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Antiracist Reading Revolution [Grades K-8]

Antiracist Reading Revolution [Grades K-8]
A Framework for Teaching Beyond Representation Toward Liberation

First Edition

Foreword by Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

July 2024 | 344 pages | Corwin

“When can we move beyond representation to liberation?”

This question from a young Black girl moved New York Times #1 bestselling author Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul to offer a vision for antiracist teaching that goes far beyond adding diverse texts in a classroom library. Antiracist Reading Revolution provides an actionable antiracist teaching framework and models how K-8 educators can create opportunities for transformative reading and discussions in classrooms.

Dr. Cherry-Paul offers six critical lenses that help educators to adopt an antiracist teaching stance, spotlighting the importance of instruction built around love, joy, community, justice, and solidarity. Educators are invited to reflect on their instructional practices, dismantle ideologies that are barriers to students’ critical and creative thinking and cultivate identity-inspiring learning experiences where students can show up fully as themselves and recognize the full humanity of all people. This is what it means to move beyond representation to liberation.

Chapters feature several children’s books that center BIPOC characters and creators. Dr. Cherry-Paul provides prompts and pathways for each children’s book that guide teachers toward putting into action the six critical lenses at the core of the Antiracist Reading Framework – affirmation, awareness, authorship, atmosphere, activism, and accountability. And she provides toolkits for students and teachers to use when selecting and reading books on their own.

Chapters in this book also …

  • Offer personal and insightful anecdotes, supported by research and scholarship, that illustrate the power of antiracist teaching in working toward equity, justice, and freedom
  • Provide a clear and actionable guide for K-8 literacy educators including classroom teachers, instructional coaches, and librarians
  • Encourage critical reflection, pausing to ask educators to examine their own identities and values, and how these influence their teaching
  • Guide educators toward selecting and teaching with books that center the lived experiences of BIPOC students

This book is a call to action. In Dr. Cherry-Paul’s words, “In an antiracist classroom, reading helps us to dream, experience joy, engage in collective struggle,  liberate our minds, and  love. Let’s move forward together to realize our vision of an antiracist reading classroom rooted in love and liberation.”

"Dr. Cherry-Paul’s meticulous application of the six critical lenses testifies to her commitment to reshaping the landscape of reading instruction. This book is not merely an exploration of diverse literature; it is a call to action, an encouragement for educators to connect these literary offerings to the worlds of their students and change the way reading is taught in the majority of classrooms across the nation. Her Antiracist Reading Framework will be a powerful tool for educators who are guided by a vision of inclusivity and justice.” 

From the Foreword by Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

Foreword by Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Introduction: There's No Such Thing As Antiracist Fairy Dust
Chapter 1: Be A Dandelion: A Metaphor and Vision for Antiracist Teaching
Chapter 2: Center BIPOC in Texts
Chapter 3: Recognize Cultural, Community, and Collective Practices
Chapter 4: Shatter Silences Around Racism
Chapter 5: Help Students Acquire Racial Literacy
Chapter 6: Learn About Community Activists
Chapter 7: Sustaining the Revolution
Epilogue: Building the Movement for Human Liberation

It is not enough to diversify our bookshelves. How can interactions with a broader selection of voices and perspectives positively influence students’ literacy development and their growth as global citizens? In this timely guide, Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul supports and challenges teachers who are striving to dismantle historically racist pedagogies and build expansive, “identity-inspiring” learning opportunities with students. Rich with ancillary resources, practical strategies, and extensive ideas for teaching reading using critical, antiracist lenses.

Donalyn Miller
Educator, reading advocate, and author

Antiracist Reading Revolution is a powerful gift for educators and serves as a guide on how to take an antiracist teaching stance to create classrooms that center affirmation, joy, love, and liberation. This is a must-have book for all educators and schools to have in their professional library — and one I will be sharing in my work with my teachers.

Michelle Yang-Kaczmarek
K-8 Literacy Coordinator

What does it mean to be an antiracist educator? In Antiracist Reading Revolution, Dr. Cherry-Paul skillfully and artfully leads educators through a framework that provides the  necessary skills that work to build interpersonal relationships, establish affirmational environments, and the important questions and language needed to teach and engage with literacy that is both loving and critical. The moves she shows teachers are not only grounded in the research but they are practical and inspiring.  Above all else, Dr. Cherry Paul teaches us how to bring an antiracist lens to all books that we read. This book will not only support educators in building stronger readers but it will also help us all be better humans.

