I’m here to wrap up our October focus on “Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and Celebrating” and to introduce the themes we’ll discuss in November: Resources to Celebrate and Rethink Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is the inescapably dominant theme in classrooms and communities in November, and it’s provoked/inspired many conversations here in the office among our writers. In a positive sense, we’ve been discussing how it offers uplifting opportunities to talk about foods, cultures, heritage, and, yes, gratitude and thankfulness.
We’ve also been talking about the problems it poses – about how to contradict and rethink harmful stereotypes such as the “Indians and Pilgrims” and the “First Thanksgiving,” and how to dispel the historical inaccuracies, omissions, and misunderstandings that come with them. Over the next month, we’ll address directly and indirectly how the common teachings about Thanksgiving need to be reworked. Our conversation resonates, fortunately/unfortunately, with the recent media coverage about the language used in our textbooks. For those who may have missed the uproar, check out this NPR article on “Why Calling Slaves ‘Workers’ Is More Than An Editing Error.”
With all of that in mind, here’s how we’ll discuss these topics:
- Alice, our resident children’s book specialist, will look at narratives of food, family, and giving thanks, with an emphasis on books that prioritize the perspective of indigenous peoples and their culinary traditions.
- Charla, the writer behind WWW, will offer ideas for how to shift the conversation away from stereotypes and use this time as a chance to talk about culture through food, agriculture, nature, and relationships with families and friends.
- Kalyn, author of our Reading Roundups, will highlight outstanding children’s books that offer perspectives of indigenous cultures throughout the Americas and in the United States.
- Katrina, the educator behind En la Clase, will talk about how to teach themes of thankfulness and seasons through the use of children’s literature and poetry writing activities.
- Logan, our adult book reviewer, will be chiming in with information on November’s featured title, Enrique’s Journey, that, albeit not related to Thanksgiving, nonetheless meshes with our focus on disrupting stereotypes and challenging textbook inaccuracies. This nonfiction account revolves around immigration, Central American violence, mother-child relations/separation, empathy and equality in Central America — all of which are topics too often omitted from our immigration discussions.
As always, let us know if you have ideas for topics. In the next few weeks we’ll be planning our spring schedule, so now is a perfect time to chime in!