If you’re looking for a quick monthly roundup, check out the best 5 books I read in March below!
You can find all of the books I shared over on Instagram organized by month on Bookshop!
This incandescent story is part biography, part metaphor, and entirely needed.
Loujain dreams nightly of flying, something she’s not allowed to do because she’s a girl. While she is eventually able to convince her father to teach her, they can only ever fly in the earliest hours of the morning while everyone else is asleep. But, one morning a photo of her flying was published in the newspaper…
This story is inspired by an activist named Loujain. Loujain Alhathloul was arrested for driving in Saudi Arabia, and remains under house arrest. She is unable to leave the country or continue with her activism for women’s rights.
The beauty of this book is unparalleled. The illustrations, the text, and even the paper speaks to how intentional Loujain’s story has been crafted. The metaphor of flying is a brilliant comparison to real-life Loujain’s driving, and mirrors how she felt when defying the misogynistic laws of her home country of Saudi Arabia.
Are you a nice girl? What about a “nice” girl? Is there a difference between them? Of course there is. For #SweetsAndSocialJustice this week, let’s celebrate the “nice” Jewish girls from history and our own communities! While I’m not Jewish myself (and was raised entirely secular) I know how damaging the “Nice Jewish Girl” trope can create unreasonable & misogynistic expectations.
This INCREDIBLE book by Julie Merberg (who heads up downtown bookworks) memorializes past and present badass Jewish women. I was elated to see that one of TTA’s personal heroes, Emma Goldman, is featured in the first few pages! For those of you who don’t know Goldman, she was a radical anarchist that believed in birth control, free love, and worker’s rights. We happen to have a portrait of Emma on our “Badass Women Wall” holding a bomb in one hand and a condom in the other. It’s perfect.
I love the way that Merberg chose figures that were revolutionary in their own way, in their own fields. This does so much to reinforce the message that personal activism is as unique as the individual, and can help inspire readers to see themselves in figures like Judy Blume, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Helen Frankenthaler. “Nice” Jewish Girls doesn’t shy away from antisemitism, and shows clearly how constant oppression and marginalization can’t stop these “nice” girls.
Kindly sent by @downtown_bookworks but all opinions (and cake) are my own!
Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science is part memoir, part guide for scientists, and entirely amazing.
Dr. Hernandez is a displaced Indigenous woman, and was compelled to join the STEM field in order to more fully embrace her Indigenous heritage; she considers herself inextricably connected to Indigenous Science (which she goes into much more detail about in the book).
The generational trauma of Jessica’s father being a child soldier before escaping to Mexico is an integral piece of the family history, and a catalyst for how Jessica lives her personal and professional life.
Food sovereignty is the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecological, sustainable methods, and to define our own food and agriculture systems. In order to do this, we need to amplify gardening, native plants, and empower kids to grow and cook their own food. In order to be truly sustainable, land needs to be given back to the original stewards.
I bought this book myself, and it’s published by North Atlantic Books.
This YA graphic novel combines history, contemporary political events, and superheroes. Let’s unpack this powerful comic and how it can be used in the classroom. There’s even an included educator guide!
Mother and son Mercedes & Juan have traveled from Guatemala to the southern border of the US to seek asylum after Juan’s father was murdered. Instead, they are separated and imprisoned with Mercedes being deported shortly afterwards. Juan, however, is a different story.
After being unlawfully kept in a facility with scores of other children (of which many of these exist and continue to ruthlessly abuse folks every day), the reader finds out that Juan has superhuman abilities and figures out how to escape. Spoiler: it involves cool explosions aimed at racist ICE agents.
I love the blending of factual information about the current and previous political climate in South America (much of which is due to the US), with something so deeply entrenched in pop culture like superheroes. The backbone of discussion opportunities that this text is built upon can lead to critical thinking about media and history. It’s intentionally designed to be a unique combination of exciting, sobering, and engaging.
The educator’s guide is extremely in-depth with 20 pages of pre, during and post-reading reflection questions and activities. I can’t speak highly enough about the care that was taken to create a resource that can guide teen readers in reflecting about the text and the real life situation at the border, where Mercedes and Juan’s story is being acted out everyday.
Love in the Library is the incredible true story of author Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s maternal grandparents, who met while incarcerated in the Minidoka camp for being Japanese-American.
Tama works in the library, and everyday George comes to visit and bring back the stack of books he checked out the day before. Tama starts to wonder if George is just coming to spend time with her. Spoiler: he sure ding dang is. The pair begin a life together while still unfairly incarcerated by the government, determined to make the best of the time they have together.
It’s a story about injustice, about focusing on small day to day joys, and the refusal to let good things pass by. I love this story about familial legacy, and the way it situates WWII and Japanese incarceration in the recent past with the traumatic repercussions still very much present in families today. But at the same time, it prioritizes the positive and how in despite of these circumstances, Tama & George fell in love and began their family.
Kindly sent by @candlewickpress & all opinions are my own!