Sunday, November 22, 2015


This seems like the perfect time to thank the wonderful parents and grandparents who donate their time, energy, and books to the SK library. To the parents who've come in to read, check out, shelve, and process books for our kids -- your presence, energy, and generosity help to embed our library space deep within our community. To the parents who've donated wonderful books to us -- your donations help to expand our collection and, in doing so, help to give our children access to even more windows and mirrors.

Two weeks ago, I posted about our book processing center and invited all willing adults to come in and help cover library books (covering them with plastic keeps them from getting damaged as easily as they otherwise might). I'm now rapidly cataloging books and leaving them in the library to be covered because I can't keep up with the incredible parents who've been coming in to cover books for us.

Grateful for this community of readers and supporters of readers,


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Windows, mirrors, "I'm Your Neighbor," and other wonderful resources

Children's books play a crucial role in the shaping of young minds. Books are windows into worlds that are unfamiliar (of course, they are often windows that lead readers to discover just how familiar these previously foreign worlds can be) and they are mirrors in which young people see their own lives reflected. Good books change minds, disprove stereotypes, deconstruct assumptions, and increase global understanding.

This week seems like a good time to think about books that can help young people to develop their sense of global understanding. Here is an incomplete list of wonderful resources:

I'm Your Neighbor: This is a tremendous annotated and organized database of books about different cultures and different social issues. It is searchable by setting, theme, and ethnic group(s) represented. It includes relevant reviews and suggested book lists, too. The goal of this carefully curated project/database is to "both support communities as their cultural makeup evolves and to create opportunities for children's literature featuring refugees, immigrants, and 'new' marginalized groups."

Notable Books for a Global Society: This list is compiled by the Children's Literature and Reading special interest group of the International Reading Association. They've been compiling these lists annually since 1996. The list consists of twenty five books that "enhance student understanding of people and cultures throughout the world." The lists includes a variety of genres and age ranges (but all for students K-12).

The Peace Education Project: "The Children's Peace Education Project is a home and classroom curriculum for young children and is also a library of specially selected books to teach peacemaking with young children between one and six years of age." This database of books is searchable by topic (knowledge of self and connection to others; joy in diversity; creative conflict resolution and sense of justice; imagination and playfulness; care and love of nature; global awareness), genre, and age. The organization also has a variety of anti-bias education resources.

Culturally Diverse Books selected by School Library Journal's review editors: This list was compiled by people who edit children's book reviews for publication in the preeminent school library professional journal. In other words, they know good books. However, after they published this list last year, readers responded and criticized some glaring omissions, such as the lack of Native American titles. School Library Journal reviewers responded by adding to their original list with other outstanding diverse titles. The journal's response and the additional titles can be found here.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not give credit to the incredible group of writers and readers working to increase the availability of a wide range of narratives in literature at We Need Diverse Books. They devote an incredible amount of time and energy to raise awareness of the necessity of diverse perspectives and we all benefit from their efforts.

If you know of other organizations, lists, awards, or resources that should be here, please leave them in the comments.

As always, to good books,


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Steps to building a community library

A community library is one in which all members of the community are involved in the library in some way and that each person feels connected, in some way, to the library. For us, this is an ongoing goal/project because the role of the library is constantly evolving (and we like it that way). With this in mind, here are three ways we're working to build community in our library this week.

1. We're turning children into librarians because a) it's fun to be helpful; b) scanners are awesome; c) autonomy feels good.

2. We're inviting parents/grandparents/babysitters/adult friends in to help cover books so that we can get more books onto the shelves in a timely manner. The Book Processing Center is located under the printer in the library. There are tools, directions, and stacks of books waiting to be covered. They've already been added to the catalog so when they're covered, they can be placed directly onto the reshelving cart. Please feel free to stop by any time and help us to process books.

3. We just purchased some new titles in French, Mandarin, and Latin (or, in some cases, in English but about topics related to our Latin classes) to help support students in their language classes. One of our goals for the year is to build our collection of books written in languages other than English so that children can continue to either see their home language represented in their school library or so that children can be exposed to the written word in other languages. We will continue to purchase books in other languages (both titles originally written in other languages and familiar English titles in translation) throughout the year. Huge thanks to Imogen and Shiyu for suggesting these titles for our library. 

Yours in shared library spaces,