It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). It has been awhile since I joined this reading community and I intend to be more present this year, life circumstances permitting.
Similar to last year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:
Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
Translated or international literature
Emile And The Field (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Kevin Young Illustrated by Chioma Ebinama
Published by Make Me A World (2022)
ISBN: 9781984850423 (ISBN10: 1984850423) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
I have been seeing fellow book bloggers share their thoughts about this book, and I am glad it has found its way into my hands. It is a celebration of a young child’s love for open spaces…
… an entire field of “wide and blue” that he considers to be his; only he had to share it during winter time when the ground is all covered with snow, and other children use it for sleds and snow angels.
It was interesting to see the young boy, Emile, being enamoured with the outdoors rather than gadgets and devices. There was just this spontaneous, unbidden, instant kinship with this vast space that he realizes is not his alone, but shared with everyone else who discovers its beauty.
I was especially taken by publisher-artist Christopher Myers’ Afterword when he talked about his experience as a city boy, being brought in a bus with other school mates to open fields to be close to nature by their well-meaning teachers:
It took me years to see what those nice people were awkwardly trying to show me. There is a gift to being in different spaces. There is a way the earth can talk to you. You can talk to the planet, to the green of it, to the sounds of water on the lake or of leaves. You can be part of the larger conversation that we as people have been having with the world since forever.
This book is an invitation to start initiating these conversations yourselves with whatever vast open spaces you are privileged to witness or be a part of, just waiting for you to fall in love with them.
Loujain Dreams Of Sunflowers (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written by Lina AlHathloul and Uma Mishra-Newbery Illustrated by Rebecca Green
Published by Minedition US (2022)
ISBN: 9781662650642 (ISBN10: 1662650647) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
Told in myth and metaphor, this is a story of a young girl named Loujain who wishes to fly out into the sky, soaring above fields of sunflowers in a society that prohibits young girls from doing so.
It is clear that Loujain has this strong conviction and certainty (see above) of being able to fly in due course, because her family, especially her father, had always encouraged and affirmed her dreams, notwithstanding societal expectations and prohibitions.
Loujain’s story is inspired by the real-life story of Loujain AlHathloul, the sister of author Lina AlHathloul, who was imprisoned because of her advocacy for women to be able to drive cars in Saudi Arabia. Loujain has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts towards women’s rights, and was awarded the French Prix Liberte (French Freedom Prize) in 2020.
This is definitely a narrative that could potentially engender thoughtful conversations about rights and privileges, societal norms and individual freedom, and the costs and benefits of realizing dreams not just for one’s self – but for others too.
#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 6/7 out of target 100 (for Migrations)
I know about Loujain but still haven’t read it, a timely book for today with restrictions for women happening in so many places, including here in the US! Thanks for the Emile book, too, Myra. It sounds and looks special! Hope all is going well for you!
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These books look great! I hope you enjoy them.
My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.
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Thanks so much for sharing these books today Myra. Not only are both books in my library, they are available as ebooks for me to read ASAP. Happy reading this week.
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