PAGES: 240 GENRE: Multi-genre. Combines oral histories, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, poems, and personal reflection to tell the stories of Miranda's Ohlone Costanoan Esselen family along with the experiences of California Indians during the Spanish missions and into the present. CURRICULAR THEMES: Native American authors, Native history, California history, California Literature, biography, education, imperialism, racism & racial identity. DESCRIPTION: This beautiful and devastating book--part tribal history, part lyric and intimate memoir--should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about California Indian history, past and present. Deborah A. Miranda tells stories of her Ohlone Costanoan Esselen family as well as the experience of California Indians as a whole through oral histories, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, personal reflections, and poems. The result is a work of literary art that is wise, angry, and playful all at once, a compilation that will break your heart and teach you to see the world anew.
For better or for worse, young Miranda never had to endure the daily humiliations of fourth grade in California, where children are taught the dominant discourse about the California missions. Where non-Indian children (and their parents) construct “mission” dioramas with beneficent padres instructing and supervising willing Indian neophytes as they learn how to work. Where Indian children—especially California Indian children—shrink into their seats, trying to disappear. The real story—people massacred, children violated, land and languages stolen, cultures broken beyond recognition—is rarely told...
Bad Indians is this story—the story of the missionization of California. In constructing Bad Indians, Miranda creates “a space where voices can speak after long and often violently imposed silence.” For Miranda, the stories seeped “out of old government documents, BIA forms, field notes, the diaries of explorers and priests, the occasional writings or testimony from Indians, family stories, photographs, newspaper articles.” Together, these disparate voices belie the dominant discourse; they are stories of tenacious survival. And they are Miranda’s “mission project.”Beverly Slapin, The Zinn Education Project
GENRE: Non-Fiction PAGES: 244 CURRICULAR THEMES: As a collection of essays, the book can be read all together, or each essay can be enjoyed on its own. Social justice, race in the United States, feminism, Black Literature, Black women authors, popular culture, domestic U.S. politics and society. DESCRIPTION: In eight highly praised treatises / essays on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom―award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed―is unapologetically "thick": deemed "thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less," McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work. -Amazon
In [her essay] “Black Girlhood, Interrupted,” Dr. Cottom’s description of how black girls are treated in schools made me look back in horror on my own high school experience; the ways I was handled spoke to a leniency only available to wild, self-immolating white girls, while my black peers were treated with unending suspicion and open hostility. Beneath both “Girl 6” and “Black Girlhood, Interrupted” lie the questions: who gets to learn in an environment that is conducive to their learning? What kind of double-standards exist, and what damage do they cause?
This collection is brilliant because it examines things that many power-holding white individuals would prefer to write off as anomalies. In Thick, Dr. Cottom forces us to examine the structural racism that underlies these “anomalies,” rendering them not so anomalous, and that is a powerful act. --Eva Dunsky, Columbia Journal
PAGES: 336 GENRE: Graphic novel memoir. CURRICULAR THEMES : Immigration and emigration, Graphic Novels and Comics, social justice, refugee experience. DESCRIPTION: An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family's journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui's story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent--the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.
PAGES: 160 GENRE: Non-Fiction Memoir CURRICULAR THEMES: Feminism, biography, Chicanx Literature, California Literature, race and racism, sexual violence SENSITIVE CONTENT NOTE: Contains sensitive and explicit content. DESCRIPTION: True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba's coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, intoxicating, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously. Myriam Gurbais a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me(2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders.
“Mean” calls for a fat, fluorescent trigger warning start to finish — and I say this admiringly. Gurba likes the feel of radioactive substances on her bare hands. She wants to find new angles from which to report on this most ancient of stories, to zap you into feeling. She hunts for new language, her own language, to evoke the horror and obscene intimacy of sexual violence. “Somewhere on this planet, a man is touching a woman to death,” she writes. “Somewhere on this planet, a man is about to touch a woman to death.” Parul Sehgal, New York Times
PAGES: 349 GENRE: Science Fiction CURRICULAR THEMES : Science fiction, historical United States, race and racism, Black women authors, Queer authors. DESCRIPTION: For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda's sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother's suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother's footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it.
"Rivers Solomon's debut science fiction novel is cunning, dark, and unapologetic; atmospheric and visceral; the kind of story that pulls you in and doesn't let go." - Shondaland
"With an Afrofuturist premise grounded in a queer neuroatypical worldview, An Unkindness of Ghosts is the post-Butler novel many of us have been waiting for."
- Strange Horizons
PAGES: 409 GENRE: Non-fiction. As a collection of essays, the book can be read all together, or each essay can be enjoyed on its own. CURRICULAR THEMES: Indigenous Knowledge, Native American History, Botany, Environmentalism, Preservation.
An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation." As she explores these themes she circles toward a central argument: the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.
A beautifully written mix of nature writing, science, history, indigenous knowledge, and memoir. The essays opened me up to a new way of thinking about the relationship between science and other ways of knowing and about the importance of gratitude and reciprocity with the earth. I was lucky enough to read much of this book while sitting outside. Listening to the birds and trees as I read was a wonderful experience. Wall Kimmerer has a wonderful gift of writing about nature so that you feel like you are there with her.
In the essay "Asters and Goldenrod," Wall Kimmerer compares the vibrant yellow and blue of the co-occurring flowers with the pairing of science and appreciation of the beauty of nature. As a college student, the author struggled to find her place in courses that focused on memorization or disimpassioned examination. Only later she was able to bring in an indigenous way of knowing, of looking at plants and their relationship to us did she find her way as a botanist. -- Kendall Faulkner, Social Sciences Librarian