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Gender Equity Reading Initiative

Safe Haven’s new initiative will focus on sexual violence prevention utilizing literature to help facilitate education and discussion around books that model healthy alternatives to violence. The age-appropriate book list, books will address themes of gender norms and stereotypes, consent, and female empowerment.

The GERI as an extension of Safe Haven Ministries wants to give readers tools to handle difficult conversations around sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of violence that deeply impact the connectedness of our community. 

  • Book of the Month!

    Image result for afar graphic novel

    Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astral project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a penchant for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

GERI Goals

  • Promote prevention of violence
  • Be inclusive of marginalized voices
  • Challenge social norms that accept violence
  • Empower girls and young women to be leaders in their community
  • Teach young people the power of their voices 
  • Give caregivers and parents the tools and resources to feel empowered to have ongoing conversations with their child(ren), even when those conversations can be difficult

Parent Toolkit

The tool kit provides child appropriate examples and education around consent, tips for having difficult conversations with children and teens, and local resources for additional needs and concerns.

Child Reading Guide

The Reading Guide includes book summaries, an overview of themes, discussion questions for ongoing conversations with your child(ren), and activities you can use to further promote healthy relationships, boundaries and social norms

For Young Adults

Coming Very Soon!

Image result for miles is the boss of his body

On his 6th birthday, Miles’ excitement is dimmed when he finds himself being pinched, noogied, hugged too tight, picked up and tickled by his well-intentioned family and decides he’s had enough!  When Miles decrees that he is the “Boss of his body,” his whole family expresses support and respect for his personal boundaries.

Themes: Bodily Autonomy, Consent, Respectful Relationships, and Healthy Communication

Image result for all are welcome book

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Themes: Diversity & Inclusion, Community, Acceptance

Image result for giraffes can't dance

Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.

Themes: Bullying, Stereotypes, Self-esteem 

Image result for hug me simona ciraolo

Ever feel like you need a hug, a really big hug from someone? That’s how Felipe the young cactus feels, but his family just isn’t the touchy-feely kind. Cacti can be quite prickly sometimes you know . . . and so can Felipe. But he’ll be darned if this one pointy issue will hold him back, so one day Felipe sets off on his own to find a friend and just maybe, that long awaited hug.

Themes: Healthy Boundaries, Consent, and Friendship

Image result for pink is for boys

Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and re-frames the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up.

Themes: Healthy Masculinity, Gender Stereotypes, Gender Equity  

Image result for some secrets should never be kept

A beautifully illustrated children’s picture book that sensitively broaches the subject of keeping children safe from inappropriate touch. We teach water and road safety, but how do we teach Body Safety to young children in a way that is neither frightening nor confronting? This book is an invaluable tool for parents, caregivers, teachers and healthcare professionals to broach the subject of safe and unsafe touch in a non-threatening and age-appropriate way. The comprehensive notes to the reader and discussion questions at the back of the book support both the reader and the child when discussing the story.

Themes: Child Sexual Abuse, Consent, and Safe Touch Unsafe Touch

Image result for dont touch my hair

It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens…until, finally, Aria has had enough!

Themes: Racism, Girl empowerment, and Consent

Image result for mango abuela and me

Mia’s Abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English (“Dough. Masa”), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the house window and has the perfect idea for how to help them all communicate a little better.

Themes: Girl Empowerment, Immigration, and Different Family Structures

Image result for julian wants to be a mermaid

While riding the subway home from the pool with his Abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

Themes: Healthy Masculinity, Family Acceptance, and Self-esteem

Image result for the day you begin

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Themes: Respecting Difference, Mindfulness, and Healthy Friendships 

Image result for afar graphic novel

Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astral project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a penchant for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

Themes: Girl empowerment, Healthy masculinity, Toxic masculinity, Gender norms, Inclusion and Diversity.

Image result for saints and misfits

There are three kinds of people in my world:

  1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose.
  2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me—the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad. Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds. But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right?
  3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories.

Like the monster at my mosque. People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask. Except me.

Themes: Sexual Assault, Islamophobia, and Girl empowerment

Image result for the hatw u give book

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Themes: Police Violence, Youth empowerment, Girl empowerment, Racism, and Structural oppression

Image result for hearts unbroken

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over email. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

Themes: Sexual harassment, Racism, and Indigenous/ Native rights

Image result for house on mango street

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous–it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Themes: Immigration, Girl Empowerment, Sexual assault, Domestic Violence, Machismo, and Consent

Image result for speak graphic novel

“Speak up for yourself―we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless―an outcast―because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her.

Themes: Social norms, Sexual Assault, Healthy relationships, and Consent

Image result for poet x

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her Mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Themes: Spiritual Abuse, Girl Empowerment, Sexual Harassment, and Coming of Age

Image result for perks of being a wallflower book

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixtapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Themes: Toxic Masculinty, Child sexual abuse, and healthy communication

Amaze.org 

Amaze is an organization that provides free age appropriate and medically accurate sex education information. Videos range in topics from where babies come from to engaging in safe sex. The platform offers parents fun videos and tips to help make what seems like a difficult topic become an effortless conversation. 

Sex Positive Families is an informative online platform that contains vast knowledge on raising children to be sexually healthy and shame free around topics of sex and sexual development. They have parent blogs, videos, webinars, and books by both experts in their fields and parents. 

Teaching Tolerance.org

Teaching Tolerance offers teachers, educators and students materials on creating lesson lesson plans based on social justice themes. The website offers free shortened lesson plans for preschool to high school aged students as well as webinars varying on subject matter

Video Description: Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

Video Description: Content warning for mentions and descriptions of sexual assault.

Video Description: Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don’t “act like a man.” Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the “man box.”

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