It’s August, ya’ll, which means many of you are getting ready to stock up your classrooms with new supplies or fill your kids’ closets with new school gear. For those of us that are of the African Diaspora, finding everyday educational supplies and materials that reflect the outer and inner cultural beings of our melanted children can be a daunting and emotionally frustrating task. Trust me–I know first hand, which is why I created My Reflection Matters (MRM) in the first place. Continue reading “Getting BLACK Into School: 20+ Melanated School Products & 6 Give Aways!”
What’s New This Month?
Thanks for tuning into our second newsletter this year! March was a month of growth for My Reflection Matters (MRM). We now have over 1,100 followers and lead our first successful contest where we gave away a $50 gift bundle to one of our fans, Taisha Lee Rivera-Franklin. The contest prize included a children’s book that speaks to social justice, conscious t-shirt by BAMN, Bino and Fino DVD on African culture, and the latest Indy Kids social justice newspaper written for kids by kids (See picture below.). Keep reading to learn more details about each product and where you can purchase them.
MRM Facebook followers that posted a comment stating what they liked about MRM were automatically entered into our drawing. In addition to Dr. Noguera’s testimonial pictured upon opening this newsletter, here are some other comments followers posted on our page:
MRM will continue running monthly contests, so stay connected with us on Facebook to learn when we post them and what free gift we will be offering. Our primary purpose for running contests is to:
- Learn more about what types of racial identity-affirming resources you like or struggle to find.
- Provide lucky winners an opportunity to try new products and share their feedback.
- Keep you coming back, of course!
Finally, we now offer you the option to sign up to receive email updates regarding our monthly newsletter, upcoming contests, and any other information we think you may find useful. Adding your name to our email list guarantees you will never miss a newsletter or contest announcement, so be sure to sign-up here!
This month’s newsletter is organized into the following headings:
- Literature (young and mature readers)
- Curricula Materials
- Inspiring Schools
- Upcoming Events
- Take Social Action
- Articles You Loved
Chemay Founder of My Reflection Matters
!IndyKids: A free paper for free kids! is a newspaper whose purpose is “to engage young people to become informed world citizens through the production of a current events and social justice news source that is created by kids, for kids.”
This month, while at the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), I met Tim Sheard founder of Hard Ball Press, a publishing company dedicated to helping working class people write and publish their stories. Of course, I couldn’t help buying these two gems from Tim. My two and four year-old love Manny and the Mango Tree, not to mention it has helped us explore big concepts such as undocumented status, protesting, social justice, and activism.
It’s Ramadan, Curious George offers an opportunity for teachers and parents to initiate a conversation about the customs and traditions associated with Ramadan as well as dispel wrongly held beliefs about the Islamic faith.
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome lays the foundation of understanding how chattel slavery and the oppressive decades that followed has influenced the present.
Just Mercy is one of my personal faves this year. Warning: get the tissues ready as Bryan Stevenson shares, in detail, his experiences working with Black and Brown youth and adults in what my colleague refers to as the criminal processing system (a.k.a. criminal justice system) in his search to prove their innocence in wrongfully accused crimes or lesson harsh treatments.
Many of the identity struggles Rachel, the bi-racial main character in The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, faced were ones I could relate with growing up in a community that saw you as either Black or White. I think your teen will enjoy this #MRMbookfave!
Here’s a new animation to keep an eye out soon–Bilal. “The movie tells the story of a real superhero, an African slave who was brought to Arabia 1,000 years ago and fought for his freedom.”
Grab your little one(s) and take a peek at Orisha’s Journey, an animation based on African folklore.
Tell Me Who I Am is an animated series in which children learn history and science by actually becoming the historical role models they learn about.
For many of us who took a second language in school, Spanish classes never touched on the many indigenous languages that existed in Spanish speaking countries and how these languages have been forgotten by many after the Spanish conquest. Take a peek at these clips you can use in your home or classroom instruction.
Bino and Fino is a great educational cartoon if you are looking for an animation that is centered around Blackness and offers kids fun facts about different African countries.
Looking for a website that generates creative, engaging lessons that are relevant to youth today? NuSkool is an entertainment learning platform that finds teachable moments in popular culture. You’ve got to check them out!
If you haven’t discovered Lee & Low Books, you are missing out! They are the biggest multicultural children’s book publisher in the U.S. offering a diverse selection of books you may not always be able to find in you ordinary book store. This is a great resource for homeschoolers or teachers searching for literature students can relate with to integrate into their lessons.
Sometimes we need a little inspiration to give us ideas and get us moving. Get inspired, here , with these two amazing schools!
