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Black History Month 2012

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The Tuskegee Airmen

What better way to launch Black History Month than to celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen! With a new movie arriving in theaters right now about these amazing airmen the team here at Reach And Teach was thrilled to discover that the White House hosted a screening with some of the airmen this week.

Reach And Teach created a free curriculum you can use to teach about the Tuskegee Airmen. Click here to check out that curriculum.


Claudette Colvin
"I felt like Sojourner Truth had a hand on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman on the other!" That's how Claudette Colvin describes the feeling she had when the police were demanding she vacate her seat on the bus and move to where the other "coloreds" were seated. She refused and was dragged off that bus and thrown in jail. Unlike Rosa Parks, who famously refused to move to the back of the bus and is credited with ending segregation in public transportation, Claudette was scorned by her community for refusing to obey the police. But it was her action, before Rosa famously sat, that resulted in a landmark court case that made bus segregation illegal in America. Click here to check out a wonderful book by Phillip Hoose on Claudette Colvin and her courageous act of defiance.

Claudette Colvin is not a name that immediately comes to mind for most people when one thinks about the civil rights movement. With Martin Luther King's birthday in January and with February being Black History Month, we wanted to lift up a few names and faces that don't necessarily get the recognition they should. In this article we'll lift up some amazing people who have worked for social, racial, gender, economic, and geo-political justice: Bidi Mason, Bayard Rustin, Viola Desmond, Kim and Reggie Harris, Mildred Loving, Martin Luther King, and Mary Edith Abu-Saba. And, we'll also let you know about some great resources for learning more, celebrating, and singing!

Bridget (Biddy) Mason

Biddy was born in 1815 and given as a "wedding present" to Robert Smith and his new bride. Though he and his wife became Mormon, and the church urged them to free their slaves, they refused to do so. In 1856, Smith was trying to move his family and slaves and Biddy escaped, ending up in Los Angeles. Though Smith caught up with her, a local posse stopped him and Biddy went to court to sue for her freedom. California was a free state and the court eventually granted Biddy and other slaves who were with her their freedom

She worked as a midwife and nurse, saved enough to buy her own home, and became quite wealthy, sharing her wealth and her time with the poor and imprisoned. She was beloved by her community and became an honoree in the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. February 16th is Biddy Mason day! 

You can read about her and many other amazing people in Wherever There's A Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California

Bayard Rustin

One of our favorite YA (Young Adult) books is The Call to Shakabaz, an adventure novel about the creative use of nonviolence to overcome a tyrant. One of the characters in that book is a parrot named Bayard Rustin. An odd name for a parrot, until you understand that the real Bayard Rustin was a close and trusted adviser to Martin Luther King. He also happened to be gay (Mr. Rustin, not the parrot).

Rustin, raised by Quakers, was a committed pacifist and spent his adult life working for justice for many different groups of people including laborers, Japanese-Americans being interned, war-resisters, people of color, and homosexuals. Rustin died in 1987 from a perforated appendix. The New York Times included this in his obituary: "Looking back at his career, Mr. Rustin, a Quaker, once wrote: 'The principal factors which influenced my life are 1) nonviolent tactics; 2) constitutional means; 3) democratic procedures; 4) respect for human personality; 5) a belief that all people are one.'"

Bayard RustinAs you listen to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech this year, imagine a little parrot sitting on his shoulder who championed nonviolence as the best means to achieve freedom. Bayard Rustin was no parrot, though, he was a lion of a man! Because Rustin was gay, many of King's other colleagues insisted that Rustin stay out of the limelight and most importantly, keep his sexual orientation to himself. We were blessed recently to have a woman stop by our shop, see that we had a civil rights focus, and then say to us "I'll bet I can say a name and you won't know who it is." We took the challenge. She said "Bayard Rustin!" We told her we knew all about Rustin, showed her some of the books, and then she really surprised us by saying that she had spent time in jail with Rustin. She was over 80 years old but as feisty as ever as she shared her jailhouse stories with us. (Our friend Sydney Brown also, it turns out, knew Rustin. Small world.)  If you'd like to know more about the way Bayard approached the world, check out this incredible book, Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin.

