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A Celebration of Picture Books

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Between now and April 19th Folks of Color In Schools will celebrate picture books. I often share with students that we give picture books a hug because they are the ideas of the author and illustrator. As educators, we have the responsibility of curating the picture books we share with our students. That’s why we are focusing on these magnificent tools over the next few weeks.

Our celebration will culminate with a free read a loud workshop facilitated by Ki Gross of Woke Kindergarten for Educators of Color. You can RSVP here.

Suzanne Seungyoon Lee will be our guest blogger and post on our Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn feeds. Check these feeds regularly as we will offer educators free copies of the books highlighted for classrooms.

Here is Suzanne’s first entry:

Picture books have long been mirrors where children can see themselves, windows where they can glimpse a life different from their own, safe spaces to explore and process tricky topics, and provocations for conversations waiting, needing to happen.

To kick off our month of picture books, I begin with a book that is really personal to me. It is a book about love that’s lost in translation and an unconventional language that spans the gap. During a time when words are too often used to divide, dismiss, and dehumanize, Drawn Together by Minh Lê reminds us that humans can find common ground that bridges generations, language barriers, and even teenage angst.

Read this book with children and use this prompt to share their voices: How do you know that the boy loves his grandpa? And that the grandpa loves his grandson? What are some ways you can show your love without speaking?

Suzanne Seungyoon Lee is a proud teacher-researcher, mother, problem-solver, immigrant, and connector of humans. . After graduating with a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College and a MS.Ed in Early Childhood Education from Bankstreet College, she began her teaching journey in Philadelphia's Chinatown at the Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School, where she had the privilege of learning alongside social justice teacher warriors who fought the casinos from opening in Chinatown and actively honored the experiences and culture of an immigrant community. Fifteen years later, you will find her with third graders at Portland’s Oregon Episcopal School, engaging in inquiry-based learning to explore questions about what is delicious, beautiful, or true, to help to unearth underlying assumptions about dominant culture and to co-create inclusive, joyful community. She believes in offering safe spaces where children are allowed to explore race and diversity and looks to science, data, and story to teach students to think critically and with empathy about others. -SSL

Note: Rudine Sim Bishop originated the metaphor of books being windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors. You can read more about Dr. Sim Bishop's work here.

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