What I’ve Read & Learned: May 2019

Before I get into what I read this month, I just want to state how this goal has really kept me focused. In January I set an intention of examining the books I read and considering whether I’m learning from books, articles, podcasts and other media created by diverse authors. I have to say that I’ve been very aware of that as I choose books and articles and it has been enriching. There are perspectives I had never considered and overlooked for many years.

Additionally, I have added so many books to my “I want to read this” list that I reached out to my PLN on Twitter for ideas about how to curate and keep track of this list. I ended up using Wakelet and you can see my two lists here.


Over the holiday weekend I focused on young adult fiction. These three books, from three female authors really were incredible. I had the pleasure of listening to Elizabeth Acevedo talk about her new book, With The Fire On High in DC a few weeks ago (and got my copy signed!) so I couldn’t wait to dig in.

With the Fire on High
Elizabeth Acevedo
Dread Nation
Justina Ireland
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Erika L Sanchez

These three books all had strong female leads and all provided an interesting perspective.

In With The Fire on High, Emoni is a teen mother in high school, trying to balance her love for cooking with the needs of her family while still trying to grow up and wrestle with her own identify. She struggles with the communities view of her, expectations and her own feelings in a way that feels so real.

If it weren’t for my friend Krissy, a HS librarian, I would never have picked up Dread Nation. Vampires and Historical Fiction are two topics/genres I don’t reach for regularly, yet with her recommendation I did and I couldn’t put this book down (I stayed up reading this book!) In the final few years of the Civil War, an infection has created roving hoards of undead and young Native Americans and African Americans are required to attend schools to learn to slay these “shamblers.” Conspiracy, racism, sexism, power and secrets abound in this book and kept me hooked!

The hardest book for me to read was I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter – and again I couldn’t put it down. The main character Julia is searching for her place in her family and her world after the death of her sister, who she perceived to be the perfect daughter that she could never live up to. Meanwhile her family and friends are facing their own struggles – they interact and challenge each other in ways that feel so real and deep.

Articles and Blogposts

What’s My Complicity? Talking White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo – by Adrienne van der Valk and Anya Malley. An important read for anyone who is grappling with their own privilege and for those who don’t understand what we mean by white fragility. Those who often take offense or consider how talk of race and racism make them feel defensive definitely should read.

When Change Has Legs – by David N Perkins and James D Reese. Four factors help determine whether change will be sustained over time. Thank you to Suzanne van der Eijk for sharing!

Empathy Maps for the Win – John Meehan. Considering other perspectives is critical. This is an activity that can connect to changes in classrooms, professional learning and academic content. Thanks Derek Kelley for sharing!

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