We’re Going to Need More Books #IMWAYR

March 23, 2020

My last post about prepping for courses to start in mid-February is like a time capsule into another world. Live theater? Flights? I mean, one of those things is still happening but the other most certainly isn’t–at least not where I live. Although I am course-prepping again because our school switched to remote instruction a week and a half ago, so I guess some things don’t change.

I am going to ease back into blogging by doing a reading update because I have a lot to say but am not quite sure where to start. So I’m going to start where I always start: books. I mean, I have two stacks of library books that will go back to the library…someday? I’m not even sure when because all of our local libraries are closed. On the plus side, I definitely checked out some books I have been meaning to read–a couple of them graphic novels–so I am going to make those my priority after I finish the book I’m currently reading (and that I assigned to my children’s literature class): Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.

hello universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Over the past month, I read the following:

Not Quite Snow WhiteNot Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When my daughter was in 11th grade, her school put on a production of Beauty & the Beast. Being helpful (or so she thought), the drama teacher said before auditions, “And to my blonde girls, don’t worry! We have a brunette wig!” My daughter said then that she knew there was no way she would get the part.

So, basically, this book is for any Black (or brown) girl who has been written and then writes herself out of consideration for a part before she even auditions because of what she already knows about who traditionally gets to be seen.

Ebony Glenn’s illustrations are adorable, and Ashley Franklin’s story is honest and ultimately empowering.

I left this book on the couch and my daughter’s 20-year-old friend read and loved it, even looking for it again when she came back. So it also has that going for it.

View all my reviews

We're Going to Need More WineWe’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. The essays were honest and, often, funny. Union reminds me a lot of my friends, and it honestly was like sitting down and listening to a friend tell you about her life. She is, as they say, a trip. Just as a heads up: she does go into detail about her rape, though that chapter is easy to skip.

Four stars instead of five because I listened to the audiobook and sometimes it felt/sounded like she was putting on an affectation. And also because, real talk, I wish she had name dropped so much more. I mean, the one chapter where she mentioned Dulé Hill and the other one with all the celebrities at Prince’s parties gave me life. I needed way more than that.

View all my reviews

Fairy ScienceFairy Science by Ashley Spires

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a cool way to teach kids about the scientific method, but I think it’d be an equally useful tool for teaching argumentation–just because the ending isn’t neat and tidy but offers space to consider different ideas.

I love the illustrations.

3.5 stars, rounding down

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M Is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black ChildM Is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

This book is capital B Black. A++ for that alone.

I somehow missed that this was an alphabet book when I picked it up at the library, but I was pleasantly surprised by that because I was able to show my children’s lit students a different kind of alphabet book.

I don’t agree with every single thing or example in this book, but as a celebration of Black children and a way to empower them and their experiences, I am 100% on board.

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Grace for PresidentGrace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, this book is so cute. And informative! I never thought a book about the electoral college could be fun.

Also, I love EVERY SINGLE THING about Grace’s hair.

Reread 3/9/20 – This book is even more timely since we STILL have not had a female president and the electoral college continues to be a huge trash fire. Love the levels of commentary on race, gender, and politics.

View all my reviews

OneOne by Kathryn Otoshi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this after doing a search for counting books to show my children’s lit students.

I like the unique approach to counting, and the emphasis on anti-bullying. I can see why it won a lot of awards (great message), but it left me a little cold. I wish I could explain why. I mean, it was fine, and I would still show it to future students to show them a different type of counting book, but I don’t have much to say about it beyond that.

View all my reviews

Race to the SunRace to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn’t dislike this book, but I didn’t quite connect with it fully. I liked the characters and the action, and I loved the idea of monster slaying being an allegory for alcoholism/addiction. Still, I would put this book down for huge swaths of time before getting back to it.

I think the target audience will dig it, though, for sure.

View all my reviews

Stay safe out there, everyone.


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  1. Elisabeth Ellington

    Maybe someday I will get back to Monday posts. Right now I am not reading very much. Hoping to get a big stack of middle-grade from my campus library (which is still open–though I’m having books delivered to my mailbox, so no contact with anyone and hopefully not asking anyone else to have contact with anyone else!) and maybe something there will work for me. I really liked Hello Universe. Gabrielle Union is the best, and your comment that you needed more name dropping was hilarious.

    • Akilah

      I was reading to my students. Otherwise, I probably would have just had one and a half books there.

      I have been enjoying your SOL posts!

  2. Alejandra Vasquez

    This whole thing with everything closed down is pretty insane. But hopefully would get solved soon. on a lighter note I really enjoyed Not Quite Snow White is was a great story with a positive message. The Gabriel Union book might be on my to read list. Thanks for the reviews.

  3. Shaye Miller

    I just had to run and check my local libraries and, to my astonishment, we have a copy of We’re Going to Need More Wine. This just happens to be the library that is still checking out books (but they’re putting them under quarantine for a week after each check out). So thank you so much for the recommendation! I’m also looking forward to getting to read Not Quite Snow White. Thanks for all these lovely shares and I hope you have a wonderful (and safe) reading week, Akilah!

  4. seejoeread

    It is definitely crazy whats going on right now, but the way I look at it, just more time to read books! Finally, I’m able to catch up on my TBR pile. I want to read Gabrielle Union’s book so bad. I feel like when it comes to celebrity books, I’m not a fan, but the way you described hers, just makes hers seem more real than others that I’ve seen.


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