If you’re looking for a quick monthly roundup, check out the best 5 books I read in May!
Ordinary Equality: You know, it would be really nice to go one day without feeling like my bodily autonomy wasn’t under attack. By now you’ve probably seen all sorts of coverage about the document leak regarding overturning Roe V Wade. The past few decades have seen white supremacists inserting themselves into government positions in order to derail human rights advances and further divide us.
Despite my profession entailing yelling about feminism on the internet, I continue to be unable to eloquently convey how infuriating it is to watch the rights of people that I love be threatened. Many people might feel like the rug just got yanked out from under them, but many have been warning us about this for a long time. Everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion.
How do you control a portion of the population? You take away bodily autonomy and any choice about childbearing. This sequesters caregivers (mostly women) in their home and isolates rather than building community.
All hope is not lost.
Ordinary Equality was a book I picked up today after crawling back into bed to see if the cozy warm blankets would grant me the ability to formulate coherent thoughts. Instead I started reading about badass activists that paved the way for us to continue the fight today. Inside are chapters about Dagonwadonti (aka Molly Brant), Mary Church Terrell, Patsy Takemoto Mink, and many others. This is a brilliantly researched and designed book; it fanned & relit the flames of my eternal feminist rage which had burned down to a coal this morning. We are the next generation of women and queer people shaping both the present and the future.
Donate locally. Build community. Fight like hell.
So, here we are again. People offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ in lieu of actual change when it comes to confronting  supremacy. Didn’t people promise to hold themselves accountable and work towards justice 2 years ago?
In order to value the lives of those around us, we must be learning whole, *accurate* histories, talking about social justice, and living an active antiracist lifestyle. This requires having hard conversations and confronting uncomfortable truths about your own personal complicity (we ALL have it) in an unjust society. That means saying “I don’t know, let’s learn together” among other things, and committing your time and emotional energy to unlearning and relearning.
Here are 3 amazing #AntiRacistFamilyBookClub reads (in ascending difficulty) that focus on amplifying the achievements of Black women and girls; any time spent learning about hard history should be offset by learning about badass humans that make the world a better place.
Black Girl Rising: This beautiful picture book acknowledges the tough, unfair, terrible, and glorious. It doesn’t sugarcoat the hard, but it reiterates the beautiful truth of being a Black girl rising in the world.
Black Girls Unbossed: A MG resource with beautiful illustrations and even more beautiful inspirational leadership from girls changing the world today like Hannah Lucas, Ssanyu Lukoma, and Amara Ifeji (among many amazing others).
Unbossed: The grownup version of the incredible book above, with more heft and narrative structure. I love the way author @khristiadams draws inspiration from her own lived experiences and combines them with the work of the incredible Black women featured in her books.
Gullah Geechee Home Cooking
For #WorldBakingDay so I’m sharing a cookbook that I’ve been SO excited for, Gullah Geechee Home Cooking!
Emily Meggett is a renowned cook from Edisto Island, and she’s shared many of her favorite recipes in this new book. I almost keeled over from excitement when I saw how many recipes for grits there were. After deciding on sour cream cake and vanilla custard, I was able to read more about Gullah Geechee culture, Emily’s personal history, and learn more about traditional foods of the islands.
I have many more plans to try the recipes within Emily Meggett’s cookbook, and today the perfect book pairing is with Root Magic, a middle grade book about a pair of Gullah Geechee twins.
Root Magic is a beautiful blend of ancestral connection, growing self-confidence, and addresses racism and police harassment in addition to other topics. I love the Gullah words and phrases laced through the book, as well as the deep discussions about losing culture due to Enslavement. Root Magic deftly combines the difficulty of figuring out who you are, haints, boo-hags, and good old-fashioned sibling arguments. Ensuring that Black folks keep the culture that they were forcibly and horrifically ripped away from is treated with the utmost care and importance.
Early reader graphic novels!
This pair of emerging reader graphic novels are based on Indigenous folktales, which is not only a really engaging medium for kids, but also a fantastic way to introduce Indigenous voices onto the bookshelf.
Giju’s Gift from @highwaterpress follows Mali, who is Mi’kmaw, and runs into both an ancient giant and a pugulatmu’j (one of the Little People)! There’s a missing hair clip made by a family member, and leaves off in a great spot for the next story in the series.
Putuguq & Kublu from @inhabitmedia is about a pair of Inuit siblings that exist in part just to aggravate one another. In this latest story, over a bowl of caribou stew, a pair of stinky socks reminds their grandparents of a traditional story about an ogress that eats children!
The Hair Book is a pair of books that celebrate all things hair (and even how it’s covered) in all sorts of ways!
The Hair Book was released in a picture book and board book format, with the same text inside of each (but different covers).
The adorable print illustrations by @amandajanejonesare the perfect combination of realistic and whimsical humans.
Simple text from @latonyayvette explains bun hair, no hair, and cornrow hair! Besides aesthetics, I really appreciate how the hair book also specifically includes (with no extra emphasis) some different hair coverings. I’m loving the kippah and hijab representation in these books for such young readers!
Adorable, sweet, simple.
These books were kindly sent by the publishers, but all opinions are my own!