“I have spent a lot of time reflecting on who I am, or at least, who I want to be. There are aspects of myself on the pages of each of these 12 books, as well as lessons on masculinity, poetry, puberty, love, class, denial, accountability, pain, joy, abuse, and self-awareness.
These books have showed me how to criticize what it means to be a man in our society (Frankenstein). I’ve witnessed acts of self-sacrifice alongside egregious selfishness (The Great Gatsby and The Road). There are lessons on denial, humanism, and hope found in these pages (Sula, The House on Mango Street). And undeniably, these novels challenge the structures of society that claim to hold us together – structures that, in reality, hold us stuck in place (Malcolm X, Invisible Man, and Half Blood Blues).
Above all else, I will always be a teacher. These books taught me, and I love them for it. And these are the stories I want to share with my students.”
Courtney Walcott represents Ward 8 on Calgary’s City Council. Prior to his election in 2021 he was an educator at Western Canada High School where in addition to teaching he was a basketball coach and an equity, diversity, and inclusion facilitator. Walcott is a strong community advocate, having petitioned the Calgary Board of Education to form an anti-racist task force, and has helped bring together community organizations in advocating for funding from the City of Calgary. He values housing as a human right, and works to make housing affordability, availability, and choice a priority for Council and the City of Calgary.