BLMEdu Getting Started Packet

Important Links

Get Involved:

Calendar of Events in NYC:


Participation Form – Sign on in support, choose from a menu of ways to participate


RSVP to Curriculum Share Jan 27th at Museum of the City of New York


Order T-Shirts and Hoodies

Click here to order NYC Student T-Shirts and Hoodies

Click here to order NYC Teacher T-Shirts and Hoodies

Click here to order National T-Shirts and Hoodies


Stay Informed:

BLM Edu Blog!:


BLM Edu in NYC on Facebook

National Week of action for Black Lives Matter in our schools on Facebook

Resources for Educators:

Lesson plans from Teaching for Change

Resources for Educators: Elementary and Early Childhood

Resources for Educators: Middle and High School

National Curriculum folder:


Professional Development for Teachers:

Border Crossers

People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond


Flyers, posters, Visuals:




The National Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Our Schools is launching an online gallery for student and community work during the Week of Action: Feb. 5th – Feb. 9th


Calling all educators, youth workers, young people, students, caregivers, parents, dreamers, activists, revolutionaries! Join us in imagining the world and schools we want to see. Invite, share, and respond to the prompt:


“In a school where Black Lives Matter, we…”


Send the creative responses whether images, words, video, audio, etc. to We will be adding contributions to our publication. We ask that you give us your location and what age or grade is submitting to be shared along with the work.


Check us out:


Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles


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.


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.


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


Queer Affirming is working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists.


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


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. 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.











Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles


As we think about discussing big ideas with little people, we consider age-appropriate language so that our students can grasp the concepts we’re introducing and incorporate these ideas and language into their own thinking and conversation.  After each principle, I’ve suggested some language you might want to use when talking to young children (2-7).  Whenever possible, make connections to children’s lived experience.

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

We know that if you knock down someone’s block building, you have to help them rebuild it, you can’t just say, “Sorry,” and walk away.  Another way to say that is restorative justice, and it’s the idea that we have to help people when something happens to them, even if it was by accident.”  

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

“It’s so important to think about how other people feel, because different people have different feelings.  Sometimes it helps to think about how you would feel if the same thing that happened to your friend happened to you.  Another way to say that is empathy.”

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

“It’s so important to make sure that we are always trying to be fair and peaceful.  We have to keep practicing this so that we can get better and better at it.  Another way to say that is loving engagement.”

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

“Different people do different things and have different feelings.  It’s so important that we have lots of different kinds of people in our community and that everyone feels safe.  Another way to say that is diversity.”

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. “Globalism means that we are thinking about all the different people all over the world, and thinking about the ways to keep things fair everywhere.”

Transgender Affirming is the commitment to continue to make space for our trans siblings by encouraging leadership and recognizing trans-antagonistic violence, while doing the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk.

“Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind.  Everyone gets to choose if they are a girl or a boy or both or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose for them.”  

Queer Affirming is working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists.

“Everybody has the right to choose who they love and the kind of family they want by listening to their own heart and mind.”

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

“Everybody is important, and has the right to be safe and happy.  Another way to say that is collective value.”

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

“It’s important that we have spaces where people of different ages can come together and learn from each other.  Another way to say that is intergenerational.”

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

“There are lots of different kinds of families; what makes a family is that it’s people who take care of each other.  It’s important to make sure that all families feel welcome.”

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

“There are lots of different kinds of families; what makes a family is that it’s people who take care of each other; those people might be related, or maybe they choose to be family together and to take care of each other.  Sometimes, when it’s lots of families together, it can be called a village.”


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

“There are some people who think that women are less important than men.  We know that all people are important and have the right to be safe and talk about their own feelings.”

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.

“There are lots of different kinds of people and one way that we’re different is the color of our skin.  It’s important to make sure that all people are treated fairly, and that’s why we, and lots of other people all over the country and the world are part of the Black Lives Matter movement.”































National Demands for BLMEdu Week of Action


End Zero Tolerance. Focus our Schools on Restorative Justice.


The use of zero tolerance in public schools stops now. The over-policing, out of control suspensions, and expulsions must be brought to an immediate end. To rebuild our structures, we will focus our resources on restorative justice-the organic appointment of community leaders; mediation and processing; and equitable perspectives on rehabilitation. Ending zero tolerance and focusing our schools around restorative justice will honor an autonomous voice and vision for students, staff and faculty.


Black Teacher Pushout Ends Now! Hire More Black Teachers in our Schools.


Nine U.S. cities demonstrate a rapid decline in the number of Black Teachers: Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC. This leaves a mighty burden on the Black Teachers and Service Providers who are left behind and viewed as “disciplinarians.” Racist policies in schools and biased skills exams eliminate Black and Brown teaching candidates. We must increase teacher retention and opportunities for teachers of color.

The elimination of Black teachers is an aggressive push towards homogenizing education in America, creating the School to Prison Pipeline, and honoring the pervasive system of racism from which our country gains its roots. Studies show that students excel academically when they are taught from someone in their own racial group. This message of inequity negatively impacts our students aptitude for learning and limits the scopes of their dreams. Our Black Teachers need our support and deserve to no longer be abandoned.


Black History/Ethnic Studies Mandated K-12.


A classroom is incomplete if there is only one history taught to its students. The exclusion of Black History and Ethnic studies curriculum ends now. Our students of color deserve to feel empowered in the classroom, by seeing themselves in the curriculum and reading materials. Black History and Ethnic Studies must be included in K-12 classrooms. To effectively do this, all teachers are mandated to participate in university and certification programs before blindly infusing Black history or Ethnic Studies into their curriculum. This will ensure that these changes occur with informed tools and dedication.





Why is this even important right now?

Black Lives Matter is currently in the news. Most students are aware, to some degree, of this movement. Addressing this in the classroom is acknowledging an important current events topic.  Bringing issues of racial justice into the classroom not only affirms the identities of our students, but is crucial to fostering critical engagement with the world – regardless of where you, your students and their families stand on the issues.

I have way too much to do already. Why do I need to add something else to that list?

Informational reading and argumentative and informational writing are a part of the SDP standards. These materials and content will add a topical and inclusive element to the lessons you already need to teach.  In addition to teaching students these skills, it is important for us to work with students to understand and analyze the world around them. Also, many of the resources that we are offering can be short activities if that better fits the needs of your classroom.

How does this relate to Common Core?

Close Reading of Informational Texts and critical writing of Argumentative and Informational texts are important parts of the Common Core standards. The texts provided will lend themselves to analytical reading and critical writing.

I’m not sure if my grade group/teachers in my department would be on board with this.  How do I explain to them why I am participating/wearing this shirt?  

Start by sharing this FAQ and curriculum ideas. Explain to them, from your heart and mind, why making room for learning about Black Lives Matter this week is important to you and your students. Create a space where you can listen and talk, as a group or in pairs.

What if my principal tells me to take off the shirt or button and not teach this to my students?

The goal of BLM week is awareness and discussion, not political agitation. You are the best judge of your school environment and what, if anything, needs to be put in front of your administration ahead of time. As you plan your week with fellow educators, use your collective knowledge of the climate in your building to figure out what actions will encourage engagement without pushing people away. You will have the support of educators around the city.


What place does Black lives matter have in my daily curriculum?

The integration into your daily curriculum of culturally diverse opinions allows students to gain deeper understanding of pertinent issues affecting our students and their classmates. The principles associated with Black Lives Matter highlight a concern about the historic exclusion of people of color that recognizes the value of human life regardless of racial and gender identity. In addition, the 13 guiding principles of Black Lives Matter define a multifaceted approach to justice that can create the conditions for improving relations between people of different races.

The lessons and activities that we are offering for teachers to use fit directly into the CCSS and into the goals and standards found on the “Curriculum Engine” for SDP teachers found on Schoolnet.  CCSS encourages the use of rigorous and complex texts, with the practice of certain standards to use with such texts.  We encourage teachers to look through our folders of recommended resources and see which ones would fit this criteria as well as the focus standards that they are currently on based upon the “Standards Map” for the second quarter.

Is this age-appropriate for my students?

Issues of equity and fairness important in all aspects of all of our lives, and in each of our classrooms.  Having students of all ages discuss and process these deep issues at their own level, using grade-appropriate materials, strengthens their critical thinking abilities and provides them with the opportunity to be fully-engaged learners.


I’m an elementary teacher and I’m not used to openly raising issues of race in my classroom. What are some actions I can take and what kinds of materials can be helpful?

Does your classroom have students of more than one race? Do your instructional materials include people of different races? Are you a different race than some (or all) of your students? If any of these are true — and likely all are — then issues of race are already present in your classroom. You can raise awareness about this omnipresent aspect of our society without triggering conflict or anxiety in your students — take a look at some of our elementary-specific resources to find a lesson that suits your environment.

I don’t know how to do this in a big way.  What is one small thing I can do?

There are many small, manageable ways to get involved – from wearing a button or t-shirt to Warm-Up journal prompts and discussions to class period-length lessons to planning a school-wide event that invites in students, educators, and families. See our curriculum and resources, and then fill out our Google Form to choose the way of involvement that best fits your time-frame, environment, and comfort.

How can I integrate this into my teaching beyond the week?

Absolutely! One of the goals is to provide deeper connections between educators, parents, students, and community organizations. We encourage you to use these materials, resources, and ideas throughout the school year.

How can I get my colleagues on board with this at my school?  How can I reach out to parents and get them on board?  

The best way to get anyone on board is through conversation – encourage all parties to ask and answer questions. When talking with colleagues, encourage them to consider that these are issues that affect the majority of our students on a daily basis. Teachers and parents share the common goal of helping our children navigate the difficult conversations that they will inevitably confront in this world. Reach out to parent networks in your school and let them know what your building is planning. Consider an informational picket on a morning before school to speak to parents directly if many drop off their children.

What are my rights when teaching materials parents might find inappropriate?

Many items that teachers include in their curriculum are considered to be controversial. That is one of our jobs as educators: to raise our students’ awareness to issues that affect the world around them, and to consider potential solutions. If you are not sure about whether or not parents will object to a topic you will be teaching, then write a letter home and explain your goals in teaching the material. Use responses from this FAQ to help jump start your letter.

How can I prepare young students and their families for discussion of sensitive topics?

Think of writing a letter that you will send home to parents. Inform them of the topics you will be discussing and the reasons why they will be included in the curriculum.

What are some open-ended questions I could ask my students to think about about so they can prepare for our activities?

See our curriculum resources.

I teach math and science. How can I integrate this into my teaching?

There are a lot of ways to integrate justice driven curriculum into science and math lessons.  Science and math are based in problem solving, research, and use of numbers to understand the world. Ways to incorporate this content into math pedagogy can be found in the text Rethinking Mathematics.  You can use numbers and maps to look at the impacts of housing discrimination, low minimum wage, and the school to prison pipeline.  You can ask your students to think about ways to solve deep social problems.   How can we reduce the number of losses of life to police violence?  What are ways to end deep poverty?  In science class, we learn about the world by asking questions that can be solved with research questions and materials.  What questions do students have about healthcare?  What are innovations and inventions that we can design?  

It’s also possible to take time out of math and science class to talk about how students are doing and feeling about the world around them.  If we view students as humans first, and learners second, it’s possible to see value in carving out necessary time to engage with our kids around the work of social change, organizing, and building power in the world that we live in.

In my classroom, students are from different communities and racial backgrounds.  How should I approach this?

Every time we plan a lesson, we make choices about which perspectives, cultures, histories, and experiences we want to present. No lesson we teach will ever fully encompass the personal experiences of all of our students. Instead, our goal as educators should be to choose content that is relevant, meaningful, important, and thought-provoking for our students. The Black Lives Matter movement meets these criteria. It is a major current events issue with roots throughout American history, a topic many students have been exposed to, often without context, and a defining social movement of our time. It is also an opportunity to introduce vital conversations around topics such as empathy, discrimination, activism, privilege, and public policy.

Isn’t it my job is to expose students to different viewpoints, not take sides in the classroom?

Indeed! This is a great opportunity to design lessons that encourage thoughtful discussion and formation of informed opinions.  We also want to point out that not addressing these issues in the classroom is a political statement, one that students are able to pick up on.

What do the Chancellor’s Regulations or the UFT contract say about promoting political movements during class?

Chancellor’s Regulations prohibit campaigning for candidates for office. Black Lives Matter is a human rights movement, not a political movement. This is an endorsement of the values inherent in #BlackLivesMatter. Our role as educators is to get our students to think critically, not to promote one way of thinking.


