Check out this website for resources to share with your teachers and students as you honor American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage month in November.
While few of us may make it to Tulsa (actually east of Tulsa) to visit this exhibit the list of resources shared at this Northeastern State University website includes book lists for young readers and websites. Please share this site with any teachers who cover this bit of fascinating history. Katie
If you are not familiar with Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature website I recommend bookmarking it and using it as a resource when you're doing collection development. This post about the discovery by a 5th grade student reading the "Suppressed Speech of Wamsutta (Frank B. ) James", Wampanoag, of how written history is not always accurate is a very moving article. I recommend you read it and share it with your staff. Check out the other resources Debbie Reese recommends in the article. I've just placed the DVD series "We Shall Remain" on an order for the LMS collection. Katie
A very cool poster and a number of good links related to Native American Heritage Month from the Department of Defense. Check it out! Native American Indian Heritage Month Jim
This New York Times article, Books to Match Diverse Young Readers highlights a handful of books whose main characters come from a variety of ethnic groups. I was pleased to find a least one copy of all but the last two titles in our district and in some cases copies at half of our schools. Since our students cannot borrow from other schools we might want to examine our collections however and be sure that if we don't have these books readily available to our students we at least have a number of other equally appealing titles representing all these ethnic groups if not more.
A family friend once shared with me that when she questioned why her adopted Korean boys liked to check out books with African American characters so much they told her it was because the characters 'weren't white.' They couldn't find books about Koreans but they at least wanted to read about how other kids of minority cultures fared.
In the same issue of the New York Times is another article For Young Latinos, an Image is Missing, which addresses this very issue from an Hispanic perspective. It speaks of the need to steer clear of stereotypical books on migrant workers or holidays like Cinco de Mayo and look for books that represent the lives these students are living day in and out, today. The article also mentions that textbook publishers are providing a higher percentage of representation than trade book publishers of at least Latino characters. However, it goes on to say that "Latino education advocates and authors say they do not want schools to resort to tokenism." So, where ever possible let's try to provide all of our students with a varied selection of the best quality literature we can, representing a wide cross section of cultures.
While this information would have been nice to have at the beginning of November, the resources available in PBS's Circle of Stories should be used year round with an any digital storytelling project. Check it out and be sure to share with your staff. Katie