Hooray for Picture Book 10 for 10 Day!
Mandy Robek from Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Cathy Mere from Reflect and Refine: Build a Learning Community host this lovely celebration of picture books every year.
Last year, I went back to teaching after spending seven years in district level positions. Picture books were a huge part of our classroom community even though I teach 7th and 8th graders. They allow me to share short texts while also providing visuals. They have rich language and provide opportunities to do deep thinking about theme and character. They also made it easy for me to show, celebrate, and discuss different identities.
This year, I've been thinking a lot about self love. Disrupting deep-seated systems of racism has to start with identity work. It has to start at a personal level. It has to start with self love.
"To disrupt educational racism,
the most radical decolonizing concept
that we can teach...is self love."
When I saw this quote from Mictlani Gonzalez, it all clicked. If colonization is about power and control and domination over a person or a group of people, then it makes sense that the way to reclaim our own power is to practice self love so we can shine bright and speak up boldly amidst systems that need to be disrupted.
My list this year for #pb10for10 is all about books that celebrate and hopefully inspire self love.
Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice
by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood
and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
is an absolute must-have. The poems within these pages are perfect to read individually and to pair with other texts. If you don't own this book, it's time to get it. You're going to love it.
The other books in my list pair well with Woke and at least one of the poems within its pages. I'm so inspired by these books and can't wait to read and discuss them with students and use them as mentor texts for our own writing.
by bell hooks and illustrated by Chris Raschka
I Am Brown
by Ashok Banker and illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Ebony Glenn
All the Way to the Top
by Annette Bay Pimental and illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
We Are Water Protectors
by Carole Lindstrom and illusrated by Michaela Goade
by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar
by Pete Oswald
A Green Place to Be
by Ashley Benham Yazdani
by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Mike Curato
Self love is so important right now. We need to be telling stories. We need to be learning about ourselves and celebrating the complex and unique people that we are. We need to recognize our connection to the past and the future and do our best right now to honor the past and make way for a better future. All of these books invite us to be more self aware, to think about the multiple identities that make us who we are, to learn about and appreciate the lived experiences of others, to be able to see inequities, to speak up, and to take action. If you look at the Social Justice Standards from Teaching Tolerance, you'll see how reading these books and doing this type of identity work aligns.
It all starts with self love.