How do you begin to have a diverse, critical conversation about race?
Consider a text set. A text set is a collection of related texts organized around a unit topic, theme, concept, or idea. The set is focused on an anchor text which has a rich discussion points. Art, photos songs, poems, videos and other materials can also be added to the text set.
Materials can be differentiated, at different reading levels to include more student participation.
Using a text set on a topic creates an environment where multiple perspectives can be included to have a deeper richer conversation.
More Than Just A Game: The Black Origins of Basketball
By Madison Moore and Illustrated by Lonnie Ollivierre
Share this story about Bball and Black culture.
Moore shares the growth of the sport through avenues like HBCUs and club teams...the Black Fives. Segregation didn't hold us back.
This book gives recognition to Edwin Bancroft Henderson and Cumberland Posey and other unsung heroes of basketball in the back matter, as well as, information about the Black Fives Foundation, and additional resources.
That is the motto for the country in Africa called Ghana.
We are bringing you two books recently published to share more about the significance of this country.
The first book is called ‘Kwame Nkrumah’s Midnight Speech for Independence’ by Useni Eugene Perkins and Illustrated by Laura Freeman. This is an insightful biography detailing the life of the 1st Prime Minister and the 1st elected President of the Republic of Ghana. Here are a few facts from this book that can be ties to additional instructional concepts:
Colonialism, Independence, Self-Rule, & Liberation
Kwame Nkrumah, Ghanian nationalist leader who led the Gold Coast's drive for independence from Britain and presided over its emergence as the new nation
Dr. Nkrumah went to Lincoln University, before earning his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania
Nkrumah engaged with Civil Rights activists, like the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell and W.E.B. Dubois, Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, A. Phillip Randolph, Ralph Bunche among others
Kwame was instrumental in progressing the movement for the liberation of the Gold Coast from the British. Although not in this book, he met with leaders, like Che Guevara, who was also working to liberate African and South America from the term they coined ‘neocolonialism”
Kwame Nrumah galvanized momentum for freedom through groups in the Gold Coast like the United Gold Coast Convention and the Convention People’s Party. Internationally he helped organize the 5th Pan African Congress with African and International leaders who were fighting for independence in Africa.
This book also includes a timeline, Adinkra Symbols with explained meanings, and a timeline.
Also included to provide historical knowledge about Ghana’s past is a historical fiction novel called ‘We Are Akan’ by Dorothy Brown Soper and illustrated by James Cloutier. This story about the 3 boys living in the Asante Kingdom, the most powerful nation in West Africa. As they learn adult skills they are invited to Kumasi for an important festival. They become intertangled in a rebellion that changes their trajectory.
Let’s talk about voting rights!
With the Senate’s failure to pass voting rights protections, we really wanted to post resources to relay the historical and everyday significance voting has in our lives. There is a history of voter suppression in the United States that progresses with every advancement made in diversifying American society. Here are books to help youth be a part of the conversation.
We Shall Overcome!
Tyner. (2021). Black voter suppression : the fight for the right to vote. Lerner Publications.
Upper elementary- high school
Allen, & ReferencePoint Press. (2020). Election manipulation : is America's voting system secure? ReferencePoint Press.
Middle grade-high school
Jenkins, Lacker, Kati, illustrator, & Jones, Martha S., writer of foreword. (2020). Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America. Abrams ComicArts.
Middle grade-high school
This is a We Are Here Lit recommendation. We often hear people talking about Black Joy, but we never have a lot of discussions about what that entails for our kids, ourselves, and in classrooms. ‘We Are Not Broken’ by George Johnson is an example of a book defining Black boy joy and Black love.
The story centers around the author’s family paying particular attention to his grandmother, Nanny, brother Garrett, cousins Rall, and Rasul. Johnson shares the ordinary, relatable precious moments in life that we often time overlook and take for granted and is our Black Joy
The book features family anecdotes that we all can connect with because they are all the fun, mischievous, mundane, and serious moments you deal with from family. The learning moments and the wisdom, resilience, and appreciation of the family matriarch Nanny remind you of home.
In addition to the vibrant storytelling, there are special features within this book that add to the humor and history of Black culture. For example, Johnson includes Nanny-isms which are oftentimes Southern or regional ‘Black Proverbs.’ The Nanny-isms provide the themes for the chapters, and some of them are simply hilarious.
The most endearing moments of the book are the letters from the four cousins to their Nanny. They're so heartfelt.
Also includes images in s family album layout that add another layer of home to this book.
Johnson discusses the tough topics that all families have to deal with drugs the streets identity in this case Johnson's queer identity and finding love where it is.
One of the things we particularly enjoyed about reading this book was the moments where our identities have us navigating the challenging moments in life. Johnson brilliantly helps us counter the narrative to see and appreciate moments of Black joy and love from endurance because, as the title says We Are Not Broken.
If you need an example of Black of joy and love this is it.
This book is from middle and high school students, especially for school and library book clubs.
We Are Here Lit! & R.E.A.D. Books with Joziah!
We are featured on an episode of the most excellent podcast, R.E.A.D. with Joziah (@readbookswithjoziah)
Join us as we discuss Jason Reynolds's book Ghost (1) (Track), and also hear Joziah share some fun facts and more!
If you have a young person who likes to read, have them listen to R.E.A.D. Books with Joziah on your favorite podcast platform.
It is of the highest honor to have been chosen to participate in this podcast. We Are Here Lit's mission is to uplift youth, centering Black male voices as our mission, goal, and core value
One of the best-uncovered historical events we’ve come across is the intriguing life of Yasuke, the Black Samurai. Jesuit historical resources mention Yasuke. Today we want to share two books giving context to an African in Japan during the 16th century.
Turner, Jamal, and Lista, César R., illustrator. Yasuke : the Legend of the African Samurai. United States]: Griotscape Press, 2020. Print.
The age range for this graphic novel is from about 3rd through 6th grade
Imhotep. The Black Samurai : the Story of Yasuke. Place of publication not identified]: Mr. Imhotep, 2021. Print.
This title is an upper elementary through high school level book.
Use the following book to compare with the Netflix series to learn more about this historical figure.
Check out the following books at your local library or independent Black bookstores, links to both in the bio.
Max Axiom, Super Scientist!
A comic series about a Black scientist with superpowers, Max Axiom’s main objective is to help children learn science in a fun and interactive way.
Max Axiom STEM adventures mirror science themes, concepts, vocabulary, and curriculum.
The engaging, super informative, graphic novels also use a 4D app to scan pages and reveal concepts in an engaging video format. Also included in the back matter are discussion questions, writing prompts, a glossary, additional books, and internet sites. Capstone, the publisher, provides a website with projects and games.
Age Range: 7 to 14 years
WE ARE HERE will provide you book reviews, discussions, news, and programming about literature and literacy by and about Black males. This site will also feature vlog conversations on topics related to the promoting literacy and voice for Black boys and young men.