For nearly a decade, Laurel has been making a concerted effort to widen our collection of library books to include a range of authors and stories that include diversity. Over the last several months, Laurel’s librarians have compiled lists of diverse reading selections for Pre-Primary through Upper School to put to good use in their classrooms and beyond. Deva Walker, Lake Librarian and Kirsten Rosebrock-Hayes, Crile Librarian, have been collaborating to further develop lists of new and notable releases along with reading levels for each selection. Head of School Ann Klotz regularly shares with faculty and staff these lists of titles on various topics, which have so far included:
- New Books
- Moon Festival
- Diverse Families
- Community Revitalization
- All About Hair
In other book news, in 2020 Laurel’s Class of 2004 generously donated many books to both Lake and Crile Libraries that focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The books have been checked out by teachers and students alike to support curriculum in the classroom and for pleasure reading. Included in this special gift were added copies of Sulwe, the story of a young girl named Sulwe who does not love herself since she is darker than anyone in her family. She wants to be beautiful like them. Sulwe then goes on a mystical journey that shows her that she is and always has been beautiful. The story is based on the life of author Lupita Nyong’o, who struggled with her skin tone when she was younger, before she realized that she has always been beautiful. Clearly a student favorite, Sulwe was the 2020 Gator Award Winner selected by Primary students during their annual election for best book.
This generous donation has allowed more students to check out a book that they want to read over and over again. Many of the other books have been read to students as part of their curriculum including: A Different Pond by Bao Phi, Friends from the Other Side by Gloria Anzaldúa, Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Hungry Johnny by Cheryl Minnema, Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh, Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis and more. The addition of these books has created wonderful and thought-provoking conversations with students of all ages. We can’t wait to read more!