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Friday, July 22, 2016

Two webinars about diversity and literature

laptop computer
Image from Pixabay
There has been a lot of discussion on listservs and blogs lately about evaluating books with diversity in mind (most especially Lane Smith's recent book There Is a Tribe of Kids--below is a round-up of recent blog posts and discussions).  I found the following two webinars helpful in thinking about reviewing and examining books, so even though I know it is SUMMER and you all hardly even have time to go to the bathroom, I'm sharing them.

One is a free webinar from ALSC, presented by Debbie Reese, a children's literature researcher and blogger from American Indians in Children's Literature called Collection Development: Children's and Young AdultBooks about Native Americans.

The other is a recording of a webinar from School Library Journal's Diversity Course, the final keynote presentation by Wisconsin's own KT Horning (from the CCBC).  The recording is available here.

*Debbie Reese compiled this list of blog posts (with accompanying comments) about There Is a Tribe of Kids for American Indians in Children's Literature:

Sam Bloom's Reviewing While White: There Is a Tribe of Kids posted on July 8, 2016 (added to this list on July 21, 2016).

Debbie Reese's Reading While White reviews Lane Smith's THERE IS A TRIBE OF KIDS posted on July 9, 2016 (added to this list on July 21, 2016).

Debbie Reese's Lane Smith's new picture book: THERE IS A TRIBE OF KIDS (plus a response to Rosanne Parry) posted on July 14, 2016 (added to this list on July 21, 2016).

Roxanne Feldman's A Tribe of Kindred Souls: A Closer Look at a Double Spread in Lane Smith's THERE IS A TRIBE OF KIDS posted on July 17, 2016 (added to this list on July 21, 2016).

Roger Sutton's Tribal Trials posted on July 18, 2016 (added to this list on July 21, 2016).

Elizabeth Bird's There Is a Tribe of Kids: The Current Debate posted on July 19, 2016 (added to this list on July 21, 2016).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Talking About Hard Things

Image from Pixabay
I am sure I don't have to enumerate all the the difficult things going on in our country right now, and no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there are plenty of things that can make your stomach hurt.  I think it is safe to say that all of us are passionately wishing for a more peaceful, prosperous and healthy world for our kids and our communities, though we may disagree about how to get there.

I found a couple of helpful blog posts by Rich Harwood, the founder of the Harwood Institute (which has done work on community engagement with libraries with the Libraries Transforming Communities project).  In the first one, he encourages truly listening, trying hard to understand other perspectives, and reflect the realities of others in our common discourse.  In the second, he recommends starting with paying attention to what our common aspirations for our communities are, allowing room for different issues to rise up (rather than setting out the parameters ahead of time), and doing some concrete things to address them--even if they are small.

I hope we can all keep talking.  And more importantly, listening and caring and doing our best to understand where each other is coming from and opening ourselves to finding common aspirations.  Librarians are a natural place to model civil and caring discourse for kids, teens, and adults!

ALSO:  If you are looking for some techniques for managing challenging conversations, check out the upcoming workshop, scheduled for September 9 in Bloomer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sesame Street Resource for Veterans and Families

cookie monster greets fans
Image from Pixabay

Sesame Street has developed free resources for veteran families with young kids (ages 2-5 years old), who have recently transitioned out of the military. When a parent transitions out of the military, the whole family transitions. These resources were created to help families navigate changes during this next chapter. There are also free print copies of the My Story, My Big Adventure activity book, which Sesame Street can ship these to you by the box (75 books/box) if you are interested.  Please email veterans@sesame.org to order books, specifying how many boxes you would like.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pep talks for SLP

Pausing during the SLP Sprint for some pep talks (Image from Pixabay)

Bryce Don't Play asked blogging friends from across the country (and Canada!) to send her pep-talk videos for SLP-exhausted staff members, and I just came across it today.  I highly recommend checking out the list--most of them are funny, and some actually have some truly useful tips!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Listening with open hearts

As news of police shootings of African American men proliferate, and at the shootings in Dallas of police officers, my heart is heavy.  I've been trying unsuccessfully to write a blog post about it for several days.  I have some things to say about it related to libraries, but it is hard to put the words together.  Here goes my best try for now.

It turns out that living in mostly white communities doesn't give us a bye to really examine issues of race, think about them, and then act.  As youth services librarians, we are helping to raise the police officers, teachers, policy-makers, and citizens of the future.  If we don't spend some time thinking ourselves about race, privilege, systemic racism, and bias, we are missing an opportunity to make the world a better place.  It might seem like a small thing, or inconsequential, but actually thinking and talking about these issues are an important first step for all of us, especially if we're white.  So is collecting, promoting, and using books that show a wide range of human experience. Kids are hearing news and trying to make sense of it.  They might come to you looking for someone to help them process it.  They might come to your library looking for materials to help them learn more.  Or they might not.  Either way, we need to be thinking and collecting and promoting and using.  And perhaps most importantly, listening to the voices of people who are oppressed with as open a heart and mind as we can, even when we are uncomfortable.

Here are some resources for you to use:

Interview with Newbery Award-winning author Kwame Alexander, reflecting on recent news of shootings.

Black Lives Matter Booklist for teens, created by Hennepin County Librarian Chelsea Couillard-Smith

We Need Diverse Books End-of-Year Booklists

An article about why it can be difficult for white people to talk about race and racism

These books by Vernā Myers are very accessible, quick reads (available on MORE):

This interview with Matt Lewis, a conservative blogger who has been re-thinking the way race is a factor in police interactions.

There's more, but that's all I can pull together this time around or I will go on forever!  I'd be happy to talk to any of you more about this.

As Adrienne Maree Brown posted on Instagram (and I saw on Facebook):

Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered. We must continue to hold each other tight and pull back the veil.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Readers Advisory Is Everywhere!

My husband made my day this morning.  I was rushing out the door after brushing my teeth while listening to a report on the radio about a recently released study by UW-Madison faculty about the link between poverty, brain development, and outcomes later in life.  Dean stopped me in my tracks when he told me he had done a good deed the day before, and I had a hunch it was related to the information about Reach Out and Read we'd just heard on the radio.  I figured it was worth being a few minutes later than I meant to be (less interesting things have certainly caused me to be tardy on other days!).

He was browsing the books at Savers (like you do) the other day and came across a mint-condition copy of Rosemary Wells and Iona Opie's My Very First Mother Goose for the bargain price of $2.  This is often our go-to book for baby showers partly because we loved it so much when our kids were small--we all still quote from it to this day.  He was about to snatch it up when he saw a woman perusing the (less enduring) children's books.  He handed the book to her and told her it was the one to get if she wanted one that she would enjoy reading over and over and over.  She is raising her two year old granddaughter while her parents sort some things out, and was super-pleased to get the recommendation and the book.  Readers Advisory for the WIN!  Now this family has a terrific book at their house that they get to keep and read and enjoy for years.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

FREE Teen Online Conference from SLJ

Are you reading the posts about people's inspiring trips to ALA, hearing incredible authors speak and getting inspired for the work they do?  Are you feeling a little jealous?  Well, SLJ has put together an online teen conference for FREE, where you'll have access to some of that cool stuff.  The cost is reasonable, for sure!  And you'll get to hear authors like Maggie Stiefvater and Meg Medina, along with getting ideas about college and career readiness, using snapchat, mental health in YA literature, and serving the underserved.  I signed up!  I hope you can find time to attend, too:  August 10.