Spring is here and with it are many new books to leaf through. As we crawl out of winter’s slumber and embrace the changing of seasons, a good book can create space for intentional bonding and developing deeper relationships with one another. As a family we can get into the motions of life distracted by the need to survive and provide. Spring is a good time to take a step back and identify where and how we can let go of what is not working and thereby create new habits or routines.
Are your children reading outside of schoolwork? Do your children enjoy the school reading requirements? Do you take the time to read books you like? Reading does not have to be boring or for a grade or for a job. My own love for books came from browsing the shelves of the library hunting for books that appealed to me or were suggested by friends. Once I finished a book of my own choosing, I then took the time to read with another together but individually.
Taking the time to read together is an act of intimacy; sharing perspectives, committing to finishing a goal together, expressing personal experience – the text opens an entry for vulnerable conversations. It can take place in the comfort of your home, together or separately, local coffee shop, or local park. Make sure everyone is included and genres are open to the collective of personalities and individual interest. Regroup, talk about it and have fun!
This season I encourage you to read together as a family. Incorporate game nights and movie nights (a lot of great movies were books first). Here is a list of various books for the family to read whether you are a child, a teen, or an adult.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
This children’s book is considered the picture book everyone needs. The title says it all. The book is about self-empowerment. Its lyrical and poetic language encourages young children and all readers to love who you are, respect others and to be kind.
Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris
This exciting picture book is the newest release by the author of “Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea!” It aims to empower young girls. When a strong woman is labeled “too assertive” or “too ambitious” she goes on a journey through the history of challenges faced by women and girls. The journey is filled with self-education.
Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo
This mesmerizing novel is written in verse and carries the story of a young Nima who feels misunderstood. Nima’s journey is one about family, identity and finding herself when most unexpected. This is a good read for pre-teens and teens. It is a quick read with poetry that is a flowing narrative making it easy to follow.
The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The power of Coates’ language and voice speaks directly to you in a true and honest way. This novel is a father-son story exploring how boys become men. Coates speaks from real life experiences with candor of the challenges, tough love, his mother’s influence along with different family dynamics. The Beautiful Struggle is powerful and timely.
All About Love by Bell Hooks
Hooks’ work is brilliant as the reader is challenged to think about love through its interconnectedness to our private and public lives. It traces how ideals are established in early childhood. She offers the challenge of practicing self-love and how it reflects individually, as well as in community and among society. It is more than a self-help book. Bell details how love can heal wounds and offer compassion and forgiveness as its cornerstone.
Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
This is not a history book, but it does explain the history of racism and provides narratives used to justify slavery, oppression and genocide. This work is a collaboration written in a way that is relatable and accessible to youth.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace – A guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab
This book is a self-guide to creating healthy boundaries as it delves into speaking up for what you need to experience the freedom to truly be yourself. This work describes boundaries and details how to successfully create them as well as how to execute them.
Ashley Rhame is a native of Roanoke, Virginia. She has self-published two books, Soul Cry and God’s Eye. She is currently writing her third book of poetry, Chasing Sun. Her work has been featured in the Artemis Journal alongside poets like Nikki Giovanni, Natasha Trethewey, and others in the Appalachian area. Ashley has also lead workshops at Hollins University, Girls Rock Roanoke, church youth departments, and other local organizations. She currently leads a regular youth writing workshop, TeenSpeak with Roanoke Public Libraries. You can find her every other Wednesday night at Soul Sessions using her voice to create a space that is loving, reflective, and healthy. When Ashley is not writing, she enjoys photography, reading, sipping tea, wandering around art galleries, and indulging in sweets.