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MTYT: Brother’s Keeper

By Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ, and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson discuss four historical fiction novels that are relevant to current issues this month. They revisit two novels that are considered classic novels while also introducing a couple of newer books.

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MTYT: Out of the Dust

By Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ, and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

This month we wanted to ponder four pieces of historical fiction that are relevant to current issues. In doing so, we wanted to also revisit two novels that we consider classic novels while also introducing a couple of newer books that we found to be incredible reads. Many times, these incredible reads are books that present situations, places, or events we don’t quite want to “leave” for any number of reasons. They are, in essence, those that continue to haunt or delight long after the last page.

This month we start with the classic, Out of the Dust (1997) by Karen Hesse, and then turn to Brother’s Keeper (2020) by Julie Lee. For week three, we will highlight Mildred D. Taylor’s Mississippi Bridge (1992), and end with Just Like That (2021) by Gary D. Schmidt. These four novels deliver stories that are not only powerful and long-lasting individually, but are relevant parts of longer conversations addressing displacement, gender, the environment, race, struggle, and advocacy. All in all, they are remarkable.

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MTYT: Shi-Shi Etko

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

Four mornings before a young girl named Shi-Shi Etko is to leave her family and go away to residential school, she is reminded of all the things she must not forget. Songs, dances, family, laughter, joy, and especially the land. Shi-Shi Etko tries to memorize all the stones and plants and waters and the feeling of being near them. She is given a small pouch in which to contain these memories, like a sprig of a fir tree or a dried berry. She prays that she remembers each and every part of her life at home until she returns in the spring.

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MTYT: When I Was Eight

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton (Inuvialuit) tells the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s experiences at an Indian Residential School in Aklavik, in what is now known as Canada. Olemaun’s parents do not want her to attend the school away from her home of Banks Island, but Olemaun longs to learn to read like her older sister. When she convinces her parents and begins attending the school, the nuns try to humiliate and shame her in many ways. Margaret-Olemaun was determined to learn to read and prove to the nuns that she was a strong and capable student, and she did.

This picturebook was written with middle to upper elementary students in mind. Margaret-Ouleman’s story was also told in the book for younger readers, Not My Girl, and the books for middle level readers, Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home.

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MTYT: When We Were Alone

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

My Take Your Take Header lists theme of Picturebooks about Indigenous Residential Schools in Canada and the authors.

For the month of August Kristen Suagee-Beauduy and Celeste Trimble take a closer look at the youngest picturebooks about Indigenous residential schooling in Canada. When We Were Alone, written by David A. Robertson (Swampy Cree) and illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree-Metis), tells the story of a contemporary conversation between a First Nations grandmother and her granddaughter. The grandchild asks questions such as: “Why do you wear bright colors?” “Why do you wear your hair long?” “Why do you speak in Cree?”

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MTYT: From My Window

Maria V. Acevedo-Aquiño, University of Texas A&M, San Antonio, Desiree W. Cueto, Western Washington University, and Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

For the final week of July, Desiree and Dorea give their takes on From My Window, a picturebook which shares a name with a previous book discussed this month.

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MTYT: From My Window: Children at Home During COVID-19

Maria V. Acevedo-Aquiño, University of Texas A&M, San Antonio, Desiree W. Cueto, Western Washington University, and Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

Continuing their discussion of “windows” in recent picturebooks, Dorea and Maria give their takes on From My Window: Children at Home During COVID-19.

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MTYT: Outside, Inside

Maria V. Acevedo-Aquiño, University of Texas A&M, San Antonio, Desiree W. Cueto, Western Washington University, and Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

This month we consider the theme of “windows” as we discuss four recently published books, all with global connections. Windows provide distinct vantage points from which to consider our communities—people, spaces, relationships—and our place among them. While two of these books are centered specifically on the pandemic, we didn’t intend for this to be our focus. However, as we responded, it became clear that we couldn’t ignore the impacts the last year has had on our lives, our communities, the questions we wanted to ask one another and our visions for what comes next.

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MTYT: Malala’s Magic Pencil

Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

This week Seemi and Deanna discuss Malala’s Magic Pencil and her story of seeking education despite the dangers of doing os.

This is another story about the life of the Malala Yousafzai who stands for education for girls in struggling regions that belong to the ‘third’ world nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was shot by Taliban for what she stood for. This is her own story told by herself.

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