I do not feel like my principal would be okay with me participating, but I’m totally down with this cause.  What are other ways I can get involved?

If you do not feel safe to participate fully in this campaign, there is an incredible amount of important work to do.  Finding time to have conversations around racial justice, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other issues with your coworkers is invaluable.  Building strong relationships and organizing in your building can be very helpful in dealing with a tough principal.  You can also get in touch with us at to help out behind the scenes or in city-wide work.

I’m afraid of retribution from parents and/or students.  How can I explain what we’re doing in a way that they won’t feel threatened and will be supportive?

Let your students and parents know that you are doing this to encourage critical thinking and awareness of current event issues that are directly impacting us as Philadelphians.  Also, allow for them to voice their concerns and ask them plenty of questions.  Read through this page, many of the FAQs can be helpful.


Isn’t this too emotionally stressful for students? Can we really open up a sensitive conversation even though we can’t devote legitimate time to this issue?

Students are confronting these issues on a daily basis in the world at large.  It’s our obligation and role as teachers to create safe environments for our students to process tough issues.  Helping students begin the conversation by framing their feelings and questions is the first step toward them identifying their own values and worldview regarding these tough issues.   

As a teacher who is married to a police officer, I am not down with Black Lives Matter. Isn’t this just about black rage at the police?

The police are also victims of our society’s push towards mass incarceration and under-funded schools and social services. What we’re all dealing with is systemic breakdown that leads towards increased violence across the system. Policing is just a tiny part of what we’re talking about–so let’s start the discussion. Check out all 13 guiding principles of Black Lives Matter, as a starting point.

Isn’t Black Lives Matter racist against white people?

Black Lives Matter helps us to analyze the quality of life for marginalized groups in our society–who happen to make up the majority of our New York City students. Though these conversations can sometimes be provocative, bringing up these conversations strengthens our community. Relationships deepen and hidden truths become sites of understanding.

As a white teacher, I feel like it’s not my place to have conversations around BLM/police shootings/etc. in my classroom with students of color.

This is a conversation for everyone. Everyone has a right to understand the historical context that has led to this moment. If this is something you want your own child to know, then your students, too, will understand that this comes from an authentic place. And remember – choosing not to have these conversations is also making a stance. If you’re not ready to wear a shirt or teach a lesson at this point, that’s OK. However, we are asking you to be willing to engage in this important conversation about racial justice. (Review suggestions about low-level actions)

The Black Lives Matter message is embedded in the way I teach already–everyone is valued. So why set aside time for one group of people and not others?

That’s so important! But this is not about respect and kindness. This is about unpacking your backpack of privilege with your students, which will help them understand their own identities and how that shapes our society.  Relying on colorblind rhetoric around kindness and tolerance only perpetuates the issues at hand and does nothing to challenge structural racism and white supremacy.


Black Lives Matter in NYC Book List – Elementary

(Arranged by Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter)

Revised from the work of educators in Philly, to reflect the 2018 NYC schedule

General Resources

Day 1 (February 5): Restorative Justice and Empathy and Loving Engagement

  • Raising Race Conscious Children Book List
  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)
  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)
  • Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco: After being initiated into a neighbor’s family by a solemn backyard ceremony, a young Russian American girl and her African American brothers’ determine to buy their gramma Eula a beautiful Easter hat. But their good intentions are misunderstood, until they discover just the right way to pay for the hat that Eula’s had her eye on. A loving family story woven from the author’s childhood.
  • The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler: With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picture book offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

