Dehumanization of black children in US

I don’t have any of my own comments to add to this reblogged article. I just know, that since beginning teacherhood, it has been an uphill battle to find the support and space to educate brown and black children to their full potential, due to the systematic: Dehumanization of black children in US. I may be white-skinned, but I was raised by a black mama, and I honor black and brown children. Being white-skinned has enabled me to slip into spaces where I have heard and witnessed behaviors by educators, administrators, and policy makers that deliberately and systematically dehumanize black children in the US. This reblog is not to be controversial or to seek attention. It is to communicate urgency. Education is the practice of freedom, yet it is most played out as the practice of indoctrination. If you are an educator of black and brown children, and you are failing them; then it is time to educate yourself a great deal more; less you plan to step out of the kitchen. Okay, well..I guess I did add my own comment.

The Apartheid of Children’s Literature – an article by author Christopher Myers.

The Apartheid of Children’s Literature – an article by author Christopher Myers.

The gentrification and apartheid of children’s literature are concepts I mull over often. My third graders are currently working on Compare and Contrast Essays, using Christopher Myer’s Wings, and Lesa Cline-Ransome’s Before There Was Mozart. So this article is close to my heart as well as my profession. The link above takes you to his article, featured in today’s New York Times.

Wings. Written and Illustrated by Christopher Myers

Wings. Written and Illustrated by Christopher Myers

Before There was Mozart. By Lesa and James Ransome. 2011

Before There was Mozart. By Lesa and James Ransome. 2011

 

BHM Children’s Read Alouds: Day 6: When the Beat was Born

February 6 – When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc & The Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill. Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.

Genre: Non-fiction. Biography.

Biography: – Clive Campbell a.k.a. DJ Kool Herc.

Historical Time Period: 1970’s – Present Day.

Geographical Relevance: 1. Bronx, NYC. 2. Jamaica

Authenticity: Author, Laban Hill, includes historical data, timeline, and an extensive Author’s Note, in the back of the book, that include’s stories of his younger years exploring the Bronx and other boroughs of NYC.  Hill has a reputation of doing extensive research on his subjects before he writes about them. This book is no exception to that.

Roaring Brook Press. 2013.

Roaring Brook Press. 2013.

Author - Laban Carrick Hill

Author – Laban Carrick Hill

Illustrator: Theodore Taylor III

Illustrator: Theodore Taylor III

 

 

BHM Children’s Read Alouds: Day 5: A Celebration of Black Dolls

February 5 – Sitting Pretty: A Celebration of Black Dolls by Dinah Johnson. Photographs by Myles C. Pinkney.

Genre: History. Poetry.

Historical Time Period: 1800’s. 1900’s. 2000’s.

Geographical Relevance: Global.

Authenticity: The author Dinah Washington is professor of English and Children’s Literature at the University of South Carolina. Many of the dolls that she writes poetry about in Sitting Pretty, are dolls that she, or loved ones, owned. At the back of the book, the Author’s Notes include much provenance about individual dolls.

Sitting Pretty. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 2000

Sitting Pretty. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 2000

From Dinah Johnson's Sitting Pretty. Photographs of dolls by Myles C. Pinkney.

From Dinah Johnson’s Sitting Pretty. Photographs of dolls by Myles C. Pinkney.

 

Author Dinah Johnson

Author Dinah Johnson

Photography Myles Pinkney

Photography Myles Pinkney

I recommend this book for all ages. It’s a gem.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

 

 

 

BHM Teacher Reads: The Other Black Bostonians.

The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston, 1900-1950. by Violet Showers Johnson.

other black bostonians

Author Violet Showers Johnson - Professor of History at Texas A&M.

Author Violet Showers Johnson – Professor of History at Texas A&M.

