Books that destigmatize rebellion & demolition
Quick Things You Need To Know:
- This is where I’m keeping the books I’m using to explore the concept of demolition as necessary for growth & progress. But discerning demolition – like surgical removal of cancer cells.
- Through autumn & winter 2019, I’m investigating the role of demolition, and considering it as our primary focus for 2020 (2019 was collective action, 2018 was learning to set boundaries & reclaim agency for marginalized folks (validating stories), 2017 was leadership. 2016 was destigmatizing stories, I think. 2015 was normalizing stories.) I really should have written all of this down.
- We’ve written a LOT of articles on this – regarding being kind v. being ‘nice,’ tone policing, and having the courage to dismantle toxic frameworks and call attention to broken systems in order to make progress. But those are all over the place and I’ll need a few months to compile them all into one short and snappy collection
- Meanwhile a good place to start is the root general book collection on valuing different types of leadership
- Oh also the booklist on why we need social disruption.
- This is also my first unpolished booklist using a new back-end interface. So bear with me if it looks janky.
- I’m also thinking – what I REALLY want is a book that shows demolition in the wider scope of stewardship. How we can use focused and mindful demolition to steward the planet and society for the next 7 generations. Like weeding, composting, etc.
- The Earthquakes happen to have a builder & breaker dynamic that works really well between them. One of them feels constantly compelled to destroy flawed things, and the other one rebuilds with glee. This is going to work real well in my ultimate plan for WORLD DOMINATION and eventually crashing the sun into the moon. MWHAHAHAAHahahahaHAHA!
Quick & Messy Book List:
Books that might work:
- Bloom (Cronin & Small) – So close! Needs unpacking as it’s couched in allegory & symbolism. Really this book is more about building when things are falling apart on their own, not active destruction.
- harvesting hope – cesar chavez (Krull) – early childhood life of cesar in arizona in vibrant colors that actually are way cooler than the the boring cover. cesar is afraid of first grade (so we’re definitely not reading this to Q at 5). drought forces them to flee to california since they can’t pay the bills on the ranch (environmental racism). they become migrant workers and live in poverty, eating dandelions off the side of the road. addresses discrimination n school, how teacher shamed him and called him a clown for slipping up and speaking Spanish (validating ESL & code switching collection), and how he ultimately dropped out of school at 8th grade. addresses how he feels powerless and his labor is exploited by landowners but he needs to feed his family, then started out in early 20’s by talking to people, inspired by hope that they would agree with him. organized a dozen women for the first meeting. patient and compassionate with workers, stubborn, demanding, and single-minded with landowners. works well for collective action & labor rights! also amazing compared to dolored huerta book. How truth is better than non-violence, nonviolence takes more guts, requires imagination to overcome powerlessness, rallying cry of sí, se puede. nonviolent activism, migrant laborers, latinx american history. #Ownvoices latinx illustrators. Caveats: Krull is notoriously sloppy in her research and unapologetic in her writing through a white lens (quantity over quality second only to Julia Cook.) Dated storytelling and illustrations. likens unfair labor to slavery – yikes on the way Krull uses equivocates that divide us. no real story is probably th reason Q didn’t want to finish it at 6 but worth a try when he’s older or we have a real-life reason to be interested in labor rights & organizing. more text than dolored huerta which means Q had less patience, but more interesting.
- Thurgood (Winter) – Q at 7 is more interested than he might otherwise be at this age, due to this interest in becoming a supreme court justice. i particularly like the focus on disruption and breaking, since Q’s strength is also as a breaker in builder vs. breakers theory. illustrations are appropriate – just vibrant enough that we can get over the relatively unengaging scenes (lots of people just sitting or standing). I’d rather the vandalism scene in the movie theater be framed better – this is a reductive ‘break things when folks are unfair’ view of disruption, and doesn’t show how well-planned intentional disruption and antifa-style efforts are more effective than random angry vandalism. i do like how thurgood’s father channels his rage into training his son to research, debate, and advocate. winter calls the movie theater vandalism ‘civil disobedience’ – which feels mislabeled. they went beyond disobedience into disruption, and it should have been labeled as such. similar to that other RBG book that isn’t written for kids – this is framed in terms of Fact / Verdict, Injustice/Justice, without scaffolding what these terms mean for kids (or even me, as someone who doesn’t speak leagalese). Collier is a talented illustrator, but sloppy, with the cover art being by far the most polished image. distorted lines look like a high school art project, colors are off so it looks like every member of the supreme court is just as dark as Thurgood (which underplays the highlight that Thurgood BROKE THE RACE BARRIER in the supreme court), and he didn’t stop to think about how the binding would cut into the illustrations. overall a decent intro to Thurgood for a kid who is aching to learn about him, but i want more. TM was NOT a gentle man, but it’s somewhat appropriate for healthy masculinity as he learned to channel his behavior and it gives a good example of pro-social masculine aggression, tenacity and toughness.
- I Am Life (Gstalten) – a little trippy, poetic, abstract and confusing, but both 4 & 6 were fascinated by the page where life & death are riding bikes together. “When Death comes, I’m always there. We live on this earth together.” Q is like “Wait life and death are FRIENDS?!” and i guess we hadn’t found a book showing them side by side in cooperation like that before – which is valuable. each page gave us a ton to talk about, and i would have liked to have this on the shelf to pull out and philosophize over in our own time. Life & death positivity
Books that could work with a lot of scaffolding
- Little Book of Hindu Deities (Patel) – Specifically the book about Kali Ma (goddess of preservation & compassionate destruction) & Shiva (the destroyer). I’ve been looking for a good children’s book about Kali Ma for ages but this is the only one that gives her a passing mention, and it’s shallow at best.
- Legendary Ladies (Shen) – Also references Kali Ma, but not for kids.
Books that miss the mark
- Builders & Breakers (Light) – Just construction references. The end notes touch on what I wanted this book to be about. But too late, and the actual ‘story’ is too shallow.
- Demolition (Sally Sutton) – these are GREAT truck books, but it’s just literally demolition of a building. Okay for board book & toddler STEAM collection, particularly as they upcycle the old building materials. 18m+