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October Has Us Chilled: Book Picks & Thoughts

Happy October, fellow readers. There's a chill in the air. And that's not just because the election and so many other things happening in our world around racial justice, environmental crisis, and pandemic right now are chilling. To the bone.

One way to cut the chill is to curl up with a good book...and to talk about it with your friends and family. I'm not saying that this is the only way. And I'm not saying that this is enough. But it is part of what we can do. To fill our minds and hearts with counternarratives that liberate, with own voices stories that tell the truth, with resilience and strength that teach us a new way...

That's why all of our Middle Reader and YA Book Box picks for October give deeper perspective on the issues our presidential candidates spoke so yelling-ly about in the recent debate: immigration, incarceration, racial justice, standing up for what's right, speaking truth to authority, how elections work, and how to collaborate together for collective liberation.

Our Middle Reader Book Box picks are Strange Birds by Celia C. Perez, Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros, and From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks.

And our YA Book Box picks are The Assignment by Liza Weimer, Running by Natalia Sylvester, and The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert.

The bonus book to check out is part of the surprisingly real History Smashers series by Kate Messner. She has written a second book on the Mayflower, which I haven't read yet, but the Women's Right to Vote book gave me some hope that the narrative is shifting and that whiteness will stop being centered in the way we tell our history.

Speaking of which, back to the election. The president of this country refused to condemn white supremacy in the first presidential debate. While this wasn't remotely surprising, it still gave me the bad kind of goosebumps. The first thing I did when I met my fall term students in our orientation was to say that we would actively fight and dismantle white supremacy in everything we do this term. That it wouldn't be easy because we are swimming in this vile philosophy upon which the United States was founded. But that together, with this commitment in community, we make it possible for each other.


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