Home Shenanigans October Resource Roundup

October Resource Roundup

via Ashia
Published: Last Updated on

[Image: A bland banner that says “Raising Luminaries Resource Roundup October”]

This October we’re exploring and accepting loss, pain, and death

Hello friends

Raising kind and courageous kids in 2021 has been…hard. Honestly, we were so isolated and overworked before the pandemic, it’s not like any of this is new. But good gosh, I can totally understand why we’re all tired. Exhaustion aside, I am still excited to be in a community with you.

We don’t expect you to read ALL THE BOOKS and help kids understand ALL THE THINGS in one month.

I certainly can’t! Pick one topic, or just keep them in your pocket and look for ways to tie them into your conversations throughout the year.

Just keep pushing a tiny bit beyond your comfort zone, 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 concepts.


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10/11 is Indigenous Peoples Day

Coyote Columbus Story Go Show the world We are still here

Pay attention not just to how many stories of Indigenous culture you’re reading with your kids, but the era in which they take place.

If the stories we’re reading are always set in the past, of people long-dead, we’re just reinforcing a terminal narrative – a device used to further target and colonize Indigenous culture.

The myth of a terminal narrative tells us that there are no survivors of genocide.

A terminal narrative suggests there are no survivors, so there is no reason to change our behavior. This myth tells us – these are a dead people. What happened to them was terrible, but they are no longer here. This gives us an excuse to remain apathetic to ignore, dismiss, and to continue hurting targets of genocide.

A terminal narrative tells us that we have no obligation to learn from history, to take responsibility for the ways we continue to be complicit, or to seek justice – because what’s the use in seeking justice could exist for the dead?

And in the case of colonialism and Indigenous rights – the terminal narrative is a lie.

We fight by teaching our children that efforts to eliminate and extinguish Indigenous people and cultures were unsuccessful. Indigenous people have, and continue to – fight back, to resist, and to survive.

Indigenous people are still here. Still under attack. Still resisting.



  • Coyote Columbus Story’ Guided Family Reading Questions
  • What stories and markers in your community (ex: historical markers) suggest that Indigenous people and cultures exist only in the past?
  • Who are the first peoples of the land your family calls home?
  • What does it mean to be Indigenous to a place?
  • See more discussion questions, along with a guided story to help kids, in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Family Action Toolkit
  • What parts of colonization and genocide hurt to learn about?
  • What ideas are we clinging to because we’re afraid to admit our part in colonization? What do we need to do to let go so we can all be free to make a home here?

Take Action:

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:


10/11 is National Coming Out Day

October is LGBTQiA2S+ History Month

introducing teddy sylvia and marsha start a revolution Be amazing

For LGBTQiA2S+ history month, let’s learn about some of the activists and resistors who fought so we could be free to be.

Within this month, the 11th is ‘National Coming Out Day.’ This is a day of conversation and compassion, not obligation!

Take this day to remind kids that disclosing a stigmatized identity is a highly personal choice that should never be obligatory or coerced. We can show up and support our friends who decide to come out, on their own timeline, and show up and support friends who don’t feel comfortable doing so.



  • What does it mean to ‘come out?’
  • Why might we feel nervous about telling people our invisible identities?
  • If a friend chooses not to come out to us, how can we remember not to take this personally? What can we do to support them and help them feel safe either way?
  • Why is it important to get enthusiastic consent from a friend before disclosing their identity to others, even if they are ‘out’ in other spaces?
  • Why should we never pressure a friend into disclosing their targeted identity to others?
  • What ideas about gender, bodies, and sexuality are we clinging to, that we inherited from our families and the stories around us? Which ones is it time to get go of?

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

10/21 is Latina’s Equal Pay Day

9/15 through 10/15 is Latinx Heritage Month

my name is celia separate is never equal Dolores Huerta

Dreamers Mango Moon tia isa wants a car


“More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Latinas typically earn only 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men and must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months.

“Indeed, given that this is the last “Equal Pay Day” observance of the year, Latinas must typically work longer than … everyone. This disparity hurts not only Latinas, but also the families and communities they support.” #LatinaEqualPay Day 2021



The United States was built on a foundation of entitlement to cheap labor and fossil fuels. Our government has manipulated and occupied other countries to sustain this greed. How has the consumption of US citizens and corporations impacted people from what is currently called Central and South America?

  • What’s the difference between open borders and closed borders?
  • What is circular migration and why have people living in very hot, cold, or desert climates used seasonal migration to survive since the beginning of humanity?
  • How do closed borders inspire people who live in stable climates to look down on migration and criminalize undocumented migrants?
  • What impact has climate change had on people living in what is currently called the Central and South Americas?
  • What is xenophobia and Latino Threat? How do employers take advantage of this stigma to extract free and cheap labor from Latina workers in the US?
  • What unpaid or uncompensated social and emotional labor are Latinas & Latinx expected take on that white women and Latino men are not?
  • What ideas about Latinx people are we clinging to, that we inherited from the stories around us? Which do we need to let go of to acknowledge that the Latinx identity is an integral foundation of our society?


Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

10/31 is Halloween

A tiger called tomás Lila and the crowThe princess and the peanut allergy

There’s nothing more American than extorting neighbors and junk food, so let’s make the holiday inclusive for all. This year, let’s discuss how to make a Halloween night that accommodates disabilities.


  • A Tiger Called Tomás (ages 3+)
  • Lila and the Crow (ages 5-8)
  • The Princess and the Peanut Allergy (ages 3+)
    After all these years, I still haven’t found a better book to unpack fragility with kids. This one gives us an engaging enough story and an opportunity to differentiate between hurt feelings because someone is asking you to not put them in danger (inconvenience), VERSUS hurt feelings because someone who claims to care about you doesn’t care if you die (fear for your life!)

Discuss & Take Action

  • Read and engage kids with the discussion guide along A Tiger Called Tomás
  • What traditions and assumptions about Halloween are we clinging to, that make this holiday inaccessible to some?
  • Which behaviors and ideas do we need to adjust or let go of so all our friends and neighbors feel welcome?

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

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If these resources give you more quality time with your kids (and less time searching for the perfect resource), show your appreciation by joining the patreon community, or make a one-time contribution on Venmo @Raising-Luminaries.

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This October, let’s discuss Death Positivity, Disability History, Italian American Heritage, Consent & Boundaries

(I know this is a lot, I’m still figuring out how to roll out ALL THE THINGS over a limited 12-month span.)

October is Disability History Month

We Move Together William Hoy Storyall the way to the top



  • How has the work of disability rights activists made your everyday life easier?
    • In the way your home is built?
    • In your favorite activities at school?
    • In how you play your favorite sports?
  • How are these spaces and activities still inaccessible to some people? What would it take to make them more accessible?
  • What obstacles are we afraid to run into if we tried to make these spaces more accessible?


  • Support #CareCantWait: Take 2 minutes to use these autistic-friendly scripts and simple tools to push your elected officials to vote for community services for vulnerable people with disabilities and chronic illness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

October is Italian American Heritage Month

all the way to america In English, of CourseSwimmy

When we advocated for the abolition of Columbus Day in our city, we met with vehement resistance from human-trafficking deniers. They used a well-worn map of excuses, usually within the same incoherent breath. They claimed Columbus never kidnapped, enslaved, tortured, or murdered anybody, that the evidence of his acts (including his own journal) were falsified. Or that if he did, it was excusable, because the Taíno people he killed were collateral damage creating a pleasant life [for white people] today.

Columbus Day was adopted as a federal US holiday US in 1968 as a half-assed apology about all the violence and discrimination against Italian Americans. This was a mile marker in welcoming Italian Americans into whiteness, to assure the population that Italian Americans shouldn’t be viewed as the other, but as a foundation of the American colonization experiment.

Back then, most Italian Americans had no idea what a shitty person he was, and the leaders of the movement were cool with fascism and Indigenous genocide. Built into the symbolism of inviting Italian Americans into whiteness, our government used the ultimate negative stereotype of a bloodthirsty, monstrous, and greedy invader who fed babies to dogs. Italian Americans who are less keen on authoritarian murder hobbies are horrified to be associated with the Columbus (who wouldn’t have called himself ‘Italian,’ in 1492, he would have identified as Genoese, and he wasn’t too popular even in his home nation). Most and understand Columbus a rogue asshole not representing any ethnicity or group identity, except for the club of ‘Genocidal Pieces of Shit.”

