In this engaging six minute film, we see a group of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade children learn about issues of identity and apply that to their selection of books. This is an introductory activity for children who are embarking on a classroom library equity assessment. The film features classroom teacher Chanelle Tye with students and interviews with Aisha Kiani, founder and executive director of I Dream Library based in Vancouver.
Tye starts the assessment with a conversation on identity, having the children make identity cards and centering the concept of human diversity. The children contemplate how their differences may be applicable to everyday life. To bring joy into the difficult work of conducting an equity assessment, the children dance to music around a circle formed by book piles and when the music stops, they select the stack they land in front of. The children read through their book pile and select their favorite title, many of which are selected due to seeing themselves reflected in the narrative or learning something new.
This activity was intended to help the library highlight books that have underrepresented stories. It’s also intended to support a generational impact of kindness as these children leave educational spaces and become active change-makers in the world. This video was produced by Lush Cosmetics in partnership with I Dream Library.
“Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us: Critiquing Fairy Tales and Cartoons” by Linda Christensen from Rethinking Popular Culture and Media (Rethinking Schools, 2011)
“Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past” by Bill Bigelow from Rethinking Columbus (Rethinking Schools, 2003)
Worksheet for Selecting Native American Children’s Literature from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian