In 2019 ‘Becoming' by Michelle Obama was on my list of suggestions. This month, my book selection looks quite similar! This version of 'Becoming' is adapted for Young Readers and perfect to read with pre-teens and teens. Although I usually stick to adult books, this Young Adult Lit book is a great read!
Michelle Obama begins in sharing about her childhood with her brother Craig and her parents Fraser and Marian. She shares the way in which her father taught her and her brother the value of hard work, keeping their word and remembering to laugh, and their mother instilling in them the importance of thinking for themselves, using their voices and being unafraid.
In addition to sharing about her childhood, Michelle Obama goes on to share experiences from her adolescence, marriage, motherhood and becoming the First Lady of the United States. Michelle Obama exudes the essence of what it means to live by example. She provides an honest and fascinating account of much of her life and experiences and reminds young readers of the importance of helping themselves and others. She reminds them that no one is perfect, and that destinations are not the goal. The process of becoming is what maters the most and the way that you find yourself and evolve while you are becoming. Michelle Obama tells her story boldly and asks readers - who are you, and what do you want to become?
My selection this month is a real page turner! It's Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half. This story absolutely blew me away! This New York Times Best Seller, is set in the 1950s and follows the lives of twin sisters Desiree and Stella. The reader joins Stella in her fabricated life as she choses a path of deciding to "pass" for white. This story explores the complicated and nuanced topic of colorism in the Black community. It follows the twins and their daughters as they explore the effect that the perception of being ‘white’ or ‘black’ can affect the way in which an individual lives.
Firstly, let me apologize for the late posting of this month's suggestion! It in no way implies that it is less fabulous than the others that have been chosen for 2021.
I was first exposed to Luuvie Ajayi Jones a few years ago and feel in love with her witty truth-telling nature. You may have heard her TED Talk - Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable or her New York Times Best Seller 'I'm Judging You.'
Her newest book does not disappoint. She reminds us that we all have things that we fear. Some may fear being different, not being enough, being too much, being afraid of the unknown and more, but that the things that we do are more significant that our fears. She encourages us to know understand that fear is part of the process and that we can know that we are afraid and charge forward anyway.
This book reminds us of the power of living boldly, which is a reminder we can all use every now and then!
Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. I think no matter where I reside in the world, this month will always hold special significance to me. As a child, it was the month when I knew for sure that I would see some of the contributions of Black Canadians and African Americans highlighted at school, in community events and even on television.
As I have gotten older, and moved from being a student, to teacher and to parent, I have gained a great appreciation for the power of representation. I have also gained great admiration for those who have been amongst 'the firsts,' and everything that comes with being in this 'club.' It is not lost on me the challenges they have had to face and overcome in making a way for others...no matter how easy they make it look.
For this month's Book of the Month, I am recommending Marci Ien's 'Off Script : Living Out Loud.' Marci Ien, who is Member of Parliament for the riding of Toronto Centre, is known as one of Canada's first Black female news anchors and the first black woman in Canada to co-host a morning show.
In her book Marci Ien shares her journey and particularly what the pressure was like to stay 'on script.' As 'a first' she knew she had to be exceptional . She felt as though she had to show up every day and show that she deserved to be there. We also get to join her as she shares what it was like as she moved away from news and was able to embrace her new role 'off script,” as a host on the day-time talk show, “The Social”.
"In Off Script, Marci shares personal milestones, tales of resilience and kindness, dramatic moments from her career as a journalist and insights from the many unforgettable people that she’s met and interviewed. Living off script means having the courage to speak up, trust your voice and follow your own formula for what matters most."
From Trey Anthony.com
Set to be released in January 2021 by Hay House Publishing, Trey’s upcoming book, Black Girl In Love (With Herself), is a deeply personal reflection on Trey’s journey and how she
learned to tweak — ok… damn well nearly reinvent the self-care message to fit a black girl like herself.
Black Girl In Love (With Herself) will have you laughing and crying! Black girls around the world will be reimaging and reinventing their lives in order to push past these demands and truly come into their own on their own terms.
By sharing stories from her own life and years of intense therapy (Yes, black women, despite what our mothers tell us, we should go to therapy!), she explains how black mothers and grandmothers unwittingly create an unhealthy dynamic by encouraging their daughters to be “strong” black girls who therefore don’t know how to rest or practice self-love.
Trey shares how she was able to take off her Superwoman cape and let go of the need to please everyone. In turn, she gives black girls around the world a personalized and practical “keeping it real” to-do list to become a black girl in love (with herself).
For this month's book of the month, I went out of my way to choose a fiction book. My recommendation for this month is Lauren Wilkinson's 'American Spy.'
I loved getting lost in this spy-thriller. The main character, Marie Mitchell, is a young black intelligence officer in the Cold War era. After a gripping opening scene, Marie flees the United States with her 4 yr old twins to her mother in Martinique. The rest of the story dips between the now and the past as she writes a letter to leave for her boys in the event that anything happens to her.
We learn of Marie's time in the FBI, and the way she was approached by the CIA. Marie is tasked with getting close to and destabilize a new revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso. Marie feels an instant connection to this charismatic leader and we accompany her as she questions the interference that she has been sent to create. We walk with her through some moral grey area that leads to putting her life at risk.
This month's book of the month is by the brilliant Isabel Wilkerson. This book educated me. It took what I thought I knew and shook it up and created a new awareness and perspective that I had not expected. It is one of the most important and essential books that I have ever read. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents explores the caste system in the United States.
Wilkerson explores human value. She explores how societies look at where people should and shouldn't be. With the use of diving deep into the told and untold histories she illustrates how caste determines our societal hierarchies and places individuals on levels based upon their perceived values.
Isabel Wilkerson outlines the inherited structures that help us to understand the origins of our discontent and in this period, as we seem to be on the cusped of an awakening in so many regards, this book is one that is important for all to have on their radar.
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