What I’m reading this week

  • Sibert Reading continues and no, I cannot tell you what those books are
  • All the Days Past and All the Days to Come by Mildred D. Taylor
  • Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi
  • Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt


Look at me getting Sunday posts up 3 weeks in a row!!! Breaks are a good thing, aren’t they? They can be hard to come by sometimes depending on all the demands that may be placed on us, or the ones we place on ourselves. I’ve noticed that when I get closer to peak performance it’s more difficult to ramp down because I want to keep moving, keep going especially when I enjoy what I do so much.

For the past 6 months, I’ve been on sabbatical, working on special research projects from home. Can I get a vacation from my sabbatical?? I haven’t completed my report yet, hopefully doing so will help me realize my accomplishments. I really have been busy!!

All that loses its importance, though, as the impact of climate change surrounds me. The work I do has always been about the future; about the young people who are becoming or have become caretakers of information, the planet and of each other. I’ve just observed the warmest Christmas here in my city since records were being kept while the continent of Australia, in the midst of their summer, is having continual daily record highs and continual fires. We can donate and we can pray, things that seem so little that we forget how meaningful they are. We also have to realize that our own communities may be affected tomorrow with some sort of cataclysmic natural disaster. We can plan and prepare, but we can also deepen our efforts to save our planet; our children’s planet.

Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 1.56.04 PM
made from plastic shopping bag

I’ve lived most of my life in a state that lacks concern for the environment and I admit I’ve let their lack feed my own. Still, I can think of some things I can do to live a greener life, but there has to be more. I think deliberate daily actions are going to be more important that donations.

  • Stop being a consumer. Stop buying all the stuff.
  • Quite purchasing items in single use containers. Have you considered where this stuff goes when you dispose of it? Click the link to see.
  • Recycle, re-use or re-purpose. Crochet shopping bags or sleeping mats for the homeless from plastic shopping bags.
  • Does your city or state ban plastic, recycle, have community gardens or invest in carbon capture technologies ? What does your local government do to save (or harm) the planet? Find out! Get involved. Write letters and make phone calls.
  • Try one meal a day that is meatless. It’s a tricky idea, but it works IF you are able to purchase local, organic goods for that one meal. If you purchasing produce that was shipped across the country (out of season) that was grown a commercial farm that use harmful pesticides and herbicides, then that one meal may as well be meat based. I personally think local, organic meats are better than out of season produce for our health.

What can you suggest?

Working to improve the environment is definitely an act of social justice, one that is meant to improve overall quality of life. We have to realize, though that there is a huge amount of inequity in this work; that marginalized people end up in locations with the least access to clean water, healthy air, fresh produce/grocery stores and green spaces. With Martin Luther King Jr day fast approaching, consider events that address environmental justice. Read, discuss and act on King’s thoughts here, here or here.

This is definitely a theme I’ll develop for a while so do stop back to find more useful information on environmental literacy.

  • HarperCollins Children’s Books has launched a new Native-focused imprint called
    “Heartdrum.” Cynthia Leitich Smith will be working with in-house editor Rosemary
    Brosnan to bring books by Native authors and illustrators to young readers. They have exciting upcoming titles by Christine Day (Upper Skagit) Dawn Quigley (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), and Brian Young (Navajo) coming in winter 2021.
  • I haven’t read or seen copies of Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry, Jessica Curry and Brittany Jackson, but Debbie Reese provides enough information on her blog to demonstrate issues with the book to readers.
  • Zetta Elliott posted our annual list of books by Black authors. Anecdotally, I’d suggest while the numbers aren’t increasing that much the books being written by Black are offering a much wider variety than in the past.
  • After the most recent attack on Jewish people in New Jersey, I did a search on violence against this community and was sickened to see the rise in Jewish centered hate crimes over the past couple of years. To learn that Jewish people are quickly fleeing France. I was sickened to be reminded that white supremacy is on the rise globally and that they’re not just coming for Jewish people. We must remain vigilant in realizing there is one common enemy, it’s not other marginalized groups.
  • A Library of America Project funded with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Emerson Collective. Fifty $1,200 grants will be awarded to libraries, museums, and nonprofit cultural institutions to host a minimum of two public programs. Applications are open to public, academic, and community college libraries; and nonprofit museums and community organizations.”

IPOC releases week of 6 January