Since I am sharing a picture book a day, during Black History Month, I thought it selfish of me to not include books that the teacher is reading too.  Being a teacher in Boston Public I have know excuses for not being educated on the histories of my students’ cultures. I found this book almost a year ago, at Tom Sawyer Old Books and Prints in Allston, MA.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

BHM Children’s Read Alouds: Day 4: Joseph Boulogne

February 4 - Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George by Lesa Cline – Ransome. Illustrated by James E. Ransome.

Genre: Non-Fiction. Biography

Biography: Joseph Boulogne – knight (chevalier), fencer, composer, violinist, royal music instructor, Colonel in French Revolution, abolitionist. 1739 – 1799.

Historical Time Period: Mid-late 1700’s.

Geographical Relevance: 1. Guadeloupe Islands in the West Indies. 2. Paris, France. 3. Senegal.

Authenticity: The author, Lesa Cline-Ransome, and the illustrator, James E. Ransome, are wife and husband. Lesa was an avid writer while attending the Pratt Institute in New York, a professional marketing-writer, and developed a love of picture books during her graduate program in Education. Her husband first encouraged her to put her skills and knowledge into picture book form, and from there she would research the history of her subjects while her young children napped. James’ illustrations, also researched, make for a complete story. What is rare and wonderful to see, in major publishing houses, is the author and illustrator creating the book together. Ideas are in agreement – facilitating the book’s authenticity.

Before There was Mozart. By Lesa and James Ransome. 2011

Before There was Mozart. By Lesa and James Ransome. 2011

Right: Author Lesa Cline-Ransome. Left: Illustrator James E. Ransome. (photo courtesy of Chronogram Magazine)

Right: Author Lesa Cline-Ransome. Left: Illustrator James E. Ransome.
(photo courtesy of Chronogram Magazine)

I hadn’t heard of this book, or the author, before I saw it in the window of The Book Rack in Arlington, MA., a little over a month ago. This book is rare in quality. The story is unique and has many layers: A boy, who’s mother was a first-generation slave captured from Senegal, yet was never a slave himself, because his father, the plantation Master, honored his son as his son. The father also acknowledged the mother. Joseph continually experienced both oppression and privilege throughout his life, making for a very dynamic position and perspective in the world. I recommend this book for all ages, although grade K2 and grade 1 will need some mindful scaffolding beforehand.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

BHM Children’s Read Alouds: Day 2: Pink and Say

February 2 – Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

Genre: Non-Fiction. Oral History

Biography: Pinkus Aylee – Hero, enslaved man and soldier in Georgia, US. About 1840 – 1861

Historical Time Period: Civil War.

Geographical Relevance: Georgia.

Authenticity: The author and illustrator, Patricia Polacco, is the great great granddaughter of ‘Say’. Say is the man that Pinkus Aylee rescues from the hands of Confederate soldiers. The true story of Pinkus’ bravery has been orally passed down through Polacco’s family.

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco Originally published by Philomel 1994

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Originally published by Philomel 1994

Author Patricia Polacco

Author Patricia Polacco

 

The book is potentially quite powerful in teaching children about white privilege. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it in the classroom  yet. Up until recently, I’ve taught Kindergarten and first grade, and I don’t find it appropriate for the early childhood classroom, as it is quite sad and gruesome in parts. I aim to incorporate it into the curriculum of my new third grade class, that I begin teaching tomorrow.

The Picture Book Pusher

BHM Children’s Read Alouds: Day 1: Speak, So You Can Speak Again

February 1. – Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. by Lucy Anne Hurston.

Genre: Biographical. Non-Fiction

Biography: Zora Neal Hurston – Author, anthropologist, thinker. January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960

Historical Time Period: Harlem Renaissance.

Geographical Relevance: Florida, New York, Howard University in Washington. D.C.

Authenticity: The author is the niece of Zora Neale Hurston.

Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale HurstonBy Lucy Anne Hurston and the Estate of Zora Neale HurstonPublished by DOUBLEDAY. 2004

Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston
By Lucy Anne Hurston and the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston
Published by DOUBLEDAY. 2004

Author Lucy Anne Hurston.

