Race, Ethnicity, Gender & Class

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Race, Ethnicity, Gender & Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change by Joseph F. Healey and Eileen O’Brien

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 412

Publication Date: 2015

Summary: This book explores the history of immigration to the United States and the roles that various minority groups have played in American society.  Topics covered include African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Gender, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Americans, Diversity and Prejudice and Discrimination.

Recommended: No.  Although the content was interesting, the book was not laid out well.  Some minority groups were given much more thorough coverage than others and the authors often repeated information several times throughout the course of the book.

If You’re Offended: No problems here

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Since the Indian Removal Act of 1830, American Indians have been concentrated in the western two thirds of the nation, although some pockets of population still can be found in the East. The states with the largest concentrations of American Indians are California, Oklahoma, and Arizona.”    “Most Latinos who speak predominantly Spanish are first generation, while most who speak predominantly English are third generation. The second generation is most likely to be bilingual.”

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Exceptional Children by William L. Heward

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Full Title: Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education

Genre: Textbook

Page Count: 562

Publication Date: 2013

Summary: This book explains the causes and treatments (if available) of a variety of disabilities as well as best practices for teachers of students with those disabilities. Disabilities covered include intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, communication disorders, deafness and hearing loss, blindness and low vision, physical disabilities, health impairments, ADHD and low incidence disabilities such as severe/multiple disabilities, deaf-blindness and traumatic brain injury.  Other sections include collaborating with parents of special needs students and working with gifted and talented students.

Recommended: Yes, yes, yes.  This has been an amazing resource as a new teacher and I recommend it for all general education teachers.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Social skills instruction is an important curriculum component for students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Many of these students have difficulty holding a conversation, expressing their feelings, participating in group activities, and responding to failure or criticism in positive and constructive ways.”   “Gifted students who must wait for others to catch up or who are used as tutors in the classroom are not having their needs met.”

American Indians: Answers to Today’s Questions

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Author: Jack Utter

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 494

Publication Date: 2001

Summary: In a question-and-answer format, this book explores the past and present situation of American Indians.  Topics range from Treaties and Agreements, Culture and Religion, Warfare and Health to Education and Land and Resources. Because tribes vary, this book gives a broad overview of Native Americans.

Recommended: Yes.  Though my professor assigned this book as a textbook, it would make an interesting read, either all the way through or just the questions that you find relevant.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Today it is generally the tribes which define who is and who is not a member – though Congress ultimately has authority to intervene.”   “Official U.S. military involvement in warfare against American Indians occurred over a 115-year period, from 1776 to 1891. However, the U.S. Army was involved in a dozen or more ‘police actions’ relating to Indian tribes between 1891 and 1907.

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 231

Publication Date: 2005

Summary: In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Navajo Indians were sent to boarding schools to learn English and they were forbidden to speak their native language or celebrate their culture.  Fast forward to World War II, when the US Marines needed a code that could not be broken by the Japanese to send important messages from one location to another.  Navajos were recruited by the Marines specifically because their language was complex and hard to learn.  This story goes from reservation boarding school to action-packed war zones in the Pacific theater.

Recommended: Yes! Though it was written for young adults, this book will appeal to anyone who likes World War II or historical fiction.

If You’re Offended: Only one instance of the word damn.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “I think it was probably harder for young white men to be abused like that by their drill sergeants than it was for us Navajos. Being Indians, we were used to having white men shout at us and tell us were were worthless and stupid.”    “Once again I heard the sound that is one of the most awful things anyone can hear: the dull thud, between the sound of a slap and a punch, of a bullet hitting the body of a human being.”

Red Hot Salsa edited by Lori Marie Carlson

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Title: Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 140

Publication Date: 2005

Summary: Some of the poems are completely written in English and are accompanied by full Spanish translations.  Some of the poems are a mix of English and Spanish.  There is a Spanish glossary in the back for the poems written in both languages so you don’t need to have any knowledge of Spanish in order to enjoy this book. The book is sectioned into Language/Identity, Neighborhoods, Amor (Love), Family Moments/Memories, and Victory.

Recommended: Yes.  The poems are written by a variety of contemporary Hispanic poets and as a Spanish teacher, I really enjoyed this volume – it could easily be incorporated into a Spanish class of any level. There is a short biography of each of the authors in the back of the book.

If You’re Offended: No problems here

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Taco Bell is NOT Mexican Food!”    “Spanish is a matter of rolling rrrrs clicking the tongue, And placing your hands on your hips when your little brother pours cereal into your fishbowl.”

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

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Title: You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life

Genre: Self-Help, Inspirational

Page Count: 254

Publication Date: 2013

Summary: This is not your typical self-help book.  Sincero encourages you to stop living a mediocre life and start reaching for your dreams, no matter how far-fetched those may be.  She covers everything from spirituality to finances and thinking positively. In the back of the book, she lists a collection of similar books if you would like to continue reading more on the topic.

Recommended: Yes.  This is one of those books that I plan to read again because it sort of reconfirmed that even with all the stress I’m experiencing (grad school, teaching, GA work), the end goal will be worth it (a Masters degree). The positive vibe from this book is outstanding.

If You’re Offended: You may want to skip this one.  Lots of swear words and a handful of drug references.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone.”    “The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.”

Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 318

Publication Date: 1991

Summary: Schools are funded through property taxes and state and federal allocations.  If the school is in a district where property values are low, the property taxes sometimes do not bring in enough income to fully fund the school.  The author visits several underfunded schools in poor districts across the United States and questions how school funding can become more equitable and just.

Recommended: Yes, particularly if you work in the field of education. Some of the school conditions are downright deplorable.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “There are no science labs, no art or music teachers. There is no playground. There are no swings. There is no jungle gym. Soap, paper towels and toilet paper are in short supply. There are two working bathrooms for some 700 children.”     “A history teacher at the Martin Luther King School has 110 students in four classes – but only 26 books. Some of the books are missing the first hundred pages.”