Teacher’s Guide: The Burning (Young Readers Edition): Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

One of the worst acts of racist violence in American history took place in 1921, when a White mob numbering in the thousands decimated the thriving Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Burning recreates Greenwood at the height of its prosperity, explores the currents of hatred, racism, and mistrust between its Black residents and Tulsa’s White population, narrates events leading up to and including Greenwood’s devastation, and documents the subsequent silence that surrounded this tragedy. Delving into history that’s long been pushed aside, this is the true story of Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre, with updates that connect the historical significance of the massacre to the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America.

School Library Journal interviewed Hilary Beard and Tim Madigan about how the young readers edition was developed, their different experiences as a Black woman and a white man, and how the book highlights resilience over horror. Read their interview here.

Stories to share with your community on Juneteenth and beyond

On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, TX, enslaved African Americans were finally informed of their freedom, despite the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior. Juneteenth is also referred to as “Freedom Day”, “Emancipation Day”, and “Juneteenth Independence Day.” The first celebrations of Juneteenth were about honoring former enslaved people. Today celebrations of Juneteenth consist of gathering with family, BBQs, parades, festivals, beauty contests, and other celebratory events to remember the lives of their enslaved ancestors.

For those who would like to learn more, we recommend reading “Juneteenth: The Growth of an African-American Holiday” and “So You Want to Learn About Juneteenth?

Learn more about these books →

Teacher’s Guide: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

An instant New York Times bestseller, Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.


Four Starred Reviews!

This novel will long stand in the hearts of both Native and non-Native audiences.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “Though it both shocks and thrills, in the end, what leaves you breathless is Firekeeper’s Daughter’s blazing heart.” —BookPage, starred review

★ “Boulley, herself an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, writes from a place of love for her community and shares some key teachings from her culture, even mixing languages within the context of the story.” —Booklist, starred review

★ “This suspenseful upper-YA novel will keep readers wondering who Daunis can trust.” —Horn Book, starred review


Listen to a clip from the Firekeeper’s Daughter audiobook,
read by Isabella Star LaBlanc:

MacKids Spotlight: Randi Pink

This month we’re interviewing Randi Pink, author of Angel of Greenwood. May 31, 2021 marks 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre. In this historical fiction account of the tragedy, the thriving Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, OK is destroyed by an angry mob of white people. Randi Pink honors the real victims of Greenwood by acknowledging the strength and resilience in this community and two teenagers who fall in love in the midst of chaos. 

Randi shares more about her inspiration for the story and what she hopes young readers will learn here.

Read a Q&A with Randi here →

Books for Mental Health Awareness Month

These books for kids and teens sensitively deal with tough topics and big emotions. Perfect for SEL units, these stories normalize mental health issues, promote the importance of self-care, and provide more resources for young readers who are struggling to process big emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, and loss. Share these stories with young readers to let them know they are not alone.

Find books for Mental Health Awareness Month here →