Author Lucy Anne Hurston.

I find this book to be purposeful and appropriate for all ages. K2-12.

The Picture Book Pusher.

Zora in the Kindergarten Classroom

A page from Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

A page from Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

(I first wrote this post over a week ago, but just publishing it now.)

I bought Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston online for an amazing $4, a little over 6 months ago. It is a reproduction of her personal scrapbook and photos curated by her niece, Lucy Anne Hurston, presented almost in picture book form. I first saw it at some rare bookshop, selling for $80 or something like that, and my pockets weren’t having that even though my heart needed to be having it. So, alas, I found it for a whopping $4 plus $3.95 shipping. I’ve become quite skilled in the art of pinching rare books right before they skyrocket in price, so I suggest you purchase this book as soon as you’re done reading this fantastic post.

Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale HurstonBy Lucy Anne Hurston and the Estate of Zora Neale HurstonPublished by DOUBLEDAY. 2004

Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston
By Lucy Anne Hurston and the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston
Published by DOUBLEDAY. 2004

I’m so attached to this renditioned scrapbook book of Zora’s life. It connects me to my great grandmother, whom I know only through her scrapbooks, in my possession. I’ve been wanting to make a remake of my grandmother’s scrap books, letters, and photographs for archival purposes. So when I came across Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston I knew I had to have it. Not only does Zora give me crafted memories of my great grandmother, but she also is a biographical figure I wanted to share with my Kindergarten students. I steep heavy in history in the K2 classroom. It’s the genre I’ve observed to be the most engaging to the students. They gravitate towards truth, perhaps from the deprivation of it in our mainstream cultures that engulf their precious lives.

Used with permission.

Used with permission.

I kept this book on a high shelf in the classroom, far enough away to keep safe from sticky crayon-holding hands, yet close enough to be in eye’s view as to contribute to the visual ambience of our classroom.

However, I have left the classroom this past week, for reasons that I won’t get into on a public blog post; but I will tell you this: I’ve quoted Zora at least three times over the past two weeks, when rationalizing my radical reasons for departing from my oppressive work environment. Even the title of her remade scrapbook, Speak, So You Can Speak Again, embodies all my reasons for demonstrating a moratorium from the classroom. And earlier this evening, while I was finishing cleaning out my belongings from the learning space, I saw this precious book. My heart sunk for a breve sec knowing that I never got to share it with my students. So, to suffice my softened heart, I blog about it now.

Here, I will share with you, in photos, why I associate Zora Neale Hurston with Gladys Golden Weaver.

Zora Neale Hurston.  From Lucy Ann Hurston's Speak, So you Can Speak Again. Page. 15

Zora Neale Hurston.
From Lucy Ann Hurston’s Speak, So you Can Speak Again. Page. 15

Open up the flap, and there is an excerpt from Hurston's work in The Crisis magazine, 1925.

Open up the flap, and there is an excerpt from Hurston’s work in The Crisis magazine, 1925.

"The journals published by African-American organizations were among the most important vehicles for communicating black thought, news, and culture...the NAACP published the most prestigious publication of the lot, The Crisis, Zora's work would appear." - Lucy Anne Hurston. Pg. 15

“The journals published by African-American organizations were among the most important vehicles for communicating black thought, news, and culture…the NAACP published the most prestigious publication of the lot, The Crisis, Zora’s work would appear.” – Lucy Anne Hurston. Pg. 15

My great grandmother, Gladys Golden Weaver, photographed in The Crisis, 1928.

My great grandmother, Gladys Golden Weaver, photographed in The Crisis, 1928.

 

Gladys Golden , top right. Taken from her photo scrap book. Not permitted for replication by any third parties.

Gladys Golden , top right and bottom right, with friends while traveling through D.C., to Baltimore. Taken from her photo scrap book. Not permitted for replication by any third parties.

