Nine Recommended Books for Facing History Educators | Facing History & Ourselves
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Nine Recommended Books for Facing History Educators

These selected titles can help you gain unique classroom insights and deepen your engagement with new educational scholarship.

March is National Reading Month and Facing History staff and teachers have shared some of their favorite educator books—books that shaped their pedagogy and challenged them to think critically about their practice. These selections cover topics that are top-of-mind for teachers these days including media literacy, identity, school culture, and belonging. Whether you’re looking for broad inspiration or specific outlines for lessons you can implement in your classroom, these titles offer valuable advice, perspectives, and resources for any middle or high school educator. Dive into one of these books and join us as we take part in National Reading Month; this is a great opportunity to engage with educational scholarship that piques your interest!

Heinemann Educational Books

The Civically Engaged Classroom: Reading, Writing, and Speaking for Change by Mary Ehrenworth, Pablo Wolfe, and Marc Todd

Are your students ready to become the engaged and informed citizens our democracy needs right now? Your classroom can be a place for them to experience what it means to live in community with others, to balance their own interests with those of the group, to challenge themselves to overcome differences, and to ask the questions that help them understand the crux of an issue. The Civically Engaged Classroom is packed with practical guidance designed to support teachers in giving students the skills, knowledge, and tools to be active participants in society. Each chapter describes classroom structures, curricular possibilities, and specific lessons for teaching crucial civic virtues.


Get Free: Antibias Literacy Instruction for Stronger Readers, Writers, and Thinkers by Tricia Ebarvia

What would it mean to truly "get free" as an educator? How can we identify and challenge bias in our reading and writing curriculum and instruction? How can we support students in becoming empathetic, engaged individuals who can communicate with the world through reading and writing skills developed with compassion and critical thinking? Answering these questions requires deep personal reflection and intentional daily practice—and it's crucial today more than ever, when students are overwhelmed with misinformation and disinformation.

Drawn from decades of classroom experience and founded on the scholarship of social justice educators, Tricia Ebarvia provides a framework that can help teachers implement transformative, anti-bias literacy instruction in middle and high school classrooms. This is the book for teachers, new and experienced, who know that classrooms can be transformative, liberatory spaces where students better understand themselves, others, and the world.
- Corwin Publishers

Corwin Publishers

Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms by Joe Feldman

Grading—one of the most important responsibilities of teachers with major implications for students' academic and life trajectories—is ironically also among the most enigmatic and frequently avoided topics in education. Although most teachers sense that common grading practices are often ineffective, there is limited understanding of how those practices can undermine effective teaching and harm students, particularly those historically underserved. It is long past due to implement grading practices that are more accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational, and which improve student learning, empower teachers, and transform classrooms as a result. With a down-to-earth style driven by the author's own curiosity as a teacher, principal, district administrator, and university instructor, this book will invite and challenge you to think about how more equitable grading, when implemented effectively, creates a more rigorous, humane, and positive school experience for all.


Literacy Is Liberation: Working Toward Justice Through Culturally Relevant Teaching by Kimberly N. Parker

Literacy is the foundation for all learning and must be accessible to all students. This fundamental truth is where Kimberly Parker begins to explore how culturally relevant teaching can help students work toward justice. Her goal is to make the literacy classroom a place where students can safely talk about key issues, move to dismantle inequities, and collaborate with one another. Introducing diverse texts is an essential part of the journey, but teachers must also be equipped with culturally relevant pedagogy to improve literacy instruction for all.

In Literacy Is Liberation, Parker gives teachers the tools to build culturally relevant intentional literacy communities (CRILCs) with students. In a culturally relevant classroom, it is important for students and teachers to get to know one another, be vulnerable, heal, and do the hard work to help everyone become a high literacy achiever. Through the practices in this book, teachers can create the more inclusive, representative, and equitable classroom environment that all students deserve.

St. Martin's Press

Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal by Bettina L. Love

Dr. Bettina Love argues forcefully that Reagan's presidency ushered in a War on Black Children, pathologizing and penalizing them in concert with the War on Drugs. New policies punished schools with policing, closure, and loss of funding in the name of reform, as white savior, egalitarian efforts increasingly allowed private interests to infiltrate the system. These changes implicated children of color, and Black children in particular, as low performing, making it all too easy to turn a blind eye to their disproportionate conviction and incarceration. Today, there is little national conversation about a structural overhaul of American schools; cosmetic changes, rooted in anti-Blackness, are now passed off as justice. It is time to put a price tag on the miseducation of Black children. In this prequel to The New Jim Crow, Dr. Love serves up a blistering account of four decades of educational reform through the lens of the people who lived it.
- St. Martin's Press


Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community by Liz Kleinrock

Most educators want to cultivate an antibias and antiracist classroom and school community, but they often struggle with where and how to get started. Liz Kleinrock helps us set ourselves up for success and prepare for the mistakes we'll make along the way. Start Here, Start Now addresses many of the questions and challenges educators have about getting started, using a framework for tackling perceived barriers from a proactive stance. We can break the habits that are holding us back from this work and be empowered to take the first step towards reimagining the possibilities of how antibias antiracist work can transform schools and the world at large.
- Heinemann Educational Books

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater

When a high school student started a private Instagram account that used racist and sexist memes to make his friends laugh, he thought of it as "edgy" humor. Over time, the edge got sharper. Then a few other kids found out about the account. Pretty soon, everyone knew.

Ultimately no one in the small town of Albany, California, was safe from the repercussions of the account's discovery. Not the girls targeted by the posts. Not the boy who created the account. Not the group of kids who followed it. Not the adults—educators and parents—whose attempts to fix things too often made them worse. In the end, no one was laughing. And everyone was left asking: Where does accountability end for online speech that harms? And what does accountability even mean?


Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension by Sara K Ahmed

Topics such as race, gender, politics, religion, and sexuality are part of our students' lives, yet when these subjects are brought up at school teachers often struggle with how to respond. How do we create learning conditions where kids can ask the questions they want to ask, muddle through how to say the things they are thinking, and have tough conversations? Sara K. Ahmed identifies and unpacks the skills of social comprehension, providing teachers with tools and activities that help students make sense of themselves and the world as they navigate relevant topics in today's society. Each chapter includes clear, transferable lessons and practical strategies that help students learn about a targeted social comprehension concept. From exploring identity and diversity to understanding and addressing biases and microaggressions, Sara demonstrates how to address real issues honestly in the classroom while honoring and empowering students.
- Heinemann Educational Books

Heinemann Educational Books

Textured Teaching: A Framework for Culturally Sustaining Practices by Lorena Escoto

As middle and high school teachers, we know that students begin to develop racial identities and ideologies as early as preschool. By the time they reach us, there is much socializing and learning that needs to be undone. Textured Teaching offers a way to seamlessly embed the social justice work that is needed to undo; to begin to make things right. With Culturally Sustaining Practice as its foundation, this book helps secondary teachers in any school setting stop wondering and guessing how to implement teaching and learning that leads to social justice. Throughout the book, Lorena Escoto shares lesson design strategies that build traditional literacy skills while supporting students in developing their social justice skills at the same time. The actionable strategies illuminate what is possible when we welcome all types of texts, all types of voices, and all forms of expression into the classroom.