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.
Science Education in the Urban Classroom
Not all educators were meant to be tamed. The act of conditioning limits the quality and quantity of what an educator can teach a child. How can a hegemonic administrator evaluate the practice of an original teacher? An original teacher performs on their own paradigm. The learning space is safe; the children are educated; the families are happy. When the evaluator does not recognize that trifecta as proficient, the school is in jeopardy. To oppress the practice of an original teacher, is to oppress the community at large.
– The Picture Book Pusher
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.
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.
This video clip is from February, 2012.
One of my first graders asked me why there were no laws to protect black people back in the day, and thus our conversation on civil rights began. It’s a rough, unscripted clip, and you’ll notice that I affirm almost everything they say. When I reference “The past” before speaking about an ill truth in our society, it’s not because I am feeding my students the falsehood that ‘oppression’ and ‘hate’ are not still prevalent today. Those direct truths come towards the end of the school year, once I’ve built up their hearts and minds to be resilient. Truth can either free or oppress, depending on the development of the child. Mindful timing and scaffolding is vital. Also, the art of teaching is surely a process. I’ve only had one school year of practice in engaging students in this kind of dialogue, so please excuse the amateur discussion-guiding that I display. Their insightful responses trump my lack of flow anyways.
Thanks for watching The Picture Book Pusher
I choose picture books, for my classroom, that support this kind of mentality. Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.
It’s not just Trayvon. From immigrant rights to voter ID, young, Obama-era organizers have turned up. Dani McClain reports.
Rinku Sen writes that harnessing the new activist energy that will be witnessed at this weekend’s March on Washington takes more than putting the word “new” in front of “civil rights movement.
When the actor tweeted support for NYPD’s policy, South Asian leaders responded with a clear rebuttal–and Penn agreed.
A Tale of Two (or Three) Marches in Washington, D.C. Brentin Mock hashes out the who, what and when of the March on Washington anniversary events.
Still Marching for Jobs The economic justice demands of the 1963 March on Washington remain unmet, writes Imara Jones.
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This hits home. Especially around the holidays, a school’s position on the “Tolerance vs. Acceptance” scale may be more visible. – The Picture Book Pusher
The other day, I got into a discussion with someone about how students are taught tolerance in school rather than acceptance. That hit home with me and got me thinking about the difference between tolerance and acceptance.
Of course we should be tolerant of others, right? If someone practices a different religion, has different political beliefs, is from a different country, is of a different race or ethnicity or a different sexual orientation, we should have tolerance for those differences. We have museums of tolerance which remember events such as the Holocaust, and students are taught in school to tolerate others different from them.
Curious about the actual definition of tolerance, I dipped into my old paper version of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition). Here are two definitions of tolerance that I think apply:
2a: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
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