Even those who couldn’t deny the atrocities of Columbus and his men suggested that we have to keep the name and day, because was no longer tied to the man, but to modern Italian American identity. To abolish Columbus day is to abolish a federal holiday honoring Italian Americans. Even though very few people even know Columbus is claimed by some Italians. Keep in mind that no other ethnic group observes a bank holiday in their honor.

Most of this resistance comes from sunk costs – organizations such as the Knights of Columbus who rallied for Columbus Day now have to deny, dismiss, or excuse the actions or Columbus. Or (MY HEAVENS! ) have to do the courageous work of disavowing genocide, fascism, and murder. Or acknowledging they made a mistake glorifying a shit bag, or ::gasp:: do some paperwork to change their name.

Those who resist abolishing Columbus Day do so mainly out of fear.

For people who grew up with ‘Columbus’ as synonymous of Italian identity, how does this force us to examine our own roles in Indigenous genocide as colonists and settlers? What does it mean in terms of erasing the US history of anti-Italian xenophobia, redlining, and changing views on group identity? Especially if this change was thrust upon Italian Americans by non-Italians? This is hard, and painful work, particularly for older generations who faced open anti-Italian discrimination first hand. We can’t just dismiss that.

That’s why so many Italian Americans resist the loss of Columbus Day. The US government basically said ‘We’ll stop hurting you because you’re like this one guy we know. You’re part of the in-group now.’ Now that they no longer have that one hookup – there’s a fear of losing the protection and privilege of whiteness. Many Italian Americans have an idea of what it’s like to be non-white in this country. It must feel like watching someone get eaten in a pit of lions – after climbing to a precarious ledge of safety – and someone is threatening to shove you back in.

Luckily, almost no one else in this country even knew about the link between Columbus and Italian Americans. So no worries, Columbus fans! You will still get all the privileges of whiteness that you’ve enjoyed for the past couple generations, even without a federal holiday.

But without Columbus and that particular flavor of adventure, capitalism, and colonization (still popular in our super hero action movies!), we really don’t celebrate or acknowledge Italian American culture beyond mobster stereotypes and pizza. So we need to fix that.

What does it mean to help our kids take pride in their Italian American heritage and culture, when we take away all the reductionist stereotypes and pizza jokes?



  • What stereotypes do we still find in popular media – including children’s books and movies? How do these comedic tropes create a sense of Italian Americans in proximity to whiteness, but still as the other, not the default human?
    (ex: Jersey Shore organized crime family in Zootopia and all the handlebar mustached chef/plumber characters.)
  • What contributions have Italian Americans made to American culture?
  • Who are a few Italian Americans we admire? What do we admire about them?*
  • What cultural traditions and heroes did we love as kids, but have turned out to be kind of shitty?
    • If we’ve enjoyed traditions with harmful origins, how can we acknowledge that and move forward?
    • Has a hero you admire ever done something you disagree with? How did it feel?
    • Why are we afraid to admit when people we like or admire do bad things?
    • How do we find heroes and practices that better reflect our deeper values?

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

*To mark Disability History Month & Italian American Heritage Month, with a side of healthy masculinity and radical kindness – I formally propose we observe DANNY DEVITO DAY. Which I just googled, and apparently it’s already a thing. It’s November 17th. While there are no children’s books to read for the occasion, there are a surprising number of Danny Devito Coloring Books – all of which I assume must be inappropriate for younger kids.


Why Autumn is a great time to discuss Death Positivity

what i like mostDuck, Death and the tulip

Autumn is when we let things die. This is a good time to slow down, resist the capitalist drive to KEEP GOING AS FAST AS YOU CAN, and stop exhausting ourselves running away from scary things. Like death, loss, and all our fears of ‘what if…’

You can do this. You are tough, and smart, and you can do hard things.

Set aside an entire season to discuss our deepest fears, our worries about rejection and disaster, and to talk openly and honestly about death with our families. This practice gives kids space to process the feelings and concerns they might not feel comfortable bringing up when we’re busy running errands, completing chores, or go-go-going.



  • What if the things, relationships, or the people we love the most go away? How could we be still be okay?
  • What is death positivity? What is deathmisia?
  • How does our family view death? What death traditions does our family practice? Why?
  • How do we take things that ‘last forever’ for granted? How is the idea that something could last forever a myth?
  • When is it safe to talk about death? How can we build in times of the day or week to talk about fears we haven’t acknowledged or found words for?
  • What does it mean when something is irreversible?
  • When is permanence or change comforting, and when is it scary?
  • Why do American children’s stories avoid ending stories with death, tragedy, and irreversible loss – particularly the death of young, white, abled people?

