Resources for Getting Books
- First Book: First Book provides over 8 million books and education materials each year to programs and schools for children in need from birth through age 18 throughout the United States.
- Page Ahead: Page Ahead is the leading provider of children’s literacy services in Washington State, serving schools and programs to more than 35,000 children in need every year.
- Discover Books: Discover Books provides high-quality books to schools, libraries, non-profit organizations and literacy programs and has the ability to make donations specific
McERA Book Recommendations
Books for Educators
A book I could offer for teachers is Carol Dweck’s Mindset. Dweck offers a practical framework for teachers to adopt a growth mindset, or the belief that all people have the ability to develop new skills and qualities through practice and learning. This perspective challenges the belief that skills are fixed and unchangeable and can transform the way teachers approach their craft.
Also, The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African-American Children by Gloria Ladson-Billings is a great one. Through stories and research Ladson-Billings offers practical examples of culturally-relevant teaching and learning to help African-American, and all students, excel in the classroom.
I love Whistling Vivaldi: Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us. I highly recommend it to all teachers as a way to better understand the impact of stereotype threat on student learning.
I chose Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, by Joy DeGruy Leary, because it spoke to the reasons that I was walking around searching for the reasons why I was so angry as an African American, I needed to know why things were so unjust in this nation. The history that I was taught as a child was so vibrant and full of our successes, that the negative incidents in my African American history had to be gently explained to me and the way that we struggled past the negatives, as slaves and slave owners, had to be gently explained to me. And it is explained in this book. Dr. Joy Leary wrote this book in a way that is palatable for African Americans, and delivers very important information that other races absolutely need to know about us, if they are going to deal with us and our children.
Also, as an African American woman, watching our male counterparts struggle in America, after learning how strong they were, I had to justify the reason why they were struggling so…this book explains that very well. It helped me empathize with my fellow brother.
Janet Jones Preston recommends this book as inspiration to transform schools into a communities to honor and support all children. The book is based on a case study of Seattle’s B.F.Day elementary school. (Features Golden Apple Award winner for Educational Excellence, Ms. Janet Jones Preston).
“I felt proud to be an American citizen reading Having Our Say…the two voices, beautifully blended…evoke an epic history…often cruel and brutal, but always deeply humane.”—New York Times Book Review
When Sadie and Bessie Delany were 104 and 102 years old, respectively, they told their life stories to journalist Hearth in a remarkable contribution to oral history. As the daughters of a freed slave who became America’s first elected black Episcopal bishop, the sisters’ careers-in education and dentistry-took them to New York during the Harlem Renaissance. Memoirs like this beg to be told aloud.—Library Journal
- it is in the tradition of Teatro Campesino, of which LuisValdez was a founding member. This gives teachers the chance to talk about the revolutionary form, structure, and purpose grounded in indigenous storytelling.
- it dramatizes true events involving police brutality, young Latino and Filipino men in the East LA area, foreshadowing similar events in LA history, including the King riots and current national events
Zoot Suit Riots history:See it on PBS
- it’s an extraordinary piece of literature rooted in Spanglish and the play on language and words, particularly within Chicanismo and Xicana/o tradiitions
- it includes complex character development with special attention to the archetype of the Pachuco
- it asks one of the most important enduring questions that literature can ask of the world: How does the individual exist with(in) the society in which they are born?
- it was made into an amazing film version, without losing its original form as a dramatized play, starring Edward James Olmo and some of the best Latino/a actors of the time
- it gives students the opportunity to use all higher order critical thinking skills needed to read, interpret, analyze, and bring to performance a rich, complex text
David Tyack, Seeking Common Ground: Public Schools in a Diverse Society. In this accessible little book, an eminent historian of education details how many of our most pressing contemporary educational problems have long roots. Can schools ameliorate social ills? Are children from different racial, ethnic, economic, and linguistic backgrounds more alike than different? Should schools strive for unity or valorize diversity? Does education represent a public or private good?
Vanessa Siddle Walker, Their Highest Potential: An African American School and Community in the Segregated South. Many Americans learn that Brown v. Board of Education was a triumphant court case that sought to equalize educational opportunity amidst massive white resistance. In this view, the Supreme Court and the federal government are often portrayed as the ‘good guys’ and African Americans in the South as the lucky recipients of court decrees. What if this view is incorrect, or, only partially correct? What if, instead, we learn about the struggles and joys and love of a segregated black school in the years before Brown? What if, instead, we see forced desegregation as the breaking up a strong black institution and the dismissal of a generation of strong African American teachers?
The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way – by Amanda Ripley – Great book about how governments and the public view education and its social priority.
The One and Only Ivan – by Katherine Applegate, – It is important to view the world from your students perspective. Ivan captures the beauty of ones inner self and what is important.
Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction – This book reminds us of how smart children are and how our perspective of school learning is often too narrow.
Books for Children
Books I used for building classroom community (and for integration into curriculum [e.g. a poetry unit]). I used a lot of picture books and short stories for read alouds even though I taught intermediate—they could pack a punch in a short amount of time:
My ideal unit would have teachers and students talking and thinking about the purpose of schools, our experiences in them, and where outside of schools we learn to be who we are. And I love the musicality and accessibility and wonder of books written in verse.
Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again. Ha’s family must leave Saigon as it falls and they make a harrowing journey to Alabama. She tries to navigate a new school and new culture, while keeping her homeland close.
Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming. (I do not know if these hands will be/Rosa’s/or Ruby’s/gently gloved/and fiercely folded/calmly in a lap,/on a desk,/around a book,/ready/to change the world…)