Home Shenanigans July Resource Roundup

July Resource Roundup

Summer Kids Books, Discussion Questions & Action Guides for Kyriarchy-Smashing Families

via Ashia
Published: Last Updated on

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In July we explore interdependence & the impact of hyper-local action

Hey friends!

We’re on home school summer break, the kids are bouncing off the walls, and ugh why won’t they go outside? It’s nice out!

Since we’re not doing formal ‘lessons’ or pre-planning discussions, this month we’re focusing on thinking global, acting local. These small skills and rituals are the ones we can still practice even when life is humid, hectic and we feel too gross to move.

Supporting our kids means showing them small choices and little actions make a difference.

At some point our kids are going to get access to The Big Scary Exhausting Adult Internet, where they’ll be fire-hosed with calls to TAKE-ACTION-OR-ELSE, desperate please for bail and surgery, and tragedies both overwhelming and personal.

There are so many things we need to talk about with our kids before they grow up and think we’re too dorky to listen to. Don’t panic though. DO NOT PANIC.

::panicking just a little bit::

I still haven’t developed the skills to scroll through a social media feed without collapsing into a puddle of panic, despair, and envy. But when I do find myself in that puddle, the only thing that breaks me out of it is to take one small, tiny action, right away.

So let’s help our kids foster skills to combat overwhelm. Let’s raise kids who can tap into experience, resiliency, and the comfort of knowing they are capable of contributing as a significant force of change. Once kids self-identify as a doer of helpful things, they’ll find it easier to build upon this experience. They’ll get more comfortable with discomfort. And they’ll learn that no matter what horrors the world throws at them, they don’t have to sit by and leave these problems for someone else to handle.

This all starts with helping kids develop a sense of responsibility to care for others, and the capability to do so.

It’s cool, we can get through this together. Having trouble narrowing ideas on what to focus on next? We got you.

Below, we’ll start with stories to introduce challenges we’re facing together. Then we’ll brainstorm small actions that little kids can handle. You are here, which means you are a curious doer yourself. So, I hope you’ll share your family’s favorite small actions in the comments below.

 


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Parenting is Praxis: July Edition

No one expects you to do it all – so pick one, or knit them together. Just keep pushing a tiny bit beyond your comfort zone and crack that noggin’ open just wide enough to let a little light shine in.

Need help explaining big ideas?

Check out our Luminary Wordbank, where we’ve got simple kid-friendly definitions for big words.

Quick links to resources on this page:


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Significant Dates & Events in July


Nonbinary People’s Day

NeitherFrom the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea Ho'onani: Hula Warrior

When is it?

  • July 14th

Read

  • Neither (Ages 3.5-8)
    Still a favorite in our family – a simple, cute story that helps kids understand how strict binary labels harms individuals and makes society tediously boring.
  • From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea (Ages 3-8)
    #OwnVoices story of growing up gender fluid, with a fun twist of magical realism.
  • Ho’onani: Hula Warrior (Ages 4-8)
    Decolonizing gender, with a true biography of a nonbinary Hawaiian kiddo with a trans guiding mentor.

Discuss

Reflection Press has oodles of great resources for discussing gender, so let’s not re-invent the gender wheel (I think this is a pun! Which you will understand once you click through to the resources. We do like to have fun here.)

Small Actions:

  • Default to ‘they/them‘ pronouns for unspecified story characters
    Unless their pronouns are explicit, or we’re making up for an unbalanced gendered story. After years of doing this, the kids correct us when we presume binary genders in both stories and real life (and we all mess up sometimes).
  • Make space for your kiddo to experiment with pronouns
    For an hour, a day, or forever, make an effort to respect that. When of my kiddos tried out new pronouns every day, I just wrote them on his forehead for easy reference. If you’re against marking up your kids, maybe use post-its and safety pins. I trust you to get creative.

Small Actions for cisgender folks:

  • Respect pronouns:

If someone tells you they’re nonbinary or gender creative, even if you perceive them as cisgender, believe them.

If a person identifies as nonbinary, but use binary pronouns (ex: she, he), use their pronouns.

