I have recently attended one of my favorite conferences for librarians. This time was virtually but that didn't affect the energy booster dose at all. Sizzling energy, enthusiasm and motivation runs through my veins these days and I have goals set for the rest of the year and the future. This is mostly due to the fact that the theme of this year's conference was Reading for Social Justice and Diversity and Social Emotional Learning.
In addition to mingling face-to-face with my local librarians crew and virtually with world wide dear librarian friends and colleagues, I had the opportunity to hear the voice of people who spoke about social justice and diversity from their heart and through the lenses of their personal experiences.
Dr. Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Palestinian- Egyptian author and academic, based in Australia. She opened her session with 'Social justice begins with storytelling'. She brings important social justice issues to life in her own books. I am looking forward to reading her Does my head look big in this? and Ten things I hate about me.
Behrouz Boochani ,an author, journalist, human rights and professor challenged our perception and thinking about refugees. He highlighted that refugees do not want to be seen as victims but as people with their own identity and individuality. I was blown away as he was sharing his story on writing and publishing a book, a memoir No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison via WhatsApp while kept in detention centre on Papua New Guinea.
And finally, Dr. Myra, articulate and inspiring as always spoke about the importance of reading for social justice and reading stories that bring comfort in troubled times. She reminded us all to read books that challenge our perceptions of the world. Dr Myra is a strong advocate of picture books. According to Dr. Myra picture books are 'short, distilled and powerful. They are literally piece of art.' I can not agree more. Her inspiration is simply contagious. In the aftermath of that weekend I have rolled my sleeves up and set up goals on how to enhance the diversity of my collection and ways to bring the right picture books to the hands of the whole school community including students, teachers, parents and admin even.
Here are some of the highlighted ones that have already been placed in my cart or have arrived on my shelf. The picture books below are stories about the journey of self-discovery and being proud of ones identity, relationships with grandparents, poverty, understanding the perspective of refugees, finding mindfulness in this fast paced world, kindness, leadership for change. All the picture book covers are hyperlinked. Click and discover more for each one.