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Rebellious Read Alouds

Rebellious Read Alouds
Inviting Conversations About Diversity With Children's Books [grades K-5]

Includes 45 lessons!

April 2022 | 192 pages | Corwin

Spark meaningful conversations about race, identity, and social justice in your classroom using read alouds as an entry point.

Students need to see themselves and their peers in the books they read, and to engage with varying viewpoints. How can educators create a safe and nurturing space that inspires young children to explore diversity and ask curious questions?

In Rebellious Read Alouds, author Vera Ahiyya—beloved by educators worldwide as The Tutu Teacher (@thetututeacher and @diversereads on Instagram)—empowers teachers to encourage classroom conversations about important and culturally relevant topics using daily read alouds as an entry point. Presenting a broad range of read aloud lessons around current, diverse picture books that can ignite deep conversations and learning about self, others, and the world, this wise and joyful guide prepares educators to tackle “hushed topics” with young children. It includes:

  • Booklists, tools, and recommendations for building an inclusive classroom library of titles written or illustrated by people in traditionally marginalized populations
  • Tips and resources for facilitating diversity conversations in a way that’s developmentally appropriate — and meets ELA and social justice standards
  • 45 complete lessons plans around children’s books, with prompts and recommended stopping points for conversation, and suggestions for inspiring discussion and scaffolding deep thinking
  • Interviews with educators and parents who offer advice from their experience doing rebellious read alouds
  • Suggestions for partnering with administration, parents, and colleagues on this important work

Spark the rebellious reader inside you and lead your students toward creating a more just and equitable world.

Part 1: What is a Rebellious Read Aloud
Part 2: Rebellious Read Aloud Lessons
Introduction to Lesson Format
Our NAMES Are Important
Our FEATURES Are Important
Our TRADITIONS Are Important
Our ACTIONS Are Important
Our FAMILIES Are Important
Our IDENTITIES Are Important
Our DISABILITIES Are Important
Our FOODS Are Important
Our HISTORIES Are Important
Part 3: Communicating with Parents, Administrators, and Colleagues
Epilogue: Wishes

Are you wondering how to have conversations with your youngest learners about essential topics for today’s classrooms? In Rebellious Read Alouds, Vera will support you every step of the way beginning with her accessible three-part framework—start small, be consistent, be constant. In each lesson, she skillfully weaves together literacy and social justice standards, without losing sight of your primary focus—learners. Every rebellious read aloud includes key questions to spark conversation and action. With Vera whispering in your ear, you’ll feel confident in taking steps toward “activating your young activists.”

Maria Walther
Author of The Ramped-Up Read Aloud and Shake Up Shared Reading

I have spent decades promoting the art and function of read aloud experiences and have been a staunch advocate for revisiting books with a different lens to provide students opportunities to unearth nuance, shift perspective, build empathy, and take action. As I was reading Rebellious Read Alouds I found myself nodding and saying, “amen,” a lot. If you believe that small children cannot be part of big conversations, this book is for you. If you find “hushed” topics uncomfortable, this book is for you. If you are searching for books that can spark interest and action for social justice, this book is for you. If you are searching for a way to bring read aloud, deep conversations, big thinking, and the growth of human potential into your classroom while addressing the “have tos” of school, this book is for you. As you read you have Vera there with you, nudging, encouraging, offering scaffolds to help you take the next step. Vera has curated an impressive list of books around 9 themes that are general enough to fit in almost any elementary classroom. She has developed 45 lessons (enough for each week of the school year with a bonus lesson within each theme) that are organized around a simple framework (start small, be consistent, keep constant) that can be generalized to any theme you may choose to pursue. I’ll say it again, this book is for you.

Lester Laminack
Educator, Author, and Consultant

I will be sharing Vera's book with all my preservice and early career teachers, who understand the importance of filling their classroom libraries with books that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors. Vera empowers us with manageable and engaging ways to use books as the springboard for the essential - though often tricky to start - conversations about race, ability, and so many other areas of identity. She encourages rebellion in the best possible way - to ensure that all children are seen and valued in classrooms.