Day 2 (February 6): Diversity and Globalism

  • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove and Leo & Diane Dillon (Illustrators) (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1976): Beautiful and detailed illustrations emphasize the book’s effort to enrich readers’ awareness of African diversity.
  • Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon (Walker & Company, 2005): An original folktale about perspective and interconnectedness that follows Earth Mother as she listens to the requests of Mosquito, Frog, and Man.
  • Family Pictures / Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza, intro by Sandra Cisneros (Bilingual in English and Spanish, Children’s Book Press, 1990, 2005): Carmen Lomas Garza tells stories from her childhood in a small Texas border town.  Scenes reference her Mexican American heritage and family traditions.
  • In Search of the Thunder Dragon by Sophie & Romio Shrestha (Mandala Publishing, 2007): A Bhutanese legend, but created in this day and age. The art is striking, classic, and timeless; traditional with a modern voice.
  • Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester: In this acclaimed book, the author of the Newbery Honor Book To Be a Slave shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. Karen Barbour’s dramatic, vibrant paintings speak to the heart of Lester’s unique vision, truly a celebration of all of us. “This stunning picture book introduces race as just one of many chapters in a person’s story” (School Library Journal). “Lester’s poignant picture book helps children learn, grow, discuss, and begin to create a future that resolves differences”
  • The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko: For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia. This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents’ love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won!
  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz: A positive and affirming look at skin color, from an artist’s perspective. Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.

Day 3 (February 7): Queer Affirming, Transgender Affirming, and Collective Value

  • Love is in the Hair by Syrus Ware
  • The Zero Dads Club by Angel Adeyoha and Aubrey Williams (Illustrator)
  • M is for Mustache by Catherine Hernandez and Marisa Firebaugh (Illustrator)
  • My Princes Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis: Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy. Inspired by the author’s son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this is a heart-warming book about unconditional love and one remarkable family. It is also a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments. The world is a brighter place when we accept everyone for who they are.
  • My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete: From bestselling author and actress Holly Robinson Peete–a heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on Holly’s son, who has autism. “Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It’s harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe.” But as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can’t do well, there are plenty more things that he’s good at. He knows the names of all the American presidents. He knows stuff about airplanes. And he can even play the piano better than anyone he knows.

Day 4 (February 8): Intergenerational, Black Families, and Black Villages

  • Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Simon & Schuster, 2004): Shange’s 1983 poem “Mood Indigo” illustrated for children weaves civil rights leaders into a telling of a collective family history. {This is also a great Movement Book choice.}
  • The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon (Atheneum Books, 2011): This story was first published in 1955 after the author passed away, and re-released with new illustrations. It’s a story with the magic of a fairytale.
  • Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cook: For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s can be full indeed – full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a gregarious family we are sure to want more, more, more of.
  • Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaret King Mitchell: Sarah Jean’s Uncle Jed was the only black barber in the county. He had a kind heart and a warm smile. And he had a dream. Living in the segregated South of the 1920’s, where most people were sharecroppers. Uncle Jed had to travel all over the county to cut his customers’ hair. He lived for the day when he could open his very own barbershop. But it was a long time, and many setbacks, from five-year-old Sarah Jean’s emergency operation to the bank failures of the Great Depression, before the joyful day when Uncle Jed opened his shiny new shop — and twirled a now grown-up Sarah Jean around in the barber chair.
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena: Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
  • One Family by George Shannon: Just how many things can “one” be? One box of crayons. One batch of cookies. One world. One family. From veteran picture book author George Shannon and up-and-coming artist Blanca Gomez comes a playful, interactive book that shows how a family can be big or small and comprised of people of a range of genders and races.
  • In Daddy’s Arms, I am Tall by Folami Abiade: In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace. Folami Abiade, Dinah Johnson, Carole Boston Weatherford, Dakari Hru, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, and Davida Adedjouma all contribute. Javaka Steptoe, who also offers a poem, employs an inventive range of media to bring each of the poems to life. In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall testifies to the powerful bond between father and child, recognizing family as our greatest gift, and identifying fathers as being among our most influential heroes.
  • Grandpa’s Face by Floyd Cooper: Tamika loves everything about her grandpa, especially his expressive face. But one day, when Tamika watches Grandpa rehearsing for a play, she sees a different face, one she has never seen before.

Day 5 (February 9): Black Women and Unapologetically Black

  • Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon (The Blue Sky Press, 1995): What I wish I had as a girl, to offset the Cinderella, Goldilocks, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty clique.
  • John Henry by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial Books, 1994): Quite simply a beautiful telling of a legendary hero.
  • We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson (Jump at the Sun / Hyperion, 2008): Just stunning. The artwork, research, and tellings are … together, they’re over the top.
  • Grace for President by Kelly S. Dipucchio and LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
  • Meet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes and Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)

On Activism:

