Home Shenanigans July Resource Roundup

July Resource Roundup

via Ashia
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This July we help kids understand the world 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.

I still haven’t developed the skills to scroll through a social media feed without collapsing into a puddle of envy, despair, and panic. 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.

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.


You are doing a good job!

Use these resources to navigate/mitigate harmful messages in popular society about who deserves to be seen, who is the default, and whose stories matter. For families who are silenced and left to scramble for representation – I’m cool with gifting my research, love, and labor to to you at no cost. However, if you’re one of the many lucky folks who can afford to support my work, quit freeloading (j/k – but also please!) and join the patreon community so we’re not perpetuating that whole uncompensated-labor-for-wealthy-folks thing.

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Parenting is Praxis: July Edition

No one expects you to do it all. I certainly can’t! Pick one topic, knit them together, or just keep these in your pocket for deep investigation when the kids show a spark of interest in the topics below. 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.

Think Global, Act Local

What does ‘think global, act local’ really mean for our family? ‘Cause it’s different for everyone. Some books to get kids started thinking:

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

Grownups: For more on how use this principle to raise kind and courageous kiddos, check out Empowering Kids with Age Appropriate Action (And Magic Mind Control Tricks), the 7th installment of the Smashing Wealth Inequality series.

7/14 is Nonbinary People’s Day

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

  1. Read:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Ho’onani: Hula Warrior (Ages 4-8)
      Decolonizing gender, with a true biography of a nonbinary Hawaiian kiddo with a trans guiding mentor.
  2. 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.)

    1. Reflection Press’s Free Gender Questionnaire: a worksheet for kids to assess their understanding of gender as a spectrum, and how to understand their own gender identity.
    2. Gender Wheel Curriculum, companion resources to understand, discuss, and explore the gender spectrum.
  3. Small Actions:
    1. We default to ‘they/them‘ pronouns for characters in during story time 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).
    2. If your kiddo wants 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.
  4. Small Actions for cisgender folks:
    1. Respect pronouns:
      1. If someone tells you they’re nonbinary or gender creative, even if you perceive them as cisgender, believe them.
      2. If a person identifies as nonbinary, but use binary pronouns (ex: she, he), use their pronouns.
      3. 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.
    2. 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.

      1. Explicitly state your pronouns in everyday life whenever you introduce yourself.
      2. Add your pronouns in your email signature.
      3. Add your pronouns in your social media profile.
      4. Add them to your video chat profile name.

To go deeper with these discussions, these articles and additional books will help:


7/18 International Nelson Mandela Day


The Soccer Fence Nelson Mandela The day Gogo Went To Vote
  1. 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 aparthied in the past.

    1. The Soccer Fence (Ages 6-8) – Not particularly engaging, but a decent intro to the history of apartheid.
    2. Nelson Mandela (Ages 4.5-8) – Gorgeous illustrations, but not particularly engaging story-wise.
    3. 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?

This month I’ll be reading Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales to see what we can tease out of the stories Mandela wanted kids to carry on. Pairing that with African Tales – the only book I can get my hands on by Gcina Mhlophe, a women’s rights and anti-aparthied activist.

Adults: If you ever get a chance to see Mhlophe’s live performance on women surviving and fighting aparthied, jump at it. Meanwhile, check out Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime – hard subjects, fun read.

2. Discuss with the kiddos:

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

  1.  3. Small Action Praxis:

To go deeper with these discussions, these books will help:

7/26 is 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 Rose! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

  1. Read
    1. The William Hoy Story (Ages 4-8)
    2. All the Way to the Top (Ages 4-8): If you only read one book in honor of the ADA passing, make it this one.
    3. Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou (Ages 7-10)
  2. Watch
    1. Judith Heumann’s Fight for Disability Rights – The 6 & 8-year olds loved this goody 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.
  3. Discuss as a family:
    1. Who supported the ADA? Who opposed it? Why? (See ‘support and opposition’ on wikipedia to get started).
    2. Who are Patrisha Wright, Yoshiko Saji Dart, and Justin Dart, Jr.? (Sorry, no kid-friendly books or resources yet, but add these folks to your radar.)
  4. Small action praxis: Make local trouble

    1. Visit the website or physical location of your kids’ favorite local store, restaurant, museum, or play space.
    2. What barriers exist in these places for people with physical, cognitive, or sensory disabilities?
    3. What solutions exist for to solve this obstacle? Are there people with disabilities who are already working on this issue?
    4. Who in this space could you speak or write a letter to to draw attention to this lack of access?
  5. Adults: exploring interdependence
    1. Read: Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice.
    2. Map out your pods. (This part can also be done with kids.)

To go deeper with these discussions, these books will help:

This July, let’s dig into …

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!

My Wounded Island Seeds of Change We Are Water Protectors

  1. Read
    1. We Are Water Protectors (Ages 3-7)
    2. My Wounded Island (Ages 4.5+)
    3. Seeds of Change (Ages 4+)
  2. Choose a discussion & small action praxis:
    1. Video, discussion & family action guide: What is our relationship to water?
    2. Family Summer Actions to Take Responsibility In Your Own Backyard
    3. How You Growin’? Art-based family discussions connecting family relationships and supporting your local community garden, for members of Revolutionary Humans
    4. Climate Justice Family Action Toolkit

To go deeper with these discussions, these articles & reading guides will help:

Animal Rights & Anti-Speciesism

This past year, the 7-year-old has taken 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.

Camel in the Sun Shark Lady

  1. Read:
    1. Mrs. Noah’s Pockets (Ages 4-8)
    2. Camel in the Sun (Ages 4+)
    3. Shark Lady (Ages 3.5- 8)
  2. Discuss: Pick an animal to discuss
    1. What assumptions do we make about the lives of these animals in comparison with our own as humans?
    2. Where can we learn more about these animals?
    3. What direct and indirect impact do our human choices have on this animal and their environment?
    4. What responsibilities do we hold to be in sustainable relationships with these animals?
  3. Small action praxis: One little change

    1. What small change can we make in our daily lives to improve conditions for these animals?
      (Ex: 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.)


For families with high-risk, unvaccinated kiddos:

Here in Boston, vaccination rates are high and spaces are opening up. We’re starting to host small play dates, which means transitioning from a 2-kid-only-all-the-time situation, into a 3-kid situation where one kid always feels left out. So we’re spending some quality time with books to help kids navigate jealousy through an equity framework.

The transition from isolation to socializing has been rough, with lots of fights, meltdowns, and anxiety. So for those of you experiencing the same, I hope you’re being gracious with yourself and your kids, as this transition back to ‘normal,’ particularly for those of us with social disabilities, is a whole new type of complicated emotional and mental work.

For families are still wrestling with full or semi-isolation. Here are some books to help!

Calls To Action: For 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.


Calls To Action: For Kiddos!

Little Feminist Summer Reading Challenge

Little Feminist Book Club Summer Reading Program

Get free prizes while diversifying your family’s summer reading. Multiple kids per household can participate and earn prizes. Registration is free, sign up here.

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



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 & Start Small

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!

You can keep these resources free & accessible for all join the Raising Luminaries Patreon community. If you don’t need extra resources, but want to help me keep this free for the public – make a one-time contribution on Venmo @Raising-Luminaries $25 covers an hour of childcare for our inter-abled family so I can keep providing cool stuff for you. But any amount is a emotional/mental boost that means the world to us.

BUT first – join me in donating a portion of this month’s patreon pledges to 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.”


Become a Patron!



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