Materials from AISNE #blackboylit Presentation

 

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Photo from Terricks Noah, Unsplash

I joined Jack Hill from the Cambridge Friends School to talk about Black boy masculinities and literature for the AISNE Diversity conference on October 24. Materials are available here (AISNE_ #blackboylit Presentation 10.24.18) and the draft of the text evaluation tool I’m piloting (#blackboylit_ Black Boys Doing What Text Evaluation).

If you use any of these or find anything helpful, I’d love to know more, as I’m constantly tweaking the work.

 

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October Update: Where You Can Find Me This Fall

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I’m returning to this blog after too long away. In case you’ve been wondering what I’m up to, I’ve created a Publications & Podcasts page where I’ve put up some recent and relevant stuff.

This fall, I’ll be at the Association of Independent Schools in New England Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference on October 24 and at the People of Color in Independent Schools Conference November 28-Dec. 1 in Nashville. I’ll be co-presenting with the Cambridge Friends Schools’ Jack Hill about #blackboylit. I’m so excited! Come see us!!

I’ve been having lots of fun with my #DisruptTexts cofounders, too. Be sure you’re following us on social media, stop by NCTE for an in-person session, and, in general, be in touch.

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African American Literature for Black Boys Bibliography for Scholastic #ReadingSummit

Thank you for attending, reaching out, or sharing this resource that is a starter for creating a library of #blackboylit. If you use the attached list, please assure you are attributing my work: Dr. Kim Parker. Thank you. African American literature for black boys Bibliography_Scholastic_July ’18.
African American literature for black boys Bibliography_Scholastic (1)

I’m presenting at the Scholastic Reading Summits over the next two weeks. On Thursday, July 12, I’ll be in Raleigh, NC (OMG, sold out!!!) and the following week on July 19, in Greenwich, CT . 

My workshop is officially titled: Creating an Independent Reading Canon for Black Boys, and we’ll spend some time talking books that resonate with Black boys, the wonderful world of #blackboylit and how to make sure we’re making informed, critical decisions about what texts we include in our libraries and our instructional practices, and, of course, how independent reading is gonna save us all. Because, it just IS.

If you’re looking for the bibliography from this session to use as a start for building your library, you can find it here: African American literature for black boys Bibliography_Scholastic

I hope to see you either here or in the social media universe. I’ll post my fall workshops as they are booked (which reminds me, I still have some availability for PD if you’re looking for someone whose work is useful, relevant, and effective).

Have a great summer!

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Stevie’s Legacy: Horn Book Presentation

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Stevie (image from Amazon)

I presented at the Horn Book Colloquium in Boston on October 7. While there were so many highlights (probably the best being meeting Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give and experiencing living legend Ashley Bryan lead us all in a poetry rendition), I was able to lead a discussion with attendees about books for Black boys. I used John Steptoe’s Stevie as a foundational text, then we worked our way through books that are entry points and extensions for this group.

Lots of books on my bibliography were unfamiliar to the audience, and that desire to learn more about what is really a historical legacy of excellent books for Black children sparked a substantial part of the discussion and what we can do to make these books accessible to all children and those of us committed to their care.

If you’re looking for a place to start, click here for Stevie_s Legacy- Black Boys in Children_s and YA Literature- Selected Bibliography and get to reading. Please note there are many, many more books that could be included here. If you have ones to recommend, please leave them in the comments. This is collaborate work we’re doing here.

I remain forever indebted to the work of Drs. Violet J. Harris, Rudine Sims Bishop, and Jonda McNair, whose expertise and brilliance I build upon in my own work.

P.S. Here’s the video of Gordon reading Stevie from Sesame Street.

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Leaving Teaching: Who Gets the Books?

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So MANY Books…going to a good home!

After nearly 16 years of teaching and learning with young people, I’m leaving the classroom at the end of the school year.

I am not leaving entirely; rather, I’ll be working in a program that prepares pre-service teachers, a pursuit I’ve wanted to dedicate much more time to doing.

Now, though, is the hard part of leaving. My first thought after accepting my new position was: what is going to happen to my books?  I knew I wanted them to go to someone who knows why a robust, diverse classroom library matters–for all kids, but, in the case of my work, particularly for underserved kids. I also wanted to be able to give the library to someone who might not have the resources to acquire this treasure for him/her/themself.

