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Let’s Explore Outdoor Accessibility for the Summer Solstice
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Summer Solstice & Outdoor Accessibility
As the weather heats up, this is the perfect time to talk about barriers to outdoor accessibility for targeted kids. This is scaffolding for the discussions we’ll be having about environmentalism and climate justice in July.
When is it?
- Roughly on the 20th or 21st of June each year
- This Beach is Loud!
Recognizing barriers to participating in summer activities for kids with disabilities. This doesn’t even touch on access for folks with physical disabilities (sand and mobility devices, dang!) but will get kids started on thinking about how we can make summer outings more accessible for everybody.
- Freedom Summer
This is my favorite book to help kids understand the difference between individual and systemic racism. It’s also my favorite to show folks. The white-centering/saviorism is a little gross, but until we find something better, this is our most effective story in driving home the subtler impacts of anti-Black racism for younger kids.
Helping kids see there’s no one right way to play or participate. This is the You Do You of summer reading and it’s lovely.
- Ruth And The Green Book
This year, I’ve been talking more with Bellamy of Revolutionary Humans about how to move, travel, or even just gather with kids as mothers of color with disabilities. And we keep coming to the same resigned UGH that ruins every possible location.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just up and go somewhere without worrying what the racists might do to us once we get there? So this is for all the white folks who are like ‘I had a lovely time at [cheap destination covered in confederate flags], you should visit!’
While this book is taken from the historical use of a Green book, BIPOC still have to be cautious about where we end up, what we have to go through to get there, and how to navigate the emotional and mental labor who we might encounter, even in this year of Pretending-The-Pandemic-Is-Over. If folks are coming into Chinatown just to attack us, imagine how nerve wracking it can be to enter an unfamiliar and vetted space.
- Panda and Moon Bear (English), or Panda Roja y Oso Lunar (Spanish)
Healthy sibling relationship, nods to the challenges of growing up bilingual and code-switching, and goofy hijinks that end up inclusive, compassionate, and kind? BUY TEN COPIES, blow this up so Roselló is forced to write a sequel. These characters deserve their own TV series, I would watch the heck out of it.
- Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer
Navigating new friendships, judgement, cultural family and social conflict for third-culture kids & immigrant families, transformative justice, and an autistic coded socially abrasive character!!!!
Also an Asian character whose family actually takes off her damn shoes in the house. (The bar is low for white makers, but this book hits well above and doesn’t tokenize our Asian protagonist.) This is the summer read for Rascals we all needed.
- Why so Many Black People in the US Can’t Swim (content warning for a child’s death from drowning)
Best for kids & adults 9+
Discuss as a family:
- Think of your favorite summer activities.
- What barriers might other kids face accessing these activities?
- How can we make these events more accessible for every kid?
- Tell Congress: Close the Nature Equity Gap and Get More Kids Outside!
And if you stumbled here just looking for quick & easy summer reading, there you go:
- Summer reading lists by age
- Summer Favorites
- Books that legit made my kids laugh
- For pre-readers: Wordless Picture Books To Buy You A Few Minutes of Quiet
- For adults: The Luminary Braintrust’s #GrownUpBookClub reading list