If a person uses pronouns you’re not used to, or changes pronouns frequently, make a little effort to keep up. If you mess up, just correct yourself and move on, without making a big deal out of it. If you’re unsure, ask.

  • Normalize explicit pronouns

When we normalize the idea that our pronouns are not implied by how strangers perceive us, this makes it safer for folks with nonbinary identities and gender presentations to share theirs.

Even if your pronouns and gender presentation match up, by using explicit pronouns with others, we demonstrate that it’s not normal or useful to assume our pronouns based on what we look like.

  • Explicitly state your pronouns in everyday life

Tell folks your pronouns when you introduce yourself.

Add your pronouns in your email signature.

Add your pronouns in your social media profile.

Add them to your Zoom name.

More resources to dig deeper:

 


Mad Pride Day

For Mad Pride Day this year, we’re explore at the stigmatization and erasure of mental health conditions in the Asian & Pacific Islander community.

What stories are you reading to unpack your family’s cultural relationship with mental health access?

Living with Viola - Fung, Rosena Jenny Mei Is Sad - Subisak, Tracy Just Roll with It: (A Graphic Novel) - Durfey-Lavoie, Lee

When is it?

  • July 14th

Read:

Discuss

  • Have you ever been upset about injustice and had someone dismiss you as ‘hysterical,’ ‘crazy,‘ or common for kids – ‘over-tired’?
  • How does it feel to have your concerns brushed aside like that? Why?
  • What is your family’s history with mental health issues?
  • How do members judge, silence, or dismiss members who experience mental health challenges?
  • How have your family members’ experiences with racism, colonialism, ableism, displacement, sexism, and other oppressions compounded your ability to access mental health care?

More Resources To Dig Deeper


Nelson Mandela Day

The Soccer Fence Nelson Mandela The day Gogo Went To Vote
When is it?
  • July 18th

Read

I haven’t found the *perfect* book to introduce the concept of apartheid and the role of colonialism, racism, and why Nelson Mandela’s actions were such a big deal, but these are the best books we’ve used to introduce these topics so far.

  • The Soccer Fence (Ages 6-8) – Not particularly engaging, but a decent intro to the history of apartheid.
  • Nelson Mandela (Ages 4.5-8) – Gorgeous illustrations, but not particularly engaging story-wise.
  • The Day Gogo Went To Vote (Ages 4-8) – Blurry, dated illustrations and bland storytelling, but this is the only story I’ve found that refuses to sideline women. Similar in concept to the US story, Lillian’s Right to Vote, but without naming any of the nebulous bad stuff that prevents Gogo from voting, it’s just confusing. But hey, at least this story exists?

Without the right stories to hook kinds into the significance of Mandela’s life work (and in particular the women who worked alongside him while remaining invisible), we’ll keep looking for resources that introduce this history. Like – what are the childhood stories anti-apartheid activists grew up with that empowered them to fight this system?

  • Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales see what you can tease out of the stories Mandela chose for kids to carry on.
  • African Tales by Gcina Mhlophe, an anti-aparthied activist who educates on the erasure of women in the anti-aparthied movement.
  • Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime on growing up biracial in South Africa when it miscegenation was illegal.

Discuss with the kiddos:

  • What principles, values, and decisions do Mandela and Mhlophe highlight for this next generation of leaders and distruptors of systemic injustice?

Take Action:

More resources to dig deeper:

 


Disability In(ter)dependence Day

Disability Independence Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). HOWEVER – through the lens of disability justice, let’s unpack the ableist/unsustainable focus on ‘independence‘ to make room for interdependence. If this is a new concept for you – no worries, we’ve got resources below.

To celebrate this month – let’s read some badass biographies featuring people with disabilities using their life experience to make the world more compassionate and inclusive for everybody.

The William Hoy Story All the Way to the Top We Move Together - Fritsch, Kelly

When is it?

  • July 26th

Read

Watch

  • Judith Heumann’s Fight for Disability Rights
    The 6 & 8-year olds loved this goofy reenactment of the 504 sit-in, but you may want to pre-screen it to make sure it’s right for your family.
    Content warning for alcohol abuse, cussing, and joyful giving-of-no-fucks.

