Shared Stories Open Minds
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)’s Hudson Valley Chapter (www.glsen.org/hudsonvalley), in partnership with Westchester public and school librarians, has created two programs for local libraries and schools, one for grades K-3 and the other for grades 4-8. Younger children will be read And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; older children will be provided with copies of Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle that they will read in advance. The stories in these books will provide a springboard to discussing age-appropriate themes including gender roles, sexual orientation, family diversity and acceptance of difference. Books, arts and crafts supplies and refreshments will be provided by GLSEN Hudson Valley at all events. Template flyers to circulate in the library are available for you to customize.
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE PROGRAM?
As society becomes more open and accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, children are encountering these possibilities in their own families, friends and communities. Libraries can provide a safe, respectful environment in which to learn about these diversities in our world.
HOW WOULD IT WORK?
School and/or public libraries will request to participate in Shared Stories Open Minds by contacting Mary Jane Karger, Co-Chair of GLSEN Hudson Valley. Her GLSEN email is firstname.lastname@example.org and her GLSEN phone is 914.962.7888.
GLSEN Hudson Valley has developed two Shared Stories Open Minds Programs from which to choose:
- One is for K-3rd graders. The program includes: 1.A “Read Aloud” of And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, which can be read in both English and Spanish 2. Short Discussion about the book and family differences, 3.A viewing from a segment from the DVD “That’s A Family” by Debra Chasnoff where young children talk about their same-sex parents and what it’s like to be in their family, 4. An arts and crafts project where each child will make a paper penguin family like Tango’s from the book.
- The second Shared Stories Open Minds Program is for 4th-8th graders, and it includes: 1. Reading, beforehand, the book Better Nate Than Ever, which GLSEN Hudson Valley will provide for free to each participant, 2. A meeting either once or twice in either a Book Club venue or as a stand-alone event at the library to discuss prepared questions about the story. During this time, the author has produced a video for us, which the students will watch and then discuss questions he asks them.
Shared Stories Open Minds can take several forms:
Parent involvement is a plus. Again, this could differ depending on the setting:
• Parents attend an introductory meeting. Parents learn about the book, the themes it contains, and preview the discussion guide. Parents and children read the book at the same time and then discuss it.
• A parent-child program. Both parents and children participate together in each phase — introduction, reading, and discussion.
• Parents and children meet in parallel. Parents have their own introductory and discussion meetings, while their children do the same in another area of the library.