Otisville Elementary Library Erin Andersen has taken the important concepts of diversity and inclusion and incorporated them into a school-wide library project using Alexandra Penford’s book, “All Are Welcome.”
The book is about a school where diversity and inclusion are celebrated.
“We just wanted to showcase that even though we’re all different, and it’s our differences make us so special,” she said.
Ms. Andersen asked older students to read the book, and asked them to determine what message the author was looking to convey in her story.
“They knew,” she said. “The message was to include everyone no matter what the differences are,” she said.
For the younger students, Ms. Andersen first spoke to them about the importance of kindness before reading the book to them. Afterward, she reinforced the importance of making sure everyone feels included, reminding them: “Some of us have different hair color or clothing or eat different things, but we all can still be friends.”
After the book was read during library class, students were invited to draw pictures of themselves. which are now being hung in the library. When their art work was gathered together, students could visualize how different they all are, but realized those differences should never keep them from doing things together.
“The feedback has been great,” added Ms. Andersen. “The students understood the lesson of the book, and they loved seeing all the self-portraits hanging together on the library wall. They can even tell who their friends are, based on how the self-portraits were created.”