Discuss as a family:

See Week 6: Interdependence (notes on 10/22) in our Autumn 2020 Luminary Lesson Archives for example diagrams for visual learners.

Watch Together: Family Movie Night Discussions:
(Accessible for Luminary Brain Trust Members)

Small action praxis: Make local trouble

  • Visit the website or physical location of your kids’ favorite local store, restaurant, museum, or play space.
  • What barriers exist in these places for people with physical, cognitive, or sensory disabilities?
  • What solutions exist for to solve this obstacle? Are there people with disabilities who are already working on this issue?
  • Who in this space could you speak or write a letter to to draw attention to this lack of access?
  • Together with your kids, map out your pods – who can you connect with to advocate to make this space more accessible?

Adults: exploring interdependence

More resources to dig deeper:



We homeschool and I often build lessons around the books you and topics you suggest. The resource found-ups are my favorite thing. They are so helpful.

It’s wonderful to be able to trust your book recommendations.

Megan B., LUMINARY BRAIN TRUST MEMBER

 

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In July, we dig into…

 


Let’s Explore: Think Global, Act Local

What does ‘think global, act local’ really mean for our family? ‘Cause it’s different for everyone.

https://bookshop.org/a/1122/9781419742262Come With Me Mattland

Read:

More resources to dig deeper:

 


Let’s Explore Environmentalism & Climate Justice

Silver lining for these unbearable, unusually hot, drought- and fire-infested summers. They motivate kids to take urgent action against climate change!

 

Seeds of Change We Are Water Protectors

Read

Watch, Discuss & Take Action

Watch Together: Family Movie Night Discussions:
(Accessible for Luminary Brain Trust Members)

More resources to dig deeper



Let’s Explore Animal Rights & Anti-Speciesism

A couple years back, the 7-year-old took an interest in exploring the perspectives and experiences of animals, and how our family actions impact the critters around us. While the 7-year-old has successfully advocated for family meals to go pescatarian, the 9-year-old has developed an interest in archery and aspires to hunt animals to reduce reliance on factory farming.

I read them both the same books about animal rights, anti-speciesism, and the impact of environmental devastation we humans have on the other lives here on earth. Isn’t it weird how kids are their own people, developing differing perspectives and methods for coping with the responsibilities and challenges that face us as humans? Neat.

Shark Ladycamel in the sun

Read:

Discuss:

Pick an animal to discuss

  • What assumptions do we make about the lives of these animals in comparison with our own as humans?
  • Where can we learn more about these animals?
  • What direct and indirect impact do our human choices have on this animal and their environment?
  • What responsibilities do we hold to be in sustainable relationships with these animals?

Take Action:

  • What small change can we make in our daily lives to improve conditions for these animals?(Example: water conservation, switching from plastic containers to zero-waste shampoo, walking to a friend’s house instead of driving, eating vegetarian one more meal each week, buying from regenerative farms.)

More resources to dig deeper:

 



Little Feminist Book ClubDonate a Little Feminist Book Club subscription to your local summer camp so sensory-overwhelmed kids can enjoy rainy days & quiet recovery spaces.

Whenever I find new children’s biographies about disability rights and climate justice activists, I tell our partner, Little Feminist Book Club about it right away.

Over the years, we’ve filled neighborhoods with books like All the Way to the Top and We Move Together.



July Calls Us To Action!

 

Families: Take the Plastic Free July Challenge

I know you have a lot on your (reusable, compostable) plate – so rather than look at this as an ALL OR NOTHING initiative, let’s choose at least one way we can eliminate plastic consumption from our daily lives and see what experiments sound fun this month.

Click here for ideas to eliminate single-use plastic from your home & habits.


Families: Learn How to Make Your Own Ecobricks

For folks with medications, medical devices, and dietary needs, avoiding non-recyclable plastic is just impossible.

And even for those of us who do recycle religiously – most of that plastic isn’t accepted by our recyclers and actually getting processed properly,

For that plastic that we can’t avoid – consider making ecobricks to sequester and upcycle all that garbage.

