My school serves a small population of 260 students, so our students are a tight-knit group of kids. I won’t lie—they are a very difficult bunch. But the more I work with them, the more I love them. My students are challenging, loud, and quite headstrong. They’re also enthusiastic, passionate, and fiercely loyal.
My kids have so much potential to make a difference in the world, and my goal as a library media specialist is ultimately to engage their curious minds and let them know that their thoughts and ideas matter.
Our student population is made up of approximately 60% black/African American, 25% Hispanic/Latino, and 8% white students, with the remainder representing other ethnicities. As a Title I school, the majority of our students come from low-income households.
"If you look back at the great classics and the epics and myths, they were for everyone. Different people got different things from them, but everyone was invited to participate." —Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The first time I went through the bookshelves in my media center to familiarize myself with the school's collection, I was disappointed to see that there were so many crucial titles missing, particularly a lot of "the classics." Those that were on the shelves either showed extreme signs of age or were severely damaged.
I was surprised to see so many old books—books several years older than me and decades older than any of the students at my school.
Since becoming a media specialist here last school year, only a handful of these overworn titles have been checked out, but no more than that. Why would a 5th grader want to read a copy of "The Secret Garden" or "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" when the cover and pages are yellow or brown with age and the book is hanging onto its binding by a single thread? Goodness knows I wouldn't go out of my way to read a book in such poor condition!
I want to reintroduce my students to classics as they should be—with appealing covers and illustrations, kid-friendly, and printed less than 30+ years ago. I want them to see the beauty in classics like "Mary Poppins," "Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass," "Fig Pudding," "Sarah, Plain and Tall," "The Jungle Book," "The Wind in the Willows," "Pinocchio," “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” "Matilda," "James and the Giant Peach," and so many more!
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