Dream narration is prevalent in Chaucer's works, House of Fame is one of them. It follows Chaucer as he makes his way into the House of Fame, a place where people worthy, or not, have their name stitched on the foundation. This stitching is fickle, it can be on ice, which quickly melts or stone. The House of Ruin is something I will let you read and draw your own conclusion (Chaucer is subtle but funny). When thinking of the names etched I can't help but think of who gets to decide who is worthy of recognition in our own society, particularly in literary works. As of 2014 only 2% of children's books feature a person of color or is written by a person of color, whose story is becoming etched on this foundation? Below are some great books that are by or about marginalized groups.
Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann
A retelling of classic fairytales, where the female heroine has a linear story of stumbling until finding a (male) hero. These stories have a sinister twist to the idea of 'damsel in distress'. This was my go to Christmas gift of 2014, from nieces to coworkers, plenty of people received this book as a gift.
Where Women are Kings by Christie Watson
A West African boy, who has endured horrific abuse, is adopted by a English white woman and her West African husband. The birth mother believes she was saving her son from a demon that refuses to leave his body. It is a struggle of culture folklore and Western medicine and the refusal of both to acknowledge the power of the other. It is told from multiple perspectives, the birth mother, the son, and the adoptive mother. Beautifully written and places blame nowhere but shows the damage when one culture is refused acknowledgement.
Ms. Marvel by Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
Kamala Khan is a Pakistani American who loves comics that can't seem to create the balance between her Muslim faith/upbringing with her American/secular neighborhood. All of this is compiled with the normal struggles a teen girl faces. She wishes one night to be a typical white teenager, what she instead gets is the powers of Super Girl. This can be a great stimulant for a discussion on assumptions made regarding what a girl, religion, or heroism look like and the dismantling of these assumptions.
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Written entirely in verse this hits on my love for intersectionality of race and gender issues. Mimi, half Japanese, half African American moves from California to Vermont in 1969, the year a man landed on the moon (hint on the title). She dreams of being in space but is constantly told because of her race and gender this is impossible. The book follows her as she navigates racism and gender discrimination through grade school in free verse. One of the best new books for kids in Fall 2015.