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Shared Stories Open Minds




GLSEN Hudson Valley Chapter (, in partnership with Westchester public and school librarians, has created a program for local libraries and schools called Shared Stories, Open Minds. (SSOM)

SSOM is ideally provided by high school students for younger students. GLSEN trains HS students from the GSA Club (Gay Straight Alliance) to facilitate the program. If there is no local GSA, GLSEN can help the librarians provide the program.

 The program for 1st to 4th graders 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. A short Discussion about the book and family differences, 3. An arts and crafts project where each child will make a paper penguin family like Tango’s from the book.

 The program for 5th-8th graders includes: 1. A "Read Aloud" of I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings 2. A short discussion about about who we are, how we feel on the inside and how it matches how others treat us, and how we may change or hide our true selves based on cultural expectations. 3. A crafts project using collage materials.

 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.

 Parents can contact Jessica Fulton with any questions ahead of time.


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.


School (GSA's) Gay Straight Alliances and/or public libraries will request to participate in Shared Stories, Open Minds by contacting 

Jessica Fulton, Shared Stories, Open Minds Coordinator of GLSEN Hudson Valley. Her GLSEN email is

GLSEN would then arrange to train the local GSA to help run the program in their community with the help of our team.