And while I’ve worked to create a school-wide culture of independent reading at my current school, I’m not so sure it will continue in ways that I’m comfortable.

So, this was a wonderful opportunity to look backwards–something I’m not that fond of doing because, well, when that happens we can see the good and the bad.

Hindsight, certainly.

I have a beloved colleague that used to teach down the hall from me about 10 or 12 years ago. We have continued to be critical, thoughtful friends for each other over the years. He’s wanted to gain a foothold with independent reading with his kids. He knows it matters. He has made smaller achievements with them. He could make leaps and bounds, I think, if he had more resources. His school’s budget has been trimmed even more.

Supplies, particularly books, are usually the first line item to be cut.

He is taking all of the books. All nearly 900 of them that kids WANT to read. He and a colleague are driving across town and will load them all and take them back to their school. 

This colleague sent me an email asking for money for the library.

Is he kidding? But that’s how Chris is. I told him that the fact that I know the books are going to be read and re-read and that that library is going to be used is all the peace of mind I could ever want, and a small step towards giving kids access to all the books they want and need.

But yes, he could take me to dinner and we can catch up as thanks, for sure. Always. I’m also reminded of how ideas leave us connected and believing in the power of literacy and kids’ rights to have literate lives, reminding us to work like heck to realize those ideas.

 

 

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#sol17: Where To Find Me

Hey everyone: I’m participating in the annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers.

For the month of March, I’ll be writing every day about parenting. Some educational stuff might slip in (i.e., I’m sure I’ll write about what I’m learning about equity and preschool, for instance), but during this month, I’ll shift my focus.

Please come join me at Single Mom So Far. And, if not, I’ll see you soon.

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#ReadYourWorld Making Friends With Billy Wong

blogger-buttonI’m so happy to be participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day this year! What a fantastic way to learn about diverse texts for young people.

I’m reminded, too, that when writing about diverse experiences, I think it’s critical that those books are written by #ownvoices, cultural insiders who share the background(s) of the people they’re writing about. I need to foreground that before I review the book I was mailed for MCBD: Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood.

In this middle grade historical fiction novel, Azalea is a young white girl about to start the sixth grade after enjoying a summer with her beloved parents in Texas. Imagine her surprise, then, when those same parents (mom, actually), drive her to Arkansas to help her ailing grandmother. Suddenly, her summer plans aren’t looking too great at all.

Until…she meets the mysterious Billy Wong, a Chinese American boy whose aunt and uncle happen to own…wait for it…the only grocery store in their small town.

And it’s 1952.

And Billy Wong isnew2bbilly2bwong2bhires2bcvr called all kinds of racist names by a particularly mean white boy, Willis, who is upset about his own poverty and that Billy Wong might take his place on the middle school track team.

But Billy doesn’t get angry. Nope. Instead, Billy, who dreams of being a reporter, responds in a journal. The novel alternates between Azalea’s narration and Billy’s journalistic entries.

This novel is great for teaching about why we need cultural insiders to write their own stories. In the Author’s Note, Scattergood describes becoming interested in Chinese American settlement in the South, leading her to do some research and talk to a Chinese American friend. As far as I can tell, Scattergood is not Chinese American. She has a Chinese American friend.

My largest issue with this novel is that Billy is a flat character and a foil for Azalea. Essentially, he and his family are the model minorities (see: Model Minority Myth). Billy lives with his aunt and uncle and helps them run the store because he wants to attend the school in their town. His old school, where his parents live, was an African American school that had no resources.

I know that this history is important for young people to learn. Many adults are unfamiliar with the long history of Asian American settlement in the South. While it’s great that Scattergood felt interested in this topic, I know that there are #ownvoices writers who are telling that story through well-developed, nuanced characters who live their own lives and who don’t exist to placate or develop white characters. (See: Erin Entrada Kelly, and I know she’s not Chinese American, but it’s important to know that ethnicity matters, too!). In my opinion, you should actively seek out those writers if you really want the perspective of this time period. It would be a great activity to introduce students to critical literacy by doing actual research using primary sources and comparing them to the depiction of Chinese Americans in the text. If you want to push it further, you might even do some work with the White Savior Industrial Complex by Teju Cole and how it works in this book.

Thus, on this Multicultural Children’s Book Day, it’s my hope that you read some really great books, that you learn more about who should be telling particular stories, and why those own voices matter now, more than ever. 

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books 

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

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