Building a Classroom Library

So, this week, let’s start off with some great news: I have accepted a position as a Language Arts teacher at a local high school! I am so excited for this position. Some of you may know, I originally went in to get my Master’s so I could eventually teach on the college level, but, along the way, I remembered my biggest influences were my high school teachers. Those were the women that built up my love of literature. So if I want to have the same kind of influence, high school was a better place to go.

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So I spent this summer doing everything I had to in order to qualify to teach this fall, and it all worked. I am so excited! I know I said that before, but even just typing this out, I can’t stop smiling.

I’ll be teaching American Literature, and, in high school, that usually means reading the classics. The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, other books by old dead white men…The only book I know of on our syllabus by someone of color is Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I adore the classics, but man do I wish to show kids in this predominately black school that they are represented in literature. I also think students would enjoy reading more if they had books they could related to. Because of these desires, I am setting up a mini library in my classroom.

university student reading in libraryI am donating books myself, both from my personal library and buying books specifically for this. But, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child and I can’t do this alone. This is where you can come into the picture.

I have created an Amazon Wishlist of classic novels and YA books that I would love to have to build this library. Most of the books are by people of color, like most of my students will be. It is important to me that my students get a chance to be able expand their world view.

I am asking if you can donate a book off of the wish list. If it is in your heart to donate something and do not see it on the list, please do not feel like you cannot. My students and I will be eternally grateful for anything you donate. Even if you are not able to donate, simply sharing this blog post will be appreciated.

Thank you to anything you do for these kids. They may not know you, but the knowledge you will be helping bestow on them will impact them for the rest of their lives.

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15 Jane Austen Adaptations You Need In Your Life

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. In the past few weeks there have been celebrations, including the reveal of a ten pound note featuring a portrait of Austen. She was only 41 when she passed, but in that time she managed to write seven novels, along with many more short stories found in her juvenilia. But eventually you do come to an end of her bibliography and want to continue reading books set in her world.

JAFF (Jane Austen Fanfiction) is a popular niche, especially in self-publishing. They tell stories of what-ifs, variations, and sequels with Austen’s characters, generally Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, one of the world’s most beloved couples. I’ve even been known to write a few of these myself. But self-publishing is not the only way to find works inspired by Austen. Here is a list of 20 books inspired by one of the most enduring authors of the Western canon.

JANE AUSTEN BOOK RECS

  1. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding- (Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson- (Mansfield Park)
  3. Pride/Prejudice by Ann Herendeen- (Pride and Prejudice)
  4. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James- (Pride and Prejudice)
  5. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick- (Pride and Prejudice)
  6. Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope- (Sense and Sensibility)
  7. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield (Pride and Prejudice)
  8. Darcy and Lizzy by April Floyd- (Pride and Prejudice)
  9. The Proud and the Prejudiced by Colette L. Saucier- (Pride and Prejudice)
  10. Prep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores- (Pride and Prejudice)
  11. To Capture Mr. Darcy by Elizabeth Ann West- (Pride and Prejudice)
  12. Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald- (Sense and Sensibility)
  13. Fall For You by Cecilia Gray- (Pride and Prejudice)
  14. Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg- (Pride and Prejudice)
  15. Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz- (Pride and Prejudice)

 

Bonus: Here are some great films/shows based on Austen

If you like these books, I recommend you you look up A Lady on Amazon and read as many of these wonderful books as you can.

Book Giveaway!

I’m hosting a fun giveaway for Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert. I am so excited for this book. We need more books that show black queer love and discuss mental illness, which are both still relatively taboo subjects.

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When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.
But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

The contest will run until 11:59pm EST July 31st, then I will hold a random drawing and announce on August 1st. If you want to win a copy of Little and Lion all you have to do is go on my Twitter page, follow me, and retweet this tweet:

That’s it!
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July Book of the Month: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

American Street is a book everyone needs to read ASAP. A look into the life of an immigrant as Americans fight themselves to realize the real life struggles immigrants face every day. This book is a great look into a life few of us know or understand. It is great for proponents of immigration acceptance and those who have yet to see the hardships of immigration.

Summer of Color

Recently looking at my bookshelf, I realized that there was something missing. This was emphasized more when my friends would talk about various authors of whom I had never read. As much as I preach about the beauty of people of color, and especially women of color, they were missing from much of my reading.

Part of this is because publishing still has issues where the cis white male is held up as the gold standard and women of color often have problems breaking the barriers that keep them out of publishing. This is even more true for the two genres I spend most of my time reading in, romance and fantasy. But to be honest with myself, these are just excuses. If I want to read books by people that look like me, I can put in the effort to find them.

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It was with this in mind that I promised myself that over the summer I would only read books by women of color. Sure that means missing out on new releases I’ve been looking forward to, but those books will still be around in fall. The summer is for my ladies that don’t get the marketing they deserve. I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

From the beginning of June to the end of August it is going to be all women of color all the time. A few weeks ago I put out a call on Twitter for suggestions of authors and books I should check out and got amazing responses, but I am always happy to get more recs. There is no such thing as too many book recommendations and even if I don’t finish them all this summer, there is nothing stopping me from reading them after. So in the comments, if you have a book or author I should check out, let me know. I would love to add to my list.

This is just a peek at some of the books I plan to read.