Our community is in a very diversely-populated part of Kissimmee, Florida. Our community has a lot of immigrants, mixed households, English Language Learners, and families who have to work a lot longer hours to support their families. For many of our students, school is their safe place where they can just be kids.
Our students are eager to learn and overcome the challenges they face at home, academically, and socially.
Our school is limited in funding that comes to the media center, and as the new media specialist, I want the media center to reflect our student population and curate a collection that is as diverse as the students in our school.
The media center is widely used for tutoring before and after school, for class projects, for testing, and more. Students are in and out of the media center all the time, and I would like to see more of them browsing the bookshelves and be able to find books that they love. I also am creating a makerspace that will help engage them in other activities to have them grow and inspire them to make things, think analytically, think creatively, and explore.
The 2022 ALA awards were given out this week for 2021 book releases. Some amazing middle grade and middle school books were given awards such as the Newbery Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, the Stonewall Book Award, the Schneider Family Book Awards, among others. Books that are awarded these titles are read by a committee of professionals who read hundreds of selections to select the best book to give these honors and medals to. As a whole, these awards are meant to represent diverse populations, and honor authors who work to make sure children are getting quality literature that provides mirrors, windows, and doors.
Having up to date quality literature is one of the main jobs of a school media specialist, so having copies of these books is important to the overall representation of the library collection.
Our students love to see new books, and they often relate better to new release books, than older books on the shelves. I would love to get this set of books and throw a book tasting for my students surrounding these awards, and let them in on how ALA selects awards, and why each of these titles was selected for the award it won.
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