[Image: A bland banner that says “Raising Luminaries Resource Roundup December 2020”]
Welp, let’s get 2021 started!
- What is the best time to do things?
- Who is the most important one?
- What is the right thing to do?
We’ll be pondering these questions through the lens of all the experiments we’ve explored here in Raising Luminaries over the years, and using it to inform our 2021 mission.
(TBD! Our new year starts on Feb 21, so we got some time.)
You are the bees knees!
Everyone, can we give a solid high-five to the 354 patreon supporters who keep these resources free and accessible? Patreon friends, I adore you.
Over the past seven years, these awesome accomplices have helped me work my way toward making a living wage. As of last month, my income now covers 85% of my monthly housing bill. All we need is another 45 supporters, and my family can be housing-secure!
Join us if you benefit from this work and can spare a few bucks each month, or make a one-time contribution on Venmo @Raising-Luminaries.
Books to help you navigate hard topics in January
1/1 kicks off 2021
Who do we want to be this year? How do we want to grow over the next 4 seasons? We use these books to discuss identity, starting new, and leading with integrity.
- Gregorian New Years, interdependence, and inclusion
- Books For The Next Generation Of Kind & Brilliant Leaders
1/18 is Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Day, Jr. Day
Shrugging off all the whitewashing and consumerism slowly encroaching upon this day – make sure your kids know the historical context of the civil rights movement, and why it’s important to support our leaders and recognize their humanity.
- Segregation & Desegregation history for kids
- A kid’s compilation of non-violent resistance
- The best (and also some problematic) books about Martin Luther King
1/20 is Inauguration Day
If all goes well (I mean WHO EVEN KNOWS ANYMORE), we will have a new president sitting in the white house at the end of the month – and the most racially, gender, and ability-diverse cabinet of all time. Our family is awaiting this moment with cautious hope – and a re-commitment to never get complacent and hold our government accountable for caring for our citizens.
Another thing we’re looking forward to – finally having a margin of space, removed from the constant assault of the current administration, to finally hear and understand the voices of those who voted against our values so we can transform our government into a place where all people get what they need to survive.
Yeah. Even the assholes.
1/21-1/25 are the coldest days of the year (in Boston)
This year I’m gonna splurge and raise the heat above 55F, because damn it has been a year, and pinching pennies, frankly, doesn’t matter that much when I still can’t pay the mortgage. I’m also gonna take advantage of homeschooling with our slow, self-directed mornings and spontaneous afternoons with the Earthquakes – now that the kids have no bus to catch, and no school drama to recover from.
Taking night shifts with my partner so I can work full time, continue advocacy work, and home-school and care for the kids, I only get about 3 hours of daylight these days. So I’m also relying heavily on what our family learns from these books to handle my seasonal anxiety and depression.
- Our coziest winter favorites
- Overcoming False Scarcity & Xenophobia with ‘Shelter’
- Cozy Kid’s Books To Warm Up Your Winter
- Seasonal Rhythms, Patience & Listening
- Radical Interdependence
1/30 is Fred Korematsu Day
The year I was born, two white dudes beat Kevin Chin (a Chinese man) to death, because they mistook him for a Japanese man who was gonna steal their jobs. Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia continues to this day. Both in the smaller, subtle ways that I’ve learned to shrug off growing up, and the systemic discrimination in our media and corporate practices. Not even getting into the horrifying violence we’ve seen against Asian Americans through this pandemic.
For many of you who aren’t Asian, it’s been easy to shrug off the generational trauma and modern fear that still haunts Japanese Americans from being imprisoned for being Japanese American in their own home country, even as we continue to target and torture immigrants in the US.
And as always – it’d be super cool if we could balance out every book about us as the quiet victim/nerd/mystical Asian, with stories showing us as agents of our own story, beyond our role as the other. So pick up a couple more books of our heroism & history this month, too.
- Delicious Kids Books That Dismantle Anti-Asian Racism
- Asian & Pacific Islander history
- Quick List: Kids Books on Japanese American Internment
- Why We Keep Repeating The Past – Kids Books on Japanese Internment (in progress, keep an eye out for patreon updates on the 16th)
In January, Bumblebee Hollow Academy lessons focus on:
What is ‘healthy’ masculinity?
The Earthquakes have assembled an impressive identity as a kickass team – ‘The Brothers’ that steps far beyond the toxic boundaries of masculinity that I grew up with.