Click here for ideas to sequester plastic and reduce your burden on the waste stream.

 


 

child & parent at AAPI anti-racism rally

Photo by Jason Leung via Unsplash

Join the Summer Accelerator

Raising Luminaries Parent Activist Collectives are virtual, seasonally-oriented 6-week experiments where radically progressive parents reflect, assess, and take action to make a laser-beam impact all year round.

Unlike single-issue workshops and online groups, we work together in small, private, interdependent cohorts to process & reflect, take accountability, and create specialized plans of action for the change we want to see.

It’s fun. You will like it. Join us.

Click here to learn more.

 

 


Kiddos: Little Feminist Summer Reading Challenge

Little Feminist Book Club Summer Reading Program

Download the Little Feminist Reading Challenge bingo sheet to kick off your summer reading.

Need help finding books to meet the challenge? OH I GOT YOU, BUDDY.

 


Families: Make a Response Plan

Kindness as an action: plan for the future

Via Revolutionary Humans, used with permission:

Develop a toolkit for kindness + Action

1. Ask

  • What extra resources do I have?
  • What connections would be useful for others?
  • What are my go-to strategies for tangible actions?

2. Write

  • Your top 5 Actions for friends
  • Your top 5 actions to respond to sudden community needs
  • Your top 5 actions for long-term kindness

3. Refer

  • To your list of actions when needs arise and spend less time ignoring or avoiding kind offer

Grownups: Join When We Gather with Bellamy of Revolutionary Humans

  • Co-creative art projects designed to inspire & spark hope in busy parents
  • Thought-provoking essays and journal prompts on parenting through multiple intersections of oppression
  • Receive monthly kindness actions to motivate little leaders
  • Live virtual events & book clubs
Where love is the culture and revolution is the purpose

 


Grownups:  Support Reproductive Healthcare & Abortion Access for LGBTQiA2S+, BIPOC, poor & and targeted youth

Choose an action accessible to you:

  1. Sign the petition calling on Congress to support Abortion Access Legislation via the Women’s Health Protection Act*.
  2. Text PMQRWU to 50409
  3. Donate $5 now to Abortion Within Reach to support direct-care, crisis relief funds & advocacy protecting reproductive justice.

“We demand that young people have the explicit legal right to consent to  their own sexual and reproductive health care needs with full protection for their privacy and confidentiality and that young people have full  access to the reproductive health services they may need, including but  not limited to abortion, birth control, and comprehensive sex education  that is sex-positive and LGBTQIA+ affirming.”

*I know the name of the legislation sucks, but we’re in a crisis and picking our battles here. Demand Senators pass H.R. 3755 using any tool available including ending the filibuster.

To find more of our petitions, text GO LUMINARIES to 50409 or visit Raising Luminaries Resistbot Petitions

 



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We support those who support our community. I’ve reinvested 12% of our 2021 Patreon pledges to activists and organizations such as the Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP):

“The mission of TGIJP is to challenge and end the human rights abuses committed against Black, Black/Brown trans people inside of California prisons, jails, detention centers, and beyond.”

Find out who pays all this, and where the money goes in our Financial Accountability disclosure. It’s got charts! And just abysmal budgeting skills!

Join us and help keep these resources free for everybody:

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Books for Rascals: Good Finds for July

Welcome to our favorite good finds! You can keep track of great new finds as we add them to the in-progress best books of 2022 as well as our Summer Favorites.

R2’s Favorites: (Age 8)

Making Waves: A Branches Book (Layla and the Bots #4) - Fang, VickyLayla and the Bots: Making Waves

R2 gets so excited when we get a new edition of these simple chapter books. He likes the predictable format of each story, the inevitable drama of a bug or design flaw – and I appreciate how they connect cute goofy challenges with real engineering processes.

The stories are numbered, but they sense no matter which book you read first – Making Waves is R2’s favorite in the series so far, particularly the message of listening to animals and designing tech that works for them, not for what humans think they need.

