Sunday Salon: Hanging out with My "Little"

The Sunday Salon

Good Sunday, all!

I just got back from work this morning (yay, First Appearance hearings!), am watching a bit of the Melissa Harris-Perry Student Town Hall, and am looking at the piles of laundry that I need to wash and put away.

Later today I’m having my first one on one excursion with my new little sister. I am a new big sister with the Big Brother Big Sisters organization, and I am super excited about it. I have three nephews, but none of them live very close to me, and no nieces. Before I went to law school I taught high school, and loved being around young people. Even in law school, I made time to talk to high school students about their rights during interactions with the police. Since graduating, I have not had the opportunity to do much with young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters sounded like a great way to be a mentor to a young lady.

Two African American young men laugh as they bowl
Volunteer to Start Something

If you can commit at least 4 hours a month, I encourage you to explore the possibility of being a “Big.” The organization especially needs people of color and men. MEN, please! My local organization has a TWO YEAR waiting list for little brothers to be matched, because there are so few men volunteering. According to BBBS, “more than 70% of our children waiting for a Big are boys, but only 3 out of every 10 inquiries to volunteer come from men.” I know that volunteering in general is something that skews female, but this is so important. Ladies, if you’ve got a man in your life (significant other, brother, father, friend, whatevs), why don’t you pass this on. Give your guy someone to go shoot hoops or play video games with. Seriously.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox for the moment and ask for help of a different sort: My little sister is eleven years old, African American, and has some self esteem issues and some trouble relating to her family. She likes school, and does like to read. I would like book suggestions that would be appropriate and interesting for someone meeting that general description. I’ve just met her briefly once, so I don’t know what she’s read or what she’s liked, so I may be asking this again based on information that I gather 🙂

What are some good books an 11 year old would enjoy?

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Hanging out with My "Little"

  1. hmm I'm drawing a bit of a blank at the moment (it depends a bit on her reading level) but how about the Harry Potter books or Island of the Blue Dolphins or the Boxcar Children or the Narnia books or Harriet the Spy or something fun.

  2. I don't know if you saw this post at Shakesville about NPRs very skewed YA lit list, but the comments had lots of recommendations: http://www.shakesville.com/2012/08/on-nprs-very-white-best-young-adult.html(SO MANY apologies if you did in fact participate in that thread. I know I found your blog through Shakesville, but I've completely, uncharacteristically, and embarrassingly blanked on your name there. You don't have to remind me though.) If it should come up in your search for recs, because it pretty much always does in a discussion for books for girls, I anti-recommend the Anastasia books by Lois Lowry (I think they skew to a younger crowd anyway). I loved them growing up, but picked up one that I missed as a kid only to find a black girl's hair described as being like steel wool. I was so angry reading it at 22 with all my knowledge of the politics of hair. Had I read it when I was young, when I really thought I was hideous, I wouldn't have been angry. I would have thought it was right. That's so much worse. I don't think it will come up because of your little's age, but I see those books recommended SO often, so I thought I'd mention that. Anyway, I hope you two have been having loads of fun. 🙂

  3. @aforalpha: Thank you so much! And yes, we have been having lots of fun. She recently got her report card, and I decided to revive a tradition started by one of my dad's friends. He bought me a book for every "A" I got on my report card. I took her to the bookstore and she picked out the latest in "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series. I have no idea how good those books are, but she was super excited, so that was good enough for me 🙂

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