Another great book, specifically written for children, is We Are One: The Bayard Rustin Story. Click here to check it out.

Viola Desmond

Like Claudette Colvin, Viola Desmond did her own sitting for social justice. She was also arrested for her action, scorned by her community, but sadly, her case didn't prevail in her homeland of Nova Scotia. She went to a segregated movie theater and insisted on sitting in the whites-only section on the ground floor, instead of the blacks-only balcony. She was arrested, charged, and convicted of...


Yep, seats in the white section cost a penny more in taxes and although she was willing to pay for a seat in the white section, the theater refused to sell her one. So, sitting in the white section deprived the government of one penny in taxes, a crime for which Desmond was convicted. In 2010 she was granted a posthumous pardon.



Kim and Reggie Harris

We got a call one day from Alan Edwards of Appleseed Recordings (Pete Seeger's label) saying "Hey! You guys ought to have some of our records in your store!" He was right. Through that connection we fell in love with Kim and Reggie Harris and their incredible music. Here's how they're described at Appleseed: "Kim and Reggie Harris will never be confused with the legions of navel-gazing singer-songwriters who drift into the category of "contemporary folk." As socially conscious acoustic musicians, the Harrises have been "walking the talk" for over 30 years, performing modern and historical songs that explore societal ills and proffer positive social messages. Whether entrancing festival crowds with their own material or dramatizing the Underground Railroad songs, the duo carry on the folk tradition of preserving important songs from the past and adding meaningful new compositions that reflect the world around them."

We're thrilled to have several of their albums in our shop including a favorite, Let My People Go: A Jewish and African-American Celebration of Freedom. As you listen to songs like We Shall Overcome around Martin Luther King Day, think of Kim and Reggie Harris who will keep on singing songs like that until we do, truly, overcome.

Richard and Mildred Loving

As shown in our CIVIO card game, in 1967, the Supreme Court ruled that banning interracial marriage was unconstitutional. The Lovings had gotten married in the District of Columbia where it was legal, and then went back to their home in Virginia. There, they were arrested and prosecuted, with the trial judge ruling that "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." The Supreme Court, however, eventually disagreed. You can read a script based on the arguments in this case by clicking here.

The Lovings were not very public people but just before her death in 2007, Mildred spoke about the idea of banning gay marriage, a hot topic in the United States even as Loving v Virginia reached its 40th anniversary. She said "I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

Marriage Equality is a big item on the Reach And Teach agenda. We recently published a children's picture book called Operation Marriage, written by Cynthia Chin-Lee and illustrated by Lea Lyon. We're hoping it will be the 21st Century sequel to Heather Has Two Mommies.

BIG NEWS!!!! A new documentary about Midlred and Richard Loving will premier on HBO in February. Click here to check out information about the film. 

Wherever There's A Fight

Wherever There's a Fight captures the sweeping story of how freedom and equality have grown in California, from the gold rush right up to the precarious post-9/11 era. The book tells the stories of the brave individuals who have stood up for their rights in the face of social hostility, physical violence, economic hardship, and political stonewalling.

It connects the experiences of early Chinese immigrants subjected to discriminatory laws to those of professionals who challenged McCarthyism and those of people who have fought to gain equal rights in California schools: people of color, people with disabilities, and people standing up for their religious freedom. The authors bring a special focus to the World War II internment of Japanese Americans, focusing on the infamous Korematsu case, which was foreshadowed by a century of civil liberties violations and reverberates in more recent times-regrettably, even today in the Patriot Act. And they follow the ongoing struggles for workers' rights and same-sex marriage.

State and federal constitutions spell out many liberties and rights, but it is the people who challenge prejudice and discrimination that transform those lofty ideals into practical realities. Wherever There's a Fight paints vivid portraits of these people and brings to light their often hidden stories.

