Getting Under the Skin of Kangbashi: Rather than photograph these buildings from afar though, when I visited Ordos in my plan was to get under the skin of this bizarre metropolis, examining it from inside, above and below.
When we started out, we were focused on one day and probably focusing a lot on celebrating people being bilingual, as in English and Spanish.
We have grown with the project; all good projects, everyone who works on it grows with it. We are trying to link all children to books, languages, and cultures. I think teachers and librarians have taken that basic concept of linking all children to books, languages, and cultures and they have been incredibly creative in the activities that they use to help young people hear other languages, sometimes other languages in their own community.
We cannot do enough of that in this country. My friends in Kentucky, for example, had people from five different language groups in the community each stand up and read to the kids a little bit in the language of the reader.
And I thought that was a wonderful experience, you know, for young people. So helping them to see that and all cultures are exciting and interesting, all languages are beautiful.
A challenge in the United States remains, sadly, that young people who are not English dominant often feel ashamed of their home language.
I think that different libraries and different schools will celebrate in different ways. We will have fifteen possible funders, that is, kinds of people for you to think about, everything from your local newspaper to maybe some of the mega-chains who can all contribute in some way.
I want to see young people have a good time, I want to see very diverse families having a good time. One memory that does come to mind, I think it was last year, that I was in Detroit, a city that has had a lot of problems economically.
And I think it was a part of town that they referred to as Mexican Town. Well, what they created, which by the time I got there, they had grown so large that it was at a park, it was a very low-income community that lived around the park.
People could give out bottles of water, people could give out fliers about their social service agency, there was a puppet show, there was music. But it was like being in another country, in a way, in the sense that people were strolling through the park and they did have strollers, literally, and little ones.
Everybody felt at home. Nobody had to have money. The Mexican consul was giving out a lot of books, but other people were giving out a lot of books, too.
So it was rethinking, how do we put children and literacy at the center of a celebration where families feel, "I belong? I was in Galveston, Texas last year and they had really done a wonderful job.
And they had sort of a scavenger hunt in the library that was very carefully thought out. It was a way to let new patrons discover, "Gee, there are computers, gee, there are videos" and every part of the library you visited successfully, I think they tied it to Easter.
And so you got something for your little basket, everybody got a free book. And they had been really clever. I told them they were smarter than I was because I would not be able to do the book without holding the book.
It is asking schools and libraries to take a really good look at whether they are reaching all of their service population. Do all the parents, whether they speak English or not, whether they have a nice middle class life or not, feel welcome at the school and by forming a planning committee, that does include parents, some university students, the person in the community who works on summer reading clubs.
Different ways that we are bringing people together, different kinds of voices who help plan this celebration for our kids. And Pat, me is saying well, how about forming a diverse committee?
I talk about faith communities. There are different ways that we are creating a committee to say how do we celebrate linking all children to books, languages, and cultures? What a diverse committee requires is that I have to give up some control and as a high control person, I am the first to say that is really difficult.
But it may well be the Vietnamese grandfather who will have the best ideas of how to get the kids to come. And if my goal is to really involve all the aspects of my community, my school or my library, then I want all of those aspects represented in my committee and I have to be willing to listen.
And I think that people will be amazed at the response of communities that may never have felt totally embraced by these educational institutions.
There are still so many people who feel that it costs money to check out a book, they have not grown up in countries where libraries are free. I saw a funny sign — again, going back to North Carolina where a librarian had put up a special sign before the holidays and she said "Up to January 1st, library cards: But ideally, we all care about the same children and we just need to be creative in working together.
So we need to see diversity in publishing because someone selects the books that will be published, someone selects the books that will get the full page color ad in important publications. People on award committees decide what books will have a nice seal of approval.
And so I am always trying to think well, is that something I have already done?ClassZone Book Finder.
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