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Staff Book Recommendations: Heather Tomlinson

Heather Tomlinson

November is National Literacy Month! To celebrate, we asked our staff to recommend their favorite equity books. Here’s what they said…

By Heather Tomlinson
Senior Specialist for Early Childhood and Family Engagement, MAEC

I have three book suggestions, each of them different in intended audience and style. The first one I’ll mention inspired me in college: The Second Shift, written by Professor Arlie Hochschild from University of California, Berkeley. This book was eye-opening for me in that it was the first time I saw the gender differences that I had observed in my own family and communities quantified in an empirical way. Hochschild talks about how women come home from their jobs and have a second job to do that men don’t have; that’s still the case in many households, a problem we’re seeing laid bare today by the pandemic and women leaving the workforce in droves.

Recently, I read Jesus and the Disinherited, a faith-based book written by a pastor, Howard Thurman, who was influential to Martin Luther King. He wrote this book in the post-World War II era, when Black men lost ground even after serving and sacrificing for their country during the war. It’s disheartening how relevant the points he raised remain today, but he pointed towards ways to navigate the tensions, both internally and between people. You can extrapolate to dynamics beyond race too, wherever there are power differentials between people.reflecting on race relations.

My third book recommendation is one that I read in the context of writing about rural communities. It’s called Same Sun Here, written by Silas House and Neela Vaswani. This book is written as a series of letters back and forth between a young white boy in Appalachia and an immigrant Indian girl in New York City. It’s their unpacking of what the U.S. is all about or should be about. It’s really good for students.

Next on my reading list is Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debbie Irving. It comes highly recommended, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

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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