Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Review -- Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices on Netflix

REVIEW -- Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices on Netflix

As I write this, Marley Dias is 15 years old. When she was 10, she launched a book drive called #1000BlackGirlBooks in order to collect and donate books featuring Black girls as the protagonists. Her campaign aimed to raise 1,000 books, but it became hugely successful and garnered international attention and support, raising well over 12,000 at last count. She has continued to be an activist for literacy and racial justice, particularly promoting diversity and justice through literature. She's also written a book of her own: Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! 

Marley Dias Gets It Done -- And So Can You!
Now, Marley the host of a sweet new series on Netflix called "Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices." If you grew up watching "Reading Rainbow" featuring host LeVar Burton, I suspect you'll like this series! 

While "Bookmarks" is focused on children's books by Black authors and about Black characters, I think it has something to offer for all children. The stories all speak to experiences common among children that, although portrayed through Black voices and characters, most likely will apply to non-Black children too. As a white woman, I saw and heard experiences in these books that were absolutely relevant to my childhood -- concerns about belonging, experiences with my hair and appearance, feelings of worry and hope and joy, and much more. 

Each episode features one book read by the author or by a celebrity, and each is short -- just right for children who might not have long attention spans. The episodes also end with the readers asking questions and speaking directly to viewers. A few of the readers also share stories from their own lives and ask questions during their readings.

While the series is focused on books with Black characters and written by Black authors, several of the books address children of other races and diverse experiences. In particular, I am thinking of The Day You Begin written and read by Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson's book covers having a different name, different skin, different food, and much more. Woodson also talks, after reading the book, about why the illustrations include rulers throughout the story (you'll have to watch the episode to find out what the rulers mean!).

As a child, I would have loved to draw while watching and listening to a show like this. 

I hope that you will watch the series with your children and take some time at the end of every episode to answer and discuss the questions posed by the readers. If you are homeschooling, you could also use the questions as prompts for writing assignments or art projects -- it would be fun to answer some of the questions by doing a drawing or painting, even for younger kids.

All of the books and the questions the readers ask at the end of the episodes are about celebrating and loving oneself and those around us, despite our uniqueness and differences. 

You can learn more about the show HERE, and if you have Netflix, you can watch the show HERE.

We're linking the books below as well, just in case you want to order any of them BEFORE watching the show -- that way you and your kids could read along with each episode! So far, there are 13 books across 12 episodes. 

I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
I Am Enough by Grace Byers

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

ABCs for Girls Like Me by Melanie Goolsby

 Pretty Brown Face by Andrea and Brian Pinkney

 Brown Boy Joy by Thomishia Booker

 Firebird by Misty Copeland 

 Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester

 The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

 I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown

 Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

  We March by Shane Evans

Please note: Links may be affiliate links in nature. Purchases made through these links may result in small commissions for us at no extra charge to you. Thank you in advance!

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