I was asked by a friend last month to list 10 Unforgettable Books. These were off of the top of my head the first 10 books that I can think of that meant a lot to me. Obviously these aren't all of them and these aren't the ones that I would consider my favorite books of all time.
"For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf" by Ntozake Shange (1975)
"I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou (1969)
"The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Alex Haley (1987)
"The Color Purple" by Alice Walker (1982)
“Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe (1958)
“Women, Culture, & Politics” by Angela Y. Davis (1989)
“Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More” by Janet Mock (2014)
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry (1993)
“Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling (1997)
“Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling (2007)
So why these books?
Books are often a means to travel without moving. Stories have been a way for me to escape my world that I know and enter both the worlds of fantasy and reality that belong to other people.
Whether it was an educational trip into a culture that I’m unaccustomed to, a battle of good and evil, or a look into the past that all too often predicted the future, I’ve grown and have become the person I am today because of books.
It’s International Literacy Day as I’m writing this post write now. It’s because of books that I can write this post. The power in giving a child a book is endless. Which is why I’m constantly in shock and honestly enraged when people treat our education and our teachers the way they do in America.
They’re underpaid, underappreciated, and are blamed for a broken educational system.
I’ve had bad teachers and I’ve had great teachers. The great teachers are more than the bad. But when I think about the bad teachers I’ve had it’s because they’re the result of a broken educational system.
Our current educational system makes the learning of minorities an extra course or class that isn’t mandatory to know. Too many times I heard the stories of the founding fathers who dreamed of this country. Too little times have I heard the stories of Black, Latino, and Asian revolutionaries, inventors, dreamers and doers that did the physical labor behind those dreams of the founding fathers.
That’s why my book list is the way it is.
Only three of these books were ever on my school reading lists from elementary to college.
Only one of these books was on my list before college.
I had to take the initiative and learn about my culture and my life outside of school because I knew I wasn’t going to learn about them during school. Which also made me realize that others weren’t going to understand my culture or my life if they didn’t learn it in school. That’s where a lot of us get our understanding about life. We know about our families and our own personal customs. But where else are we most likely going to get a chance to learn about the lives outside of our homes? Schools.
I believe in our teachers just as much as I believe in the minds of the children across the country. We’re doing ourselves an injustice as a country when we devalue the importance of an educated mind.
I’ve listed some links below that are about book donations and places where you can support schools and teachers. Our libraries and schools are in need. So this is a call to action to take action and believe in our education system once again.