Below are five books I recommend from books I read this month. Also included are short paragraphs from each.
A strong education theme runs through many of them. May it be an encouragement to all of us:
- to continue learning,
- continue growing,
- and continue loving each other stronger and better.
1. Warriors Don’t Cry
The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High
by Melba Pattillo Beals
This book will likely make my Top 10 list of favorite books I read this year. It’s the story of the Little Rock Nine, the first black students to integrate into a previously all-white school, told by one of those students. Written several years ago, I just now am discovering it for myself.
Black folks aren’t born expecting segregation, prepared from day one to follow its confining rules. Nobody presents you with a handbook when you’re teething and says, “Here’s how you must behave as a second-class citizen.” Instead, the humiliating expectations and traditions of segregation creep over you, slowly stealing a teaspoonful of your self-esteem each day.
2. I Am Malala
The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai
Another 5-star book. Because of the person. In Pakistan in 2012, 15-yr-old Malala refused to be silent about the closing doors of educational opportunities for girls. She was shot in the head by the Taliban. She survived and now tells her story. She is the youngest Nobel Prize recipient ever.
“Are you scared now?” I asked my father.
“At night our fear is strong, Jani,” he told me, “but in the morning, in the light, we find our courage again.” And this is true for my family. We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.
3. Success Through Stillness
Meditation Made Simple
by Russell Simmons
This book helps you see that anyone can meditate: just sit still and be quiet. I like this snow globe analogy:
“Think of your mind as like one of those snow globes you used to play with as a kid. When you’d shake them up, the snow would be everywhere and it would kind of obscure what was inside the globe. But when you just let the globe be still, eventually all the snow would settle down to the bottom and you could easily see what was inside it.”
4. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
by Frederick Douglass
This autobiography by former slave Frederick Douglass in the 1800s is short but compelling. It’s another book that will make you cry. But that’s okay. We need to remember these things actually happened. And continue to work toward a more equitable future.
But, alas! This kind heart had but a short time to remain such. The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon.
by Vince Vawter
This novel (Newbery Medal Honor winner, 2014) is about 11-year-old Victor in Memphis in the summer of 1959. He takes over his friend’s paper route for July. But because he stutters, he runs into problems. This (somewhat) autobiographical book moves quickly and keeps you engaged.
I used to have my own secret trick but I used a thumbtack instead of a safety pin. If I knew I was going to have to read or recite in class I would keep a thumbtack in my hand and push it into my palm when I started to talk. I kept hoping the pain would make me forget about stuttering but it never did. I decided it didn’t make much sense to keep sticking myself and I got tired of always having a bloody hand when class was over. You can’t replace one hurt with another one. You just end up with double hurts.
- Running Scared
Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest
by Edward T. Welch
- The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaught
- The Jesus Creed
Loving God, Loving Others
by Scot McKnight
- 10 Things Jesus Never Said
And Why You Should Stop Believing Them
by Will Davis Jr.
- The Happiness Dare
by Jennifer Dukes Lee
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What are you reading this month? Please share here.
Sharing at Month in Review
- Are We Separating or Attaching?
- Is This Fun to You?