Roses in Concrete Community School will inspire educators on what is possible when it comes to teaching urban students and provide parents with hope that places do and can exist where their Black and Brown babies are at the center of learning.
Little Sun People is a community childcare center whose mission is to educate children in their most formative years about the history and culture of all people of color with a particular emphasis on people of African ancestry.
I Never Forget A Face is an award winning, memory/matching game for young kids that includes children from all over the world. What I like about this is that Black and Brown faces are not “add-ons” or placed in the background of this game like in most toys.
If you are exhausted searching for dolls that reflect the beauty of your brown-skinned child, search no more! Read here about 7 companies that sell Black dolls and where you can get them.
My Family Builders is a great toy for young children! The box includes cards with pictures of different families–same sex, inter-racial, and single parent families–that serves as a tool to help adults engage in conversations about the beauty in different families.
My kids and I cannot get enough of BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) conscious t-shirts! We gave one away to our lucky March contest winner and plan to give more out again in the near future, so stay connected with us to learn more.
If you are near the NYC or Boston area…or somewhere in between, check out these upcoming events you may be interested in attending.
The NYU Metro Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools will be hosting their annual Summer Institute for educators titled, Unleashing the Power of Culturally Responsive Education in the 21st Century:Empowering students, families and educators on May 20, 2016. Don’t miss an opportunity to see the inspiring Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings and Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade speak!
Border Crossers offers insightful, ongoing trainings for educators and parents on how to have conversations about race with youth of all ages. Sign up for their upcoming May workshop titled, Talking About Race in the Classroom: A Training for K-12 Educators Committed to Racial Justice.
In case you missed Christopher Emdin this past March in NYC, he will be giving a book talk about his just-published For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…And the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Educationon Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, MA. Click here to learn more.
Take Social Action
Searching for an important cause you and you children can take social action on today? See if any of the following campaigns speak to you or your kids/students.
Take action today and support #stepupscholastic a campaign pushing Scholastic to publish more books that mirror and affirm the identities of children that are often left out of the dominant narrative in children’s literature. Click here to learn more about getting involved.
What’s Your Issue is a national youth survey made with LGBTQ & GNC youth to lift up their experiences, priorities & dreams. Their goal is to represent youth who are usually left out. Help them by taking their survey & sharing it with your friends! Learn more here about hosting a survey party at your home or organization.
Articles You Loved
Catch up on some of our top Facebook articles shared in March for tips on education to advice on talking race with young kids!
Disclaimer: MRM does not get paid by any companies mentioned in this newsletter. This is purely lead by the personal research and interests of MRM. If you have a resource or product you sell or are trying to market that supports the development of healthy racial identities of Black and Brown youth K-12, please email us at MyReflectionMatters@gmail.com and tell us about it. We’d be happy to test, read, and share your resource if it meets our criteria for meeting the needs of our target audience.
Thanks for tuning into My Reflection Matters (MRM) first blog post! For those of you not familiar with MRM, we currently exist on social media (Facebook, Tumblr, and working on Pinterst and Twitter) as a hub that researches, collects, and shares resources and products that affirm and reflect the cultural and racial identities of Black and Brown youth from childhood to early adulthood. As founder of MRM, I started this project as a frustrated mother and educator who struggled to find, what I thought, were simple things such as books, cartoon shows, curriculum, toys, etc. that reflected the physical attributes and cultural perspectives of my beautiful, Black-Latino sons. It didn’t take me long before I realized I wasn’t alone in this frustration. This is when I decided to take action and, boom, My Reflection Matters was born!
Through MRM, my goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to support and nurture the development of healthy racial and cultural identities of Black and Brown youth. It is my hope that through the thoughtful use of the resources shared on MRM, this engagement will foster self-worth in youth, a love for humanity, and develop in them the ability to think critically about the injustices they and others experience, empowering them to combat internalized and institutional racism and oppression in American society and around the world.
Each month, you can expect MRM to produce a blog highlighting most products and resources shared on our facebook page. As an extremely busy mom, I understand how busy life can get, so I always appreciate when someone can do all the busy work to house fun and useful tools all in one place for me. I hope you find the information shared here useful as well as quick and easy to read and access. For this month, I have arranged all information under the following categories: Books, Animation, Curriculum and Instruction, Toys/Apps, Apparel, Self-Empowerment and Articles You Loved. In order to ensure I provide quality resources you want and deliver it in an accessible way, your feedback is important to me! If you have a minute to spare, please share with me what you like, want to see more of, and/or suggestions for improvement. If you are interested in purchasing any products or reading more about a resource, simply click on the name of the product or business and you will be directed to their site.
