Immigration Children's Literature Creates Equity Based Literacy
"We are stories. We are two languages. We are lucha. We are resilience. We are hope."
—Yuyi Morales, Dreamers
40% of New York City students are multilingual. For those students to be resilient, they need to see themselves reflecting in the texts their teachers share. Those students need books that tell them, "we are stories."
Brooklyn College's undergraduates preparing to be future teachers are diverse.
The college overall boasts individuals from 136 different countries and students report speaking 91 different languages. Students within the Childhood, Bilingual, and Special Education (CBSE) department are 27.13% Latinx, 24.76% Black, 18.95% Asian, and 24.76% White—all preparing to be childhood teachers in settings where multilingualism is the norm.
A new genre of children's literature is creating a sense of belonging for both educators and students. The nonprofit I'm Your Neighbor Books is establishing Welcoming Libraries in schools and libraries that invite students to "Read to Welcome, Read to Belong."
A Welcoming Library at Brooklyn College will build equity based literacy. The Childhood, Bilingual, and Special Education (CBSE) department will establish a 300+ title Welcoming Library for teacher candidates to transform their teaching.
Can you support this equity based collection?
"The CBSE department is driven by a commitment to social justice and beliefs that all children can learn. We also support teacher candidates to value and possess culturally relevant pedagogies; sensitive to the needs and challenges of their students and families and knowledgeable of the communities in which they teach.
Because we believe that immigrant students, teachers, administrators, and families strengthen our communities, we would like to incorporate books that feature immigrant children, adolescents and families into our coursework.
Our teacher candidates will be prepared to engage in deep conversations about the immigrant experience—an experience they share or will come to know through coursework centered on this literature.
By developing a love and understanding of these diverse children's books in pre-service teacher candidates will prepare them not only to implement equity based literacy instruction that centers the lives of immigrant students and families in their classrooms, but also serve as examples in their schools."
—Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, Ph.D., Professor of Bilingual Education, Brooklyn College