Amanda Hartman
Deputy Director of Primary Literacy, Advancing Literacy, Teachers College, Columbia University

Antiracist Reading Revolution has the power and potential to create just that, a reading revolution. In this book, Dr. Cherry-Paul does more than make an argument for the need for books in classrooms that reflect and represent a diversity of human beings. She gives us the tools to use those books with our students in a way that will allow every single student to better enter into the world ready to view themselves and others in a positive way and to create positive change.  This book is more than a road map for better reading instruction; it is a heart map for better living and better existing in the world. 

Jess Lifshitz
4th grade ELA teacher

This gift transcends the boundaries of traditional education, equipping educators with tools to foster liberation in the classroom that go beyond mere representation. It uplifts and empowers the souls of educators, igniting a powerful wave of change for a brighter and more beautiful tomorrow.

Gary Gray
Author of I'm From

This is such an important book for teachers! School is about education. Education is about creating critical thinkers. Critical thinkers need to have all the facts. The facts are that this is a culturally diverse world filled with people of all colors and cultures. All colors and cultures must be SEEN by children, and adults, in the classroom as fully functioning and contributing members of society. Test scores will sort themselves out just fine if Black and Brown children are SEEN in the classroom.

Carole Lindstrom
Author of books for young people

As an antiracist classroom elementary educator, I know the importance of my growth and having tools to improve my pedagogy. Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul's Antiracist Reading Revolution: Framework for Teaching Beyond Representation Toward Liberation demands we self-interrogate the development of our racial identity in a racialized society and reflect on how that influences our instruction. The framework's six critical lenses of Affirmation, Awareness, Authorship, Atmosphere, Activism, and Accountability require thoughtful and purposeful creation of lessons on social justice that even our youngest learners deserve to receive. The tools and guiding lessons Cherry-Paul offers have strengthened how I teach all my students to recognize the humanity of others and be agents of change in our diverse world. I am even more intentional about selecting books that provide opportunities to teach students how to be racially literate, using specific language, and increasing their awareness of recognizing, analyzing, and discussing injustice, race, and racism. I believe it is essential that our current and future generations of learners be empowered thinkers and activists, and Cherry-Paul's framework is a powerful means to get us there.

Kyrie Gilmore
M.Sc., NYC Public School Elementary Educator

Sonja Cherry-Paul provides a powerful antiracist reading framework that compels educators to lead with love, seek and state the truth, and teach toward liberation. Guided by six critical lenses, the reader is inspired to imagine what is possible – especially important during a time where professional autonomy is increasingly challenged. Sonja lights a path for antiracist educators and we are emboldened to act – centering humanity, justice, and hope. 

Jane Hsu
Principal, P.S. 116 Mary Lindley Murray, NYC

I have never met an educator who does not want to make their teaching match their values. But the reality of teaching today means teachers are inundated with mandates, theories, and student needs with very little offered in terms of practical, step-by-step lessons, explanations, and resources to meet the avalanche of demands and very real concerns. Antiracist Reading Revolution is the book I dreamt of but never thought possible. Cherry-Paul gives us clear definitions and explanations of foundational scholarship while also holding our hand and walking us through lessons we can teach our students tomorrow, all within a framework that keeps our teaching from feeling disjointed. This is a gift of a book for educators and their students.

M. Colleen Cruz
Educator and bestselling author of Writers Read Better: Nonfiction.

Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul’s Antiracist Reading Revolution is such a powerful book for all educators. Grounded in the latest culturally responsive research that centers the possibilities of Black and other children, Dr. Cherry-Paul has crafted a thorough handbook that provides educators with the how they are often searching to find. This robust text offers up resources and guidance for educators at all levels of their work with children; thus, with Antiracist Reading Revolution, there’s no excuse not to do the work—immediately—that gets us closer toward truly equitable literacy practices. Dr. Cherry-Paul is leading the way. May we all follow!

Dr. Kimberly N. Parker
#disrupttexts cofounder and author of Literacy is Liberation: Working Toward Justice Through Culturally Relevant Teaching

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One - Be a Dandelion

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ISBN: 9781071915356