Martin Luther King

MLK's Beloved CommunityMartin Luther King's Beloved Community

The team at Reach And Teach believes in the power of nonviolence and few in history have lived and died for that belief the way Martin Luther King did. Much of his dream has come true but there is still a very long way to go before we have the "beloved community" he imagined. As we celebrate Black History Month, let's rededicate ourselves to building that kindom one heart at a time.

We offer this Beloved Community poster as well as a poster called Martin Luther King on Violence in our web store (and in our San Mateo shop). Click here to check out all of our posters!

Freedom Song

Freedom SongYou can't celebrate Martin Luther King's life, civil rights history, or Black History Month without singing! Check out Freedom Song. Melding memorable music and inspiring history, Freedom Song presents a fresh perspective on the civil rights movement by showing how songs of hope, faith, and freedom strengthened the movement and served as its voice. In this eye-opening account, you'll discover how churches and other groups-from the SNCC Freedom Singers to the Chicago Children's Choir-transformed music both religious and secular into electrifying anthems that furthered the struggle for civil rights.

From rallies to marches to mass meetings, music was ever-present in the movement. People sang songs to give themselves courage and determination, to spread their message to others, to console each other as they sat in jail. The music they shared took many different forms, including traditional spirituals once sung by slaves, jazz and blues music, and gospel, folk, and pop songs. Freedom Song explores in detail the galvanizing roles of numerous songs, including "Lift Every Voice and Sing," "The Battle of Jericho," "Wade in the Water," and "We Shall Overcome."

As Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others took a stand against prejudice and segregation, a Chicago minister named Chris Moore started a children's choir that embraced the spirit of the civil rights movement and brought young people of different races together, young people who lent their voices to support African Americans struggling for racial equality. More than 50 years later, the Chicago Children's Choir continues its commitment to freedom and justice. An accompanying CD, Songs on the Road to Freedom, featuresthe CCC performing the songs discussed throughout the book.

Mary Edith (Bentley) Abu-Saba, Ph.D

Mary Edith (Bentley) Abu SabaSince we started our article with the name of someone you might not instantly have recognized from the civil rights movement, we'll close this article with one more name you might not recognize. Our friend, Mary Edith (Bentley) Abu-Saba, helped us pick the little shop we now operate in San Mateo. She was part of the Rebuilding Alliance team (who share our space) and after having looked at place after place after place, where one person loved the place but someone else not so much, we were at the end of the line and figuring that we wouldn't find anyplace that we all loved. One last place, though, was yet to be seen. When the realtor unlocked the door, Mary Edith took one look, walked across the shop to the far corner, sat down on the floor near a window overlooking the outdoor garden. "This is it!" she declared with her arms crossed. "I am not moving until you sign the lease." 

This wasn't Mary's first experience sitting down and refusing to move until she got her way. Way back on December 14th, 1960, she sat down at Patterson's Drug Store Lunch Counter in Lynchburg Virginia. She had gone to the store to talk to the owner, to ask him to change his policy and allow African Americans to sit down and eat there. The owner wasn't interested in talking and she and her companions sat down at the counter and refused to budge. The police were called and still they sat. Eventually, she and her friends were arrested and became known as the Patterson Six.

In December 2010, Mary Edith was recognized by Randolph College for her courageous act, but the college and town weren't very impressed with her back in 1960! She was tried and convicted and served 30 days in jail. Click here to check out the full story about Mary Edith.

We recently asked Mary Edith to look check out our newest book, Operation Marriage, and consider sharing comments we could use as part of the book launch. Here's what she said: "I have been involved in civil rights issues since college days when I served a 30-day jail sentence for sitting at a lunch counter with three other whites and two African-Americans, just having a cup of coffee," says Mary Bentley Abu-Saba, Ph.D. "Here we are now, having to dig through the weeds of another civil rights issue: marriage equality. The beauty and emotion of this book flows from its presentation through children's eyes. The simplicity of children's thinking can effectively pierce the rough hewn edges of adult logic!! Every school library should have this book and be proud!"

And the team at Reach And Teach is proud to have Dr. Abu-Saba, now retired and living too far away in North Carolina, as a friend! Thank you for sitting down in that far corner of our shop at 178 South Blvd. and thank you for sitting down at Patterson's! Oh yeah... and thank you for all the oranges and bananas!

