Hi everyone, it’s Sarah.
Becky and I, like most of the world, were shocked to find out that Boseman had passed this past week. It was incredible that Boseman struggled with stage four cancer throughout the past few years. This actor of superhero proportions was waging a difficult battle in his personal life. This truly pushed me to take a step back and reflect on the fragility of life and think about the hidden struggles others may be going through.
While I did not know the actor personally, I do know how important he is to the entertainment community. In combination with the global pandemic and the protests for police reform, this death further rocked my emotional world.
Using Boseman’s body of work, I have compiled a list of recommended books. Also, I wanted to provide links to grief resources. No one can tell you whether or not your grief is warranted and everyone should have the space to grief in a healthy way.
Tween Book Recommendations based on Chadwick Boseman’s body of work:
Book: The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend by Sharon Robinson
Stephen, a young Jewish boy, living in Brooklyn New York during the 1940s has a new family of neighbors move in next door. While the neighborhood is in a tizzy because the new family is African American, Stephen is excited to meet his baseball hero and father of the new family, Jackie Robinson. This novel is written by Robinson’s daughter about a true friendship that took place during her childhood.
Book: Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome
There are several novels that would pair perfectly with this movie, from One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, to The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. However, in an attempt to stay in the same historical period, and bring light to lesser known books about important historical role models, I have chosen Finding Langston. This novel is set in 1946 Chicago. Langston and his father have moved to a new neighborhood, in attempt to continue living after his mother’s death. Father and son are fiercely grieving for the woman they lost. Langston’s father works hard to support the two, and is disconnected when he is around. Langston is being bullied at school and finds solace in the local library, where he learns about Langston Hughes, the person he was named after. Langston uses this new poet to find a place in his new home and heal. It was a sweet quick novel. It will work for younger readers, seeking historical fiction.
Movie: 21 Bridges
Book: Spin by Lamar Giles
In keeping with the movie’s crime solving plot, I knew that Giles would have a multitude of books to pick from. My current crime/mystery favorite of his is Spin.
Just as she was reaching the top of her music career, Paris died. There are mysterious circumstances surrounding her death and Kya and Fuse are committed to finding the truth. The three used to be best friends before Paris decided she had better things to do, but in death, her friendship is something Kya and Fuse still remember and miss. Things become more deadly the closer they get to the truth.
Movie: Black Panther
Book: Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
I know that this is the obvious choice, but I can never not include Jason Reynolds in a booklist where he has an appropriate book. I get that this is about a different superhero, but it is such a good superhero book.
Continuing in the Spider Man series, Jason Reynolds presents a new chapter in Miles Morales’s story. Miles’s spidey sense is on the blink and he is getting into serious trouble everywhere he turns. Will Miles become a criminal like his Uncle Aaron, or is there something more going on? This novel adds a deeper layer to the spider-man story, by integrating historical issues alongside villains. It is action-packed for any great superhero lover and offers a deeper substance for those who do not typically read superhero books.
Classroom Grief Resources:
PBS is a great resource, follow this link to find one of their many lesson plans related to death, dying and grief: https://www.pbs.org/witheyesopen/mourning_teachers_612.html
Dying Matters is a nonprofit organization developed in the UK that addresses issues related to death and dying. The website provides lesson plans and teacher resources, here: https://www.dyingmatters.org/page/lesson-plan-resources
National Association of School Psychologists: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/mental-health-resources/addressing-grief/addressing-grief-tips-for-teachers-and-administrators
National Coalition of Grieving Students: https://grievingstudents.org/
Are there any books or movies you will be revisiting in remembrance of Boseman? Any go to resource you have for dealing with grief?