Molly Ness
Author of Every Minute Matters, and Think Big With Think Alouds, Grades K-5

Vera Ahiyya has created something amazing for every stage of the rebellious reader's heart! The power of a great story is that it can be the catalyst to so much change. In Rebellious Read Alouds, Ahiyya beautifully breaks down stories, lessons, and ideas about books that inspire the most important conversations, the conversations about who we are. The framework of Rebellious Read Alouds effortlessly empowers educators and parents to start using literacy to better understand their world and themselves. A must read for all. 

Juan E. Gonzalez Jr.
Elementary School Teacher, Speaker, and Social Media Content Creator

As I read the manuscript, I kept thinking to myself, this a book teachers need in their hands. So many teachers don’t know how to read and talk about these topics and this is the guide to help them. The breadth of diversity is overflowing, and teachers can follow along with a sample scope and sequence OR pick and choose topics/books as they see fit. Vera’s passion for the subject rings through and her voice is loud and clear.

Matt Halpern
Education Consultant, Speaker, and Author

One of the most important aspects of professional learning is that the experience not only explains why it’s important to make an instructional shift, but how. Rebellious Read Alouds: Lessons to Invite Conversations About Diversity With Children’s Books is one of those precious gifts for teachers that is both inspirational and practical in a way that is empathetic and responsive to and supportive of the needs of teachers and students. Vera Ahiyya provides the why -- rationale for being rebellious as a teacher and interviews with featured educators – as well as the how, with standards-based read-aloud lessons that show teachers how to make necessary shifts to instructional practices that use a framework of the small, the consistent, and the constant as a scaffold. In these pages, we see what it looks like to partner with parents, administrators, and colleagues along the way, and how to make the journey both enjoyable and transformational for teachers and students as a community of learners.

Afrika Afeni Mills
DEI Director, Educational Consultant, and author of Open Windows, Open Minds: Developing Antiracist Students

Ready to break free from the confines of what may sometimes seem like stale literature not representative of the world around us, but more importantly the world of our children? The Rebellious Read Aloud is a must-read for anyone and everyone lucky enough to stare into young eyes full of wonderment and a thirst to learn about their peers around them. Ahiyya Vera provides an invitation to venture into what many naively still view as uncharted territory in children’s literature. The Rebellious Read Aloud boldy –and responsibly!- provides title after title of literature that serve as catalysts for dialogue and are rooted in topics that are beautifully a part of our children’s lives: immigration, divorce, religion, LGBTQ+, and others, all while promoting an environment of celebration and appreciation of the beauty of our differences. As global educators, we have the responsibility to interrupt and dispel stereotypes and ignorant ideologies that often run rampant in the world around us, and instead instill awareness, compassion, and acceptance of others so that our children may engage with their community and beyond to make our planet more peaceful, sustainable and equitable.

Hilda E. Martinez
M.A., NBCT, 2020 San Diego County Teacher of the Year, Early Literacy Resource Teacher

Rebellious Read Alouds is a book that is needed right now and it’s presented in a way that is simple, easy to use and yet, has a strong call to action for the urgency of this work in our world today.  Children deserve to have teachers who honor the identity of all children in their classrooms and beyond and the author shows us how this is possible with read aloud books and powerful conversations.. This book is an excellent entry point for brave teachers to do the work.

Katie Keier
Kindergarten Teacher and co-Author of Catching Readers Before They Fall

This beautiful and impactful guide  will change the pedagogical approach of educators worldwide.Vera's overall theme is to create a true safe space for students and all involved  to come face to face with their deepest emotions, fears, and ultimately reflections in the mirror via Read Alouds. By doing this educators, parents, and community members will be challenged to do the same as they learn the importance of taking time to connect with your students, embracing diverse perspectives to inspire change beyond the classroom through creative critical reflection, thanks to this text.

Darius Phelps
GAEYC 2016 Childcare Giver of the Year, Educator, Writer, Poet, & Illustrator

Vera is the QUEEN of books for a reason! This book is for any teacher that wants to center inclusiveness and diversity, but isn't always sure where to start. She has taken the time to carefully cultivate a list of books that you should be reading and walks you through how to tackle the lessons and topics that some might find controversial or intimidating. 

Naomi O’Brien
Founder of Read Like a Rock Star, Content Creator, and Author

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Text

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ISBN: 9781071844144