COVID-19 has democratized the classroom experience. For years, Black parents have been left wondering what our children were learning in schools. With remote learning, we are no longer guessing; we see what our children are learning and how they are learning it.

As a father, I am particularly concerned with the books that make up the district’s curriculum. In the five books my second grader read, there were 37 characters in these books. Of these 37 characters, only 1 character, who was briefly mentioned was Black. One book featured kids from around the world; not one of those kids were…


Review by Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Sing a Song by Kelly Lyon Starling is a must-read book. The author takes the reader on an amazing generational journey of teaching and learning the Black National Anthem. In the beginning of the story, a little girl learned the song in school and practiced it everywhere she went. As time progressed, she knew the song by heart. When the girl grew up, she sung the song to her newborn son. When he grew up, he sung it to his daughter. When the granddaughter grew up, she sung it to her son. …


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

I was raised in a one bed room apartment on 60th and Baltimore Ave, which is located in Southwest Philadelphia.


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly by Walter Dean Myers is a powerful biography. This book captures the full story of Malcolm X from boyhood to adulthood. With each turn of the page, the reader will learn the following:

How he was:

  1. Impacted by the life and death of his mother and father,

2. Discouraged by his teacher from pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer,

How he:

3. Loved learning and reading books,

4. Transformed from street gangster to Harlem hero,

5. Spoke to the pain and struggles of people of Black people,

6. Continued to evolve as a…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

As a teenager, I was in and out of trouble in school and in the streets. It was a daily routine for my mother to receive a phone call from one of my teachers or for me to return home with a suspension noticed. It was nearly a daily occurrence when I would get into fights with my peers in the streets. Yes, I was that kid who gave my mother a significant portion of her grey hair.

In the winter of my freshmen year in high school, I remember having to make a choice whether to continue to get…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Ty’s Travels is a must-read book by Kelly Starling Lyons. The book begins with the main character Ty getting a new scooter. To test out the new scooter, Ty and his family take a trip to the local park. This trip is the beginning of a joyful challenge that he’ll have to face head on.

Before Ty attempts to ride the scooter, he goes into his imagination and visualizes himself at a race. He sees himself as one of the racers competing, but with each attempt he falls. Each time he falls his mother, father, or brother are their to…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

I Promise by LeBron James is a must read book for children. This book provides roadmap for kids to achieve academic excellence. The familiar and peaceful images of children playing allows caregivers the opportunity to discuss the importance of learning. For parents and educators, this book is a tool to provide kid-friendly advice on how to become a champion in the classroom. At the back of the room, the author provides a pledge that parents, educators, or caregivers can use to inspire their young dreamers. I took the creatively liberty to creatively remix this pledge to speak directly to my…


By Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Ada Twist, Scientist is an amazing must-read book! The author takes the reader on a journey in the life of a future scientist. The main character’s learning quest is driven by asking what, why, when, where, and how questions. The constant questions of her environment illuminate her deep desire to learn by doing, her willingness to take risks, and ability to bounce back from failure.

The thought-provoking and detailed illustrations allows the reader to dream out loud. For parents, this book is a tool to learn how to be patient with and supportive of your young scientist. …


by Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford is a powerful story of the rise and destruction of Black Wall Street. In the beginning of the story, the author takes readers on a tour of this amazing independent Black community. She teaches us about the hospitals, many businesses, churches, hotels, grocery stores, and restaurants existing in this community. I especially took note of the author’s discussion of Black Wall Street’s school system providing Black children with an education experience centered in excellence.

This book creates an opportunity for the reader to understand what it felt like to live in…

Nosakhere Griffin-EL, Ph.D.

#Dreamer, Pres of Dreamocracy Learning Lab, Community Literacy Innovator, Literacy Advocate, Children’s Books Expert

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store