Other Resources for Civil Rights / Black History Month

E-books Now Available (Article by Drew Durham)

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I am super excited about certain additions to the store for the NEW YEAR 2012!!! Now, on our website we are offering a few new e-books! 

In this article I will review some of our currently available e-books in no particular order.

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Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils - Listen to this Kid!

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"Would you rather pay the farmer or the hospital? I know which one I would choose!" Out of the mouths of children come some of the wisest thoughts! Check out this video of an 11 year-old at a TED Conference. After a wonderful weekend at the Bay Area Environmental Educators Resource (BAEER) Fair, at which we had several glowing endorsements of Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils, one the best books on the market for helping kids get this kind of passion about food and then act on it, we discovered this video and thought we should share it and the book.

Don't Healthy Foods from Healthy Soilslet the title fool you. This book is NOT just about farming. It is a food manifesto! It is  incredibly well written, engaging, fun, and packed with great lessons and activities to help kids take charge of their diets (and their family's diets and their school, community....). 

Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils invites you and your students/children to discover where food comes from, how our bodies use food, and what happens to food waste. You'll participate in the ecological cycle of food production > compost formation > recycling back to the soil, while helping children understand how their food choices affect not only their own health, but farmers, the environment, and your local community.

Elizabeth and Kathy use simple concepts and fun activities to show children the big picture-how quality soil is the basis of nutritious foods, and how eating a variety of wholesome foods leads to healthy bodies. Their program enhances existing curricula through methods that include writing, art, scientific investigation, music, and puppetry. Suggested resources encourage you to adapt the program to your needs, small scale or large. For instance, the activity "What If All I Ate Were Potato Chips?" encourages children to investigate the nutritional value of foods, while a seed-sprouting experiment "teaches through the taste buds." School gardens such as an Appetizer Garden or the legendary Three Sisters, or a series of classroom worm-composting activities help students discover the role nutrients play in healthy plant production. Handy extension activities demonstrate ways that students can help effect change in their own lives and communities. Background information, suggested readily available materials, and clear instructions give you enough guidance to integrate these activities into your classroom right away.

This manual grew out of a successful pilot program funded by the USDA. Elizabeth Patten is a licensed dietitian working in the field of preventive health. She lives in Freeport, Maine, with her family and several thousand red wigglers. Kathy Lyons is an environmental educator and puppeteer in Orono, Maine. Annelida the worm puppet was first created for a recycling program but has happily joined the team as "spokesworm" for the Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils project. Helen Stevens is an illustrator and graphic artist in Gardiner, Maine.


Children's Literature - Chris Gill
Want to help kids plant a rainbow garden? Build a worm condo? Understand how much sugar one cola contains? This is the book for you. A Hands-on Resource for Educators is the subtitle of this teaching manual. Food choices affect not only personal health but also local economics and global environmental concerns. You can lead children to consider ways to create a healthier and more sustainable future. Authors Patten and Lyons have been using these concepts and methods in their teaching since 1995 when they started a pilot project with funding from the USDA's Food & Consumer Service. Four sections cover where food comes from, food choices and nutritional issues, putting garbage to work, and growing your own food. Lessons are keyed to the "Benchmarks for Science Literacy" with each lesson providing goals, key points, background information, instructions, and other helpful resources. Sprinkled throughout the sections are hands-on activities like making pizza dough and constructing worm condos. From Agriculture to Zoo Gardens, this manual can support your classroom efforts to bring a greater awareness of food and nature to your students.

Anna Blythe Lappé, Co-author, Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils is just what we need now! Never before has it been so critical that young kids learn healthy eating habits and an appreciating for eating local, in-season, balanced diets. As we struggle to help our kids get connected to the earth and the food they eat, in a world where most kids think vegetables grow on Aisle 8, this book is a great tool. Patten and Lyons make learning about food fun!"

Click here to order this book!