Happy reading and clicking!
Peace & Love,
(Disclaimer: I do not get paid by any companies mentioned in this blog. This is purely lead by my personal research and interests.)
How do you explain to a 6-year old what protesting means? Check out Daddy There’s A Noise Outside written by a father who was in search of a way to teach his child how to explore the meaning of this social act and connect to it to what is currently going on in today’s #Blacklivesmatter movement.
Bad Hair Does Not Exist is a much needed book that affirms the beauty in the multi-textured hair our Black and Brown children are naturally born with. This book aims to defy what mainstream media has defined is the standard of beauty. Read here to learn more about the author and her story behind writing this book.
Searching for a collection of books that focus on the history and contributions of Black Americans in technology and innovation? Click here for titles and descriptions of up to 15 books.
The American Reading Company has partnered with Dr. Pedro Noguera to “provide 50-book independent reading collections that speak to the identities and experiences of the most underrepresented students in American schools: boys of color.”
“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” by Dr. Beverly Tatum is my favorite book to gift for parents-to-be. Tatum shares research around the factors that impact racial identity development in youth and ways adults can support the development of healthy racial identities from early childhood to adulthood.
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.” Click here to purchase this book.
If you are looking for a cartoon that represents positive images of Africa and teaches about Nigerian history and culture, then the Bino and Fino DVD series is the perfect match! My kids really enjoy these episodes and they provide good talking points for us to explore the continent of Africa and our cultural connections to it.
A few years ago, the Huffington Post published 6 Diverse Children’s Cartoons (Where the Main Character Isn’t Necessarily White) highlighting our previously mentioned Bino and Fino as well as the following five animations: The 99, Burka Avenger, Ni Hao Kai-Lan, Sara Solves It, and Maya and Miguel. Click here to learn more about each show.
Curriculum and Instruction
Are you a parent, teacher, or student searching for #conscious curricular materials? The Zinn Education Project may be for you. “Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula.”
For lessons and resources on anti-bias and anti-bullying topics, The Anti-Defamation League produces some thought-provoking lessons aligned with common core and broken up by grade level.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) published a three-page PDF on Islamophobia.org that provides recommendations on how to conduct conversations with young people about the current anti-Muslim hate crimes and Islamophobic political rhetoric heard in mainstream media.
In the spirit of celebrating Kendrick Lamar’s epic performance at the Grammys, you must grab this brilliant literary lesson I found here. The lesson uses Kendrick’s album, To Pimp A Butterfly, to help high schoolers develop a critical lens by drawing political and historical connections between his album and the literary text, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.
Contrary to how it is typically marketed, homeschooling is not just a “White thang”. Check out the The Black Homeschool for tips and ideas.
My Family Builders is a fun, educational toy for young children, and was our most liked product this month! The box includes cards with pictures of different families–same sex, inter-racial, and single parent families–that serves as a tool to help adults engage in conversations about the beauty in different families. This is definitely a fav. of my two and four-year-old!
Check out 11 empowering dolls that hep little girls see the beauty in themselves. I look forward to sharing photos and a review of the Healthy Roots doll and book once my kids receive it in the mail!
If you aren’t already following one of the most popular parenting sites, My Brown Baby, then you need to get on it! Denene Milner (Founder of My Brown Baby) writes some great blogs including this one titled, Twelve Multicultural Kids’ Book Apps Every Parent Should Know, where she shares some pretty awesome educational apps that have Black and Brown faces at the center of their game.
If you know an English Language Learner (ELL) who can use some support learning a new language, check out 6 storytelling apps that get English language learners talking.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind #blackhistoryiseveryday gift for your kids to rock year round? You will love BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) Apparel. They have sizes from infant to adult and various statements. Keep posted to see my kiddies rock their conscious tees soon.
My Brother’s Keeper was started by the Obama administration to close the opportunity gap that persistently affects Black boys and men of color. This program is intended to provide mentoring, networking, and skill building for career and college readiness. Click here to learn more.
Searching for an empowering social network, with a cause, for adolescent girls? I think your gals will dig We Love Bam! All mentoring and social action is supported by GrassROOTS Community Foundation.
How are you empowering kids, friends, and family of all races to get involved in #blacklivesmatter? White People For Black Lives (WP4BL) is an anti-racist collective and activist project whose work is “rooted in showing up for racial justice and acting in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, and more specifically in alliance with Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles”.
Articles You Loved
Need some tips on how to have tough conversations, or just searching for something interesting to read? Catch up on some of our top reads shared this month!