A History of Anti-Semitism

In the wake of the horrific domestic terrorist attack on a Pittsburgh  synagogue, it is imperative to teach, share and discuss the history of hate based crimes that are deeply woven into the fabric of America.

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Lydia McClanahan
No Smiling Pilgrim and Indian Books for Thanksgiving Please

How do you create a positive learning environment and responsive lessons for Thanksgiving?  Are your displays filled with books and images of smiling Pilgrims and happy Indians playing, and sharing a meal? Are the class discussions centered around mainstream Thanksgiving traditions? If the answer to these questions is yes, it is time to revisit your Thanksgiving mindset, book choices, lesson plans and room environment.  

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Researchers Say Boys Favored Over Girls In Math

Are boys better than girls in math? Hmmmm.....does your implicit bias show in the classroom? Your elementary students will love an engaging informational text and lesson on boys being favored over girls in math. This adapted text, is not only relevant for math class, but also in helping students understand and challenge bias in the classroom and the world.

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From Louis Armstrong to the N.F.L.: Ungrateful As The New Uppity

Jelani Cobb gives historical context and insight into the mindsets of those who exhibit "scorn and contempt" for black people, but black men in particular. He illuminates the fact that for many Americans, freedom and patriotism are selective and conditional. If you are black...a black athlete or entertainer in this case, your protest must be acceptable to white people.  Coded language, and insisting on "acceptable" kinds of protest, is just new packaging for old bias/racism. 

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Lydia McClanahan
Lost and Found Cat - The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey

Sura and her family, , like many in Iraq and other war torn countries, could no longer stay in Mosul. It had become too dangerous. Sura, a single parent since her husband had died needed to take her family somewhere more safe. They had to leave, joining the millions of other refugees hoping for a better life somewhere else.  Sura and her children  had to leave most of their possessions behind when they left Mosul, but they were not leaving their beloved cat, Kunkush. They packed him away secretly for the long and frightening journey with them to Greece. When they finally landed on the island of Lesbos, a terrified Kunkush ran off into the forest.  With the help of kind and compassionate volunteers, Kunkush was reunited with his family. This is the story of the plight of refugees, but also of people’s choice to help other people (and their pet’s to find a better life).

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Lydia McClanahan
Indian Shoes

Ray Halfmoon and his Grampa Halfmoon, who has raised him since his parents were killed in an accident, are very close.  They both love baseball, animals, and Indian Shoes (the high-top sneaker kind and the moccasin kind). They shop, fish, solve problems together and support one another.

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Lydia McClanahan
As Brave as You

Genie, who spends a lot of time on Google,  and his “too cool” big brother Ernie, are Brooklyn kids. When their parents drop them off at their grandparents rural Virginia home, so that they can go and work on their marriage in Jamaica, the brothers don’t know what to expect. They had no idea they would be picking peas, scooping poop, or living without a computer in the hot Virginia sun. Genie finds plenty of questions to write in his notebook and Ernie finds a cute girl to try and impress.

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Lydia McClanahan
Stef Soto, Taco Queen

Estefania “Stef” Soto  is a typical middle school girl who just wants to be like any other 7th grader, but her overprotective immigrant parents have old school ideas about her freedom. Stef loves them, and appreciates how hard they work trying to build a life and provide for her, but they are a bit old fashioned and sometimes embarrassing.  While she loves the respite of her father’s taco truck affectionately called Tia Perla, she hates being told she smells like tacos by her former best friend Julia. When her parent’s business is threatened however, Stef’s eye-rolls and impatience become a spirited championing of her families business, values and heritage.

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Lydia McClanahan