Diversity Reading Challenge

What I’m Reading: Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I gave Between the World and Me to my son at Christmas. After the holidays I realized #1 son had left the book behind and I’ll admit I was a little glad! I had wanted to read the book but it seemed silly to buy two copies. So here was my chance to read it. I’m kind of a fast reader and the book is rather slim, so I thought I’d zip through the book in no time.

 Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Between the world and me is not a book you rush through. Even though I’m Black I figured our Black experiences would be similar and I could simply shake my head in agreement and commiserate. Not so. Coate’s experience as a Black male is vastly different from mine. And certainly one worth listening to.

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.

I can’t say that I agree with every single point Coates makes. Partially ignorance, partially different upbringings, and partially different sexes have lead us in different directions. But yet, our experiences are far sides of the same coin. We are Black and have each learned a thing or two about how we are perceived and handled in the world. Coates’ book should really be taught in schools, as Toni Morrison says on the cover. I think open minded educators and students can learn from Coates’ thoughts. And students of color may see themselves in Coates’ struggle.

I plan to finish the book and have a chat with a girlfriend, who is White, and also reading it, when we are finished. It should be an interesting discussion. I don’t have all the answers but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. Again and again.

Sorry for being so deep this time. Every once in a while, I have to. When my littles are hurt and in pain, it bothers me and I have to speak out.

This title could definitely count toward the Diversity Challenge.

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Lists

Three for the Tree

Three for the Tree

Here are three books with female heroines

that your tree will love.

threefortree Collage

The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

Misfit teen Lola Lundy falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library and wakes up to find herself 80 years in the past. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, and she realizes she’s seen his senior portrait in a ragged old yearbook in the storage room. By the end of the dance, Lola begins to see a way out of her disastrous Twenty First Century life: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But major mental illness lies in Lola’s family background. Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into an elaborate, romantic hallucination based on the contents of an old yearbook?

Who doesn’t love old yearbooks? Time Travel? Count me in!

Half in Love with Death by Emily Ross

It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She’s invisible to her parents, who can’t stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline’s desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.

Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.

Inspired by a true story. Thriller = Must Read

 Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd

Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck–and helpless–in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn’t even know she had.

Kids and civil rights? Sign me up!

Three good books for book lovers!

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Children

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia

I don’t know why I haven’t read anything by Rita Williams Garcia, but her books, PS Be Eleven and One Crazy Summer have been on my TBR for ever!

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia

I love this book so hard! Look at those little Minnies on the cover; arent they ADORABLE?? Those little sisters are your typical bickering siblings. Except they live in late 1960s New York and are sent to stay with relatives in the South. This was a pretty typical phenomenon back in the day. Kids needed to get some home trainin from Big Mama and also learn to appreciate the things they had up North.

Now I never lived in Alabama but lived in Texas but I KNOW things are very different for Blacks in the South than they are in the North. I was an adult when I lived in Texas and while the South has a certain charm to it, it also lacks a certain backwardness racially that needs to get straightened out.

I guess that’s the bit that RWG wanted the reader to understand: that even kids understand when they are treated differently because of their race. Look at Brown Girl Dreaming by my GIRL Jackie Woodson. They live in New York and also travel to the South and are warned about watching their mouth and their manners.

Don’t let the racial overtones get the best of your judgement. This book is FOR EVERYONE. White kids can learn about segregation but they will also see themselves in this book. They’ll see that all siblings argue and that the older bossy sister is no different from their own older bossy sister.

Love is love, and family is what it’s all about.

I read this book as part of the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon.

This also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge!