The mission of the Taking Care Initiative is to teach kids the importance of "taking care of ourselves, each other, and the world." One way we accomplish this mission at our school is through the use of children's literature. Every Thursday (#TakingCareThurs), teachers across our building read aloud books with strong themes: themes that help students build their emotional intelligence - self awareness, self management, social awareness, social management. We have over 175 books in our collection after 4 years of implementing this initiative. Every year, I collect titles from a variety of sources and then make purchases in the summer. I always strive to purchase books with a representative sample of ethnic groups and an equal number of boy and girl main characters. I didn't truly understand the importance of this balance until I watched Grace Lin's Ted Talk - The WIndows and Mirrors of your Child's Bookshelf. If you haven't see this Ted Talk, please take the next 12 minutes to watch this wonderful talk.
Throughout Lin's talk, I kept thinking about our Taking Care collection. She speaks about books as "mirrors" - books that include characters in our likeness and books as "windows" - books that include characters unlike us. Kids need to feel confident in who they are and be able to see likeness in the books they read. They also need to see characters that are different then themselves so they can develop empathy, compassion, and kindness for others. Every time I look at our Taking Care bookshelf, I will remember this talk and I will commit to continuing to purchase books as "windows and mirrors" for the students in our school.