“What do immigrant kids think of the program?” —Curry College Student
This was the final question that was asked of Welcoming Library co-founder Kate Cutko and Executive Director Kirsten Cappy. They were speaking to Kathy McDonough‘s Children’s Literature: Gateway to the World class about the founding of I’m Your Neighbor Books and the Welcoming Library.
While we cannot survey kids because of privacy concerns, we have heard from New Arrival and New American students. One of our favorite such moments was at a Catholic elementary school. While the school has had a predominately white student body, it recently began welcoming New Arrival students from Central African countries.
A parent arranged to host the Welcoming Library at the school and volunteered to read the picture books in classrooms. The parent stopped by the Kindergarten classroom to read Joseph’s Big Ride (Annick Press). The book is about a bicycle-loving boy raised in a Kenyan refugee camp who resettles in the US.
After the parent finished reading, a 5-year-old Congolese American boy stood up and joyfully shouted, “This book is reading my mind!” What an amazing idiom for a new English speaker and what an incredible expression of what it feels like to see your life experiences represented in an all white space.
May I’m Your Neighbor Books read more minds.
Image © Ken Daley