I have some qualms about tokenizing a Black character in a book created by (and profiting) East Asian makers. White people want books with cute Black girls on the cover, and clearly the makers added this for ‘representation’ (cough: marketing and sales).

So I look forward to how the publisher and makers will use the popularity of these books to financially support and signal boost #OwnVoices Black engineers writing their own stories for kids.

::: Lowers glasses and looks intently at the makers of this story :::

If you liked this story, check out: Inspiring Kids To Learn About Animal Rights & Anti-Speciesism

Dragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning - Marsh, Sarah GlennDragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning

I admit my kids are getting… exhausted with nonfiction biographies. Most of them are dry and shitty, just a string of timeline facts, dates, and name-dropping. No one in our family is particularly interested in dinosaurs or fossils at the moment, so there wasn’t a ‘hook’ I could catch the kids on.

So I wasn’t expecting R2 to enjoy this… however – it’s illustrated by Maris Wicks,* so we gave it a try.

*Author of our family-favorite, Human Body Theater (please buy more copies – Wicks is looking forward to creating a second edition that’s trans & intersex inclusive when the first edition sells out!)

Gosh, R2 just loves this book! There’s just enough drama, interest, and discovery to keep him engaged. He loved it, and asked to read it repeatedly.

If you liked this story, check out: Inclusive Kids Books About STEAM


Q’s Favorites: (Age 10)

Flash Forward: An Illustrated Guide to Possible (and Not So Possible) Tomorrows - Eveleth, RoseFlash Forward: An Illustrated Guide to Possible (and not so possible) Tomorrows

I got this to read myself, but Q was like ‘Oh a graphic novel – that’s for me!’, grabbed it and wouldn’t let go. Over the course of months, he slowly worked through the speculative science fiction, stopping occasionally to ask me to explain some of the more adult jokes and how the futurist scenarios connect to the problems of today.

The compilation of stories was created by a range of creative modern artists – including Blue Delliquanti, maker of my absolute most favorite adult graphic novel, O Human Star.

Future explorations range from the conflict between integrating tech that makes life accessible for folks with disabilities – at the cost of our privacy. What happens when the capitalist machine of big pharma goes even deeper off the rails – stuff like that. Most of the futures are a dystopian warning, but nothing too traumatic for a 10-year-old.

If you liked this story, check out: Graphic Novels for Elementary-Aged Kids

 

Katie the Catsitter: More Cats, More Fun! Boxed Set (Books 1 and 2) - Venable, Colleen AFKatie the Catsitter

Other than a slight jab at spam (no thank you, anti-AAPI & classist food shaming!) this two-book series is lovely, hilarious, and fun.

The author weaves in a few different plot lines – friendship conflict, weighing the risks and benefits of disruption and sabotage in the fight against capitalist climate destruction, social media misinformation, trauma reactions and trying not to care what others think about you – but also being a human who can’t not.

If you liked this story, check out: Kids Stories featuring Supportive Friendships


Ashia’s Favorites: (Age 39.5)

Marshmallow & Jordan - Chau, Alina Marshmallow & Jordan

A few small criticisms on the execution of this book, but first – this is such a cute story!!

It’s unique and different from what I’ve grown to expect from a graphic novel for kids

Set in Indonesia (Chua is #OwnVoices Chinese-Indonesian), this thick tome tackles a few storylines about the social impact and identity impact of acquiring a disability – how Jordan’s self-identity and her social connections with her friends change as she transforms from a basketball star to another sport after she becomes a wheelchair user.

Then there’s this fluffy white magical elephant who just shows up? And everyone is like ‘Cool. Let’s enjoy snacks!”

It’s wild and lovely magical realism with a nod to cultural Hinduism, with a social story and a gentle kick of how climate devastation impacts folks without wealth and education privilege.

Okay on to the criticisms – Chua is not #OwnVoices disabled, and both her illustrations and end notes suggest maaaybe she relied too heavily on her internet research, without paying and listening to #ActuallyDisabled people. Jordan scoots around in a hospital wheelchair all day, which left me writhing in discomfort – that slab seat and that boxy chair – it looks so painful! This is a common problem when illustrators just search google images for ‘wheelchair’ without realizing that there are many different types – and a personal full-time wheelchair user needs something different than the thing they wheel you into the emergency room with.