Watch Reach And Teach on TV / Internet This Week

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Craig and Derrick had a wonderful time appearing on the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center's monthly TV program, Other Voices. The topic was "Shopping with a Concsience" and we covered "fair trade" and "green" products. Here are the times the show will be on the air on Cable Channel 27 in the Peninsula / Palo Alto area (and available via live stream on the web):

  • Tue, Dec 20th 7:00pm
  • Wed, Dec 21st 2:00am
  • Wed, Dec 21st 10:00am
  • Thu, Dec 22nd 7:00pm
  • Fri, Dec 23rd 6:00am
  • Fri, Dec 23rd 2:00pm 

Watch the live stream of the program on at any of the days/times above by clicking here or copying and pasting the link below into your browser.


Defense of All Families Pledge

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Defense of All Families Pledge PosterThis pledge was created in October, 2011 to provide a more welcoming and inclusive understanding of family. Is this something you can personally endorse? Please join Reach And Teach in The Defense of All Families Pledge. Our immediate goal over the next month is to get over 10,000 signatures and we can use your help by signing the pledge and spreading the word. You can also get a poster of this pledge here that helps support this project and lets you visibly get this pledge out.

URL: http://www.reachandteach.com/s/doafp



We value and respect — and we pledge to protect — every family that is committed in mutual love and that provides for the safety and well-being of its children and each other.


"We value and respect — and we pledge to protect — every family"

Today the family comes in all shapes and sizes. There are families with one parent or two or three or four. There are families in which the loving caregiver is not a parent at all but rather a grandparent, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a neighbor, or an older sibling. Our families include mixed-gender and same-gender couples. They come from a variety of ethnic, spiritual, and faith backgrounds.  Our families include children by birth, foster children, adopted children, or no children at all. For these reasons, we stand for the diversity of family and against a one-size-fits-all model of a family ideal.

"that is committed in mutual love"

A commitment to love, caring, responsibility, and mutual respect extends across all faith and belief traditions in our country. For this reason, we stand with families committed to acting out of love as a primary rule. We stand against those who would deny a loving family's right to exist.

"and that provides for the safety and well-being of its children"

Not all families include children, but for those that do, the most basic concern to both a family and the community to which that family contributes is a deep and committed desire to lovingly and responsibly look out for the safety and well-being of children. For this reason, we stand with all families that commit to nurture the most vulnerable of our society. We stand against all who would strip away from a family the legal protection and ability to fulfill this role.

"and each other."

A family today goes beyond the "nuclear family" model of the past.  We need our extended support networks of family and friends to care for all within our community and the larger world. For these reasons, we stand for the extended family in all of its beautiful diversity. We stand against those who seek to define families so narrowly as to exclude and devalue not only same-sex nuclear families, but also the extended family which in its diversity nurtures the interconnectedness of our society.

Current number of signatures:

Thanks much to Tikkun Magazine/Network of Spiritual Progressives, More Light Presbyterians, Believe Outloud, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and many other friends, supporters, and organizations that are helping to spread the word about this pledge. Together we are making a difference.

Creative Commons License
The Defense of All Families Pledge by Derrick Kikuchi / Reach and Teach is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Liberia in the News - Abe in Arms

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With the election in Liberia potentially ushering in a new era with a potential for peace in a long-troubled nation, the legacy of war has left many scars that will take a long time to heal. Among the tragedies of Liberia's long civil war was the enslavement of children as child soldiers. Abe in Arms. Reach And Teach's first YA novel, brings the tale of child soldiering to light, while also showing how the love and commitment of a family, friends, and community can help bring someone back from the worst of all possible pasts. For the next two months, Reach And Teach will donate $2 from the sale of each copy of the book to the UNICEF fund for their work in Liberia.
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It Gets Better - Especially with Programs like Camp Ten Trees and People Like Alex Sennello!

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As we've been marking the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the White House calling the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, the "It Gets Better" campaign rings very true. At the same time, though, a Connecticut high school threw out a student for being gay and an Oklahoma legislator called homosexuality "a greater threat to America than terrorists." So there's lots of work to do.

