CJH library provides windows of opportunity with diverse books

CJH Principal Heather Carman and Library Media Specialist Christine Banuls with shelves of books.
CJH Principal Heather Carman and Library Media Specialist Christine Banuls with the library’s diverse reading display.

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author.

When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” – Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita of Education at The Ohio State University, and ‘Mother’ of multicultural children’s literature

A  new display at the C.  J. Hooker Middle School library that highlights books and authors of different cultures, ethnicity, abilities, religion and backgrounds is growing popular with students, who are able to access the titles either in person or via the library’s online database.

And although important, it’s not just the books’ entertaining story lines that make these selections special. According to Principal Heather Carman, diversity in reading allows students to see themselves represented in the stories they read, and it also gives students exposure to the values, viewpoints and historical legacies of others – an opportunity to build unity, inclusivity and understanding.

“Our students are diverse, and the books they read should be reflective of their unique identities and experiences,” said Principal Heather Carman. “It’s also a valuable experience for students to read books that represent different abilities, cultures, beliefs, and skin colors. I believe it can help give a new perspective about the differences in the world.”

Library Media Specialist Christine Banuls executed Carman’s vision and created the book display for her students to easily view the different titles and offerings available to them. For more information, email christine.banuls@gcsny.org.

The display boasts topics and authors of different cultures and backgrounds.