Monday, June 10, 2019

Summer Reading

It’s almost summer, which means people are starting to plan or make goals for their next few months of reading. If you’re looking for recommendations, look no further than the 2019 Summer Reading List published by the We Are Kid Lit Collective

Formerly known as We’re the People, the We Are Kid Lit Collective was founded by Edi Campbell in 2015. The website explains that the group "works to create materials and opportunities to recognize the humanity of Indigenous and People of Color (IPOC) in youth literature. Our work is premised upon the principles of social justice, equity, and inclusion and centers IPOC voices in children’s literature in order to identify, challenge and dismantle while supremacy and both internalized and systemic racism. Our intended audience includes educators, librarians, caregivers and young people. We look for ways to improve the literacies of IPOC children, promote books written by and about IPOC, and to encourage gatekeepers to bring a lens of critical literacy to their work." 

The 2019 Summer Reading List was curated by a team of authors, librarians, and scholars: Tad Andracki, Edi Campbell, Laura Jiménez, Sujei Lugo, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Debbie Reese, and Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez. Every title was read and vetted by at least two professionals to ensure the books celebrate “diversity, inclusivity, and intersecting identities.” Check out the list and all of the other resources available on the We Are Kid Lit page!

What additional books are you looking forward to reading this summer? Please share in the comments. Here are a few titles some of the RWW contributors are excited to read or recommend:

Jenna: The only Octavia Butler I’ve read is Kindred, so I’m excited to delve into more of her work, starting with this new edition of Parable of the Sower. My favorite book of the year so far is Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by debut author Roselle Lim so I’ve been recommending that nonstop as a great summer read.

Allie: I cannot WAIT to dive into An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States For Young People, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Debbie Reese, and Jean Mendoza. For my own recommendation, although this came out a while ago, I want everyone to read Mother of the Sea by Zetta Elliott, a novella that straddles the line between YA and Adult and between realism and magical realism. It’s a powerful work of art and activism.

Sam: So, I’m currently in the midst of Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games, which is required reading for everyone in children’s and young adult literature. I just finished Good Talk: a Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob, and it was one of those books that you want to reread the moment you finish it. (The only reason I didn’t do that was because of the size of my to-read pile!)


Megan: I’m looking forward to both The Dark Fantastic and the adaptation of  An Indigenous People’s History of the United States . Recent or not-so-recent reads I can’t stop thinking about include The Griefkeeper by Alexandra Villasante (just finished!), Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali, and A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata. The New Kid by Jerry Craft is about the school year but so funny and fearless that there’s never not a good time to read it. Finally, although it’s not by a BIPOC author, I want to also give a shout out to A.S. King’s Dig, which has me thinking a lot about how White writers can address race and racism--something I think this book excels at (and although I wouldn’t say it’s the main point of the story, it’s not not the point, either).

Elisa: There are so many good books here! My summer book club is discussing The Dark Fantastic and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States For Young People, so I’ll be reading those too. I’m also looking forward to reading and learning from Eve Ewing’s 1919, a book of poetry spotlighting stories from the Chicago race riot. Another one on my to-read list for August (when it gets released) is Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist. I recommend everybody take a look at
This Place: 150 Years Retold, a comics anthology exploring stories of Indigenous resistance and leadership past, present, and future.

Kazia: Like Sam, I just read Good Talk and can’t recommend it enough! I have two nonfiction titles at the top of my (small) TBR pile of books for grownups:The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang and A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland by DaMaris B. Hill. Last year I read and loved The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, so this summer I’m also really excited to get my hands on her sophomore romance, The Bride Test!