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Field Notes: Pandemic Diary: Bilingual Virtual Programming

Children’s literature has the unique ability to inspire a lifelong love of reading for children and their families. One of the books that shaped my own understanding of growing up biracial, as a Honduran American, was Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina / Rice with Milk:...

Field Notes: "But Are They Level O?": Leveled Reading and Antiracism

2
Knoth reading to a kindergarten class in her school library. My search began with the most ordinary of questions. All school librarians will recognize the request: a teacher sent a weekend email needing book suggestions for her fourth graders — books that were well written, accessible, and of course, engaging....

Field Notes: Books Everlasting: Teaching Children's Literature to Older Adults

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Retired children’s librarians don’t fade away. They become consultants, and teach. When I’m not taking classes myself, I am teaching two courses about children’s books to older adults who participate in Osher, the Lifelong Learning Institute, based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. My students are mostly grandparents. Some are...

Field Notes: Teaching Infinite Hope

Ashley Bryan’s Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace won the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award — but as a teacher, children’s literature aficionado, and friend of Ashley’s, I’ve known the book was special for...

Field Notes: Readers and Refugees

Beginning in the spring of 2018, IBBY [International Board on Books for Young People] Canada initiated the Readers and Refugees program in Toronto. The program was inspired by IBBY Children in Crisis Fund programs, such as IBBY–REFORMA’s joint Children in Crisis Project at the U.S./Mexico border and IBBY Italia’s work with...

Field Notes: A Family Affair: Connecting Community to Books

On a rainy day in July 2017, a group of teachers, librarians, and community activists gathered at Frugal Bookstore, Boston’s only Black-owned bookstore, to participate in a discussion of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give (which would go on to be named a 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor...

Field Notes: Camp Read-a-Rama: Learning to “Live Books”

Leader: Hey Nick.Nick: Yeah!L: Hey Nick.N: Yeah!L: Can you Gruff?N: Gruff-a-what?L: Can you Gruff?N: Gruff-a-lo.N: My hands are high, my feet are low, and this is how I Gruffalo. [Nick dances]All: His hands are high, his feet are low, and this is how he Gruffalos! [Everyone mimics Nick’s dance]All: Gruff-a-lo,...

Field Notes: Lucha Libros: Bilingual Battle of the Books

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On May 3, 2017, fifty-six second- and third-graders and their parents gathered in the Pasadena Public Library’s Donald R. Wright Auditorium for the final battle of our third annual Lucha Libros reading competition. That month’s selection was Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox / El Superzorro. As I looked around the...

Field Notes: Loud in the Library: Creating Social Activists at School

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I am the librarian in an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a city of socioeconomic extremes, but dedicated to the mission of equity in public education; every classroom in each of the twelve public elementary schools maintains a 60/40 ratio between paid and free lunch students. In addition to...
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