In the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to read the words of Renée Watson, Jewell Parker-Rhodes, Jacqueline Woodson and Nikki Grimes alongside seventh and eighth graders. Our conversations were grounded in the students’ lives and in stories and poems crafted by Black women. I had the responsibility and honor to select the texts, develop the curriculum and co-create a space with students. The authors’ words helped students process not only the authors’ craft but also how students navigated issues from microaggressions to tensions in friendships, from the oppression experienced at the intersections of their identities to the role of art as healing. My planning was informed by culturally sustaining pedagogies (Au et.al., 2016; Paris & Alim, 2017) and critical bilingual literacies (España and Herrera, 2020). With this approach I sought to center the experiences of the students of color, particularly focusing on writing by Black women.
España, C. (2020). Shattering, Healing and Dreaming: Lessons from Middle-Grade Literacies and Lives. Occasional Paper Series, 2020 (44). https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2020/iss44/10