Additional resources to dig deeper into this topic:

Consent & Boundaries

All year long, keep an open dialogue going so kids know body discussions and boundaries are never taboo and they can always come to a trusted adult (you, but also find someone not in your family whom they can go to for help) with concerns or questions.

  1. I like to think we’re far enough into the 2000’s that we’re not just teaching girls how to avoid attack, but also teaching boys how to not attack women & gender creative folks. So if you’re raising sons, get on that.
  2. And if you’re raising daughters & gender-creative kids, you, too, have to teach your kids not to violate other folks’ body boundaries. Domestic violence targets boys and men, too. Basically what I’m saying is all kids need to understand consent & body boundaries! How to set our own boundaries – and how to respect the boundaries of others.
  3. Also a reminder that folks with disabilities also have a right to body sovereignty, and that extends to mobility and medical devices. Explicitly discuss this with kiddos.
  4. Practice body agency and consent early and often. I understand that this gets tricky with babies and toddlers. They need constant help and sometimes make genuinely bad decisions. (Who hasn’t had to forcibly remove goose poop from the mouth of a toddler?) Here is a booklist for consent & body sovereignty board books to practice tricky situations. And also Monica’s video of how she deals with reluctant kids in the bath in our post about respecting body agency is helpful, too.
  5. Regarding boundaries – this also extends to microbes. Wear a mask! Wash your hands! Don’t violate others’ rights not to get infected with deadly viruses! Motivate kids to keep up their good habits with Do Not Lick This Book.
  6. Teach older kids (4+) how to identify understand coercion and grooming tactics with Pretty Salma.


Good Finds for October

Welcome to mini-good finds! You can keep track of great new finds as we add them to the in-progress best books of  2021, as well as books that made us laugh and our Autumn Favorites. Here are just a few of our the good reads we found last month.

R2’s Favorite: Bodies Are Cool (Ages 3+)

Bodies are CoolR2 (age 7) really enjoyed looking for disabilities and discussing them. I want to say it’s because it’s super into disability rights, but honestly, he’s just really into the thrill of naked bodies.

Which is normal! And lovely. I’m willing to leverage the copious amounts of exposed skin in this book to discuss how normal bodies are all kinds of colors, shapes, sexes, textures, sizes, and include cool devices that help us survive and thrive.

If you like this, check out more inclusive books celebrating bodies and handpicked favorites by kind & curious 7-year-olds.

Q’s Favorite: Akissi – Even More Tales of Mischief (Ages 8+)

Akissi, even more tales of mischiefThe first two books in the Akissi series are delicious, rambunctious fun. This third though, holy crap wow. The author takes a gentle turn of depth into her feelings about emigrating and leaving her tight-knit community to a foreign European country, and ends with a lovely message about her connection with her grandfather.

I know promising a bittersweet story about leaving and loss doesn’t sell the book as a fun read, but please trust me it’s utterly lovely, sweet, hilarious, and so, so good. Part of the reason this kind of walloped me was that I went in expecting naughty capers and poop jokes, and ended up watching Akissi mature and grow up a little – kind of like what’s happening to my kids right now. Sure, the 9-year-old loved this book while he’s young, but I think he’ll get even more out of it over the next 15 years.

In addition to the depth in this book, there’s less cissexism and ‘not like the other girls’-ness than in the first two. Since all these stories are semi-autobiographical, I don’t hold the gender binaries or cissexism against the series, as they reflect the childhood cultural norms and assumptions about gender that Abouet grew up with in the 70’s/early 80’s suburbs of the her Abidjan neighborhood. Which happen to be the exact kind of sexist nonsense kids in European-colonized areas around the world.

If you like this, check out graphic novels for elementary-aged kids and  inclusive stories handpicked by a kyriarchy-smashing 9-year-old.

My Favorite: We Move Together (Ages 6+)

We Move TogetherOH HEY, it’s the #OwnVoices kid-friendly book about unapologetic disability justice we’ve all been searching for!

I can’t… the words… too excited. Oh my gosh. TOO MUCH. TOO AWESOME.

