As we look for things to read, watch, and listen to this summer, Staff Council is working to lift up the voices of Black authors, journalists, artists, and other creators. Below are recommendations that members of our community have found meaningful and would like to share with others. If you would like to add to this list send your recommendations to email@example.com
Erica Donnis shared that you can pick up a copy of Jesmyn Ward‘s Sing Unburied Sing at Champlain’s Library. She couldn’t put it down!
Elizabeth Gauffreau shared this link to an art project that explores the Gullah identity: https://gullahme.com/gullah-me-project.html
TAP recommends Paul Gorsky and Equity Literacy framework, Zaretta Hammond and Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, Joe Feldman, Grading for Equity and Jennifer Gonzalez Cult of Pedagogy podcast about social justice education.
From Liz Gauffreau: “Now He’s an Etching, a poem by Patricia Smith.”
From Jennifer Reardon: “Poetry by Nikki Giovanni. Nikki’s poetry has been a continual inspiration to me.”
From Eric Ronis: “The Underground Railroad (by Colson Whitehead)–novel
Speak No Evil (by Uzo Iweala)–novel.”
From Caroline Toy: “N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy (The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky) is a sci-fi/fantasy novel series; each volume won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Jemisin is the first Black author to win a Hugo and the first author to win Best Novel three years in a row. She is also a leading voice against racism and misogyny in sci-fi literary communities.”
From Betsy Allen-Pennebaker: “The 1619 Project podcast – available on most podcast platforms. It’s a series of 6 podcasts that accompanies and complements the written series. Great for podcast lovers and those who don’t have a Times subscription.”
From Tanja Hinterstoisser: “I highly recommend following Cornel West on Instagram. Potent messages with a slew of videos, interviews, social commentaries and resources. @brothercornelwest (Instagram) or @cornelwest (Twitter)”
From Hannah Cartmel: “Noughts & Crosses on the BBC.”
From Kathy Leo-Nyquist: “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds, and Ibram X. Kendi. Award Winning Young Adult Author Jason Reynolds “remixes” making accessible for the middle/high school age audience (and really, for anyone who wants a less dense but no less provocative read) of Kendi’s best seller: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Also, out by Kendi: How to be an AntiRacist and JUST OUT for the very youngest Antiracist Baby out in hard cover and board book form. And also recommended for the middle/secondary group by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, All American Boys–an instance of police brutality written from the perspectives of a black innocent victim of police brutality AND a white classmate who witnesses the attack. I’m assuming that Angie Thomas‘ The Hate U Give— the Vermont Humanities Council’s “Vermont Reads” selection is on this list (The library and faculty/staff are collaborating with St. Michael’s librarians to present, events, book discussions, etc. this coming fall. Also, just read, Thomas’ On the Come Up, set in the same fictional community as in Garden Heights, as The Hate U Give, but in this novel, Thomas turns her attention away from Starr (the protagonist in her first novel) to the world of hip-hop, and Brianna, a talented teenager who lives and breathes it. AND to be released (Jan. 2021), Concrete Rose, the prequel to “The Hate U Give”, same setting, 17 years earlier. Also just read, Tupac Shakur’s The Rose that Grew from Concrete, a posthumous collection of intimate thoughts and poems by rap artist, actor and poet that was an inspiration for Thomas’ works. As Thomas speaks to young people: “Art is activism. You just have to find your activism, and don’t let anyone tell you what that should look like. If you’re doing the work, and you’re getting someone to think, you’re on the right path. In the YA community, we are fighting for you and alongside you.”
From Sheila Liming: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (2019) Winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction .
From Elin Melchior: “A Question of Power by Bessie Head. First published in 1974 this book is a semi-autobiographical account of Head’s life in Botswana. Elizabeth, the main character, leaves South Africa for Botswana, where she struggles with mental illness and fitting into a traditional village community. I first read it over 30 years ago in an African Lit class but is still stays with me.”
From John Rasmussen: Charles Burnett’s film THE KILLER OF SHEEP poetically expresses the profound problems of poverty and race through the portrayal of a family in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts in the 1970s. Burnett’s humanistic and caring rendering is U.S. filmmaking at its finest. The film can be viewed through the Champlain College Library.
From Tanya Stone: I just finished Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and it was phenomenal. There are two versions–the original version, by Ibram Kendi, and the Young Adult version by Jason Reynolds and Kendi. Both are incredible. The audiobook version with Jason Reynolds is also narrated by him and it’s immensely powerful to hear him read it aloud.
From Sarah Camille Wilson: Octavia E. Butler was a groundbreaking science fiction & fantasy writer, a woman of color in a genre dominated by white men. Her work won multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards. Her 1979 novel Kindred is a powerful thought experiment and just as relevant today as when it was first published.