|1st graders explore the cover before|
reading. Photo by S. Chapman
I am reminded time and time again, that my school is a pretty special place. Yes, 4 year olds can talk about what it means to be transgender, as can 7 year olds, 10 year olds and 17 year olds. There are different entry points to these discussions and different directions that they can take.
Our community read aloud came about because of the Human Rights Campaign surrounding the cancellation of a read aloud of the book to support a transgender student in in Mount Horeb, WI. From the HRC website -
“Transgender children and youth are being targeted by anti-LGBTQ lawmakers and hate groups,” ... “Now, more than ever, they need to hear from adults who support and affirm them and help others understand who they are. And that can be as simple as sitting down for story time and opening a children’s book.”
Oftentimes teachers and librarians shy away from having discussions or sharing books that may provoke a reaction from some of the community. It is important to realize that by not sharing stories about all people, whole segments of our communities are silenced. As has been stated again and again in the We Need Diverse Books campaign, books are windows and mirrors. And when young readers don't ever see themselves, they often feel lost and alone.
So if you've been avoiding booktalking or reading aloud certain titles, just dive in and do it. Chances are someone in the audience will breathe a huge sigh of relief, and others will have their eyes opened.