Summer Reading Recommendations

It’s summertime, and who doesn’t need a few good books to take to the beach or park?

Listed here are some of the books we’ve recommended in Rethinking Schools magazine in the past year, and we think they would make fine choices for your summer reading list.

Our own Rethinking Schools titles also make for great summer reading.  Take 25% off any of our titles with discount code 5BSummerG12 until August 1, 2012.

I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters

Edited and introduced by Michael Long. 522 pp. $18.95

Although Rustin was the logistical genius behind the historic 1963 March on Washington, this was just one of his accomplishments over many decades. Textbooks have left Rustin in obscurity, no doubt in part because he was gay and for a period of time a socialist. Rustin was active in civil and human rights struggles dating back to the 1940s.  This book is a collection of more than 150 of his letters to fellow progressives including Ella Baker and Martin Luther King, Jr.


Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation

Edited by Jeff Bale and Sarah Knopp, 285 pp. $17

Bale and Knopp write as partisans in the struggles to transform schools in the process of transforming society—and they have invited contributors active in teachers’ unions, solidarity movements, and classrooms. The book’s foreword is an interview with Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow by teacher-activist Adam Sanchez.

What Teaching Means: Stories from America’s Classrooms

Edited by Daniel Boster and Marni Valerio, 235 pp. $20

At a time when everyone from computer geeks to talk show hosts pontificates about what should happen in the classroom, the press and the government ignore those who know schools best—teachers.  This collection of essays from the classroom reminds readers that what matters in our schools isn’t laws or standards, but the lives of students and the teachers who nurture them.  For the teachers in this book, classrooms are about the messy, painful, sometimes tragic, sometimes delicious work of teaching at a time when so many in our country struggle to survive. Readers will weep and laugh along with the teachers who crowd these pages.


Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

by William Loren Katz, 254 pp., $19.99

This startling and readable new edition chronicles both the attempts to keep black people and Indians divided in the Americas, and their efforts to unite. Two lessons in the Zinn Education Project draw on Black Indians: “The Color Line,” about conscious efforts in early America to create divisions between the races; and “The Cherokee/Seminole Removal Role Play,” which helps students explore events leading up to the Trail of Tears.


Crow

By Barbara Wright, 298 pp., $16.99

Crow is a historical novel about the brutal repression of African American voters that brought an end to the short-lived Reconstruction era. Shining a light on the 1898 Wilmington Massacre, Wright creates the character of 5th grader Moses Thomas, whose father is an alderman and reporter for the only African American paper in the South. Through young Thomas’ adventures and his conversations with his grandmother, who lived for decades in slavery, readers learn about day-to-day life in the black community.


No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and
Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller

By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Artwork by Gregory Christie, 188 pp., $17.95

An honest and engaging story about Lewis Michaux, whose Harlem bookstore was a center of African American history, scholarship, debate, and activism from 1932 to 1974.  The book is full of diary-like chronological entries—written in the voices of Michaux, his family and those who frequented the store, including Malcolm X and Nikki Giovanni—interspersed with reports from Michaux’s FBI files, newspaper reports, photos and Christie’s gorgeous illustrations.


News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media

By Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres, 456 pp., $29.95

The book documents how the media have played many roles with respect to race and racism—from ignoring institutional racism to actually functioning as a key pillar of racism by stirring up hatred and violence against people of color. Also included are dozens of inspiring stories of the Native American, African American, Latina/o, and Asian American  journalists and news outlets that we rarely learn about in school.


The John Carlos Story

By John Carlos with Dave Zirin, 210 pp., $22.95

The image of John Carlos and Tommie Smith with their fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics is recognized around the world. Yet, as with so much of history, we know about the event but not the story of the organizing by athletes leading up to the Olympics, nor what happened to Carlos and Smith afterward. Read this beautifully written book and you will realize that the full story is as powerful and gripping as the photo.

Have you read any of these books?  Tell us what you thought in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Summer Reading Recommendations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s