28 May It’s Monday! We Are Giving Away What We Are Reading! #IMWAYR #booklove
As soon as we finished reading, Can I Touch Your Hair, we started rereading and couldn’t stop talking. We then promptly ordered another copy, so we could each have our own. So much to learn, so much to discover, so much to admire in this very timely book.
Can I Touch Your Hair is a collaboration between Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black. These two artists put their talents and experiences together to create poetry that brings out the everyday racial issues that surround children in school. The poems deal with topics such as, how we may feel when we are assigned a partner, how children might choose a specific type of shoe to fit in, and even how conversations get silenced when the topic of race comes up.
Irene and Charles are the two children in the book who become writing partners in class. As they write poems back and forth about everyday topics, they learn about each other, about race, and ultimately about friendship. This book takes a difficult topic of race and brings it to life in ways that readers of all ages can access. The poems help readers reflect on their own biases, think about the perspectives of others, and encourages us to change, learn and grow.
As we read, we found ourselves reflecting on our own journey to uncover our biases, and what we learned in our recent process of writing It’s All About the Books. (Here is an excerpt from our podcast with Heinemann that shares our journey of learning). We still have so much to learn, and we are grateful to Irene and Charles for writing a book that fosters conversations with children about race.
This is a book you will want to own, you will want to read for yourself, and a book you will want to read with your students. The quote by A. Phillip Randolph, written on the dedication page says it all, “Salvation for a race, nation, or class must come from within.” The work we do to learn about each other, to stop racial hatred, and to promote equality begins with all of us. This book is a gift that will help all of us have courageous conversations about race.
To help get this book out into the world, we are giving away one copy of Can I Touch Your Hair. Comment on this blog post, and we will use a random number generator to choose a lucky winner. We will announce this winner next Monday!