Books that lack ambiguity or mystery bore me. People who avoid confronting ambiguity are even worse and are to be avoided at all costs or challenged relentlessly. Unless a person has deluded herself with one of the many worldviews that preach hard realities and absolutes, then she best get comfortable with ambiguity. For some, the concept of ambiguity is something they want to avoid in literature or film or music or their relationships or their day-to-day existence—I emphatically do not write for those people, unless they are open to challenging their relationship to ambiguity.
Althea Gibson, tennis player and the first African American to compete in the U.S. Nationals, was born on this day, August 25, 1927. Gibson showed an appreciation for sports at a young age, playing basketball and paddle tennis. After joining the American Tennis Association, Gibson began her networking and career as a tennis player. At the age of 29, Gibson became the first black person to win the French championships.She was also the first African American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals in 1957 and then won again in 1958. Gibson faced a lot of racism at first, some of which included not being allowed to compete despite her skill level and being denied rooms at hotels but eventually, she was allowed to take the world by storm. Gibson won 11 Grand Slam events which placed her in the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.
I thought it would be worthwhile to round-up and share some of the great book lists and discussions I’ve seen centering around good reading for those interested in discussing and thinking about the situation in Ferguson. The bulk of these resources are geared toward children’s and young adult lit, though some posts go a bit beyond than, as well as a bit beyond books. Topics include race, civil rights, social activism, and privilege.
There are countless angles working here, but they are all important and worth thinking and talking about.
I can’t add anything new or thoughtful to this discussion, but what I can do is give space to those who are generating much-needed and valuable resources and elements of conversation. If you know of additional book lists or topical guides worth mentioning, please drop them into the comments/feel free to reblog and add. I’m happy to continue revisiting this.
- Ebony, who tweets @EbonyTeach, put a call out for kidlit about social justice.She’s rounded up the responses on Storify. The titles include picture books through young adult books.
- Left Bank Books in St Louis put together two excellent lists featuring titles across age categories. The first is their book list, which focuses on race in America. The second is their compilation of poetry, articles, and other online work that explores race in America today.
- A Twitter hashtags worth digging into: #FergusonSyllabus. This should offer up an array of readings and discussion topics relating to Ferguson. There’s also a Storify roundup.
- Speaking of syllabi, here’s a massive teaching syllabus with ideas, reading, timelines, and more from a pile of social studies educators.
- Rich in Color pulled together a reading list of social justice and activism in YA lit.
- Lyn Miller-Lachmann talks about two YA titles — one out now and one coming out this fall — and the ways that writers and artists respond to social justice. I’m including this post specifically because I cannot get Kekla Magoon’s forthcoming How it Went Down out of my head these last couple of weeks and hope it shows up on your to-read lists.
- At Book Riot, Brenna Clarke Gray suggests 5 good books about race in America. These are all adult titles, but teen readers who are interested should be able to read and think about them.
- The LA Times built a list called Reading Ferguson: Books on Race, Police, Protest, and US History. The focus is on adult titles.
- School Library Journal has a wealth of suggested reading on protest, non-violent resistance, and Civil Rights.
- This list is limited to 2013, but that makes it no less important or valuable (it keeps it quite current): African American Fiction for Teens. I put together a timeline at Book Riot earlier this year, too, that traced black history in America through YA Lit.
- The Nerdy Book Club has 10 picture books for social activists in the making.
- “Reading Helped Me Overcome A Racist Upbringing" by Susie Rodarme, cuts straight to why reading books on topics like racism, social justice, activism, and more matters so much.
- Though not a booklist, the recommended reading from Lee & Low’s blog is solid. This is a great primer and resource, perhaps, for generating discussion from and beyond the books.
- Amy’s post, “On Ferguson and the Privilege of Looking Away,” doesn’t offer reading, but it does offer immense food for thought on privilege.
"If white people are so privileged why is there a Black Entertainment Network and no White Entertainment Network?"
"Men don’t have privilege, there are women’s only gyms!"
"Why isn’t there a campus centre for straight/cis people!?"
SAME REASONS WHY IN MARIO KART YOU DON’T GET BLUE SHELLS OR LIGHTNING BOLTS WHEN YOU’RE ALREADY IN FIRST PLACE, ASSBAG.