  • Daddy there’s a Noise Outside by Kenneth Bramwell: This engaging story begins when two children are awakened by noises in the middle of the night outside the window of their inner-city neighborhood. Both their Dad and Mom spend the next morning explaining to them about the protest taking place in their community.
  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara: A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.
  • Joelito’s Decision by Ann Berlak: Every Friday evening 9 year old Joelito goes with his family to MacMann’s for a juicy burger. But this Friday is different. This time, Joelito’s best friend Brandon is standing in a crowd outside the fast food restaurant protesting the low pay his parents earn there. Will Joelito cross the picket line for a tasty burger? Find out in Joelito’s Big Decision (La gran decisión de Joelito), in English & Spanish. Ages: 6-12. “…the flow of the story is not only well-paced but lovingly told. It feels natural, as if based on conversations overheard among children.
  • We March by Shane W. Evans: On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place–more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, advocating racial harmony. Many words have been written about that day, but few so delicate and powerful as those presented here by award-winning author and illustrator Shane W. Evans. When combined with his simple yet compelling illustrations, the thrill of the day is brought to life for even the youngest reader to experience.
  • We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song by Debbie Levy: It only takes a few words to create change. It only takes a few people to believe that change is possible. And when those people sing out, they can change the world. “We Shall Overcome” is one of their songs. From the song’s roots in America’s era of slavery through to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today, “We Shall Overcome” has come to represent the fight for equality and freedom around the world. This important book, lyrically written by Debbie Levy and paired with elegant, collage-style art by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, pays tribute to the heroic spirit of the famous song that encompasses American history.
  • Come on, Rain by Karen Hesse: “Come on, rain!” Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Up and down the block, cats pant while heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway. More than anything, Tess hopes for rain. And when it comes, she and her friends are ready for a surprising joyous celebration…. Through exquisite language and acute observation, Newbery medalist Karen Hesse recreates the glorious experience of a quenching rainstorm on a sweltering summer day. Jon J Muth’s masterful and lyrical watercolors perfectly reflect the spirit of the text.
  • Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty: Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!
  • I love my Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley: This whimsical, evocative story about a girl named Keyana encourages African-American children to feel good about their special hair and be proud of their heritage. A BlackBoard Children’s Book of the Year. Full-color illustrations.
  • Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children: I am Black / I am Unique / I am the creamy white frost in vanilla ice cream / and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar… Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans.
  • Heart and Soul by Nadir Nelson: The winner of numerous awards, including the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor, and the recipient of five starred reviews—now features eight pages of discussion and curriculum material. The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination, and triumphs. Told through the unique point of view and intimate voice of a one-hundred-year-old African-American female narrator, this inspiring book demonstrates that in gaining their freedom and equal rights, African Americans helped our country achieve its promise of liberty and justice—the true heart and soul of our nation.
  • June Peters, You Will Change the World One Day: June Peters, is a vibrant ten year old girl who understands the importance of giving. She’s determined to make a difference in the world and will do whatever it takes to complete her mission. However, she learns a valuable lesson about talking to strangers and giving away her lunch money. June is still eager to help those in need even if it means losing the one privilege she worked so hard for. June, like many innocent and naive children, does not understand why her act of kindness is both well received by others, but worrisome to her parents. June is remarkable and this story will encourages children and adults alike to see, to feel, and to take action in order to help those in need. This book is not only great as a bedtime story but is also a great fit for the classroom.
  • Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest by Marti Dumas: Giant Afro. Even Bigger Brain. Jaden Toussaint, 5 year-old scientist and all around cool dude, must save his school from a (possible) alien invasion. His only weapons are science, ninja dancing, and the super-powered brain power of his seriously awesome group of friends. Can Jaden Toussaint and his crew come up with a plan that doesn’t involve (dunh-dunh-dunh…) the EXTERMINATOR?



Black Lives Matter in NYC Book & Video List –

Middle & High School

(An expanded list based on this one from Oakland Public Library)


  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Accessible to both teen and adult readers, Coates’ letter to his son highlights the long history of brutality against Black bodies in the United States, and reveals the hopes and fears of a Black father for his child.
  • How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon: Told through multiple perspectives, this teen novel examines the shooting of a Black teen by a White man. Complex and thought-provoking, it highlights the weaknesses inherent in eyewitness accounts.


