Leadership & Inclusion

Celebrate FREADOM: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is observed during the last week of September. It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read, launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries.  By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. This year’s theme is Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us. These Magination Press books have been challenged recently:  Something Happened in Our Town:  A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP is included on the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2020. It was challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote antipolice views. Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives. It includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for discussing race and racism with children, child-friendly definitions, and sample dialogues. This Day In June by Gayle E. Pitman, PhD Illustrated by Kristyna Litten was Named one of the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018 by the American Library Association and is included in the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Past Decade. In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a Reading Guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a Note to Parents and Caregivers with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways. This Day In June is an excellent tool for teaching respect, acceptance, and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Since the first book starring Jacob also hit the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Past Decade for 2010-2019, Jacob, the beloved Magination Press character from Jacob’s Room to Choose and Jacob’s School Play, both by Sarah and Ian Hoffmann, has helped kids understand gender, identity, and pronouns. Magination Press’s books reach young readers and their parents and caregivers to make navigating challenges a little easier. The combined power of psychology and literature help foster conversations around issues that affect kids on a wide range of topics.  Sharing books and talking about issues they explore bring people together. Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

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Celebrate FREADOM: Banned Books Week 2021-09-24T00:13:38-04:00

Library Features Yes, I Can! in Inclusion Read Aloud

Tina Dolcetti is a Children's Librarian at Moose Jaw Public Library in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. She recently held a video Bedtime Story read aloud on Facebook Live where her guest, Russell Hippert, a Special Olympian, read Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair by Kendra J. Barrett, DPT, Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, and Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD. We asked Tina about that experience and choosing books to share with young readers.  Magination Press: Why did you choose Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair for Russell to read? Tina Dolcetti:  I chose this because all children need to see books about characters who mirror their situation or who open windows onto new worlds. While there are more books about children with disabilities, we need to keep developing within this area! Finding inclusive sports picture books was difficult, especially books where we had access to online read aloud permission. This book was the only book I found that featured wheelchair bowling. Having worked with a bowling athlete who used accommodations, the illustrations, to me, reflected the bowling alley experiences of a person using a wheelchair.  MP: Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair and the other books your guest read focused on inclusion. Why is that an important topic for young children to explore? TD: Inclusion is so very important. It fosters a culture of respect and understanding. More important than that, being inclusive benefits ALL children. Books with representation allow children to see all people as valuable contributors. Our Bedtime Stories program focuses on inclusion.  MP: Beside the message of inclusion, what else about Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair appealed to you? TD: It is full of girl power and positive problem solving.  MP: Why is it important for children to see a diversity of people and experiences reflected in children’s books? TD: Children deserve to meet new heroes within their community, and to hear a diversity of voices! Diversity may validate their own experience or broaden it. They learn to see new possibilities. There is an opportunity to develop empathy and for acceptance. MP: How do you choose topics for your read alouds? TD: For my Bedtime Stories, I make my best effort to find books that relate to the story of the reader. Each reader tells me about their history, or what appeals to them. I do my best to find a book that relates to that.  MP: And how do you choose the books that will be read? What challenges do you encounter when looking for books? TD: I purchase through the standard ordering channels, including standing order lists, book review media, etc. It is hard, since not all books that are popular feature kids who are diverse, and not all that do have the subject headings that are searchable! Despite my diligence, sometimes books on specific disabilities can be harder to find than others! It was also more difficult to find a book that had open reading

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Library Features Yes, I Can! in Inclusion Read Aloud 2021-08-10T13:53:52-04:00

Celebrate Fathers and Father Figures

Celebrate the father figures in your life! Whether you call him Dad, Papa, Father, Gramps, Opa, Abuelo, or Maddy—and no matter which pronouns they use—these people are an important part of families. Check out our stories about dads and father figures: My Maddy by Gayle E. Pitman, PhD explores what it’s like to have a gender-nonconforming parent from a child’s perspective.  “Most mommies are girls. Most daddies are boys. But lots of parents are like my Maddy. My Maddy has hazel eyes which are not brown or green. And my Maddy likes sporks because they are not quite a spoon or a fork. The best things in the world are not one thing or the other. They are something in between and entirely their own.” Read an excerpt from My Maddy’s Note to Readers here. Pockets Full of Rocks by Yair Engelberg presents a young daughter’s questions to her depressed father. He offers direct answers and promotes the hope that he will become his old self again. This gentle, hopeful book will help kids cope with a parent’s mental illness. Read an interview with the author here. Papa, Daddy, & Riley by Seamus Kirst explores Riley’s experience when one of her schoolmates asks which one of her dads is her real father. It celebrates the special, unique relationships children have with each of their parents and the love that makes a family. Hear Papa, Daddy, & Riley read aloud here.  Read a piece by Seamus Kirst about the power of inclusion here. Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart, PhD, tells the story of two musical grandfathers and a boy who uses their shared love of accordions to help them connect, even though they don’t speak the same language. It explores families’ rich cultural diversity and how, while we may be different, we all have much in common as well. Hear Accordionly read aloud here. Read a piece Dr. Genhart wrote about writing the book here.

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Celebrate Fathers and Father Figures 2021-06-14T18:51:24-04:00