By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder of Good Trouble For Kids

As a Jewish girl born just about 20 years after the end of World War II, I grew up learning about the Holocaust and Hitler’s concentration camps. I learned about it at home, and I learned about it at my private Jewish elementary school. We skimmed over the Holocaust in Middle School social studies, and then devoted a week to it in my European AP class in High School. What I remember most about that class were the other students giggling at the black and white images of skeletal bodies being…

By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder of Good Trouble For Kids

While Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes elaborates on Hurricane Katrina’s impact on a family in New Orleans, the entire Gulf Coast was terribly damaged. The poet Natasha Tretheway reflects on this in Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You can listen (or read) this NPR interview with Tretheway, and also read an excerpt from her book.

Below is Tretheway’s poem, “Liturgy to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

I quite enjoyed reading Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes. What I loved were the elements of voudou, spirituality, ghosts and engagement with other realms. I loved the descriptions of sensory awareness of a spirit, the glimpse at Mama Ya-Ya’s altar, the conversations with ghosts, the sensing of the weather to come. I have always been captivated by these kinds of practices.

I grew up in a home without religion, and with a mother who absolutely carries some witchy, energy moving vibes, but kept these largely from us when we were young. Or at least, it was unspoken. Which is…

By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder Good Trouble For Kids

Alice Walker is said to have coined the term colorism to describe “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color.” Ibram X. …

—Delia LaJeunesse

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy can be an incredible tool in deepening the context of a piece of media (news, book, story, movie), engaging with subject matter on an intuitive and emotional level, and connecting meaningfully with social causes. Unfortunately, arts literacy is not something that is taught to us, we have to seek it out. Learning how to “read” visual art offers an opportunity to integrate the power of these books, engage your intuitive understanding, and expand the imagination to truly en vision the future we want to see.

My approach to this book

Oh I adored this book. What a stunning exploration of color…

By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder of Good Trouble For Kids

Language is important. Carole Boston Weatherford recognizes this and appropriately calls what happened in Tulsa on May 31-June 1, 1921 a massacre and not a riot. (This specificity in language will also be discussed in the write-up on Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free when thinking about the words interment/ incarceration/ concentration camps with reference to the experience of Japanese Americans in World War II). As Woodward and the illustrator Floyd Cooper attest, the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre was not taught in schools until the 21st century. I most…

By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder of Good Trouble For Kids

I never liked comics — I know, that’s weird. But even as a kid, I was never into them. But I have suddenly fallen quite in love with graphic novels, and I really enjoyed this one! I think I first started appreciating the form after reading Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (not for kids), and I thought John Lewis’ choice to do an autobiography in graphic novel form was genius — such a very cool way of reaching out to multiple audiences and prioritizing youth. …

By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder of Good Trouble For Kids

“My dream was not to publish or to even be a writer: my dream was to discover something no one else had thought of. I guess that’s why I’m a poet. We put things together in ways no one else does.”

— Nikki Giovanni

At the end of this write-up, I’m going to invite you and your kids to try writing poetry. There is so much poetry in this book for you and your kids to sample and taste and listen to (and don’t worry if, like me, you no longer have a CD player! Many of these poems and songs can be found on the internet). It seems only appropriate after reading this book together that you then try your hand at poetry. …

Delia LaJeunesse

I found myself laughing and very light while reading this book. Which I appreciate. A lot. So much of the work we do is heavy, somber, beautiful, but rarely with the levity found in New Kid. What I appreciated most about this levity was how subtle it was: from Alexandra who bizarrely floats instead of walks, to the facial expressions every time Jordan experiences or witnesses racism. This is a subtlety afforded to well-crafted graphic novels. It is a subtlety that is beyond the text alone, that is gathered through the observation of the visuals.

As with all…

By Rachel Amaru, Co-Founder of Good Trouble For Kids

Listen to Ali.

The video below on top is an interview with Dick Cavett in 1970 where Ali speaks out against the Vietnam War. The dynamic between the two men is really something. The video on the bottom is a track from Ali’s recorded album of spoken poetry. And, believe it or not, in 1967, he collaborated with Marianne Moore, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, and the so-called “elderly queen mother of American letters,” on this poem.

I loved this collaboration of Patterson and Kwame Alexander. As soon as I heard about…

Good Trouble For Kids

An arts initiative promoting the work of BIPOC writers and illustrators. We are two white women engaged in social activism through the arts.

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