In January, I joined Carrie Gelson and many other bloggers in creating #MustReadin2018 reading lists. To add a twist to the challenge, I crowdsource my list, selecting one title from each blogger’s list to add to my own. Crowdsourcing has proven to be a more effective way for me to get closer to completing a #MustRead list.
The spring update always means an evening of frantic reading in an attempt to finish another book or two. So far, I’ve completed 5 of the 22 books on my list and started 3 more.
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen is the first in a welcome new series about a spunky Japanese-American girl. In this story, Jasmine wants to help her family prepare mochi, a special Japanese sweet made to celebrate New Year. According to family tradition, she is both too young and the wrong gender to be able to help with her preferred task, pounding the rice. The story felt a little underdeveloped to me, and I wasn’t entirely engaged by Jasmine’s conflict, but I will read more in the series.
#NotYourPrincess is a strong collection of profiles, essays, poems, photographs, and art by young Native American women. A good introduction especially for those who want to learn more about indigenous activism and an important book, though it did leave me wishing for more content and more depth.
Empower makes the case for student empowerment over student engagement and encourages teachers to rethink their role in the classroom and find ways to turn over the reins to their students. A quick and inspiring read that provides plenty of stories from the authors’ own teaching and learning experiences. I really liked all of the sketches, stick-figure drawings, and hand-drawn infographics that illustrate or express key ideas. If you already incorporate Genius Hour, 20% time, Wonder Weeks, or Maker Spaces into your classroom, this book probably isn’t for you. But if you’re wanting to make some changes and just need a little push, Spencer and Juiliani are encouraging mentors.
Disrupting Thinking probably isn’t a must-read for those who are familiar with Beers and Probst’s other work (it repurposes some of the claims and strategies from their other books), but it provides a quick and necessary reminder about why we read (to change ourselves, to change the world) and how we should be teaching reading. The Turn & Talk questions at the end of each chapter are rich and provocative and make this an especially good text for teachers to read and discuss together, and if their administrators will join them, all the better. I hope to write a longer review of this title next week.
I enjoyed We Should All Be Feminists, an adaptation of Adichie’s popular TED Talk. It’s tiny, yet it packs a punch. Often funny, always insightful, full of interesting anecdotes, it’s well worth the few minutes it takes to read.