I can’t even begin to describe how proud I was yesterday to bring the 5th grade students to the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, VT, to take the research they have been doing for over a month throughout our Diversity Audit and turn it into action. We took the data from the infographics the students created and used those recommendations to formulate a plan for what types of books we were looking for at the Norwich Bookstore.
When we arrived at the bookstore, Ms. Liza Bernard, the owner, had a display ready and at least 20 books on hand to booktalk to the students about what makes them diverse.
She talked about the importance of buying and reading books with diverse characters in them, books written by diverse authors, and how books can be both doors and mirrors for the people who read them! She is a Diversity Detective in spirit! She had books with autistic characters, books that celebrate cultures and religions around the world, books with characters in wheelchairs, characters of diverse races and books written by diverse people. It was a diversity smorgasbord!
I wish I had taken more pictures of my students and their book choices but I was inundated with student questions, excitement, and requests to buy more than their allotted one book! It was the best kind of way to be inundated by student engagement!
In the end, we purchased 23 new books for the library based on student recommendations from their infographics. Each group had an index card with their recommendation, as well as a recommendation from the fourth grade, who couldn’t come with us. We made a huge contribution to future OQS students and readers!
My only regret is because that it is so late in the year, these amazing 5th graders can’t take these books home and read them for themselves! I’ve encouraged them to come down and borrow them for DEAR time, and they read them while waiting for their buses after STEAM. They feel amazing knowing that their research and voices mattered, and they have taken a huge and powerful step in improving the diversity of stories being told in our library!