Late last week we received a newsletter from Camp Ten Trees, an incredible place which I'll let the letter below from camper Alex Sennello describe. Reach And Teach has proudly supported the camp since we were introduced to them by Jacinta Bunnell (Girls Are Not Chicks and Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon). With places like Camp Ten Trees, and people like Alex, we can celebrate the work that's been done to make things better for GLBTQ people and those who love them. And, by supporting programs like Camp Ten Trees, we can keep making it better and better. We're grateful that Alex granted us permission to repost her letter and post some of her photos from Camp Ten Trees.

Ready to be inspired?

Read More!

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Big History? Start with the Big Bang at a New Price!

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Great Ball of FireThe other day, while chatting with the author/artist who created one of our very favorite books, Great Ball of Fire, I learned about a project called "Big History." Betty-Ann Kissilove told me about the Big History Project. Here's how the idea is described on the Big History web site:

Everything has a history: each person, plant, animal and object, our planet, and the entire universe.

Each history offers valuable insights. Together, they reveal even more. Big history weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible origin story - one that explores who we are, how we got here, how we are connected to everything around us, and where we may be heading.

The Big History Project is dedicated to fostering a greater love and capacity for learning among high school students. Started by Bill Gates and David Christian our goal is to get big history taught to as many students around the world as possible.

Wow! The idea by itself is exciting. Knowing that Bill Gates is involved means that the project will happen. The team here at Reach And Teach is big on the idea of us all being connected, and that everything that has happened since the Big Bang has an influence on who we are, what we do, and where we will go. This project takes "learning from our past" to a whole new level. Given today's No Child Left Behind environment, where history is NOT getting the attention it deserves, we're glad to know that a project of this nature exists to help put history back on the front burner, in part helped along by the project's connection of science, math, and other key disciplines into the course materials AND mapping content to national standards. 

Check out this short animation that in a few minutes gives a good overview of what Big History is all about.

Inside Page from Great Ball of FireOf course the connection of everything from the Big Bang to today is not something totally new to the team at Reach And Teach. We've had Betty-Ann Kissilove's wonderful book, Great Ball of Fire, in our shop for about a year now. Here's how we've been describing this book:One of the greatest joys in our work is discovering gems, both people and products, while we are out and about introducing folks to Reach And Teach. At this year's Bay Area Environmental Educators Resource (BAEER) Fair, we met Betty-Ann Kissilove. She had a wonderful spark of energy, I thought as I spoke to her, and she said "I've got a book I'm working on that I'd love to show you." Little did I know that her book was about another kind of spark, the one that started our universe! Betty-Ann had combined amazing illustrations and photographs, with beautiful poetry, and weaved in a whole bunch of science into a book that is truly hard to put down.

The poetry, pictures, and story-telling will cause some to want to delve deeper into science, others to want to dig into art, still others into spirituality/faith, and hopefully most will gain a deeper love for our planet and her people and of course she leaves a little room for those who might be tempted to explore beyond this one planet.... this is the Poetic Telling of the Universe Story, after all.

Carl Sagan, meet Dr. Seuss!

New Price

While Bill Gates and David Christian are planning to make the Big History course materials available for free to schools and individuals, Betty-Ann Kissilove and Reach And Teach don't have that luxury (unless Bill decides to give us a few bucks). We've sold a lot of copies of this beautiful book for $25. As Betty-Ann works towards the next big printing, she's decided to make this issue a little more affordable. The new price is $19.95. We thought it was worth every penny at the original price! So, if you agree with us and want to get one of the most beautiful and fascinating books ever created (really it is that good), click here to buy a copy of Great Ball of Fire!

More Information about Big History

If you want to learn more about the Big History Project, check out this video from TED Talks.

More Big History Resources

In addition to the Big History Project Bill and Dave are working on (hmmmmm where have I heard of a pairing of Bill and Dave?????), Betty-Ann let us know about some more interesting resources and projects out there. Here's a quick list you might want to check out:

We'll keep an eye on the Big History Project in the coming months and let you know more news about it right here! Gee, I wonder if any of Howard Zinn's writing will make its way into the materials.....