    • All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely: Jointly written by authors Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely, this teen novel follows the experiences of Rashad, a Black teen savagely beaten by a police officer, and Quinn, a White teen who witnessed the attack. As lines are drawn in the community and at school, both teens struggle to make sense of the larger societal forces shaping their lives.
    • A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin: A diverse collection of authors, educators, and artists share essays on their experiences of being “other” in Minnesota, and the current state of race in an increasingly diverse Midwestern landscape. Written for adults, it’s sure to spark discussions among teen readers, too.
    • No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin: This nonfiction collection for teens of true stories features the experiences of teenage convicts on death row. Incorporating the voices of their families, victims, and those involved in their cases, it provides a complex view of our legal system and raises important questions about justice and racial equality in America.


  • Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe: A juvenile nonfiction account of the horrific murder of a Black teen in 1955, and the way it galvanized the Civil Rights Movement in America. Full of primary source material, including haunting images of the victim and his killers, it will resonate with teens eager to discuss contemporary parallels.
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose: This juvenile biography of Black teen Claudette Colvin examines the role she played in helping to integrate Montgomery’s bus system during the Civil Rights Movement. An inspiring role model of activism for teens, Colvin’s story also highlights the machinery behind political movements and the interconnected communities that create and sustain change.
  • Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards: This nonfiction book for teens examines a number of recent high-profile cases of police brutality and racial profiling, placing them in historical context and analyzing a wide range of viewpoints.
  • We Troubled the Waters: Poems, by Ntozake Shange, illus. by Rod Brown: This collection of poems about the Civil Rights movement examines both well-known historical figures and the everyday folks living under racial oppression. While often uplifting and triumphant, Shange is nonetheless honest about the strides yet to be made.
  • A Wreath for Emmett Till, by Marilyn Nelson: In this heroic crown of sonnets, Nelson asks readers to bear witness to the brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, a Black teen lynched in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a White woman. The questions raised about our country’s racial history still resonate, and provide much for readers to discuss in the context of current events.
  • Monster, by Walter Dean Myers: In this teen novel, a Black 16-year-old on trial as an accessory to murder recounts the path that led him into trouble. As small moral decisions become gateways to larger problems, readers will wrestle with questions of innocence and culpability that are never clearly answered.
  • The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander: This non-fiction text examines the prison-industrial complex and its pervasive impact on black Americans, drawing clear and compelling parallels to systemic oppression in the Jim Crow era.
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison: This classic novel from 1952 is rich with literary subtleties. Set mostly in Harlem, Invisible Man allows readers to experience the racial divide through the nameless narrator’s sardonic and profound inner monologue.



Black Lives Matter in NYC Book List for Educators


  • Women, Race, & Class, by Angela Y. Davis
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paolo Freire
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • White Teacher, by Vivian Gussin Paley
  • Practice What You Teach, Social Justice Education in the Classroom and in the Streets, by Bree Picower
  • What’s Race Got To Do With It?: How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality (Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness), by Bree Picower and Edwin Mayorga
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood …and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, by Christopher Emdin
  • Other People’s Children, by Lisa Delpit
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
  • The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea, by Christopher J. Lebron
  • From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  • Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics by bell hooks

2018 Inquiry-to-Action Groups (ItAGs)!

Hello NYCoRE community!

Happy New Year! We are excited to announce the 2018 Inquiry-to-Action Groups (ItAGs)!

Registration is open and continues until January 24th. Our ItAG Kickoff is on Friday, January 26th.

Visit 2018 ItAG Eventbrite Registration to register today!

Check out the lineup below and please see the attached flyer for more detailed information about dates, times, facilitators, locations, and registration. Discounts are available for group registrations, so tell your friends and colleagues!

This year’s ItAGs:
1. Critical Ethnic Studies: Disrupting the Histories of Colonialism in STEM
2. MADLib: Musicians Actively Designing Liberation
3. Care-giving, Risk-taking, & Role-making: Learning from and Connecting with Mama-Activists and their Children
4. Youth Spectatorship in Media and Film
5. Liberation not Deportation!: Youth and Educators Collaborating for Undocumented Resistance in Schools

Don’t forget to visit our Registration page to REGISTER TODAY!

Please spread the word! If you have any questions, please e-mail or Questions related to registration scholarships should also be directed to

Natalia, Rita, and Jonathan

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