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The Writer's Page: Navigating the N-Word

The mere mention of the n-word is usually cause for conversation and consternation, to put it mildly. Whenever used in a song lyric or a piece of literature, dialogue and debate are quick to follow. Even so, the n-word is a brick wall I occasionally crash into, on purpose, whenever...
      

The Writer's Page: "At the Mercy or Whim of Others": Policing Protest in Children's Publishing

“I will not write another lament.” That’s the first line of my poem “Room to Breathe,” which I wrote on May 29, 2020, the day a White Minneapolis police officer was charged with the murder of George Floyd. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I turned to poetry, since I couldn’t...
      

A Note from Me (June 19, 2020)

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Dear friends, Beverly Sills famously opined that she wasn’t happy, she was cheerful, a sentiment that could perhaps serve us all well now. (Although if you want to hear Bev being beautifully sad and despairing, try her “Addio del passato” from La Traviata.) We do have some stuff to be...
      

Celebrate Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, a day of celebration for many, who commemorate June 19th, 1865, the date enslaved people in Texas finally learned of their emancipation. To view three recommended books on the subject, click here. For even more discussion of this day, read this Floyd Cooper Talks with Roger and also Robin...
      

Our Modern Minstrelsy

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The phrase literary blackface came up in popular conversation recently, when Barnes & Noble announced they were putting out a line of classic literature titles that had been reissued with “diverse” covers in celebration of Black History Month. Novels like Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, and The Secret Garden...
      

A Note from Me (June 12, 2020)

Dear friends: Yes, everything is still terrible out there, and I am glad that this morning’s psalm (37) had these words: A little longer — and the wicked shall have gone. Look at his place, he is not there. I wonder if those Horn Book readers who cancelled their Magazine...
      

A Note from Me (June 4, 2020)

Dear friends: I know I’ve been sending you some rather lighthearted thoughts in this COVID-era newsletter but I just can’t do it this week. Instead I’ll simply direct you to Kekla Magoon’s contribution to our May/June 2020 Breaking the Rules special issue of the Magazine, “Our Modern Minstrelsy,” in which...
      

Promoting tolerance

Bakshi, Kelly  Roots of RacismMiddle school, high school    112 pp.    ABDO/EssentialBlakemore, M. T.  White PrivilegeMiddle school, high school    112 pp.    ABDO/EssentialBurling, Alexis  Race in the Criminal Justice SystemMiddle school, high school    112 pp.    ABDO/EssentialEboch, M. M.  Race and EconomicsMiddle school, high school    112 pp.    ABDO/EssentialEdwards, Sue Bradford  What Are Race...
      

Race in fairy tales

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[portfolio_slideshow]I grew up in the 1970s, when the lens on fairy tales turned academic and feminist. It was a time when fairy tales were being examined and critiqued for remaining wedded to their their antiquated gender roles--the recurring ideals of strength and adventure belonged to the realm of men and...
      

Review of Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendshipby Irene Latham and Charles Waters; illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina AlkoPrimary, Intermediate    Carolrhoda    40 pp.1/18    978-1-5124-0442-5    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5124-7214-1    $9.99This clever book of poetry is about finding an unexpected friend. Classmates Irene and Charles (also the names of...

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