Looking for Activities, Curriculum, and Music for a More Peaceful Community & World?

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Mosaic Project CurriculumWhen we started Reach And Teach one of our key goals was to treasure hunt for resources that were wonderful but which might not have the "Reach" to "Teach" people beyond the area and timeframe in which the resources were created. Organizations often create incredible books, curriculum, activities, DVDs, and posters for a particular program or project and successfully use those resources. Then... Well... In this month's newsletter we want to tell you about three treasures.

  • The Mosaic Project's Peacing It Together,
  • Kids Can Make a Difference: Finding Solutions to Hunger,
  • Ivy, Homeless in San Francisco (the 4th book published by Reach And Teach along with a web portal with tons of great resources/links to help teach about and do something about homelessness).
After that we'll let you know where you can find Reach And Teach in the next six weeks.

Peacing It Together - The Mosaic Project's Musical Curriculum & Accompanying Materials

Image from the Mosaic ProjectA few months ago some of our peeps told us we HAD to check out The Mosaic Project. Here's how they describe themselves: The Mosaic Project works towards a peaceful future by reaching children in their formative years. We unite young children of diverse backgrounds, provide them with essential skills to thrive in an increasingly diverse society, and empower them to strive for peace. We create a microcosm of the diverse, inclusive, just world we want to see and show our young students that peace is possible. We seed the future population of middle schools, high schools, and all the venues of adult life with thousands of individuals who have seen a new possibility of what the world can be. Not only are our students inspired to work towards peace, they have been given concrete skills to do so and are empowered to take action.

After years of success in a variety of venues including five-day peace camps and in-school programs, The Mosaic Project has created an incredible resource that anyone can use to weave their time-tested and proven activities into any program. Whether you use the entire curriculum, some parts, or just teach one of the wonderful songs, you'll be planting seeds of peace.

The Mosaic Project’s Musical Curriculum supports students (K-6) in developing the social and emotional competencies that are key to their success in the classroom and beyond. The musical curriculum and accompanying experiential activities teach students vital skills about conflict resolution, social justice, community, diversity, interconnectedness, and peacemaking. The curriculum package includes:

  • Music and lyrics for each of The Mosaic Project’s 11 songs
  • The Mosaic Project’s CD
  • 18 lessons designed to accompany The Mosaic Musical Curriculum on themes including:
    • The Mosaic Values (Mutual Respect, Open-mindedness, Self Respect, Attitude, Individuality and Community)
    • Diversity
    • Empathy
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Interconnectedness
    • Peacemaking
    • Emotional Literacy
  • Experiential activities that include music, art, games, role plays, cooperative challenges, and extended group projects
  • Creative ideas for integrating Mosaic music into a wide range of classroom learning and pedagogy
  • Mosaic Class Meetings overview and suggested framework
  • Suggested Children’s Literature to accompany each song and theme
  • Correlations to the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) Standards
  • Children’s Glossary of social justice and conflict resolution terms

Click here to check out The Mosaic Project's products on the Reach And Teach web site. Click here to visit The Mosaic Project's web site.

Kids Can Make a Difference

Kids Can Make A DifferenceThis is an AMAZING resource for teachers and others who work with young people. It goes way beyond introducing the concepts of hunger and activities kids can engage in to make a difference. Instead, it delves into the root causes of hunger and poverty around the world, holding no punches as it examines colonialism, gender issues, the vast difference between the haves and the have-nots, developing versus industrialized nations and their lifestyles (over-consumption versus barely surviving). Combine this with The Mosaic Project's curriculum, Teaching Economics As If People Mattered, 25 Math Investigations that Will Astound You, and Real Lives and you've got the ultimate package of world-changing education.

We first discovered this wonderful book when we were working with a national homelessness organization, putting together lesson plans to teach kids about homelessness. Through that we got into the promotion of "service learning" and from there we discovered the Kids Can Make A Difference Organization (kidscanmakeadifference.org).

