Elementary & Up
Historical Figures & Events
For #SweetsAndSocialJustice this week, I have a book that focuses on three large-scale protest marches, and the context surrounding them. Much of this book is large photographs, which make it much more powerful to read. Chronologically covering the 1963 March on Washington, the 2017 Women’s March, and the 2020 BLM Marches, the book also has many quotes and puts faces to the protests.
When I was in school, we barely covered anything related to historical social movements (especially activism). If anything, it was a brief mention of MLK Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and Rosa Parks. I really appreciate how this book shows how interconnected history is to these present-day struggles (struggles that never ended) for liberation. Teachers are the ones that can introduce the long and intersectional history of social justice, but they need quality resources to do so.
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Tim Wise, activist and writer. Tim talked at length about how we teach history in the States, disjointedly and with an emphasis on memorization of random names and dates. He said instead we should be focusing on historical societal trends, and the outcomes of these trends. Understanding the US’s colonial history and anti-Blackness is crucial for understanding how we got to the place we are today; the systems built 400 years ago are functioning exactly as designed. Everything can be traced back to white supremacy and racism; when support systems aren’t in place for the most marginalized, the issues grow larger and larger until they consume the most privileged members of our society. And THAT”S when it becomes “a crisis” that needs solving.
Anyway, I can clearly go on and on about these topics. But this book is a step in the right direction of combatting the lack of information that we learn about activism and social change in schools. This book was kindly sent by Sleeping Bear Press, but all opinions are my own.
Recipe: Oat & Date Bars
I love streusel. It’s the best part of any coffee cake or muffin, and I love when the chunks are big and crunchy. Enter these bars. Two crust layers, one bowl. Entire streusely goodness.
3/4c softened butter
1c brown sugar
1c gluten free all-purpose flour
3/4c oat flour (I make my own)
1/2t baking soda
1/4t baking powder (this is actually optional, it makes the dough softer to bite. If you like it to be extra crunchy, leave it out!)
1.5c quick oats
I use 1c filling, but you can use more or less, whatever your taste is. I make my own date filling (recipe below) and mix it with strawberry preserves (that I either make myself or use store-bought, depending on my energy levels).
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 and grease an 8×8 pan. Measure into a medium bowl the dry ingredients, EXCEPT the oats, and whisk. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the whisked dry ingredients and mix until almost entirely together. Add in oats and pulse until mixed. Divide the mixture in half. Press half into the bottom of the baking pan, making sure it’s smooth and even. Add 1c of your fruit filling on top of that and smooth with a small offset spatula until even as smooth as well. I crumble the second half of the mixture on top and press relatively flat, I like to leave some texture for the filling to bubble up around and so the layers stay distinct. Bake for 25 minutes or so, until crunchy and golden brown. Cool in the pan and cut into squares of your preferred size.
1lb pitted dates
1/4c honey or maple syrup (or sugar)
pinch of salt & splash of vanilla (optional)
1t lemon juice
Directions: Put all ingredients in a pan on the stove on medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft and the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to food processor or blender and blend smooth. I allow to cool for a bit before mixing in my strawberry preserves, but you can keep it plain date, or mix in another type of preserves. I use a 2:1 ratio of dates:preserves, but this is customizable to your tastes. Another option is to toss in 8 ounces of strawberries (fresh or frozen) with the filling ingredients.
Joyce Markovics writes and edits nonfiction books on topics ranging from Tasmanian devils to blizzards for the school and library market. She has published more than 20 books for young readers. Her book The Bat’s Cave: A Dark City won the Teachers’ Choice Award for Children’s Books and the Children’s Choices Selection in 2011. Joyce lives in Riverdale, New York with her husband, Adam.