Confetti All Around by Cynthia Perez

Centering our Home is Centering our Humanity- featuring Nikolai Pizarro of Raising Readers

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Centering our Home is Centering our Humanity- featuring Nikolai Pizarro of Raising Readers

I want to say now that what I love about my decision to be vulnerable and curious, is it has led me to wonderful conversations and collective love. Someone who comes to mind is Nikolai Pizarro the mastermind behind more than an IG handle, Raising Readers is a movement. Nikolai captures my inner child’s heart with her soft approach at centering the home.

Nikolai has written a groundbreaking parenting and literacy advocating books, her most popular entitled “Ring the Alarm: The Hope for Black and Brown Communities” which is used in classrooms and homeschool pods through out the country.

To know Nikolai as a friend is a gift I do not take lightly. Nikolai is naturally generous, resourceful, creative, a connector, a sister, a tax agent, a parallel presence, a sounding board, and a genius of our time.

You have these friends, too. These friends that when they are in their flow, the honeypot of their brilliance, you watch them in AWE of how impactful their spirit is in your life? How you witness their glow echo through every room they grace? Yeah, that’s Nikolai. And not only is Nikolai a #literacy champion. Not only does she offfer a FREE parenting course “From Highchair to Freedom”, but she is #innerchild safety, she #raisingreaders and raising leaders. She is an advocvate and in her own truth living, her children have cultivated their own craftand innate gifts. Nikolai centers the home and naturally, centers the joy. Here are some highlights from our episode of Confetti All Around, Season 1 Episode 12 “In Defense of Childhood”

Cynthia: I want to say for anybody listening now, go ahead and look at her Instagram, but you’re more than a book bag and you’re more than an account.

Your presence, you are such a spirit. I wrote three words for you and I wrote a real one, resourceful, loyal, actually four and spirit led. And so I bought these books from you, you wrote these little books and when I reached out to you for help, that’s when I got to know Nikolai, you are so abundant in your spirit, in the way that you care, in the materials that you provide, it’s not just the materials, it’s you. We get to…have Nikolai. So I want to say thank you and just kind of introduce you in this way of like you are somebody who is changing our childhoods, even my childhood beyond and our children’s. You are changing the way we read. You are changing the way we learn. So thank you Nikolai and welcome

Nikolai Pizarro (01:40.334) Thank you, oh my, that’s a lot, thank you so much. Yeah, yeah. And let me say, I feel that I do contribute a lot, like I understand that, because I intend to do it, because I understand that I’m a vessel, and that the vessel that I’m from is abundant and resourceful and of service and here for humanity. And so, Cynthia (01:44.125) Well, you’re a lot. You’re a lot. Nikolai Pizarro (02:08.502) Because I see myself connected to that source, I understand. I understand that I am powerful and that I’m vast. I understand that about myself because I have come into that. But really, it’s in people, every single person that says, I’m a better parent or I have this or it’s like I’m jelly. It’s like I’m jelly and I fall over, I fall in love all over again, every single time because that, like for me, that’s the feel. That’s like my life source, my energy.

Nikolai Pizarro (05:00.614) I’m the data, right? All of these studies, all of this access that tells us that early childhood is important and brain science is important has been done, right? All of the subjects are low income black and brown people. And for the most part, low income black people. And so I said, okay, we know that this stuff is powerful.

Because people have been studying us and the impact of interventions and trauma all of, for 50, 60 years. How come I don’t know about it?

And now that I know about it and that my child will be better for it.

Cynthia (05:36.959) Yeah.

Nikolai Pizarro (05:44.318) Isn’t it my responsibility to make sure that I am sharing that data? With my peer now, right? Because now I’m not low income black, right? Not low income brown, but with what made me a part of this subset, which is, so now let me look at like the intersection of class and race and make sure that whatever I am learning that I am sharing with.


So it’s always science-based and it’s always based on how do we make this thing that we find that is accessible? And every year right as you expand so it’s then you come into healing So it started with brain science and then it went into healing and all of these other things But with all of it with all of the progressions, it’s always “I need to make this accessible To the margin” because i’ve been a part of the margin.

What does it look like to center our humanity in schooling?

Nikolai: And even when we started doing, when I started coming into what you’re the best at, inner child healing and generational trauma, and we talked about all this inner child healing, and I kept finding that all of that is true, and it was solid, and it was all about.

or so much of it was about our mother wound, our father wound, like all of those things. But then I was like, what was driving so much of the behavior for me was how my mother was interacting with the school system, right?