About the Book:

Finding Solutions To Hunger: Kids Can Make A Difference, is an innovative Teacher Guide developed by World Hunger Year board member and teacher Stephanie Kempf. This is an excellent resource for teachers, parents, leaders of after-school groups, and faith-based organizations working with children and youth. The Guide contains 25 lessons that provide valuable background and creative suggestions to help students answer the difficult questions dealing with hunger and poverty. The book helps students move beyond negative feelings into constructive actions that show that they can make a difference in their community, country and world. The book includes fund-raising ideas, organizations to contact, and a listing of available videos and books for use with lessons.

Ivy, Homeless in San Francisco and the new Reach And Teach Homelessness Education & Action Portal

Ivy, Homeless in San FranciscoOne of our earlest projects was rescuing curriculum about homeless children from a dusty old closet at a non-profit organization. Ever since then we've continued to hunt for and develop resources for education about homelessness. Well, when we discovered that one of the authors in our publishing cooperative had written a book about a homeless girl in San Francisco, we had to meet her. And, then we learned that the book had gone out of print and that we could pick it up. Summer Brenner, the author, has done a complete rewrite and the amazing Brian Bowes has put together awesome illustrations and now the book is now available. 

Ivy, Homeless in San Francisco. In this empathetic tale of hope, understanding, and the importance of family, readers face the difficult issue of poverty and the many hardships of being homeless through an inspiring young heroine named Ivy. Ivy is the story of a young girl who finds herself homeless on the streets of San Francisco when she and her father, Poppy, are evicted from his artist loft.

Struggling to survive day to day, Ivy and Poppy befriend a dog who takes them to the ramshackle home of quirky siblings Eugenia and Oscar Orr, marking the start of some amazing adventures. Blending a spoonful of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist with a dash of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City and a few pinches of the Adventures of Lassie, Ivy's tale will appeal to young readers as well as give adults material to discuss with children.

Click here to check out our new web portal for resources on homelessness PLUS buy the book!

Toby Says - Why Don't These Guys Just Stay Home?

We got really positive feedback about a recent newsletter that included a few words (barks) from Toby, our muttscot. So, here's Toby!

Every morning I run around like a complete maniac up until the minute Craig and Derrick finally open the door to the garage and let me in the car. Then we're off to a dog park for a good walk (they call it a good walk if I .... well, you know) and after that we head over to the shop. Did you know you can find me (and pet or feed me or feed AND pet me) at the shop in San Mateo, Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm? That's right! If you need a little love, come visit me. Of course at 5pm I run around like a nut again because I know it is time to go home! Actually, I run around like a nut any time I get to go anywhere with my pets. I'm usually pretty happy except for those times when my pets go off galavanting to some "event" like the ones that are coming up. So, if you want to see my pets, and give them some grief about leaving me all alone to mope... you can visit them at:

My pets have a trainer coming into the shop this week. I guess they need some training to do a better job of making me happy. Maybe the trainer will tell them that I'd be much happier if they didn't do all these events, leaving me home all alone. We'll see. Or, maybe the trainer can teach them how to bring me TO these events too! Wouldn't that be fun? I'd run around like a complete nut if I could go!

From Sex Workers to Community Leaders - Life Bloom Transforms Lives in Kenya

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Life Bloom LogoOne of the most difficult traps to escape from is the life of a sex-worker. Forced into a lifestyle that is both massively marketed and equally shunned, young girls lose their childhoods and any promises of a decent adult life. What hope is there? Life Bloom Services International offers hope, through training and mentorship to take girls and women who have been enslaved by the sex trade in Kenya and offering them a new lease on life.

Reach And Teach is honored to be working with Life Bloom as our newest 10/10 program partner, and we will soon be offering fair-trade crafts made by girls and women who have been empowered to start life anew through the training and mentorship Life Bloom offers.

Today, we want to introduce Life Bloom and a group of young women and girls who have been accepted into the May 23rd 2011 mentoring and leadership program and who are seeking assistance with the $146 tuition. It is hard to imagine that $146 can make a huge difference in someone's life, but Life Bloom has proven that it can, and will, with your help.

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Green America approved