Once again, Cindi has some wonderful reading suggestions.
How One Box Refreshed My Heart
The links for the titles take you to my favorite “black woman owned bookstore and gallery space” in Chicago, Semicolon. Not only do they carry an amazing selection of books that can be shipped anywhere, but they host #cleartheshelves events where they invite CPS Students into the store to pick out whatever books they want free of charge.
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride
Oh my gosh - this book is so beautiful. It is a novel in verse about a girl whose family was killed in an accident. As she struggles with her grief and her sense of isolation, she ends up taking a road trip with a boy who is also searching for his roots. The story beautifully embeds history and culture into what could have been a typical teen love and road trip story to make this a much more complex exploration of life, love, grief, identity, and family
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
This historical fiction novel examines both gender identity and culture amidst the backdrop of 1950s San Francisco. The Lesbian bar, The Telegraph Club, becomes a haven for seventeen year old Lily Hu when she falls in love with Kathleen Miller. As Lily comes to understand her sexuality and must deal with her father’s potential deportment due to the Red Scare, she must navigate multiple worlds and find herself in the process. In spite of the complex intersection of racism, immigration, and homophobia, the story weaves the elements seamlessly mirroring the realities of life.
Huda F Are You by Huda Fahmy
One of my students saw the title, and began giggling uncontrollably at the play on words with her name. Once he sat down to read it, he discovered a graphic novel different than he was expecting…which was perfect. This funny and poignant book tells Huda’s story as she tries to understand who she is as she moves from being the “Hijab girl” to her new school where she finds a multitude of girls who wear Hijabs and have identified themselves in other ways. She must dig more deeply to find out who she is in the world.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Fantasy lovers will adore this one. It blends traditional fairy tales and East Asian folktales to tell a beautiful story of Shiori'anma, the only princess of Kiata who must hide her magic. When her stepmother discovers her secret, she is banished and her brothers are turned into cranes. She is told that if she speaks, her brothers will die, one by one. Alone and unable to share the burden with anyone else, she must find a way to save her brothers and the kingdom. The fast-paced action and complex characterizations in this book make it a compelling fantasy for all readers.
Dr. Cindi Koudelka (email@example.com; @cmkoudelka) is a Curriculum Specialist with National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adulthood/English Language Arts at Fieldcrest School District in Illinois and an Adjunct faculty member at Aurora University. Being a bibliophile and school nerd, she holds multiple certifications from PreK - 12 and is an active member in several literacy and research organizations. Her research interests reflect her passion as a youth advocate by focusing her work on critical adolescent literacies, young adult literature, positioning, and youth participatory action research.