[Image: A bland banner that says “Raising Luminaries Resource Roundup February”]
While I’m hesitant to claim that we’re out of the woods, this new year of the Ox (gentle loyalty, hard work, steadfast honesty!), has me hopeful. We have a new administration, several vaccines in the pipeline, and soon the bitter cold will pass and I can shove my loud-ass children outside to give my shredded eardrums a rest.
So what are we working on this February? Welp, it’s our family’s biggest holiday of the year, but we’re also taking this opportunity to dig deeper into Black Futures – learning about Black history, and supporting our Black friends and family who are alive right now through the lens of – what do we need to do to ensure Black liberation and joy both today, and tomorrow?
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Books to help you navigate hard topics in February
2/2 is Groundhog day
Which is an insignificant kind of day! The kind of delicious holiday we don’t have to feel guilty about failing to celebrate or acknowledge!
That said, we will be reading Punxsutawney Phyllis to follow up our January discussions on anti-elder ageism, and using that opportunity to unpack how stigmatizing elders to gain power for girls ultimately just screws over older women.
2/4 is Rosa Parks Day
Over the years, we’ve read oodles of picture books on Rosa Parks. Most reduce her decision and her courage to whim. It wasn’t, it was a carefully planned and strategically executed start of the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Which just reinforced how brave she really was. Even though I have many issues with the Ordinary People series, I Am Rosa Parks is our favorite book to kick off these discussions. It’s funny, engaging, and goes into deeper detail on how mindful Parks was in her resistance – but it’s also factually inaccurate and implies that ‘racism is over.’ We use it to discuss the whitewashing of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Since the mainstream media and public curriculum saturates kids with a two-dimensional, pedestaled martyr of Parks, this year, we’re focusing our attention on Georgia Gilmore in Pies from Nowhere. This book expands beyond Parks, to show how movements are not created or maintained by whim or luck. Nor are they achieved through the actions of just with one person.
I’m talking with the Earthquakes about Gilmore’s skill set. Baking is not the first talent we think of when we imagine heroes and change-makers. This story opens up the lens on what it means to work in collective resistance down at the grassroots level, and how everybody can (must) play a part in revolution.
Tying this to modern times within the Earthquakes’ lifetime- we’re also learning about Bree Newsome’s take-down of the confederate flag and that impact on state flags in 2020. (There are no children’s books on Newsome yet, so we watch this video). Afterward, we talk about what has changed, and what has stayed the same since Parks’ refusal.
The way Gilmore and Parks contributed to a wider movement. The way Newsome’s trained her for the ascent, how her accomplice, Jason Tyson, used his whiteness to hug the flag pole to prevent cops from electrocuting her with tasers.
If your kids love these discussions, keep it going – check out more savior-free kids books celebrating Black women in US history, and the many ways we can disrupt anti-Blackness.
Meanwhile: This fight continues. Thinking of Rosa Parks and Georgia Gilmore made me think of Darius McCollum – who we talked about last year. It’s been two years, and he’s still incarcerated for being Black & disabled. Please sign the petition & Free Darius.
2/12 kicks off the Lunar New Year & Spring Festival
Sending good wishes and luck for you through this upcoming year of the Ox! The new year as we celebrate it in our American-Born-Chinese family actually lasts about two weeks – there are themes of loss and letting go, and stuff about of longevity, luck, and raising a ruckus.
- Stereotype-Free Kids Stories Celebrating the Lunar New Year
- Lunar New Year Booklist (this is where I add new LNY good finds)
- The Great Race: Animal Stories from the Chinese Zodiac
2/13 is Galentine’s Day
Celebrating lovers is over-rated, let’s celebrate the kickass friends who have stuck with us and helped us get through this pandemic.
2/14 is Valentine’s Day
We’re not a [cards & tchotchkes = love] kinda family, but I like take this opportunity each year to talk about healthy romantic relationships, marriage rights, particularly how multiracial families have been targeted in the past, and how LGBTQ+ families are still struggling for equal rights.
- Crushes & Puppy Love: Kids books about mutual respect, consent, and clear boundaries
- Talking about consent with kids
- Consent & Body Sovereignty for Infants & Toddlers
- Love is Love is Love: Diverse Family Constellations in Kids Books
- Gay Protagonists in kids stories
- Kids books featuring Multiracial Families
- From the archives: The Case for Loving
Raising Luminaries & Books for Littles are free and accessible for readers who can’t afford a paywall. Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Check out the full affiliate disclosure along with my statement of accountability. If you’re into supporting libraries (please do!) more than consumerism, you can also support BFL on Patreon.
In February, Bumblebee Hollow Academy explores Black Futures and Accomplice work
Exploring Black Futures
Set aside 15 minutes to start a conversation in your school, workplace or community group, and kids about Black Futures. That’s 5 minutes each to get over the hard part of starting, and you’ll find it easier to continue these conversations throughout the year.
