Lou is used to small spaces. She shares a room with her mother in her grandmother's house in San Francisco. It's even more cramped when her extended family comes to visit. She loves them all, but longs for a space of her own. She's obsessed with tiny houses and has spent many hours researching their clever designs. When her mother gets a job offer in Washington state, Lou is convinced that if she can build her tiny house, it will convince her mother to stay. Will she be able to rally her friends to the cause? Or will she have to leave everyone she loves behind?
This is a charming story full of heart and endearing characters. Lou has a great community of friends and family.
Erica's Picks The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio
When Vita’s grandfather is cheated out of his family home by a notorious conman, she and her mother take the next boat to New York. 1920s New York is full of wonders and danger, but none of it is a match for Vita’s determination. Vita has a permanent limp and is used to people underestimating her. She uses that to her full advantage. With her new friends from the circus, she sets off to steal her family’s fortunes back.
I enjoyed every moment of this adventure story. From the circus performers and animals to the trips through secret tunnels this book will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Erica's Picks The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell
1890s Atlanta is not an easy place for Chinese Americans. Jo, abandoned at birth, lives with her adopted father in an abandoned hideout left over from the underground railroad. She grew up listening to the conversations in the newspaper offices above. When she hears that they are struggling, she anonymously submits articles for a new advice column. “Miss Sweetie” becomes wildly popular and controversial. As Jo tries to keep her identity a secret, she tries to uncover who her parents were. But some secrets are best left alone and these ones put her in the crosshairs of a notorious criminal.
I loved this historical fiction. It transported me back in time and kept me turning pages with the hint of mystery and romance.
Erica's Picks The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
6th - 8th Tags: Character Driven, Historical Fiction, Issues Fiction, Mystery, People of Color, Romance, Social Justice
Years ago, Abdi’s older brother was kidnapped by the jihadi group Al Shabaab , brainwashed, and turned into a child soldier. Now the rest of his family is kidnapped by the supposed good guys. They beat Abdi and threaten his family unless he agrees to go undercover in Al Shabaab and report back to them. If Al Shabaab discovers he’s a spy, he’ll be tortured until he longs for death. But if he refuses, his whole family will be killed.
This fast-paced story will keep you on the edge of your seat and immerse you in a different world. The book alternates between Abdi’s time after escaping Al Shabaab and flashbacks to his time with them. It keeps you guessing as you try to piece together the pieces of what happened in the past.
Erica's Picks Let's Go Swimming On Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson 8th Grade Tags:
In a world overrun by monsters, Rowan’s family gained power by taming and slaying them. Which is why as the oldest child she’s destined to become Queen while her brother is destined for the role of Royal Monster Slayer. There’s only one problem: she hates the politics of court and is a much better monster slayer than her brother. When an accident allows them to switch roles, Rowan is determined to prove herself. But will she be able to defeat a rogue gryphon who has already killed a skilled huntswoman?
Wargs, jackalopes, and pegasi oh my! I love reading about fantastical creatures and I appreciate that Rowan only slays monsters as a last resort and often relocates or befriends them instead.
Erica's Picks A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelly Armstrong 4th - 6th grade Tags:Animals, Adventure, Fantasy, People of Color
Norris can’t believe it when his mother says they’re moving to Texas. Norris is a black French-Canadian who hates the heat and loves hockey. When he first gets to Texas, it seems like all the stereotypes he’s seen about Americans on TV are true. There’s the mean cheerleaders, the aggressive jocks, and overly cheerful but ultimately useless guidance counselor. Norris describes it all with biting humor in his notebook. It’s an outlet that keeps him sane in the ridiculous heat. But when Texas surprises him and he starts to build a nice life for himself, it’s his notebook that might be his undoing.
Norris’s voice is hilarious and I enjoyed seeing life through his eyes. If you want a classic American high school story, this Canadian will deliver!
Erica's Pick 7th & 8th Grade The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe Tags: Character Driven, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humor, People of Color, School Stories
There’s a story behind how Dead Man’s Mine got its name. As you may guess, it’s not a pretty one. Which is why Rossi, Gus, Jessie and Matthew do not tell their parents before they go into the cave. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it could be a deadly mistake when a rock slide leaves them trapped inside.
This is a fantastic adventure story about survival, gold, and dirt bikes. Dead Man’s Mine is dark and full of dangers. But this book shines with life.
Erica's Picks 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling
4th - 7th grade Tags: Adventure, Fast-Paced, People of Color, Survival
As part of a growing nationwide movement to bring Ethnic Studies into K–12 classrooms, Rethinking Ethnic Studies brings together many of the leading teachers, activists, and scholars in this movement to offer examples of Ethnic Studies frameworks, classroom practices, and organizing at the school, district, and statewide levels. Built around core themes of indigeneity, colonization, anti-racism, and activism, Rethinking Ethnic Studies offers vital resources for educators committed to the ongoing struggle for racial justice in our schools.
Teaching for Black Lives Matter
Teaching for Black Lives grows directly out of the movement for Black lives. We recognize that anti-Black racism constructs Black people, and Blackness generally, as not counting as human life. Throughout this book, we provide resources and demonstrate how teachers connect curriculum to young people's lives and root their concerns and daily experiences in what is taught and how classrooms are set up. We also highlight the hope and beauty of student activism and collective action.
A People's History for the Classroom
These exemplary teaching articles and lesson plans -- drawn from an assortment of Rethinking Schools publications -- emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history, and raise important questions about patterns of wealth and power throughout U.S. history. A People's History for the Classroom was produced in cooperation with Teaching for Change, as part of the Zinn Education Project.
Rethinking Elementary Education
The indispensable resource for social justice elementary educators in six parts: Part 1: Building Classroom Community Part 2: Reading and Writing Toward a More Just World Part 3: Minding Media Part 4: Math is More than Numbers Part 5: Laboratory for Justice: Science Across the Curriculum Part 6: The Classroom, The School, The World
Tessa"s Picks. Social Justice, People of Color, Global Perspectives, History
When Allie's crayon breaks, she is furious, fuming, frustrated, and so, so, sooo, angry! But with a little help from her brother, she is slowly able to calm down until she's his loving sister again.
This is a short book, but it is full of SEL wisdom. I like how well the boy deals with his sister's tantrum and also that it takes multiple techniques to calm her down. Each tool makes her a little bit calmer, which the book shows visually by having her shed a layer of her suit. The tools vary from squeezing a toy to a mindful breathing exercise. This is a great book for children--especially those with toddler siblings!
This picture book tells the story of a young student in Bangladesh who has to make a project for his science fair. He notices that his mother has a cough from cooking indoors during the rainy season, and he analyzes the needs of his user and does some research to come up with a solution. A great tie-in for units on inventors. The book takes place during Ramadan and they use his new oven to make a feast for Eid al-Fitr, so there could be a tie in there as well.
The book has a large format and the warm colored pencil illustrations make it perfect for sharing in a classroom setting. Additional backmatter includes more information about clean cookstoves and information on how to make one yourself.
Erica's Picks Iqbal and his Ingenious Idea by Elizabeth Suneby and Rebecca Green
Tags: global perspectives, people of color, picture books