So many feminist books focus on expanding the boundaries and constrictions of toxic femininity. Few progressive authors are willing to rely on anything but a tokenized girl of color kicking ass and juggling lab equipment to explore gender futures.
Even as the Earthquakes explore gender outside masculinity, I want them to have a firm handle on what it means to be a boy, or a man, or anything leaning in the constellation of masculinity, in a healthy society.
- Kids Books Modeling Healthy Masculinity
- Boys Who Keep House
- All My Sons Deserve Respect! Complex Black Boys In Kidlit
- Raising Tomorrow’s Fathers – Children’s Books With Feminist Dads
- 6 Mistakes We Make Raising Sons
What does ageism against older adults look like?
Last year, we started digging into the subtle ways we stigmatize and stereotype older adults.
- #OwnVoices Elders
- Problematic Stories of Youth Saviorism Stigmatizing Older Adults
- Why Young Activists Depend on the Fight For Elder Rights
- Ageism Against Older Adults
- Older Lives Are Worth Living: Fighting Ageism & Deathmisia In Children’s Books
- Anti-Ageism Kids Books About Older Adults
- Anti-ageism kids books featuring intergenerational friendships
- And while we’re on the topic of ageism, might as well touch on the other side of the scale: Unpolished notes on Childism
How do trickster & animal stories show us what it means to be human?
Some Indigenous cultures of Turtle Island (ex: some of the authorized Cree, Salish, Anishinaabe storytellers) reserve trickster stories for winter. To respect this practice, I save up our trickster tales to celebrate our snowfalls of the winter season.
Except Sun Wukong, it’s culturally acceptable/encouraged to take broad liberties with re-tellings of his antics. And as a Chinese family, we enjoy these stories year-round.
Honestly – the anticipation gets the Earthquakes really excited and adds joy to the dreariness of winter. It makes them feel good to respect these wishes to wait.
I know there are (very few, and very limited) studies suggesting that stories featuring human protagonists “work better” (on the surface) to teach kids lessons on social emotional skills.
Frankly, I’m sick of folks over-simplifying a few whitewashed anecdotes, half-baked theories, and sterile-academic studies to shoot down spectacular Indigenous traditions and modern animal stories that work really well to validate kids’ experiences and open deep discussions.
Counterpoint the Disney Princess Effect & academic elitism that prioritize human protagonists:
- Human-protagonist stories are disproportionately more likely to be of European/colonist origin (think Grimm’s Fairytales), whereas animal stories have been used with sticking power & great success throughout Africa, Asia, and Turtle Island for several thousands of years.
- WHICH kids did we study? Was this a solid sampling beyond white American kids?
- What are the long-term reflections and impacts of these studies?
- Which (human vs. animal) stories stick with kids the longest? Months later? Decades?
- Outside a clinical study where adult interaction and story discussion would have been strictly controlled: Which generate the most self-reflection and family discussions?
- Which stories do kids ask to read again?
- Which stories do kids reflect on, bring up, and talk about years later?
- Are we really comfortable with prioritizing a select few academic studies over the traditional Indigenous storytelling traditions of families all over the world who have successfully used animal stories to connect the youngest generations with cultural values?
- JUST SAYING.
With that, here are our favorites:
How can we practice caution, endurance, and patience as we prep for another 6+ months of pandemic isolation?
January calls to action
Action for Grownups!
- Join the Luminary Brain Trust for our virtual open office hours on January 10, 2-3:30pm EST. Join patreon at the Luminary or Co-Conspirator tier, then follow posts with the hangout tag for details.
- Give a gift of Little Feminist Book Club subscription to a Little Free Library steward, a family without library access, or stay connected with your friends by starting a social-distance kids’ book club. I pick out the books, LFBC creates the reading guides and resources, and your kids get a surprise book box on their doorstep each month.
Action for Kids!
- Take the Revolutionary Humans 25 Days of Kindness Free Challenge & support Bellamy’s free resources while she single-handedly raises & home schools two young children through a pandemic and unemployment crisis.
One more good thing…
My partner took the Earthquakes sledding, and came back with this report on their progress:
[Video description: R2, the smaller kid, trying to pull his much larger brother Q, in a sled through thick snow. Q half-heartedly paddles his arms to help, but R2 keeps jerking the sled rope only to meet resistance, flopping over, struggling to get back up, and repeating the same tactic, to no avail.]
Stay Curious, Stand Brave & Be Here Now
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