Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Books for Christmas 2017

It’s Christmas time AGAIN, and I am going to try and help those folks out who still need to buy a few more presents. And, you know that giving folks books is really like giving love.

I have tremendously increased my reading, and that made this task a little more difficult. However, after a lot of consideration here are my top ten book, gift ideas for 2017:

#10 Miles Morales, and Long Way Down, and When I Was The Greatest, and Ghost. I’m cheating, but all four books by Jason Reynolds are number ten. I just had to do it because all four of these books really are great. If you have a young adult in your life, girl or boy, please consider getting them these books. The book that you buy really doesn’t matter, or how about purchasing all four? And, while you are at the bookstore, pick up copies for yourself. Yep, I think grown folks will enjoy these books as well.

Miles Morales: Miles is a Black and Hispanic Spiderman with superpowers. And, just wait until you find out his adversary. I just loved seeing a brown boy with superpowers, and many of us know that brown boys do have superpowers.

Long Way Down: This book is written in verse, and it can be read in a short period of time. It is engaging and captivating, AND the ending had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

When I Was the Greatest: I finished reading this one and wept like a baby. I loved every last one of the characters, including the man with no legs. With this book, Jason puts us right in these characters' lives. These folks will be with people for a very long time, and once you meet them, you’ll understand.

Ghost: I picked up Ghost and was instantly sucked in. Ghost is the underdog with a heart, and I fell in love with him and his story. Easy read.... but full of lots of good stuff.

#9 Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools by Amanda Lewis and John Diamond. This book was completely eye-opening, and it helped me to do some true self-introspection. I do not want to participate in creating inequalities in ‘good schools.’ If you work in or send your child to one of those ‘good schools,’ READ THIS BOOK!

#8 Swing Time by Zadie Smith: Let’s just say that I got caught up in this book. This books shows that life is complex all over the place even in London; that’s the setting for this book. Read and Grow!

#7 Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah: Funny, Serious, Thought-provoking, and so many lessons about life. Trevor Noah grew up in South Africa; however, it was eye-opening to see the many similarities between South African and American when it comes to race, poverty, and the impact of a country's history on its people. Much, Much respect for Trevor Noah.

#6 The Awakened Woman by Dr. Tererai Trent. I really felt this book. If Tererai Trent can become Dr. Tererai Trent, anything is impossible. My big takeaways from this book are to write and verbalize your dreams, keep your torch so that you can light other folks torches, and trust, trust, trust the divine order. There is no way that a person can read this book and not feel compelled to keep on keeping on.

#5 Evicted by Matthew Desomond: At the National Book Festival, Jesmyn Ward and Roxane Gay both fondly mentioned Evicted, and so I read it. This book took my empathy meter over the top. This books deals with the poor of our country, both Black and White folks, and their struggles to maintain a decent place to live. The stories are true, and I became connected to each one of the characters through the way that Desmond tells their stories. This was a reminder that there are folks really, really trying to make it, but the cards are stacked against them. This book weighed on my heart, because I really can not see any immediate solutions to the eviction issues presented in this book. I just pray that the folks keep the faith and keep fighting the good fight. Y’all, if you have stable housing, count yourself blessed.

#4 Hillbilly Elegy J.D. Vance: Poor Whites in American! This is a story that I am happy that J.D. Vance told, because all stories matter, even those of poor Whites in America. Vance writes about his life as a hillbilly with respect and dignity, and we are able to see that poverty is poverty; it does not discriminate. Poverty is ugly....

#3 Homegoing: I loved this book sooooo much. Each chapter follows a different descendent of a woman named Maame, and the book spans over hundreds of years. In that very last chapters, Gyasi brings this story full circle and left my heart feeling content. Now, this is a book that you must make sure you follow closely, but it is worth all of the effort that it takes to follow it. This book felt good....

#2 Hunger by Roxane Gay: Daring! Courageous! I absolutely love the rawness of this book. Roxane is one woman who is daring greatly, and I must say that this book gave me even more permission to speak my truth and speak it boldly. It was definitely disturbing at times, but remember when I stated that reading builds empathy. Well, sometimes facing the disturbing parts helps us to walk in other folks shoes. Roxane, I am with you sister 100%. Thanks for showing the rest of us how to be brave.

#1 Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward: Jesmyn Jesmyn Jesmyn, she did this! After reading this book I walked into my classroom, projected Jesmyn and her book from the TV and stated “This is your Toni Morrison." This book is brilliantly written, the storyline is incredible, and the characters are magnificent, every single one of the them. This is one of those stories that I will teach and read and teach and read and hopefully cause as many students as possible to fall madly in love with Jesmyn and this book. Google her and go and hear her speak..... she is small but mighty. May she write more books and live forever. Y’all, pick this one up for yourself and folks who you love.

I hope that this list is helpful and gives folks some last minute gift ideas or give people books to add to their reading list.

Merry Christmas Y’all, and consider loving as many folks as you can..........

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