by Monique W. Morris
The New Press
A groundbreaking and visionary call to action on educating and supporting girls of color, from the highly acclaimed author of Pushout
Wise Black women have known for centuries that the blues have been a platform for truth-telling, an underground musical railroad to survival, and an essential form of resistance, healing, and learning. In her highly anticipated follow-up to the widely acclaimed Pushout, now a core text for teachers and principals on the criminalization of Black girls in schools, leading advocate Monique W. Morris invokes the spirit of the blues to articulate a radically healing and empowering pedagogy for Black and Brown girls.
A clarion call for educators, parents, and anyone who has a stake in a better tomorrow to transform schools into places where learning and collective healing can flourish, these pages journey from Oakland to Ohio and from New York to Iowa City and beyond. Morris describes with candor and love what it looks like to meet the complex needs of girls on the margins. In doing so she offers a collection of gems from educators who are attuned to the patterns of pain and struggle, and who show how adults working in schools can harness their wisdom to partner with students and help the girls they teach find value and joy in learning.
Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues reimagines what education might look like if schools placed the thriving of Black and Brown girls at their center. Morris brings together research and real life in this chorus of interviews, case studies, and the testimonies of remarkable people who work successfully with girls of color. The result is this radiant manifesto--a guide to moving away from punishment, trauma, and discrimination toward safety, justice, and genuine community in our schools.
In the tradition of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and Other People's Children, Morris's new book is a clarion call--for educators, parents, students, and anyone who has a stake in a better tomorrow--to transform schools into places where learning and collective healing can flourish.
"Not many, if any, books detail how to uplift and heal Black and Brown girls in real time in ways that are loving, focused on thriving, and practical, but Monique W. Morris has done it. Through rich and vivid storytelling backed by data and research, Morris gives us a pedagogical road map to our own humanity as educators by way of empowering Black and Brown girls. Each chapter helps the reader find their song, so they can sing a rhythm for our girls." --Bettina L. Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive
"This beautiful book fills me with hope that our schools and our society can learn to nurture the tremendous untapped potential of Black and Brown girls. Through compelling and powerful stories, Dr. Morris shows how to support girls facing huge challenges to succeed as students, as artists, or as activists--and at loving themselves." --Naomi Wadler, activist and advocate for gun control
"Monique Morris is a personal shero of mine and a respected expert in this space." --Ayanna Pressley, U.S. congresswoman and the first woman of color elected to Boston's city council
"With Pushout, Monique Morris brought the world to its knees and widened our eyes to see how systems have been designed to wrong our most vulnerable and brilliant young people. In Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues, she takes us on a deeper journey and offers us a way to reimagine schools and a path towards real solutions." --Christopher Emdin, author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood
About the Author:
Monique W. Morris, co-founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute, is the author of several books, including Pushout, and Black Stats. Her work has been featured by NPR, the New York Times, MSNBC, Essence, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Education Week, and others. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two daughters.