Friday, June 02, 2017

Broadening Horizons, Part Three & Poetry Friday Edition




Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood
by Patricia McKissack
illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Schwartz & Wade, 2017
review copy purchased for my classroom collection

First of all, Patricia McKissack. Second of all, Brian Pinkney. Third of all, two girls in my classroom last year who struggled to define themselves (and others) in terms of race. I was often the enemy because I am white, so I did my best to fuel their passion to understand on their own terms what race means and doesn't mean with my choices for read aloud and #classroombookaday. They gravitated toward My People and Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry for Poetry Friday. I fed them a steady diet of Kwame Alexander, Rita Garcia Williams, Sharon Draper, and gave them the copies of Maniac Magee they hadn't finished at the end of the year.

This book came too late for them to discover, but I'll make sure it's among the first I feature next school year. There are songs and chants in this that I remember (or know some version of), but the message of a culture passed down through games, songs, and chants...the celebration of a culture through the window of childhood (rather than the Civil Rights Movement, as is so often the case)...the joy that exudes from every page of this book...this one's for you, girls. May you find a way to be comfortable in your own skin, and recognize that the world is not always against you...some of us want to dance right along with you, if only you'll teach us the moves!

If you're interested, the other two parts of this Broadening Horizons series are here and here.


Buffy has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Buffy's Blog.

Check out this post to grab a Poetry Friday Roundup slot on the July-December calendar.


21 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this book, Mary Lee! Lucky kids to receive that steady diet from you... xo

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  2. Happy Friday! Three cheers for being comfortable in your own skin. Keep sharing books and poems and stories and songs with others!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this new book, Mary Lee. I didn't know about it until now! How wonderful that you are trying to make a difference for those girls and make a connection, too. Here's to searching for the right book that works always!

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  4. Mary Lee, the title of the series is fabulous-Broadening Horizons. We need our readers to relate to their reading & develop broader perspectives. Hurray for this line: "and recognize that the world is not always against you...some of us want to dance right along with you, if only you'll teach us the moves!"

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  5. This looks like a wonderful book on so many levels--just sheer fun and the welcome to appreciate your own (or a different) culture. I hope those girls enjoy it when they discover it.

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  6. It must be such a challenge to teach in these times - turbulence finds its way into the classroom from things heard at home and seen on the news, and you counter it with the only thing that works: listening and true words. Viva poetry, and viva Ms. Hahn, who is surely the best teacher, ever.

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  7. I have this book but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. What riches in a thick volume! I imagine it is even more challenging for educators to address issues of race, equality and identity with the hypersensitivity that's out there now. Thanks for all you're doing to help students become comfortable in their own skins.

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  8. Here's to you, Mary Lee!

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  9. Sounds like a wonderful book--all those childhood chants stay with us, and are so interesting to learn about. I was lucky to hear Patricia and Frederick McKissack speak many years ago. They were a wonderful pair. And yes to finding bridges to your students! Lucky kids to have you as a teacher.

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  10. This looks like a wonderful book to share with students of all backgrounds. The little ones in my groups come from about 15 different countries and cultures, and of course none of them are American, but I love being able to share the world with them, including cultures that are unlike their own.

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  11. What a great find. I'm excited to read it, too.

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  12. "...recognize that the world is not always against you...some of us want to dance right along with you, if only you'll teach us the moves!" — That's the hardest, isn't it? In life. In politics. The inability to LISTEN to one another is the tallest wall of all and we build it ourselves.

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  13. You had me at, "fuel their passion to understand on their own terms what race means..."
    You've put into words exactly what I want to do as a kid's librarian. And, I've also been the target of kid frustration in figuring life out. Big applause from me for making literature available to kids to help them figure it out. I love this post so much!

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  14. I love the book/poem, My People and have it hanging all year in my room with our self portraits! I'll have to look into these books you share today and I love how you wish the girls would show you their moves.

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  15. The exuberance of the cover illustration is so inviting! Thanks for sharing this title.

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  16. Thank you for this recommendation. Books are the best way to find our common ground. Off to to purchase this book!

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  17. Thanks for sharing this book and your story. Like many others commented, this line stands out: "May you find a way to be comfortable in your own skin, and recognize that the world is not always against you...some of us want to dance right along with you, if only you'll teach us the moves!"

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  18. Thank you for putting this book out there for us Mary Lee. Also, thanks for the revision advice on my haiku!!! It made a huge difference.

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  19. The cover of this book is full of energy, excitement, and it seems to be singing itself. What a wonderful book to meet up with, I hope your two students enjoy it, thanks for sharing it Mary Lee!

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  20. What a beautiful post, Mary Lee.
    Love this! > 'May you find a way to be comfortable in your own skin, and recognize that the world is not always against you...some of us want to dance right along with you, if only you'll teach us the moves!'

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  21. This one's going right on my TBR. I still hear children playing and adapting counting-out and schoolyard rhymes and hand-games.

    You've highlighted another (often unspoken) job that teachers must do: create a safe and welcoming space for all students.

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