On page 77 Jordan’s ‘friends’ use an ableist slur “That’s such a lame cover-up!” unironically – TOWARD Jordan as a wheelchair user and no one addresses that at all as problematic.

Chua says she “did a lot of research into the everyday life and sporting activities of paraplegic children and athletes. I wanted to depict Jordan and her wheelchair use with respect and accuracy.”  But yea no – growing up as an able-bodied person means we can’t possibly even know WHAT terms and experiences to look for in our research. A simple mistake easily rectified by talking to… like any disabled person, ever?

Even the way she phrases the singular “everyday life” – flattens the disabled experience into a monolithic experience – a stereotype. Folks with disabilities – even those who share the same disability – live many wild and various kinds of lives. Some of which will resemble parts of Jordan’s experience – and many which do not.

Jordan’s experience isn’t straight-up inspiration porn – folks admire her for her athletic skill, not for putting her socks on in the morning. It’s a great story that acknowledges Jordan’s life does change when she acquires a disability, and some of those changes are hard in an ableist world – without candy coating the understanding that her life is still worth living and full of possibilities.

Overall worth reading, but take note of the ablewashing in the story with your kids.

If you liked this story, check out: Kids Books About Intersectional Climate Justice

 

You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things - Silverberg, CoryYou Know, Sex

Sex is a Funny Word is our favorite sex book of all time – and this ENORMOUS compendium of facts, concepts, and explorations expands on all of it for an older set of teens.

The suggested age range on this book is 10+, and it’d be helpful for families (mostly caregivers) to have this as a reference book for talking about menstruation, internet porn, and other modern sex talks in the modern age. And we can’t erase the fact that some 10-year-olds are being groomed already – and need information on sex ASAP.

However, most of it is centered on older teens and adults who are wrestling over hard questions, or something came up real life and they need answers. Which is why I have to recommend that you buy a copy to have in your home.

Normally I’m like ‘It’s okay to go to the library’ but this is more of a reference book that you want your kids to be able to pull off the shelf and reference when you’re not around. They shouldn’t have to ask you to grab a copy for them. And they shouldn’t have to navigate the freakish hellscape of the internet googling these things. This is a trustworthy resource that the makers spent 13 years carefully crafting to help kids and young adults.

Having a copy of this on hand will save you, and your kids, a lot of pain if kids can get answers from this book instead of risking the internet or internalized bigotry from friends.

Seriously – buy it.

If you liked this story, check out: All Bodies Are Good Bodies

 


One more good thing…

I asked the Earthquakes what they wanted to share with you this month, and they decided to share a PSA on Pride Month. Some of their details are…wiggly. But hey, it’s a start.

[Video description: R2 and Q taking turns introducing the US efforts of LGBTQiA2S+ advocates for the decriminalization and celebration of romantic/sexual relationships and living openly as a transgender or gender-creative person, kinda.]


Stay Curious, Stand Brave & Smash the Kyriarchy

 

I get lots of happy brain fuzzies knowing that your work exists and that you exist and YAY special interest in common human exists, I’m not the only one!

Benji., member of the Benevolent Incendiary Email Society

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kindness takes courage shirtYou give me hope.

This month let’s talk with our kids about how the small everyday decisions we make can accumulate into a world-changing impact. Knowing we’re in this together, each making tiny steps toward courageous, radical kindness – we’re not alone!

If my work makes it easier for you to raise kind & courageous kiddos, you can keep these resources free for everybody by contributing directly.

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2 observations

Rebecca B. August 3, 2022 - 3:40 PM

My 8 year old loves asking “real person or not?” whenever we read a book, and “All the Way to the Top” was no exception. She was surprised and excited to learn that Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins was a real 8 year old and is still alive today. We have read this book before, and she grabbed it immediately when she saw it in the book basket again.

Reply
Ashia August 3, 2022 - 9:37 PM

Yay for real-life heroes!

Reply

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