I’m taking an education class for people studying to become teachers. Assignment Task #1: bring to class six examples of award winning children’s books based around a theme. If I overlooked the part about the annotated bibliography, using APA format exclusively, and checking the rubric for possible point deductions, I could say this assignment was a no brainer. I headed straight to nonfiction, of course, and chose some of my favorite multicultural biographies without having to think twice.
Of the 22 or so students in the class, I was the only person who had chosen nonfiction books. Almost everyone chose the same themes: animals and family. I’ll admit that these topics are extremely popular with the elementary school crowd. But animals and family without nonfiction? How many times can a kid read about a duck that talks or a pig that flies without wanting some real information?
As any reader of this blog will know, there are a wide variety of quality nonfiction books on all aspects of these topics. But, as Levar Burton would say, don’t take my word for it. Go over to to the INK THINK TANK website to check out the database by subject.
I did notice that everyone in my group really enjoyed my selections. They thought my approach was innovative and they wanted me to present on behalf of our group OK, perhaps they just wanted me to get stuck representing, but at least they were encouraging. After mentioning my selection on MLK, Jr., one student started an interesting conversation on whether schools should be closed for the Martin Luther King day holiday. Another guy asked to borrow my book on the Negro Leagues.
I think I was making some progress. Perhaps even had a convert or two. Teach the teachers well. Even the newbies want to get off on the right foot. The students are sure to follow.