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A Preview of Black Lives Matter at School Week (Week 5 themes and books now added)

Every year, educators from many cities around the country observe a nationwide Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools. This will be the third year that all Shoreline schools will participate in Black Lives Matter at School during the week of Feb 6-10, which is celebrated nationally through discussions and activities that take place in classrooms and beyond.

During Black Lives Matter at School Week in Shoreline Schools, each lesson taught in classrooms covers a theme of equity and justice in the Black community. Teachers are provided lessons that are appropriate for the grade level they teach, from preschool through high school.

In the five weeks leading up to Black Lives Matter at School Week February 6-10, we are sharing the lesson themes, which are the guiding principles for Black Lives Matter at School, and resources to explore or learn more.

During Week 5 of 5 (week of Jan. 30), we will learn about: Black Women and Unapologetically Black

Black Women is the building of women-centered spaces free from sexism, misogyny, and male centeredness. 

Unapologetically Black is the affirmation that Black Lives Matter and that our love, and desire for justice and freedom are prerequisites for wanting that for others. These principles are the blueprint for healing and do not include nor do they support ignoring or sanitizing the ugliness and discomfort that comes with dealing with race and anti-race issues.


Week 5 book recommendations:

Hidden Figures (Picture Book), by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman, best for ages 4-12

Hidden Figures picture book cover

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award winner Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! 

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good.

They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as "colored computers," and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.

"Finally, the extraordinary lives of four African American women who helped NASA put the first men in space is available for picture book readers," proclaims Brightly in their article "18 Must-Read Picture Books of 2018." "Will inspire girls and boys alike to love math, believe in themselves, and reach for the stars."

You may also be interested in:

Hidden Figures Young Readers Edition, best for ages 11-14

The original Hidden Figures book, best for ages 14-18

Hidden Figures movie trailer


Love Is a Revolution, by Renée Watson, best for ages 13+

Love Is a Revolution book cover

When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani's birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He's perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she'll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.

In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.

Download the Love Is a Revolution coloring book


Young Kap, by Kingsley Osei, illustrated by Elaine Davis, best for ages 5-12

Young Kap book cover

Author and educator Kingsley Osei returns with his profound children’s book, Young Kap. “Young Kap” goes down memory lane as famed football star Colin Kaepernick put everything on the line as he kneeled during the national anthem back in 2016. The book not only revisits the events leading up to his infamous kneel, but it also focuses on the social and political stance taken by the former 49ers quarterback. The latest children's book release by Bronx native Kingsley Osei delves into Kaepernick’s passionate sense of activism and protesting by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. In 2020, Young Kap has won three coveted book awards, which include a Purple Dragonfly Book Award, Moonbeam Spirit Award, and NYC Big Book Award.

Watch author Kingsley Osei talk about his inspiration for writing Young Kap


The 1619 Project: Born on the Water By Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith, best for ages 7-10

A yoThe 1619 Project: Born on the Water book coverung student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders.

But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived.

And the people planted dreams and hope,

willed themselves to keep

living, living.


And the people learned new words

for love

for friend

for family


for joy

for grow

for home.

With powerful verse and striking illustrations by Nikkolas Smith, Born on the Water provides a pathway for readers of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity.

Hear from author Nikole Hannah-Jones in “9 Storytellers on Why Black Stories Matter”


During Week 4 of 5 (week of Jan. 23), we will learn about: Intergenerational, Black Families, and Black Villages

Intergenerational is a space free from ageism where we can learn from each other. 

Black Families creates a space that is family friendly and free from patriarchal practices.

Black Villages is the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the “collective village” that takes care of each other.


Week 4 book recommendations:

Track series by Jason Reynolds, best for ages 10 and up

Track series book pictureGhost. Patina. Sunny. Lu. A fast but fiery group of kids from wildly different backgrounds, chosen to compete on an elite track team. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Discover each of their stories in this complete collection of Jason Reynolds’s explosive New York Times bestselling Track series.

Watch Jason Reynolds discuss his book Ghost, from the Track series

Hair Love by Matthew Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison, best for ages 4-8 

Hair Love book cover imageZuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair — and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. A perfect gift for special occasions including Father’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!

