What I love about my students is that they know that our world needs to change. They see pain and suffering, and they also see beauty and possibility. Most of all, they know that they, themselves, can be the source of change.
It is no secret that high school English classes have long been dominated by the white male experience. Characters of color and female characters hardly ever make more than token appearances, and even less rarely given the status of protagonist, and when they are included, they are fetishized, exoticized, and two-dimensional. The damage this inflicts on our students of color and female students is irrevocable.
Now, perhaps more than ever, students need to read black female authors.
In "Children of Blood and Bone," students get to know Zélie Adebola, a young black woman who learns how to wield her magical powers, which are suppressed by the society she lives in. Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi weaves a tale that not only grips readers by the heart, but also provides a vital reflection of the oppression in our own society.
We need enough copies of this text for each student to have their own book in their hands during second quarter. With it, we will explore issues of race, class, gender, love, power, genocide, magic, religion, and more. Students will learn about West African culture and mythology, and conduct an exploration of their own cultural histories.
"And just like Zélie and Amari, we have the power to change the evils in the world. We've been knocked down for far too long. Now let's rise."
During remote learning, students spend exorbitant amounts of time in front of their screens. It goes without saying that all this screen time comes with many issues, especially around mental and physical health. Holding a physical copy of this text will not only help minimize screen time, but it will also make learning feel more real. The book itself is a treasure; it is satisfyingly heavy with a sleek, shiny cover. Touching the portrait of Zélie helps her come alive.
These books will be purchased from MahoganyBooks, an independent bookstore dedicated to meeting the literary needs of readers in search of books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.
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