Of Note: To the Broken Places . . . and Back
How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
Hachette Go, June 2, 2020
Mia Birdsong's book has inspired uncommon enthusiasm among reviewers. It is an excellent book for any time but the perfect one for right now. Each word in the book's title aptly carries its share of the author's message, with emphasis on both "How" and "We." Showing up is intentional and collaborative, something we do for each other and allow others to do for us. Birdsong is both highly inviting and deeply disrupting of the status quo. She points out with urgency that what she calls the American Dream version of success is predicated on winners and losers, thereby creating a loneliness that is often unspoken yet always costly. Birdsong uses examples, interviews, opinions from thought leaders, and reasoned analysis to direct our attention to the broken places in our own contexts. She makes it not only okay to need each other, but also important that we do. When the institutions of our society, schools among them, can't give us what we need, Birdsong argues that genuine community often can, providing the kind of solidarity that does not leave others unfed, literally or figuratively. Her chapters are specific and could jumpstart plans for action among educators. She addresses how to begin to deepen connections, how to listen to longing, how to know others, and allow ourselves to be known, and how naming what racial reckoning and inclusion can look like frees us to navigate away from divisive structures and toward nourishment. How We Show Up sets the table for home to be wherever we find family, friendships, and community.