Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors
Experiencing different cultures
Meet a 12-year-old Pakistani child who must leave school to care for her siblings. Discover surprising similarities between yourself and a 10-year-old Chinese immigrant in California. Step inside an elementary school that seems as if it were modeled on your own and meet two friends who are suddenly at odds with one another.
These journeys represent the District's intentional focus on replenishing collections with books that represent a variety of cultures and points of view.
“We are conscious of the role of books as ‘mirrors, windows, and sliding doors,’” said Superintendent Andrew Selesnick. “We are working to be sure that our classrooms and school libraries are increasingly reflective of all the students in the district and give all students opportunity to experience diversity through story.”
Discovering new perspectives
Meet the elementary school librarians and find out their top picks!
Librarians introduce children to new books during regular classroom visits and in-class book talks. Diversity is also woven into the special programs each librarian leads.
Increase Miller Elementary School's fifth graders love the book-based Breakout.edu games that Librarian Juli Hoffman creates for her before-school book clubs. Look for hints to what students might read this year in her book picks below! Nick Grasso, the librarian at Meadow Pond Elementary, shares new books at faculty meetings so that teachers can find the right book to lead students to a deeper understanding of a particular topic. Katonah Elementary School’s Librarian, Jeanne Hand, is using books as mirrors and windows as the theme of this year’s Lunch Bunch, a book group that she leads with Reading Specialist Enid Linden. She’s also planning a Book Tasting for fourth and fifth graders—a café environment where books are the only thing on the menu!
Juli Hoffman | IMES
"Two of the best new books I've read this year are 'Amal Unbound' by Aisha Saeed and 'Front Desk' by Kelly Yang," said Hoffman.
"'Amal Unbound' tells the gripping and hopeful story of a 12-year-old Pakistani girl taken from her family and forced into a life of indentured servitude on the local landlord's estate."
"'Front Desk' recounts the tale, loosely based on the author's own experience, of a 10-year-old Chinese immigrant who lives and works with her parents in a California motel. Tackling topics such as poverty, racism, and bullying, this book includes powerful messages on fighting for what's right and treating others with kindness and respect."
"Next on my reading list is 'The Red Pencil' by Andrea Davis Pinkney, a novel in verse chronicling the experience of a 12-year-old girl and her family during the genocide in Darfur, Sudan."
Jeanne Hand | KES
"The two books I recommend are both sliding doors," said Hand. "'Amal Unbound' by Aisha Saeed and 'My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder' by Nie Jun allow us to step right into an experience that is nothing like our own."
Nick Grasso | MPES
The two books I recommend are 'The Friendship War' by Andrew Clements and 'The Bridge Home' by Padma Venkatraman," said Grasso.
"'The Friendship War' is a mirror. Students will see themselves in this story about best friends Grace and Ellie. Everything changes when Grace inadvertently starts a new button fad at school and Ellie becomes jealous of her newfound popularity. This story has many situations throughout it that our students can relate to and it lets them reflect on how they would handle a similar situation happening in their own lives."
"'The Bridge Home' is a window, giving students a new or different perspective. The book follows two sisters who run away from home in Chennai, India and befriend two homeless children. The author created this book after meeting and interviewing dozens of homeless children in India about their lives. It's a humbling reminder of how easy it can be to take the smallest things for granted."