Zora with friends from Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Taken from Pg. 12 of Speak, So You Can Speak Again by Lucy Anne Hurston

Zora with friends from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Taken from Pg. 12 of Speak, So You Can Speak Again by Lucy Anne Hurston

Both Zora Neale Hurston and Gladys Golden Weaver were born in the 1890’s and raised in the south (Hurston Florida, Weaver Virginia), and both moved to New York for the Harlem Renaissance, but both not before spending time in D.C. and Maryland. Both also spent time living with other relatives during the first decade of the 20th century. “Zora spent the following years in the homes of first one sibling, then another…She was hungry for books to read, ideas to explore, and creative expression. She was young, female, and dependent, but failed to display the humility necessary to make those who provided for her feel that she was sufficiently grateful.” – Lucy Anne Hurston, Speak, So You Can Speak Again. Pg. 12. The above quote conveys the same character of Gladys’ letter to her mother, whom she wrote while residing with some relatives in Richmond, Virginia, 1907.

A letter, from Gladys Golden to her mother Mary Golden, written in 1907. (Not permitted to be duplicated by third parties or used in anyway without written consent from the owner.)

A letter, from Gladys Golden to her mother Mary Golden, written in 1907. (Not permitted to be duplicated by third parties or used in anyway without written consent from the owner.)

Zora's journal. Pg. 29 in Speak, So You Can Speak Again.

Zora’s journal.
Pg. 29 in Speak, So You Can Speak Again.

A page from Glady's journal, that she sealed in an envelope, and reopened 29 years later. (Not to be reproduced without permission.)

A page from Glady’s journal, that she sealed in an envelope, and reopened 29 years later. “Life in These United States./ I was a visitor in a friend’s home in Virginia. There are nine children of various complections, the father being “light” and the mother “brown”. Sitting on the porch one day I heard the following between an older sister giving a younger one an airing + a lady walking by. ‘My, what a pretty little girl. May I have her?’ asked lady. ‘Oh, no’, replied big sister, ‘She’s the only white child mama’s got.’. G.G.W/ The above is true. / (Mrs.) Gladys G. Weaver 534 W. 147 St. N.Y.C. “
(Not to be reproduced without permission.)

Envelope from the above journal entry.

Envelope from the above journal entry.

(Not to be reproduced without explicit permission from owner.)

Both the famous Zora and the personal Gladys taught me about American culture, politics, and history;  neither less of a historic-informative than the other. If you have the honor of teaching children, this year, guide them heavily in their learning of  history. Not just the published histories, but their familial histories as well.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

 

 

 

K2 Read Alouds: Week 9

School week of Nov. 4 – 8, 2013.

Monday

Everett Anderson’s 1•2•3 by Lucille Clifton, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi. Protagonist Everett analyzes his changing family dynamics, in this 3rd-person narrative, when Mommy has a new man in her life.

Everett Anderson's 123 By Lucille Clifton Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi Published by Henry Holt & Co. 1992

Everett Anderson’s 123
By Lucille Clifton
Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi
Published by Henry Holt & Co. 1992. OUT OF PRINT

Tuesday and Wednesday

A Weed is a Flower by ALIKI

A Weed is a Flower  by ALIKI  Published by Aladdin. 1988

A Weed is a Flower
by ALIKI
Published by Aladdin. 1988

Our “Scientist of the Month” is George Washington Carver – American inventor. A Weed is a Flower is a bit advanced for a K2 class in November, but we did quite a bit of scaffolding. Published in 1988, and yet it was not a part of my childhood education, and I went to a reputable public school system. I didn’t learn about George Washington Carver until I myself became a teacher. I’m surprised, but grateful, it’s stayed in  print, being that so much fine children’s literature is no longer in print.

Thursday

How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan. Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

How a Seed Grows By Helene J. Jordan. Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

How a Seed Grows
By Helene J. Jordan.
Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

Friday

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham By Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham
By Dr. Seuss

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher