learned a LOT from you, the diverse book blogging community, reviewers, authors, publishers, readers, parents, teachers, and children.

Sometimes what I learn is that I got it wrong.  Usually when that happens I go back to my review post and add in a note that it’s been edited and what my opinion is now and maybe why it’s changed.

Whether a different edition shows me something about the book to like (or dislike as the case may be) or another person points out a problematic aspect that I’d missed, it’s usually an easy fix to the blog’s content.  However in this case my views on an entire subject have changed.

At one point I did not like books which used strong language for elementary school children.  The more I’ve read and listened to people talk about this issue, the more my views have changed.  The tipping point was reading this interview with Mildred Taylor.

I still have not worked out how to handle some words in a diverse classroom setting, but that is no longer such a concern as my career is taking a different path these days.  At home, I’ve realized that softening the words and events of the past is part of the problem.

While we do soften or avoid some topics with young or particularly sensitive children, downplaying the Holocaust, lynchings, or apartheid stops us learning from those horrible events and working to prevent them.  This can be done on a developmentally appropriate level, although it does take a bit more effort and education as a parent and teacher.

I will continue to mention instances of slurs or especially swears as I notice them in books, so that parents or teachers can make their own informed choices.  However for historical fiction and nonfiction, that will no longer impact my overall opinion the same way.

Thanks for listening,

CBR

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My 2019 Bookish Goals

Last year my goals were too many and too complicated.  This year I’ve chosen 11 goals (many tweaked versions of last year’s) between blogging, reading, and book habits.  Continue reading “My 2019 Bookish Goals”

Web: Bright April and More

Found an article by librarian and author Vaunda Micheux Nelson, detailing how influential the book Bright April was for her.  She also talks about the process of weeding (where minority books might be lost if a circulation-based weeding policy is followed) and how important it is to keep reading and promoting backlist diverse books.  All important points that we agree with here at CBR!  Nikki Grimes has a similar point in this older post about celebrity authors who overlook the backlist of diverse books (and she gives a great list of authors).

Booktoss has An Open Letter to Well-Meaning White Women which ties nicely into this article by Tracey Baptiste about the need for intersectionality.

It’s an older article, but Wheelchair Users in Fiction: Examining the Single Narrative is sadly still very relevant.

Finally, via Reading in Winter, this article by one of the authors about the gender breakdown of Canada Reads winners.

What articles have you read lately?

Discussion: Problematic Authors

When problematic information about an author comes to your attention…

So…  I’ve read, enjoyed, and highly recommended one Sherman Alexie novel.  As you can see on my 100 Indigenous Books challenge page, I’ve purchased two others, one of which I’ve since read (my page needs some updating) and the other I DNF’d but was attempting to re-read.  That’s two reviews that would have gone up later this year.

I’ve been a bit behind on reading blogs so I was very grateful this issue was highlighted on BookToss.  If you want more info, AICL has an exhaustive list of the best articles and commentary about the topic.  If you are looking for alternative books to read, both have lists (note especially these two), or you can check out my reviews.

However, this all leaves me with a bit of a dilemma.  While I don’t plan to buy any more Alexie books, I have a review and a half to go up, and one already up.  When this post goes live, I intend to edit my previous review with a link and comment about this new development and how it’s changed my opinion of Alexie.  But what about the other books?  I have a review ready, and another book that wasn’t going to get a very favorable review anyway.  It takes a lot of time and effort to read and review books, but I don’t want to promote a problematic author either!  Right now I’m leaning towards just giving up on those two reviews, but I’m curious what others think.

What would you do when an author you have scheduled reviews for turns out to be problematic?

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”

15 If You Like That, Then Try This Recommendations

Have you ever seen those displays at libraries or bookstores that get you to try a new book you’ve never heard of by comparing it to a popular book you really like?

I am a sucker for those and always buy something from them.  This is my attempt to do that, but suggesting a diverse literature choice instead.

The suggestions range from infant to adult! Continue reading “15 If You Like That, Then Try This Recommendations”

Review: Educating All God’s Children

“Most disturbing, Anthony regarded society’s low expectations of him as the reason why his school didn’t have the necessary supplies.” page 12

Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can – and Should – Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids by Nicole Baker Fulgham.
BrazosPress, Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013.
Persuasive non-fiction, 235 pages including notes.

Fulgham wrote this book for the sixteen million children growing up in poverty in the United States of America and receiving a drastically different education than their upper and middle-class counterparts.  This book is fairly unique to America, because US education is uniquely flawed.

Educating All Gods Children

The first time I read this book was as a young educator ready to change the world.  This time, I read it having parented, including having parented children in highly segregated schools.

Continue reading “Review: Educating All God’s Children”