I know your schedule is packed, you’re stretched thin, and this feels like one more thing – but I promise this is less work than it looks like, and you can incorporate these discussions into your everyday kid-raising.
- Take 5 minutes to email your kids teachers, administration, and neighbors to touch base on how you’re integrating Black Lives Matter At School this month, and throughout the year. (I made it easy for you below !!!).
- During your next virtual hangout, ask if you can share your screen for a short watch party: Black Futures & human complexity (only 3 minutes, 47 seconds!) Discuss the problem with focusing narrowly on on Black exceptionalism and Black history in the classroom.
- Take 5 minutes to review the 13 guiding principles of BLM at school (and at home). Discuss with the kiddos on which ones you’ve already incorporated into your anti-bias & justice work as a family. Discuss which ones you need more practice with.
- If your kids are tangible learners: pick up a copy of What We Believe, a coloring & activity book that goes over the 13 principles of BLM@school.
Curated Reading: Pick a book and get started!
This is a long list, but I’ll make it simple for you. This me & the Earthquakes how we screen, analyze, and choose the best books to share with you when we’ve got a hard topic to tackle:
- Pick the principle you’re least familiar with.
- Choose 3 books from a collection about it that feel age & cognitively appropriate for your family.
- Tell your kiddo we need their help identifying the best book to learn about these principles.
- Read all three, giving them power to choose the order and pace.
- Discuss how each story reflects the principle you’re both learning about.
- Ask for their insight – if we want to learn more about this principle, which book do they recommend for the kids our community?
- Ask them to report back – comment below with their insight.
Try it – seriously, it works. This isn’t about dragging kids through hard conversations that have nothing to do with them. This is about respecting their insight and expertise and using that power to lift our entire community.
- Restorative justice:
- Loving Engagement:
- Diversity & Intersectionality
- Queer Affirming:
- Trans affirming:
- Collective Value:
- Black Families: From Kids Books Centering Black Futures:
- Black Villages: From Kids Books Centering Black Futures:
- Unapologetically Black: from Kids Books Centering Black Futures”
- Read books that destigmatize, name & affirm body acceptance and positivity focusing on Black joy, beauty, and identity, such as Black is a Rainbow Color, My Hair is Magic, M is for Melanin, Magnificent Homespun Brown & I Am Brown.
- Celebrate stories with Black complex characters outside the role of exceptionalism, such as in All My Sons Deserve Respect
- Make space for Black boy joy and vulnerability with A Place Inside of Me.
- Black Women:
What does it mean to be an accomplice?
Allyship is not just for white folks, we work on this all year, for all targeted identities.
Are your kids equipped with the tools they need to be upstanders, accomplices, and supportive friends? Do they know the difference between saviorism and solidarity? Do they know when to listen, when to pass the mic, and when to weaponize unearned privilege to dismantle the kyriarchy?
- Kids Books on how to model Solidarity as Allies & Accomplices
- Kids Books About Collective Action (updates: still expanding with more stories of Collective Action)
- Upstanders: Civil Disobedience & Disrupting Injustice
- Also check out: Hollaback’s Free Bystander Intervention Training (for adults)
How can we practice caution, endurance, and patience as we prep for another year-ish of pandemic isolation?
- Hilarious books that legit made the Earthquakes belly-laugh (we all need something to get us through this long winter)
- Kids Books For Pandemic Life
- Books To Reassure Kids During Coronavirus Isolation
February calls to action
Action for Grownups!
- Share, download, review the the Ending Police Brutality Family Action Toolkit so you’re equipped to discuss the school-to-prison pipeline this month.
- Join the Revolutionary Humans community to get notifications for when Bellamy and I team up for webinars and group hangs this March.
- Join our virtual open office hours & solidarity hangouts:
- Wednesday February 3rd, 6:30pm EST
- Saturday, February 13, 1:00pm EST
- Join patreon at the Luminary or Co-Conspirator tier, then follow posts with the hangout tag to catch the latest details on upcoming hangouts.
- Gift a Little Feminist Book Club subscription to a local school librarian.
Action for Kids!
- Check out the Sesame Street town hall on racism
- Read Freedom We Sing
- Choose 5 Action Bingo items to complete in our Ending Police Brutality Family Action Toolkit.
One more important thing…
Our January Fred Korematsu Day discussion about Japanese Internment led to the discussion of the US separation of migrant families and the holocaust, which led to the Chinese government’s imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims.
The Earthquakes wanted to create a quick Public Service Announcement about concentration and internment camps because CLEARLY some grownups are NOT GETTING IT.
[Video description: R2 and Q advocate for the abolition of concentration camps. Captions available.]
Stay Curious, Stand Brave & Let No Neighbor Go Hungry
You are amazing and maaagic. I appreciate the fact that you’re on this planet, raising awesome kiddos and leading this next generation of kind, clever and generous leaders.
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