Thursday Book Beat: Truth and Reconciliation in Children’s Books
Hi book lovers! We’ve made it over the hump, and we’re almost at the end of another week. What a week it has been. I started classes again and thankfully don’t have many textbooks this semester! I might actually have time to dedicate to reading the texts I love. I’m also sort of in shock that January is almost over, and I still haven’t really kept up with most of my resolutions; I’ve got to change that!
On Friday, January 20th 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. I know, this will come only four days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so you can imagine my horror and pretty much every rational person’s horror when Trump criticized civil rights hero and Representative of Georgia, John Lewis. If you don’t know who John Lewis is I would tell you to read his autobiography, but it’s sold out on Amazon! As stated in this article by The Guardian within an hour of the tweet Trump sent out, John Lewis’ biography and two comic books based on his part in the civil rights movement took the top three spots on Amazon’s bestseller list. I spoke about the third installment of the comic book series March previously as it was the first graphic novel to win a National Book Award. This is not some man to mock, and as myself and many others took to Twitter in his defense, I was reminded of this strong, non-violent man who showed that hate can also bring about education. I’m adding his book to my list and I hope you will too.
Speaking of Presidents, Barack Obama (he’s still my President, and he’s not even my President; I am Canadian) sat down with the New York Times and shared his secret on surviving the tough days in the White House: Books! He speaks to how books allowed him to slow down, influenced his morality, speeches and even that he gave his daughter Malia a Kindle filled with books he wanted to share with her (Aw!). You can check out the beautifully written article and the books he mentions in it here.
If you are Canadian, you hopefully have heard of the Truth and Reconciliation Report that aims to combat colonization and address the effects and lasting trauma of the colonial project in Canada. These calls to action have spurred literary action, like Gord Downie’s graphic novel Secret Path and long before this Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse and many others. A new children’s book called When We Were Alone by author David A. Robertson hopes to teach young children about the history of residential schools in Canada. A lot of teachers I speak to or read about support this early introduction and know that while this conversation is never easy to have it is important and books can aid in that. You can read more about the book here.
In some literary award news, as reported by The Guardian, Zadie Smith and Michael Chabon are both fiction finalists for the National Book Critics Circle awards. Margaret Atwood is also set to receive the lifetime achievement award. Last year the winner of the fiction prize was Paul Beatty for The Sellout.