Summer is here, and it promises to be a busier summer than last. Despite this, I am plotting and planning, carving out the time to physically pick up books and read. Just one of the ways I’ve decided to commit to slow living this year. My choices reflect where I am presently in life. They also accurately represent the varied interests I am working through. Here’s my Summer 2021 reading list.
Sista Sister, by Candice Brathwaite
Sista Sister is a compilation of essays about all the things the author wishes someone had talked to her about when she was a young Black girl growing up in London. From family and money to Black hair and fashion, relationships between people of different races and colorism, this book gives us another dose of Candice’s straight talk and loving care. The book is scheduled for release on July 8.
I discovered Canadice through an interview she did with Julie Adenuga, and hands down, it perhaps is one of the best interviews (from both ends) I have seen in a long time. I fell in love with Candice and her perspective. I’ve been a fan of hers and Adenuga ever since.
I’ve been trying to understand several issues surrounding colonialism and, essentially, the root of some of our perspectives in the British Virgin Islands. The following two books were recommended by my husband and partner – Mr C. He’s a source I often take advantage of when trying to delve into systemic issues to help shape my perspective and unlearn several things. He’s been a great partner in doing this hard work, and for that, I’m forever grateful. On that note, here are his recommendations, added to on my Summer 2021 reading list:
No Longer at Ease, by Chinua Achebe
This novel is the story of Obi Okonkwo, who leaves his village for education in Britain and then a job in Nigeria’s colonial civil service. The book takes us along Obi’s journey as he is becomes conflicted with his African culture and the Western lifestyle and then takes a bribe.
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ayi Kwei Armah
Readers are invited along with the story of a young civil servant working at a railway station who refuses a bribe, much to his wife’s displeasure. He manages his feelings of guilt for not taking the bribe, despite his innocence.
The last two books, I’m told, are fantastic reads for those of us living in British colonies or colonies in general. Many work in the civil service. The question of who do you have a duty to is a constant—all the while managing the microaggressions of the United Kingdom and their fantasies of corruption in the colonies.
Montessori’s Own Handbook: A Short Guide to Her Ideas and Materials, by Maria Montessori
Before having children Mr C and I had long conversations about education and our shared appreciation for it. It’s part of our core values as individuals and now part of our family values. When we say education, we don’t necessarily mean formal education or university degrees, but rather the act of learning something new and engaging with the world. This means encouraging curiosity and exploration in all areas of our lives.
We initially decided on using the Montessori Method at home to guide our son’s development. Ultimately, we also decided to go the Montessori way for his formal education now and throughout. It’s what feels most natural to us and also provides the flexibility to create an environment that inspires lifelong learning and holds true for our other family values, independence, kindness, and community.
Finnish Lessons 2.0, by Pasi Sahlberg
I spent seven years as the Communications Advisor for one of the most popular and disruptive Ministers of Education for the Virgin Islands. Trying to reimagine our education system, we often looked to Finnland for ideas. I’m interested in public policy in general, and I’m looking forward to peeking further into the Finnish system. I believe that there are cornerstone lessons we can all learn from them.
And that’s my list. I hope my eclectic list provides you with some inspiration to take some time out and create a summer reading list that reflects your present journey and desire to know more. Happy reading.