Watch the animated short film Hair Love, winner of the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée, best for ages 8-12

A Good Kind of Trouble book cover imageTwelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn't think that's for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn't face her fear, she'll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.

Watch Lisa Moore Ramée answer her most commonly asked question, “Why did you write A Good Kind of Trouble?”

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson, best for ages 8-12 

Ways to Make Sunshine book cover imageRyan Hart has a lot on her mind--school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she's got the talent that matters most: it's a talent that can't be seen, she's nice, not mean!

Ryan is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend. But even if her life isn't everything she would wish for, when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don't quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. And plenty of sunshine.

Read a New York Times book review of Ways to Make Sunshine



During Week 3 of 5 (week of Jan. 16), we will learn about: Transgender Affirming, LGBTQ+ Affirming, and Collective Value

Transgender Affirming is the commitment to continue to make space for our trans brothers and sisters by encouraging leadership and recognizing trans-antagonistic violence. 

LGBTQ+ Affirming is working toward a LGBTQ+-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists. 

Collective Value means that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.

Week 3 book recommendations:

Right Where I Left You, by Julian Winters, best for teens and young adults

Right Where I Left You book cover imageSchool’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

Read the New York Times book review of Right Where I Left You


You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson, best for ages 12 and up

You Should See me in a Crown book cover imageLiz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down . . . until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she's willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Watch Leah Johnson read from You Should See Me in a Crown


My Rainbow, by DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal, illustrated by Art Twink, best for ages 4-8

My Rainbow book cover imageA dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.

Warm morning sunlight and love fill the Neal home. And on one quiet day, playtime leads to an important realization: Trinity wants long hair like her dolls. She needs it to express who she truly is.

So her family decides to take a trip to the beauty supply store, but none of the wigs is the perfect fit. Determined, Mom leaves with bundles of hair in hand, ready to craft a wig as colorful and vibrant as her daughter is.

With powerful text by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and radiant art by Art Twink, My Rainbow is a celebration of showing up as our full selves with the people who have seen us fully all along.

Watch mother-daughter authors and advocate duo DeShanna and Trinity read My Rainbow


During Week 2 of 5 (week of Jan. 9), we will learn about: Diversity and Globalism 

Diversity is the celebration and acknowledgment of differences and commonalities across cultures. 

Globalism is our ability to see how we are impacted or privileged within the Black global family that exists across the world in different regions.


Week 2 book recommendations:

Black Enough, edited by Ibi Zobio, best for ages 13+

Black Enough book coverEdited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.

Ibi Zoboi reads from Black Enough


Young, Gifted and Black, by Jamia Wilson, best for children through 5th grade

book cover Young Gifted and BlackMeet 52 icons of color from the past and present in this celebration of inspirational achievement--a collection of stories about changemakers to encourage, inspire, and empower the next generation of changemakers. Jamia Wilson has carefully curated this range of black icons and the book is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins' colorful and celebratory illustrations.

Written in the spirit of Nina Simone's song "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black," this vibrant book is a perfect introduction to both historic and present-day icons and heroes. Meet figureheads, leaders, and pioneers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks, as well as cultural trailblazers and athletes like Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, and Serena Williams.

Jamia Wilson discusses her inspiration and motivation for writing the children's book Young, Gifted and Black



During Week 1 of 5 (week of Jan. 2), we learned about: Restorative Justice, Empathy, and Loving Engagement 

Restorative Justice is the commitment to build a beloved and loving community that is sustainable and growing. 

Empathy is one’s ability to connect with others by building relationships built on mutual trust and understanding. 

Loving Engagement is the commitment to practice justice, liberation, and peace.


Week 1 book recommendations:

The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander, best for ages 6-9

The Undefeated book coverThis book/poem is a love letter to Black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Important back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more. (Description courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League)

Find discussion guides for educators and families | Watch Kwame Alexander reading The Undefeated


The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds, best for ages 12+

The Boy in the Black Suit book coverA 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this “vivid, satisfying, and ultimately upbeat tale of grief, redemption, and grace” (Kirkus Reviews) from the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award–winning author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. Crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy stuff than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

Watch Jason Reynolds interviewed by PBS Books about The Boy in the Black Suit