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MAEC’s Reads: September 2021

Welcoming the new school means welcoming more opportunities to learn, grow, and read! MAEC staff is committed to excellence and equity, at work and beyond. Reading helps us to explore our content areas and strengthen our capacity to be the best leaders and organizers we can be. 

We will post new lists over time, and we welcome your suggestions. What should our staff be reading? Tell us about it on Twitter @MAEC4Ed.

1. ChangeAgent: The Racism Issue, edited by Michele Norris
Recommended by Kate Farbry
This issue from
ChangeAgent: The Journal of the Communications Network aims to spark conversations about racism and challenge entrenched narratives and practices.

2. Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World, edited by Django Paris & H. Samy Alim
Recommended by Jenny Portillo
Bringing together an intergenerational group of prominent educators and researchers, this volume engages and extends the concept of culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP)–teaching that perpetuates and fosters linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of schooling for positive social transformation.

3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
Recommended by Phoebe Schlanger
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

4. Educated in Tyranny: Slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s University, edited by Maurie D. McInnis & Louis P. Nelson
Recommended by Dannele Ferreras
While UVA has long been celebrated as fulfilling Jefferson’s desire to educate citizens to lead and govern, McInnis and Nelson document the burgeoning political rift over slavery as Jefferson tried to protect southern men from anti-slavery ideas in northern institutions. In uncovering this history, Educated in Tyranny changes how we see the university during its first fifty years and understand its history hereafter.

5.Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up, by Paul Schmitz
Recommended by Young-chan Han
Where is the leadership we need to solve our most pressing community problems? It’s all around us. This book will inspire readers to see new leadership possibilities within themselves and their communities. It also offers a set of practices that will help leaders be more effective at bringing diverse people and groups together to solve problems. While many leadership books today focus on how to lead organizations, this book is about how to lead communities.

6. First Conversations, by Megan Pamela Ruth Madison, Jessica Ralli, Isabel Roxas, and Anne/Andy Passchier
Recommended by Kim Grossett
Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book series offers clear, concrete language and beautiful imagery that young children can grasp and adults can leverage for further discussion.

7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Recommended by Graciela Cortez
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

8. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
Recommended by Susan Shaffer
The 2020 National Book Award-nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this magisterial epic–an intimate yet sweeping novel with all the luminescence and force of Homegoing; Sing, Unburied, Sing; and The Water Dancer–that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era.

9. On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
Recommended by Hugo Nájera
Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts, or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you both fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished practitioner.

10. Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement, by Tarana Burke
Recommended by Nyla Bell
From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the me too movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words–me too–and how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history.

11.Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism, by Tracey Benson and Sarah Fiarman
Recommended by Marianna Stepniak
In Unconscious Bias in Schools, two seasoned educators describe the phenomenon of unconscious racial bias and how it negatively affects the work of educators and students in schools. Through personal anecdotes and real-life scenarios, Unconscious Bias in Schools provides education leaders with an essential roadmap for addressing these issues directly.

12. We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice, by Mariame Kaba
Recommended by Vo Ram Yoon
What if social transformation and liberation isn’t about waiting for someone else to come along and save us? What if ordinary people have the power to collectively free ourselves? In this timely collection of essays and interviews, Mariame Kaba reflects on the deep work of abolition and transformative political struggle.

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The MAEC blog is designed to engage hearts and minds of school and district leaders across the country to engage in issues that you have identified as being essential in education. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

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