I had a lot of trauma and things that my mom did to get me into the right school, the right school. I might have been in a very good school. school where I was loved and I felt supported and nurtured, but there was another school with better metrics, with better results, and so she took me out of that school. That’s what you do. The good schools. And so I was like, you know what?

Cynthia (09:09.985) for their education, but there is another school with better match-ups too, with better results. It’s amazing. That’s what you do to get your kid ahead. The good schools, yeah.

Nikolai Pizarro (09:23.286) those good schools had a way of decentering my humanity and centering the metrics. And so at home, when I think about the inner child healing that I had to do, all of it, I was like, wait a minute, it was all, it was all really revolving around not my mom, but how my mother was interacting with the school. And so I was like, you know, this is my thing. This is my thing. So that’s my second big framework. And I would say this is the bulk of it.

Cynthia (09:42.885) Let’s get in. Can we get into that? Can we? Yeah. Hehe.

Nikolai Pizarro (09:54.07) and then the reading stuff, which we can get to.


I like to give people examples. So I remember one of the memories that I have of my childhood was a spelling test, right?

And I shared this thing before where it was like a spelling test and the word was shoe, you know, and it was like, you know, 10, 12 spelling words and I was done by the time I got to shoe, right? And my mother was like, listen, my mother worked. two jobs and a job on the weekends, so three jobs. And she’s tired. And she’s like, you’re about to get these, like, let’s get to them. And she’s like, I know that you can do it, let’s get through them. And I was like, I’m done. I’m done, I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it. And she took a shoe and she spanked me, right?

And she spelled it. S-H-O-E.

So at that point, like now I can look at it and be like, she was at, she was dumb and she was broken. Um, and I can look at that event with empathy and compassion for, I can only imagine and this is why I can only imagine because I’ve been there. I’ve been there when you’re like, just do the thing kid. Just do it, please. And you’re asking your child to parent you in that moment because you need to, like you need to get the spelling

Cynthia (12:45.377) when you’re like, just do it, breathe, and you’re asking your child to parent you in that way. So, I’m going to go ahead and show you how to do it, and then I’m going to show you

Nikolai Pizarro (12:56.986) quiz right right like you need you like i remember right i need you to i need you to do this because i need i need because i went through it and i’m unhealed um and i need you to have it right and i need i need you to bring the the spelling so i can put it on the refrigerator to heels like

Cynthia (13:18.261) This is our chance.

Nikolai Pizarro (13:22.83) And your child is like, I’m done. And so I understood, right? I understand now, right? But as a child, I was just like, it was one of those moments that caused so much separation between my mother and I. And I feel like our relationship, and that’s very young, the word shoot, very young. We’re talking about a very young age. I was just like, my mother cares more about these silly words and this test in me. Like, it wasn’t the hitting. It was to me, she showed me what she cared about and it wasn’t me. Because I could have just gone to sleep and then I could have gotten like one out of 12 wrong. Right? And it would have been okay. And so these are the connections that I tried, but she couldn’t do it. And like, what if I had gotten four of them wrong or what would have happened?

that moment was very, very instructive and I never forgot it. And it was like, at that point, I was just like, you clearly care about something else that’s not me, right? And so I always share that with parents and those are the kinds of things that I say, you know, in the moment where you are experiencing this connection, pause and say, like, what am I caring about in this moment?

Nikolai Pizarro (14:48.51) Like, why is this so triggering? Why is this so important? And how do I come back around and center my humanity and my child’s humanity and really my assignment as a parent?

My assignment as a parent is not “shoe”. S-H-O-E. My assignment as a parent is something else. And so how can we do that? Because if I cared about shoe, so right, so some people will be like, yeah, but you just learned your, listen, I’m raising readers. I’m all about the literacy. I get it. You want them to learn how to spell. But here’s the thing. You don’t do it that day or they get it wrong. If what I really care about is about them learning how to spell the word shu, the next day we go over the spelling.

Cynthia (15:02.591) I love when you talk about the assignment.

Nikolai Pizarro (15:33.442) If what I really care about is the spelling, then I teach them the spelling.

Listen to more of Nikolai’s compassionate cuentos on pur episode of Confetti All Around, “In Defense of Childhood”.

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