Interdependence! Disability history! Outright naming and demanding disability justice! Disabled bodies! Calling in environmental activists for ignoring and trampling the humanity of disabled people!

Do you get it now? SO MANY GOOD THINGS.

Okay, I’ll admit the 7 and 9-year olds found this disengaging (not quite a narrative, no humor/suspense hook, and the straw ban controversial could have been scripted better for readers who aren’t already familiar with the issue). BUT WHERE ELSE are you going to find my heroes Mia Mingus and Leroy Moore and Alice Wong and more modern disability justice activists! All these badasses we’ve been boosting for years, now connected and illustrated for kids outside the grownup-sphere?! EXCITING.

The end notes are FANTASTIC and there’s a 62 page companion learning guide on their website. All this access, all this love.

If you like this, check out stories by disabled authors and illustrators and more books normalizing disabled characters.


October Calls To Action:

Calls to Action Families: Be Honest!

be honest with someone who has made a positive difference in your life

[Image& text via Bellamy of Revolutionary Humans: “Kindness as an action. 25 ways to make an impact. Be Honest with someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Via RevolutionaryHumans.com]


Think of someone positively special to you (who doesn’t live in your house!) and tell them how they make you feel and why.


I encourage grown-ups to think of someone unique to them and ask kids to come up with their own – this could be a teacher, librarian, cousin, friend, etc.


Sometimes we shy away from overly warm sentiments or it feels awkward to be so honest but one of the greatest acts of kindness is telling someone how valuable they are to you and others.


As a bonus, if you have the resources, ask the person you choose that you’d like to donate even a small amount to their favorite charity in their honor.

Shared with permission in cahoots with Revolutionary Humans!

> Support Bellamy’s work here. <



Join the Raising Luminaries 2022 Virtual Winter Collective

I’m working on a Ridiculous Master Plan for how we’re gonna steward this next generation of kyriarchy-smashin’ luminaries in 2022.


the adventure begins campfire mug

[Image: Mug with ‘The adventure begins’ written on it with a cozy campfire in the background. Photo by Ole Witt @rawcurve via Unsplash.]


What if we dropped all the busywork and bullshit and did something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT?!

We’ll be doing some dramatically different, deeper work that maximizes our impact without spreading overworked caregiver/activists so thin. Stop trying to be sputtering floodlights, let’s be diamond-cutting laser beams!

This kind of thing isn’t for everybody, and I have no idea if it will work. But wouldn’t it be super fun to try this out together! If you’ve wished for help balancing parenting & activism and increasing your impact (as we’ve done in our initiatives, toolkits, etc. over the years) I know how to do that!

If you want to model a sustainable life for parents that smashes the kyriarchy without setting yourself on fire –  comment below

The form requests your email, invisible to everyone but me. I’ll send you an email on November 1 with more deets on the cost, time commitment, and how to decide if you’d like to be one of the six (four spots left) people to participate in our winter collective.

One more good thing…

[R2 at age 3 at peak butterfly fandom, wearing butterfly wings and waving around his new butterfly wand. He explains to us what it is, and ::whispers:: what it’s for…]




Stay Curious, Stand Brave & Know You Deserve Good Things

Remember that everything here – I made this for you. Cause you are important and you deserve safety, health, and support in the work you do.

Take this next 15 seconds and stop thinking about everyone else who needs your help. Accept that you also are an important person who deserves care and keeping.

I like you. You deserve good things.


If you find comfort and joy in helping others, please join me in supporting Bellamy S., a single mother raising two young kids while navigating anti-Black racism, disability, and trauma through this pandemic. Join Bellamy’s Run Fund supporters so she can get her kids to a safe place.

>> Donate | Venmo | PayPal | CashApp: $blmshoffner | Monthly <<

With you,

– Ashia R.

I really survive as an Autistic person of color thanks in major part to the efforts of our mad, disabled, neurodivergent & ill ancestors, along with contemporary disability activists like Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project and, Vilissa Thompson of Ramp Your Voice. That’s why I reinvested 8% of my patreon pledges through August 2021 to activists and organizations such at these. Join me in thanking and supporting badass disability justice activists and learn how I’ve traditionally reinvested in our community here.

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2 observations

Amanda Jenkins September 30, 2021 - 10:23 AM


Ashia October 2, 2021 - 10:00 PM

Exciting! Sent you an email with more info 🙂


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