Hi, it’s been a while. I have been battling the black hole of endless teacher preparation and inching towards my goal of working fifty hours a week. Here are some standout books from my last three months of reading:
Junji Ito’s Gyo, Shiver, and Dissolving Classroom
– My students and I love Junji Ito. His stories are inventive, mysterious, and often grotesque. Coupled with beautiful illustrations, his works are a huge hit! Every time I create a new classroom library project, students request more Junji Ito! Junji Ito forever!
Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series
– Netflix landed on a hit. This series has all the elements of a successful YA romance: the twists, the betrayal, the love interest who is way too charming to ever be a real person. As a mixed person with a Korean mom and white dad (just like Lara Jean), I was annoyed that all three of Lara Jean’s potential romantic interests were white – it felt cliche, and it frustrated me to see white men held up as the pinnacle of romantic yearning for asian women, once again. However, I ultimately couldn’t resist; this series was too endearing.
From the second installment, P.S. I Still Love You:
I don’t look back at Peter as I get into the car, but his necklace is still dangling from my fist. At the last second I turn around, but we’re too far way; I can’t see if Peter’s still there or not. My heart is racing. What would I regret losing more? The reality of Peter or the dream of John? Who can’t I live without?
Ivan Van Sertima’s They Came Before Columbus
– The author does an excellent job of outlining a strong argument for Africans sailing to the ancient Americas and interacting with the indigenous communities who lived here; this is an informative and alternate perspective to Eurocentric interpretations of history.
Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color
– Upon skimming the list of over sixty authors included in this anthology, I recognized a few favorites: Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Justin Chin, and Nikki Giovani. I soon became enamored of dozens more; reading this anthology felt gut-wrenching, euphoric, comforting, and confrontational. A few favorites include Pamela Sneed’s “Survivor 2014,” Adrian Stanford’s “For Stan,” and Paul Tran’s “Elegy with My Mother’s Lipstick.”
Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party
– My students ADORE these books, and we have at least one left of ever book in the series (we always start with three, but some grew legs yikes). Nathan Hale employs a colorful graphic novel format to draw readers into learning about the history of the United States. The books do not have to be read sequentially and the narrators regularly break the fourth wall, in order to provide additional commentary on the events and treat the reader like part of an exclusive club.