Resources for “Born on the Water” and Amanda Gorman Titles; ALA Statement; and More | News Bites

Penguin Young Readers is offering an educator guide for teaching the 1619 Project’s picture book, Born on the Water, along with Change Sings and The Hill We Climb; ALA speaks out against censorship; and other industry news.

Penguin Young Reader is offering an educator guide for teaching the 1619 Project’s picture book, Born on the Water, along with Change Sings and The Hill We Climb; ALA speaks out against censorship; and more industry news in this edition of News Bites.

Educator guides for Born on the Water, Change Sings, and more

The Penguin Young Readers School & Library team has put together educator guides for the 1619 Project’s Born on the Water and partnered with #DisruptTexts to create resources for three books by Amanda Gorman.

The K-8 guide for Born on the Water includes text sets to pair with the book, as well as text sets for educators to support their professional development.

For the books by Gormanthe first ever National Youth Poet Laureate who was the inaugural poet at President Joe Biden's January 2021 ceremonyPenguin teamed with #DisruptTexts to create various materials. The Hill We Climb (all grades), Change Sings (preK-3), and Call Us What We Carry. The  Call Us What We Carry materials will be available next week. In addition, there is an Amanda Gorman poet study. The publisher also launched its #TeachChange Campaign that allows educators to request a free kit that includes a poster, activities, and digital resources for their community.

GLSEN study shows impact of inclusive resources

GLSEN released a research brief examining the experiences of transgender and nonbinary students in K-12 schools. The brief outlines transgender and nonbinary students’ access to school resources and illustrates the benefits of these resources for fostering a safer and more inclusive school climate for all students.

The report examines how transgender and nonbinary students are more likely than their cisgender peers to experience unsafe school environments, while also experiencing higher rates of discriminatory school policies and practices targeting their gender identity.

Some key findings:

  • Transgender and nonbinary students have less access to supportive school resources.
  • Supportive school resources can make schools safer.
  • Supportive educators promote educational success.
  • Representation matters. "Less than one in five transgender and nonbinary students report being taught anything positive about LGBTQ+ people, history, or other related topics, but when students did see positive representation of LGBTQ+ topics in curriculum, it offered a strong benefit. These students experienced lower levels of harassment and assault based on gender, heard fewer negative remarks about transgender people, and saw more frequent peer intervention on biased remarks about gender," according to the report.
  • School policies specifically including transgender and nonbinary students reduce bullying, harassment, and gender-based discrimination.

ALA releases statement on censorship efforts

With the dramatic increase in book challenges and removal of books from libraries, ALA's Executive Board and the Boards of Directors for ALA's eight divisions have released the following statement:

"In recent months, a few organizations have advanced the proposition that the voices of the marginalized have no place on library shelves. To this end, they have launched campaigns demanding the censorship of books and resources that mirror the lives of those who are gay, queer, or transgender or that tell the stories of persons who are Black, Indigenous, or persons of color. Falsely claiming that these works are subversive, immoral, or worse, these groups induce elected and non-elected officials to abandon constitutional principles, ignore the rule of law, and disregard individual rights to promote government censorship of library collections. Some of these groups even resort to intimidation and threats to achieve their ends, targeting the safety and livelihoods of library workers, educators, and board members who have dedicated themselves to public service, informing our communities, and educating our youth.

ALA strongly condemns these acts of censorship and intimidation.

We are committed to defending the constitutional rights of all individuals of all ages to use the resources and services of libraries. We champion and defend the freedom to speak, the freedom to publish, and the freedom to read, as promised by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

We stand opposed to censorship and any effort to coerce belief, suppress opinion, or punish those whose expression does not conform to what is deemed orthodox in history, politics, or belief. The unfettered exchange of ideas is essential to the preservation of a free and democratic society.

Libraries manifest the promises of the First Amendment by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, so that every person has the opportunity to freely read and consider information and ideas, regardless of their content or the viewpoint of the author. This requires the professional expertise of librarians who work in partnership with their communities to curate collections that serve the information needs of all their users.

In 1953, when confronted with comparable threats to our democratic values, the American Library Association issued the Freedom to Read Statement, a declaration in support of the freedom to think or believe as one chooses, the freedom to express one's thoughts and beliefs without fear or retaliation, and the right to access information without restriction. ALA's Executive Board, staff, and member leaders reaffirm not only the principles of the Freedom to Read Statement, but also the daily practices that ensure it continues to inform the profession and that library workers and library trustees have the training, information, tools, and support they need to celebrate and defend their communities' right to read and to learn.

With the freedom to read under threat, the ALA, including its Executive Board, Divisions, Roundtables, and other units, stand firmly with our members, the entire library community, allied organizations, and all those across this country who choose to exercise their right to read and access information freely, and we call on others to do the same."

The statement was signed by: American Library Association Executive Board; American Association of School Librarians Board of Directors; Association for Library Service to Children Board of Directors; Association of College and Research Libraries Board of Directors; Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures Board of Directors; Public Library Association Board of Directors; Reference and User Services Association Board of Directors; Young Adult Library Services Association Board of Directors; and United for Libraries Board of Directors.

Discovery launches engineering initiative

Discovery Education and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) launched Engineering Dreams, an educational initiative to engage K-12 students that offers educators and students a variety of interactive, standards-aligned learning resources including innovator spotlights and classroom activities to inspire the next generation of creative thinkers, risk-takers, and ethical problem-solvers. Engineering Dreams also has a video topic series, “Problem-Solvers for Good,” that explores engineering-based solutions for local community challenges. 


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